Julian Fantino – on the run

There’s a saying in the Canadian Forces: “When the Generals don’t know what to do, they do what they know”

For Julian Fantino, that means travelling to a foreign country when an Auditor General’s report is released.

That doesn’t stop him from sending out disingenuous tweets like these that are immediately contradicted by reporters:


The Minister is playing Where’s Waldo and trying to evade accountability for the Conservatives’ record of failing injured soldiers just when they need help the most.

Canadians deserve better.

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More resounding failures from the Conservatives

Today’s Auditor General’s report again illustrates the Conservative government’s inadequate management of public finances and services that Canadians rely on.  

Year after year, the AG has exposed the Conservatives’ poor management of public finances and pointed out serious problems. Veterans have been denied the mental health care services they need to lead a normal life. And for the auto bailout there’s no transparency. The report showed that one quarter of the $4 billion in contributions for GM Canada employees’ retirement fund was actually disbursed to GM’s US operations.

“One quarter of the automotive-sector assistance went to the Americans. How exactly did that help Canadian workers?” questioned NDP MP Malcolm Allen (Welland). “Add to that the $1.1 billion withheld from veterans’ spending, and you realize that the Conservatives aren’t going to fix anything with their infamous last-minute announcements. They need to stop trying to salvage their misconstrued plan and offer veterans the help they need.”

In addition, the report pointed out more cases of Conservative mismanagement, including their response to humanitarian crises, the classification of heritage documents at Library and Archives Canada, and deficiencies and failures associated with the Nutrition North program.  

“The report showed that the Nutrition North program is simply not working—where is the money going? Obviously people in northern regions aren’t reaping the benefits and there is a serious lack of transparency,” said NDP MP Roméo Saganash (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou).

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Parliament will debate compensation for thalidomide survivors

Parliament will debate an NDP Opposition Day motion this Thursday calling for compensation for thalidomide survivors.

“Victims of thalidomide have waited for over fifty years to get the support they deserve,” said NDP health critic Libby Davies (Vancouver East). “I hope we can count on the support of all parties as parliament debates NDP’s motion in support of thalidomide survivors.”

In 1961, the Government of Canada approved the sale of thalidomide as a safe drug to treat nausea for pregnant women. The drug had tragic consequences for many families. The government has never apologized for the devastation it caused. After decades of discussing compensation, it provided an inadequate one-time payment to survivors.

“Canada’s thalidomide survivors are considerably worse off than their peers in other countries,” said NDP MP Djaouida Sellah (Saint-Bruno–Saint-Hubert). “Parliament now has a real chance to do the right thing and support the victims.”

Full text of NDP Opposition Day motion follows:

That, in the opinion of the House: (a) full support should be offered to survivors of thalidomide‎; (b) the urgent need to defend the rights and dignity of those affected by thalidomide should be recognized; and (c) the government should ‎provide support to survivors, as requested by the Thalidomide Survivors Taskforce.

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Official Opposition statement on International Day to End Violence Against Women

Official Opposition for the Status of Women critic Niki Ashton (Churchill) made the following statement on International Day to End Violence Against Women :

“On the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women we recommit to ending the violence that so many women in Canada and around the world face. 

Since 1981 the international community has marked November 25th as a day against violence against women, after the 1960 assassination of three political activists, the Mirabal sisters, on the orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo. Unfortunately, today women and girls across the world still face violence simply because they are women.

In Canada, violence against women remains a barrier to women’s equality. Even though violent crime has decreased, sexual violence directed at women and girls remains stagnant.  Young women face the highest levels of sexual violence. Indigenous women and girls are seven times more likely to be killed than non-Indigenous women.

Despite these facts, the Conservatives continue to obstruct efforts to change the reality that women face, nationally and internationally. Deep cuts to women’s organizations have made it increasingly difficult for critical work to take place.  Clear directives prohibit organizations from engaging in advocacy calling for systemic change. A failure to call for a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women means we still don’t have the answers needed to take action. 

We need a National Action Plan to End Violence Against Women. From coast to coast to coast, agencies, organizations, activists and survivors are calling for a coordinated, funded approach to deal with violence against women. It is time the federal government listen to women and take action, through a National Action Plan.

The International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women is marked to acknowledge that violence against women and girls is present in the everyday. Through meaningful, coordinated action driven by women that is supported at the federal level, we can aim to end the violence that women face.”

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Liberals and Conservatives attack farmers’ rights

Today, Liberals and Conservatives joined forces to jeopardize farmers’ rights to save and use seed, leading to narrower margins for family farms – which are already in jeopardy thanks to years of neglect – and more power concentrated in the hands of fewer businesses in our agriculture system.

“We need to see a more a level-playing field between seed breeders and farmers”, said agriculture critic Malcolm Allen (Welland), “but this Bill explicitly allows the Minister to undemocratically and secretly remove farmers’ rights whenever he wants, with very little transparency.”

Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act, includes sweeping new changes to how intellectual property rights are applied on Canadian farms. The government defeated 16 NDP amendments that would have ensured the Bill protected farmers’ rights, including amendments requiring that intent be proved in cases of possible patent infringement and preventing big businesses from ultimately restricting consumer choice.

“In the long run, these changes will limit choice and autonomy for Canadian farmers and consumers, and are part of an attack on public research and Canada’s agricultural legacy” continues deputy agriculture critic Ruth-Ellen Brosseau. “We want to see a food system that supports Canadian farmers, and leaves farmers and consumers with real choice.”

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