Monday, January 12, 2015

The Harper Strategy Strikes Again

To which of the myriad Machiavellian Harper strategies do I refer? It's the one that says if you don't like what a group is saying, muzzle them or shut them down.

The Hill Times today reports the following:
Newly-appointed Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole has informed an advocacy group for wounded and psychologically injured veterans that it is no longer a stakeholder adviser to the Veterans Affairs department.

Mike Blais, who helped launch Canadian Veterans Advocacy in 2011 to advocate for veterans and serving Canadian Forces members who did combat tours in Afghanistan and their families, told The Hill Times that Mr. O’Toole (Durham, Ont.) gave the bad news to the group in a voicemail he left on Mr. Blais’ phone service Jan. 7.
Mr. Blais' group, which had been part of a Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholder Committee established in 2012,
had been one of the most vocal critics of the department’s treatment of injured veterans and Canadian Forces members in the months leading up to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) decision to shuffle former Veterans Affairs minister Julian Fantino (Vaughan, Ont.) out of the post last week, following scathing criticism from Auditor General Michael Ferguson for delays in treatment for veterans.
What prompted the termination, which the 'classy' Mr. O'Toole left in a voicemail message to Mr. Blais? Here is what the former said last June in the House:
“As a veteran myself, I have been quite offended by some of the work that group does. It is not sincere. It is not based on sound policy. I understand, at committee, that they have acknowledged that their funding has come from unions”.
Setting the record straight, Blais offered the following:
The advocacy group lobbied against government budget plans in 2012 that would have resulted in job losses at Veterans Affairs Canada, he said, after which the union representing the employees provided Canadian Veterans Advocacy a donation of $2,000.

“Every department at that time took a 10-per-cent hit except Veterans Affairs Canada,” Mr. Blais said.

“We worked hard on that and the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees made a donation of $2,000, no strings attached, just a donation to the war chest. There is not tit for tat, no, nothing, right. As a consequence to that, even though it was three years ago and a meagre $2,000, they’ve been attempting to label us,” Mr. Blais said.
Julian Fantino may have been replaced as Veterans Affairs minister, but his malignant, vindictive spirit clearly lives on.


  1. Fantino is an asshole alright but the malignant vindictive spirit is Harper.

    1. You're absolutely right on both counts, Rumley, although I do think that Fantino had special reserves of bile that he regularly drew upon.

  2. The real Minister of Defense has always been Stephen Harper, Lorne. He is the Minister of Everything.

    1. And a real legend in his own mind, Owen.

  3. It was mentioned in the media when he was appointed that O'Toole was a staunch supporter of the Conservative line on veterans. That being said, why bother with changing Ministers. Such sleight of hand isn't likely to work.

    BTW - I find it interesting that the Harper Cons expect the members of the Canadian armed forces to fight ISIL, or whoever, for them, and then once they are "veterans" they can basically go to hell.

    I would add that "Erin is one of the 20 most popular girls names in Wales" (according to Wikipedia), but that would be the kind of thing that the Harper Cons would stoop to to malign someone.

    1. The 'eat 'em up' and 'spit 'em out' treatment of armed forces members is wholly consistent with the soulless vision of the Harper Conservatives, UU4077, where we all, in one way or another, are simply fodder for either the economy or an ideology.