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Western Producer:'s Barry Wilson "Ag policy critics raise Tory tempers"

February 20 2013 at 5:21 PM

Timbits20  (Login timbits20)
Elite WAFF Vet Club

OK, I got this article from "Stop the Steamroller", which is a Facebook group started in opposition to the CPC's illegal processing of it's ending of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly.

To be honest, I'm not sure if the CWB's time had passed myself, but it's the CPC's modus operandi that makes me sick. Really, I can't stand these people. They're akin to a pack of attack-dogs the way they act in government.

This kind of conduct is what I refer to when I talk about how I can't stand their taking apart the Canada we grew up in.


Ag policy critics raise Tory tempers
Posted Feb. 15th, 2013 by Barry Wilson No Comments Share on facebook Share on linkedin Share on

The House of Commons agriculture committee heard some unusually blunt criticism of Conservative agriculture policy last week, and it made some Conservative MPs downright cranky.

The witnesses, invited by the committee as individuals, included University of Saskatchewan agricultural economics professor Ken Rosaasen, former National Farmers Union president Stewart Wells and current Manitoba NFU director Ian Robson from Brandon.

Rosaasen argued that last years federal-provincial cuts to the farm support AgriStability program, slated to take effect April 1, mean farmers will have minimal support when the next income downturn happens.

He said farmers will be the weak link in the grain value chain.

Wells and Robson criticized Conservative policies that ended the CWB single desk and the effect that has had on farmer income, stability and farmer power.

Among many criticisms, they argued more federal commitment to public research is needed and Conservative policies have eroded farmer power in favour of corporate interests.

At one point, when Liberal MP Frank Valeriote asked if last years higher prices were not a boon for farmers, Wells said high commodity prices are a mixed blessing for farmers because input prices also rise and stay high when commodity prices decrease.

Some Conservative MPs on the committee pounced. High prices are good for farmers and the end of the CWB monopoly has given farmers more cash up front and more options, they argued.

Some Conservatives used most of their allotted time asking hostile questions or making statements that attacked witness testimony without leaving time for a response.

Alberta MP Blake Richards made a point of confirming that Wells is a former NFU president and chair of the Friends of the Wheat Board and that Robson is an NFU director who was quoted as calling the CWB bill jackboot legislation.

Ontario Conservative Pierre Lem-ieux, parliamentary secretary to agriculture minister Gerry Ritz, complained that since both Wells and Robson were affiliated with anti-Conservative farm groups, they should be identified by their affiliation and not as individuals.

Alberta MP Brian Storseth argued that individuals should be non-aligned and not mouthpieces for activist groups with a political agenda. He said the NDP was trying to stack witnesses against the government.

Wells accused Conservatives of trying to smear witnesses.

Committee chair Merv Tweed from Brandon said the two prairie farmers had been invited as individuals rather than representatives of organizations.

One of the few moments of levity in a generally tense meeting came when Storseth said that while Wells and Robson claimed to represent the majority of prairie farmers who supported the CWB single desk, Conservative MPs represent most rural prairie ridings.

Could you explain this to me?

Robson drew laughs, at least from the opposition side, when he quickly shot back: Im just as puzzled as you are.

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(Login coalde_one)

Re: Western Producer:'s Barry Wilson "Ag policy critics raise Tory tempers"

February 21 2013, 12:04 AM 

This message has been edited by coalde_one on Feb 21, 2013 12:07 AM


(Login timbits20)
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Re: Western Producer:'s Barry Wilson "Ag policy critics raise Tory tempers"

February 21 2013, 12:46 AM 

Thanks Coalde.

And in the interests of completeness, this is the text to the first link you posted:

Tories drop opposition MPs from prime minister's volunteer awards guest list
FEBRUARY 20, 2013

IMAGE:> Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks before presenting the first Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards on December 14, 2012 in Ottawa. Opposition MPs were dropped from the guest list for an awards ceremony honouring volunteers from across the country, an event that some had worried would become political. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA - Opposition MPs were dropped from the guest list for an awards ceremony honouring volunteers from across the country, an event that some had worried would become political.

The Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards were given out Dec. 14 in the historic Railway Room on Parliament Hill. Stephen Harper himself delivered remarks, and had his photo taken with each of the 16 recipients of the new award.

The Human Resources and Skills Development Department had done most of the legwork leading up to the ceremony, including the development of a guest list.

Five NDP and two Liberal MPs were listed as guests in lists drawn up by the department as late as Nov. 15. The MPs were suggested because constituents from their ridings were to receive awards.

Documents about the ceremony were obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

But on the day of the event, only the Conservative ministers and MPs on the list attended alongside volunteers and their families. An assistant to Human Resources Minister Diane Finley sent a list of the Tories to the department the day before.

Toronto-area New Democrat MP Andrew Cash's name also appeared on the original list, but he says he was not invited. Cash said he's familiar with the work of the Child Development Institute in his riding that received the award.

"The prime minister is taking what really should be a non-partisan awards ceremony and something that all Canadians could get behind, and turn it into a Conservative-only event," said Cash, MP for Davenport.

"That's really disappointing."

Newfoundland Liberal MP Scott Simms said he never received an invite, but the group from his riding the Exploits Valley Community Coalition asked him to attend a local ceremony weeks later.

"For MPs, we do a lot of MPs' work with the local volunteer associations. They're the ties that bind, as it were," said Simms.

"When they put in a lot of hours, their local MP should be there to acknowledge any award they get. It seems only fair."

Marian Ngo, a spokeswoman for Finley, noted the event took place on Parliament Hill and was advertised through a public notice.

"Members of Parliament from any party were welcome and able to attend," Ngo said in an email.

As to how opposition MPs would have known who won the awards, Ngo said the recipients "were free to notify their MPs."

The department had also suggested names for potential masters of ceremony, including organ-donor activist Helene Campbell or sportscaster Brian Williams. But ultimately it was Conservative Senator and philanthropist Nicole Eaton who took the reins.

The name of the honours, "The Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards," had raised flags early on in their development as too political. A government commissioned focus group in 2010 reported that participants felt the association with the prime minister might be "perceived as political in nature." The focus group included members of non-profit organizations.

The nomination process for the awards remains partially secret. In documents recently released to The Canadian Press, the government blacked out the names of "regional reviewers" who were to send the names of potential recipients to a national advisory committee.

Opposition MPs have complained over the years that the Conservatives have deliberately left them out of government events taking place in their ridings. NDP MP Pat Martin ranted on Twitter about the practice in December, a tirade that eventually forced him to abandon that social media account.

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This message has been edited by timbits20 on Feb 21, 2013 12:54 AM


(Login timbits20)
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Re: Western Producer:'s Barry Wilson "Ag policy critics raise Tory tempers"

February 21 2013, 12:53 AM 

And here's the text for the second:

Information commissioner called upon to probe muzzling of federal scientists


Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada, has been called upon to investigate allegations that the federal government has been 'muzzling' scientists.
Photograph by: Sean Kilpatrick/ The Canadian Press , Postmedia News
Federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault is being asked to formally investigate the way the Harper government has been muzzling and restricting access to federal scientists.

The request, accompanied with a report on the governments systematic efforts to obstruct access to researchers, was made jointly on Wednesday by the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria and Democracy Watch, a national non-profit group.

There are few issues more fundamental to democracy than the ability of the public to access scientific information produced by government scientists information that their tax dollars have paid for, they say. We as a society cannot make informed choices about critical issues if we are not fully informed about the facts.

The request comes after years of controversy over the way the government has tightened the leash on federal scientists who used to be encouraged to speak about their research on everything from melting permafrost to pesticide pollution.

Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear said in an email statement Wednesday we reject the premise of the accusations.

Goodyear said the government provides significant access to federal scientists.

In a 128-page report sent to the information commissioner, the University of Victoria lawyers and Democracy Watch catalogue how scientists now need permission from Ottawa to give interviews and are instructed to follow approved lines when speaking with reporters.

The report, Muzzling Civil Servants: A Threat to Democracy, notes how the Harper government has generated national and international headlines for stopping some government researchers from talking about their studies on prehistoric floods, the unprecedented 2011 Arctic Ozone hole, and snow research in Ontario.

And it cites federal documents that detail how the government has implemented policies that routinely require political approval before scientists can speak to the media about their scientific findings.

Government scientists are often instructed to not speak publicly or to respond with pre-scripted approved lines, the report says.

The report points to Fisheries and Oceans Canada where communications staff now comprehensively control interviews with scientists: No journalist is to be granted an interview until the ministers own director of communications has been notified.

Natural Resources Canada has adopted particularly strict rules restricting the ability of scientists to talk to the media about climate change and oilsands, the report says.

And Environment Canada specifically forbids scientists from speaking to the public on identified issues such as climate change or protection of polar bear and caribou until the Privy Council Office gives approval, it says.

Calvin Sandborn, legal director of the UVICs Environmental Law Centre, says the name George Orwell comes to mind.

He said the policies undermine and violate different sections, as well as the spirit, of the information act that provides a right of access to government information.

He and his colleagues also say it impoverishes public debate.

Canadians cannot make smart choices about critical issues such as climate change, oilsands development and environmental protection if the public does not have full access to the governments best scientific knowledge on those issues, they say.

Obstructing access to scientists also hampers the ability of the public to know and identify what government information and records actually exist related to issues of public importance, they say.

Without such knowledge, the public may not be able to request or obtain relevant records under the Access to Information Act.

In response to request for comment, Goodyears office sent an email saying Environment Canada participated in more than 1,200 media interviews last year and federal departments publish more than 2,000 scientific publications a year.

Michele-Jamali Paquette, Goodyears director of communications, said by telephone we reject the accusations that we are muzzling scientists.

Asked about the documented cases where scientists have not been permitted to speak about their work, she said all government departments follow a communication policy set by Treasury Board and the government has communication experts hired in order to aid all government employees in better communicating.

Paquette also noted that federal scientists, as government employees, dont own the intellectual property for their work.

Josée Villeneuve, the information commissioners director of public affairs, said the complaint has been received and staff

will be analyzing its content. Since this is an investigative matter, we cannot comment further, she said.


Read more:http://www.canada.com/technology/Information+commissioner+called+upon+probe+muzzling+federal+scientists/7990235/story.html#ixzz2LUSuJGGE

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(Login timbits20)
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Re: Western Producer:'s Barry Wilson "Ag policy critics raise Tory tempers"

February 21 2013, 12:56 AM 

... But of course all this conduct is perfectly fine because of Trudeau and the National Energy Policy circa 1981 and Chretien being a douche circa 10 years ago.

EDIT: Holy Crap! - If you look at the actual page to the muzzling scientists article, you will see an Federal government ad for a federal debt relief program offered by the government of Canada. The associated image shows the Uber Fuhrer giving the "thumbs up" sign in a picture that looks about 10 years old!

Let's see how long that ad stays up.

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This message has been edited by timbits20 on Feb 21, 2013 1:02 AM

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