The Harper Index - Independent analysisIndependent analysis

"Aspirational goals" for greenhouse gas reduction invite ridicule
  Technological approach an excuse for inaction.

Abortion debate could be reopened despite Harper protests
  In spite of controlling tendencies, PM has never quashed anti-abortion Caucus members.

American Right has a scary strategy on health care
  A view from South of the border

Angry Prime Minister
  Frigid relations with Ottawa media highlight Stephen Harper's reputation for being angry and controlling.

Arar report censorship meant to protect American security establishment
  Harper likely involved in decisions meant to protect allies - Arar lawyer.

Arctic frame for sovereignty should be cooperation, not confrontation - Byers
  Harper's combative attitude could undo years of cooperation, while credibility is undermined by social conditions in the North.

Artists need long-term support for infrastructure – Charlie Angus
  Juno nominee MP gives Harper credit for singing, but says Canada's edge in arts industries continues to be undermined.

Blocking public documents has become a pattern
  Harper cannot blame previous government for undermining his own inquiry.

Brodie, Ian – Former Harper chief of staff takes job with top lobby firm
  Could violate Conflict of Interest Act – Democracy Watch.

Budget warning signs raise doubts that announced money will get spent
  Leaks over-hype stimulus spending – economists.

Cabinet shuffle all about public and internal "messaging" – pollster
  Afghanistan "tag team" is main event but third shuffle in 18 months also sends message about who's in charge.

Cadman affair dramatically changes election timing scenarios
  March 17 by-elections likely to go ahead, and Liberals could bring down government this spring if Conservatives sink in polls.

CanWest bolstered as Conservatives allow media monopolies to grow
  Open support from owners of Canada's leading media company could be a political liability for Harper.

Casey at the bat: three swings and out
  Harper Conservatives can't say they weren't warned in vote against Budget by well-liked Nova Scotia MP.

CBC would be damaged by Conservative recommendations in committee report
  Calls for public broadcaster to do more with resources currently acknowledged as insufficient.

Colombia corporate trade push meets Canadian citizen resistance
  Uribe stonewalls on tough questions from Bloc and NDP.

Colombia deal halted – for now – as Canadians rally against it
  Human rights situation in Colombia "is truly alarming today" – daughter of murdered trade unionist.

Corporate tax cuts to go to US Treasury as Obama closes loophole
  US will tax its companies the difference between foreign taxes and domestic ones to slow outsourcing.

Crime bill, now stalled in Senate, will actually make us less safe
  America's "War on Drugs" and "three strikes" laws are both deemed massive and interconnected failures.

Culture wars continue with cuts to small magazines
  Funding for artistic launching pads diverted to Conservative-friendly constituencies such as snowmobiling and fly fishing.

Democracy threat countered by Youtube and indie media – union leader Dave Coles
  Agents provocateurs only the tip of Montebello story.

Dow suit puts NAFTA Chapter 11 to the test
  Dow Chemical claims pit rights of communities to ban pesticides vs rights of companies to sell them.

Economic management draws failing grade from observers
  Harper has repeatedly choosen politics over sound management - retired Finance official.

Economy being hollowed out by resource sell-offs, despite PM's jokes – Watkins
  Value of US buyouts of CDN companies in first half of '07 more than four times value of CDN buyouts of US firms.

EI changes needed to prevent disaster in the making — CCPA
  Canadians face greater vulnerability than at any time since the 1940s

EI reform the Harper way: only some will qualify
  Canada, a wealthy country by any standards, leaves its unemployed to fend for themselves.

Election strategy for Conservatives focuses on Quebec and Ontario
  Pollsters discuss the Harper campaign and ways to counter it.

Ethnic strategy undermined by racial slurs
  Immigrant-bashing attitudes and a growing economic gap for racial minorities neutralize political outreach efforts to new Canadians.

Fiscal update shows there is no new Harper
  Cut-throat plan to end democratic financing features lack of financial recovery plan.

Flaherty, Jim – "One of nature's hard-liners" and a key player on Harper's team
  Affable style enables finance minister to skate past $6B deficit he helped leave Ontario.

Gun registry became a symbolic issue
  Canadian right borrowed from National Rifle Association and the gun lobby in the USA, framing the debate.

Harris was less dangerous than Harper is – former "hack"
  Ontario premier was a "thug" but did not operate by stealth, says reader who served in Harris government.

Health care defence intentionally vague
  Harper attempts to avoid debate over Canadian system because he despises it.

Hidden agenda of cuts could follow Harper win
  Funding for public services will dwindle due to corporate tax cuts - CLC economist.

Hidden-agenda concerns keep Conservatives from majority
  Only ten percent in poll think Harper has told them the whole truth about his plans.

HST is another step to choking off funding for federal programs
  Extending consumption taxes while cutting income and business taxes transfers tax burden to those least able.

Human rights platitudes contrast with lack of Canadian action
  Canada falling down on commitments, disappointing international observers.

Inexperience could explain current problems of Harper government
  Is lack of training, parliamentary experience, and real life showing?

Israel continues to get unshakable support from Harper
  Problematic nature of promises takes on a new dimension with intense attack on Gaza Strip.

Land claims progress questionable: analyst
  Apparent progess in first months of new tribunal has to do with which claims were processed, not how.

Letters and notes
  Recent reader comments and feedback.

Lies and name-calling blow up on Conservatives
  Separatist-bashing could undo all Harper's efforts to win Quebec over.

Majority government would move faster and farther
  Social conservatives could call shots if Conservatives faced fewer constraints, predict most surveyed.

Mandatory minimum sentences proposed while US states repeal them
  Liberals cave, so Canada will face the kind of swollen prison populations that have forced states into crisis, with some contemplating mass releases.

Manley's advice should be called the Ostrich Report
  It's a pipe dream to think the Americans and British will be willing to stay and fight for the long term in Afghanistan.

Media centre under PM's control would take a page from the Republican handbook
  Reporters appalled by attempts to subvert freedom of expression - Press Gallery president.

Medicare would end with Harper majority - Mike McBane
  Even now, the system is under extreme threats, with privatized clinics opening the door to trade challenges.

Mining companies should uphold Canada's standards abroad – Bill C-300
  Corporate social responsibility advocates in fight with industry lobby.

Minority report
  A report after one year after Stephen Harper's Conservatives came to power.

Mission vs. war – How Afghanistan conflict is framed
  Canada's military involvement has been marketed as a noble cause, with help from Hillier, Horton's and hockey.

Mulroney's causes have done well under Harper government
  Former prime minister's directorships tie in closely with with major policies of Harper government.

Mulroney, Brian – Former PM shaped current PM's thinking on Quebec and his politics
  Advice was to reach out to Quebec, "ditch all the yahoos", and move to the centre.

Mulroney-Schreiber investigation puts Harper in conflict of interest
  Fully impartial inquiries needed to clean up ethical questions about federal government activities.

Native rights stance in UN vote lost allies for Canada
  Massive support for Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was a stunning defeat for Canada.

Obama strategy in Afghanistan constrasts with Harper approach
  Troop buildup likely intended to strengthen negotiating position.

Obama visit invokes closed doors
  Stephen Harper may have opted to avoid unflattering comparisons with visiting American president.

Obama visit puts Canada on the defensive
  President could be concerned Canada is free-riding on the coat-tails of a U.S. recovery initiative and may pressure PM to do more.

Obstructionism from Canada blocks global climate change progress
  Australian scientist, best-selling author Tim Flannery urges Canada to be part of the solution.

Out of Parliament, 1997-2002
  Stephen Harper left politics only in terms of job title.

Parliamentary democracy disdained under new rules
  Conservatives campaigning to disarm institutions of Canadian government and replace them with a regime based on plebiscites.

Partisan government ads put Conservatives – deliberately – on thin ice
  Controversial giant cheques are censured in public and probably sanctioned in private.

Pay equity spin gives women the kiss-off
  Labour steps up campaign to stop attack on rights.

Playbook for election looks like vintage Alberta politics
  Name-calling is about mobilizing the base and creating distraction.

Playing for an election in budget perilous - Laxer
  Harper guided by the orthodox economics that landed the world in its present grave crisis.

Poison food crisis shows Harper's contempt for government
  How many more people must die before the Harper government realizes that public health and safety must always transcend the boundaries of ideology?

Polling of Afghans open to a lot of interpretation
  Report of high approval rating of Canada among Afghanis contradicts poll last year that showed no awareness of Canada at all.

Poverty fight wins unanimous consent
  Advocates can measure government action against its call for income security and social infrastructure.

Public opinion, July 2007 – Poll numbers near majority for Harper
  The great mystery is whether Green voters are committed or merely parked.

Public opinion, June 2007 – Harper has not learned to broaden the base
  Pollster evaluates public response to Stephen Harper in wake of end of Parliamentary session.

Public opinion, September 2007 – What the Quebec by-elections do not mean
  Repeated polling shows political sea change is unlikely.

Public understanding of Harper's extreme agenda keeps him from total power
  Hidden agenda is no longer an issue, which is what keeps Cons stalled in low 30s in public opinion.

Rae steps aside, giving Liberal leadership to Ignatieff
  He insists coalition will go ahead despite new leader's equivocation on the subject.

Raitt "insults Canadians"
  Plumping for nuclear industry takes priority over health and safety for resources minister - anti-tritium activists.

Rally supports Colombian trade unionists, opposes trade deal
  Union leaders and MPs say Canadians will have to compete against people who face death if they try to improve working conditions.

Refugee board patronage appointees will follow political directives
  Recent IRB appointees include anti-gay evangelical and brass from CLAC, the anti-union union.

Religious conservative vote is becoming an electoral factor in Canada
  Sixty-four per cent of weekly Protestant church attendees voted Conservative in the last election, the question is whether such votes are blips or an emerging trend in Canadian politics.

Religious Right, a major part of Harper's coalition, surfaces over film censorship
  Charles McVety's clout over Telefilm illustrates rising influence of Canada's "Theo-Cons".

Religious rightists get Harper promotions
  Faith conservatives get two senior positions in the Prime Minister's Office.

Retreating, improvising and squabbling shake Harper team
  Spirit of compromise unlikely to last long, with new Commons seats a hoped-for source of Conservative support.

Sale / leaseback of federal buildings a bad deal for Canadians – PSAC president
  Government "shedding" federal buildings while banks benefit from sell-off; land claims talks save taxpayers millions.

Secrecy is a Harper trademark – journalists
  Conservative government wins top marks again in reverse competition.

SPP is built around secrecy and US military command – law expert
  Sovereignty rhetoric contradicted by turnover of controls on military and immigration.

Stimulus spending does not match claims from Harper at G20
  Government chose least effective ways to create jobs and slowest ones to get money out the door.

Turner, Garth – Lifelong Conservative, turns Liberal because of Harper
  "I am staring in amazement at what Stephen Harper has done to the party that my family embraced, supported, financed and, indeed, helped to build."


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