In its length, in its cost and in its debate schedule, this election is unusual. The first and possibly only real debate of the campaign ended and here are the highlights of what happened.
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives recently passed Bill C-51. You’ve probably heard about it but if not, here’s the summary. It grants Canada’s spy agencies new enforcement powers to act upon data they’ve collected by monitoring your phone calls, text messages and your interactions on social media. The reason for this is they want to protect you from a terrorist attack – or arrest you if they suspect you are a terrorist. It would dismantle much of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms which was ratified by former Prime Minister Pierre-Elliot Trudeau and grants Canadians the privacy and freedom of speech they have today.
The Transportation Safety Board has released its long-awaited report Tuesday determining the cause and necessary response to the train derailment in Lac-Mégantic that took 47 lives in a fiery explosion. The report found that of 18 factors that lead to the disaster, “no one individual, a single action or a single factor” was responsible for the disaster but didn’t shy away from criticizing Transport Canada’s lack of oversight and enforcement of safety regulations.
Effective tomorrow, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews will resign his cabinet post and his seat as MP. Not only does Toews join a list of MPs walking out the door, Toews makes room for Harper’s attempt to put new blood into the front benches of his government – which he hopes will revive the dying brand. Toews is leaving to spend time with his family and pursue opportunities in the private sector.
The Alberta floods weren’t without its controversy – from a PMO that tends to get itself deeper into problems every time it acts on something. The PMO ordered the RCMP return guns that officers took from the abandoned homes of High River as a standard safety procedure to prevent crimes in the wake of disaster.
In light of the ongoing scandal in the United States which revealed the Obama Administration was spying on millions of Americans, a new report finds the Conservative government has been doing the same thing in Canada since 2011. Call it a page out of George Orwell’s 1984, or a legitimate attempt to secure Canadians, the decision was kept in the dark and may have infringed on your privacy and rights. Monitoring your every phone call and key stroke, the Conservatives have been watching. Big Brother is now in full gear and there’s going to be some explaining to do.
The RCMP announced it is looking into whether it will launch a criminal investigation into the Duffy affair but added it will not make such a decision public. Assistant Commissioner of the new National Division Gilles Michaud said they are is looking at the evidence it has obtained and insists it will resist pressure from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews who was mandated to monitor and regulate its activities.
With the Duffy affair digging deeper into the public sphere, the public and many opposition MPs and senators have called for the investigation to be handed over to the RCMP. However, an independent agency with the mandate of enforcing the law may be tainted with political interference after the Conservatives mandated Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to oversee the agency’s operations.
The Conservative government came out swinging at Liberal leader Justin Trudeau again Thursday about statements he made on terrorism. Meanwhile, the Conservatives had some statements of their own. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it wasn’t the time to “commit sociology” and his MP Pierre Poilievre said “The root cause of terrorism is terrorists.”
Two days after Conservative ads were deemed to be failed, Prime Minister Stephen Harper took it upon himself to use the Boston Marathon terrorist attack as an opportunity to attack Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. The bombing led to 3 deaths, including that of an eight year old boy. Harper made the comments unprompted at Margret Thatcher’s ceremonial funeral in England. Trudeau accused Harper of politicizing a tragedy.