Saturday, January 21, 2006

A vote For George Harper is a vote for Stephen Bush

"Conservative leader vows to end anti-U.S. rhetoric
By Levon SevuntsTHE WASHINGTON TIMESJanuary 21, 2006
MONTREAL -- Canada's Conservatives, who look increasingly sure of winning national elections on Monday, say they are hoping for a fresh start in the nation's frosty relations with the United States.
John Reynolds, official opposition house leader, said while trade disputes between Canada and the United States will remain, the tone of political discourse will change. "We had a government that for 12 years in Canada has called [Americans] words like 'coward' and 'stupid,'?" said Mr. Reynolds, who co-chairs the Conservative elections campaign. "That would change. Our party is not filled with anti-American people like it is within the Liberal Party." Mr. Reynolds said the first practical step in improving security cooperation between Canada and the United States would be to restart discussions about joining the anti-ballistic missile program."

In the last few months I have written several times to John Weston, Mr. Reynolds' CPC successor in our riding, asking him very politely for a clarification on his own position on the anti-ballistic missile program and the Security and Prosperity Pact of North America.
No reply from John Weston's campaign office.

As I recall, it was Bush, and not [Americans], who was referred to as 'coward' and 'stupid'.
So likewise when I call Mr. Reynolds a quisling and a disingenuous lying sack of shit, I do not mean all the people living in the West Van/ Sunshine Coast/Sea to Sky riding.

OK, to be fair, sometimes Canadians have referred to Americans as stupid, mostly because so many of them voted for Bush. I'm afraid we're about to find out what that's like.

As David Hill put it on the Forum : "A vote for George Harper is a vote for Stephen Bush."


Anonymous said...

January 10, 2006

Dear waterbaby,

According to a media report yesterday, reproduced below, the government is withholding information about Canada and the U.S. missile defence shield.

Incredibly, the secrecy is extended to information that is freely available from the Pentagon, and even on the Internet.

Do the Liberals have something to hide about missile defence? How can they argue that releasing the location of U.S. missile interceptor sites would be "injurious" to the defence of Canada, when anyone can look up this information on the U.S. Missile Defence Agency’s web site?

This is why we need to Put it to the Politicians - to demand that they tell us where they stand on missile defence.

Yesterday the Council of Canadians and the Polaris Institute called on the federal party leaders to respect Canadians’ desire to not join George W. Bush’s missile scheme. They have distributed 100,000 copies of their voter’s guide, and I recommend you download your own copy from their web site.


DND drapes veil of secrecy over missile shield

Government withholds information that is freely available on Internet

David Pugliese
Monday, January 9, 2006

In a new twist on government secrecy, Defence Department officials are now withholding information about the Pentagon's missile shield that is readily available on U.S. government websites while at the same time claiming the security of Canada could be harmed if the names of senior American officers treated to a taxpayer-financed reception more than a year ago are released.

In addition, the Citizen has obtained two missile shield briefing notes sent to Defence Minister Bill Graham. The department had originally told both the newspaper and an investigator with the Office of the Information Commissioner that those records, one of which discusses U.S. efforts to develop space weapons, never existed.

Among the other information now deemed secret is the fact Canada uses space for surveillance purposes and that a proposed Canadian Forces satellite would collect information useful for the missile shield.

Some critics say this new blanket of secrecy raises questions about government accountability and openness. Others are suggesting the information is being withheld to prevent the public from determining the true extent of Canadian military involvement in the controversial missile defence system.

John Clearwater, an Access to Information specialist and defence author, said it is likely the records were withheld because Canada's participation in the missile shield issue was, and is, highly controversial. "It's possible that someone high up in the department put out the word those files weren't to be released," he said.

If the records were deliberately withheld, there is little that can be done since the Access law does not provide for any sanctions against individuals for such actions. In some of the cases, the files were handled by both Mr. Graham's office and officials in the Privy Council Office.

In one instance, the Defence Department argued the release of the locations of the U.S. missile shield interceptor rockets would be "injurious" to the defence of Canada, its international relations, as well as the detection of subversive or hostile activities.

But the Pentagon on its various Internet sites lists the locations as Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenburg Air Force Base, California. It has also allowed journalists, including Canadians, to tour the sites to photograph and report on the installation of the interceptors.

The censored documents are among military records released under the Access to Information law to the Citizen and members of the public. That law allows taxpayers to request federal records for a fee.

Renée Filiatrault, spokeswoman for Mr. Graham, said the minister's staff is not involved in processing such requests and department officials are responsible for any decisions in releasing records. "Every effort is made to be as transparent as possible," said Ms. Filiatrault.

But defence analyst Steve Staples questioned that claim and wonders whether there are other motives for the government to withhold such information.

He noted the Defence Department is in the process of renegotiating the North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad) agreement with the U.S., discussions that missile defence opponents believe could provide a new opening for Canada to participate in the shield.

"This creates strong suspicions the Liberals are waiting for an opportunity to go back to the Americans on missile defence at a later date," said Mr. Staples, of the left-leaning Polaris Institute. "You've got to wonder why they are so sensitive on releasing even basic information."

Last year, Prime Minister Paul Martin declined to join the missile defence system, although his government has given its approval for the joint Canada-U.S. Norad alliance to relay missile warning information to the shield's commanders.

Other details censored from defence records for security reasons include:

The names and titles of U.S. Norad officers Canadian officials treated to a reception and luncheon 16 months ago;
The names of countries using the U.S. Patriot missile system. Patriot manufacturer Raytheon, however, has no qualms about releasing that on its Internet site and includes among its clients the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Israel and Saudi Arabia;
Information that the proposed Canadian Sapphire satellite will contribute to the U.S. space surveillance network, which in turn will provide data to the shield, has been censored. That information had previously been available in federal records;
Some of the answers produced for Mr. Graham to be read to the news media are now secret. His response that the shield is designed to counter a limited number of missiles fired from rogue nations was deleted. In addition, his answer that shield interceptors would destroy their targets by ramming them was censored.
The Citizen was able to determine the deleted portions by comparing some of the same sentences in government speeches and websites and in previously released federal records.

There was no explanation from government officials why previously released material is now being withheld.

The government's answer to the question about whether the missile shield will lead to space weapons is now secret. Previously Canadian officials said there was no link between the two.
Information about the industrial opportunities for Canadian companies taking part in the missile shield, once available to the public, have also been withheld.
Defence officials also appeared concerned that other industrial-related information might be sought out by those using the Access law. In various e-mails they noted their relief that a Jan. 15, 2004 report on Canadian industrial co-operation on missile defence didn't become public and that a less detailed study was eventually released under the Access law.

In one instance, the Citizen requested copies of briefing notes prepared for Mr. Graham in the summer of 2004, a time that coincided with the government's decision to amend the Norad agreement so the alliance could provide missile warning information to the shield. The department claimed only one such record was ever produced during that key period for the minister. That response, however, was a fabrication, with the Citizen discovering at least two other briefing notes.

In other cases missile records were withheld for months with the Defence Department claiming it had to search through a large volume of files.

To do that would interfere with government operations, it claimed. But an investigation by Information Commissioner John Reid discovered there was no large volume of records and there would be no interference in defence operations.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2006

Anonymous said...

OK. So I called back a Ms Dara (?) McGowan who called from 604 988-6693 with a caller ID of RK Wilson to confirm my support for Blair Wilson and to invite me to board a bus leaving from Park Royal White Spot to go to the Richmond Delta hotel where I will have the honour of hearing Paul Martin go on and on.

I asked if it was possible to get IN WRITING the Liberal Party definitive stance on the US Missile Defence Shield and any Canadian participation including using Canadian Defence Department satellites for surveillance through Norad. Also, whether they were waiting for the re-negotiation of Norad to slip that little detail through.

She graciously hung up on me.

But you could call her...

Alison said...

Unfortunately, wb, I already blew my interview with Ms MacGowan tonight before I got your note.
I'm guessing that "R" is Blair's brother who I met at the all candidate's meeting. Sincere guy, very proud of his brother's record on abortion and SSM. I'm guessing he was surprised to hear that Martin announced in Calgary today that he would be allowing his backbenchers a free vote on abortion.

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