“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

- Crowfoot

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Harper's Cabinet Appointments

Despite falling one member short of the record of 40, Stephen Harper's cabinet is entirely disappointing on several counts. First, I must give credit where credit is due: in a small step forward, the government renamed the Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs, deciding to call it the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. Leaders from various First Nations in Canada have both said that this does not go far enough, lumping all Aboriginal nations into one group (and should in fact separate the three into First Nations, Metis and Inuit, as they are distinct cultures) and that this is a good beginning.

Another good beginning might have been to appoint one of five aboriginal MPs in his party to the portfolio, so that for the first time in history the affairs of Canada's aboriginal nations could be regulated by a member of the community. But no, instead a non-Aboriginal was once again appointed to manage the portfolio. The two aboriginal MPs appointed to cabinet were assigned to other portfolios.

Moving on, following the unceremonious departure of Helena Guergis, Minister for the Status of Women, the position was never filled. And despite the fact that his cabinet is almost as large as cabinets have ever been, this position has not reappeared. So now, in addition to closing 12 of the 16 Status of Women offices, we no longer have a minister devoted to the portfolio.

Now I am left wondering just what the criteria are for incurring the wrath of Stephen Harper. Ms Guergis was dismissed from cabinet and from her party on the basis of what turned out to be a rumour (someone told a PI, who told the PM, who told the RCMP that she was seen snorting drugs at a club - allegations which were never proven). Yet Bev Oda, who has admitted to lying through her teeth to parliament about an altered document and then is defended by the Prime Minister, not only gets re-elected, but appointed back to cabinet?!?!

For those of you unaware, she said she did not know who had altered a document which led to the de-funding of KAIROS. Then less than a month later changed her tune and said that while she didn't know specifically who had made the alterations, that she had ordered them made - after the president of CIDA had already signed the document. Stephen Harper went on to defend her, saying that it wouldn't have matter anyway because the minister has the final say and can overrule any committee recommendation. That KAIROS would have lost its funding anyway.

This is on top of appointing three defeated Conservative candidates to the senate after promising reforms.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sideways - Citizen Cope

You know it ain't easy
For these thoughts here to leave me
There's no words to describe it
In French or in English
Well, diamonds they fade
And flowers they bloom
And I'm telling you
These feelings won't go away
They've been knockin' me sideways
They've been knockin' me out lately
Whenever you come around me
These feelings won't go away
They've been knockin' me sideways
I keep thinking in a moment that
Time will take them away
But these feelings won't go away

Listen here