These are the infamous words of Joe McCarthy as he set about re-arranging people’s lives in the 1950s. The Senator’s Committee on un-American Activities threw the Red Scare into everyone. His list became synonymous with smears, innuendo, informants and ruined careers.
The Harper Government has a list as well. It’s a list of people smeared or summarily dismissed from their jobs and of civil society organizations whose funding has been cut or revoked and of democratic programs defunded or crippled. The nature of Canadian society has changed dramatically in the last five years and most of us don’t even know about it because much of the list-making was done behind closed doors.
As we should in all things, let’s start with ‘A’ for Aboriginal. In fact, we’ll end with ‘A’ too, for later on we look at Margaret Atwood’s own list.
Aboriginal Programs Cut or Abolished
Notwithstanding Mr Harper’s apology to First Nations for over 100 years of the Indian Residential Schools (IRS) system:
- Aboriginal Languages Initiative—cut from $175 million to $5 million (First Nations were using this program to bring back languages that had been lost or nearly lost due to IRS.)
- Aboriginal Healing Foundation (to assist recovery from abuse suffered at IRS)
- First Nations Child and Family Caring Society
- First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Program
- Native Women’s Association of Canada
- Sisters in Spirit (the group tracking Native women who have disappeared)
Civil society is the collective name for the non-governmental groups (NGOs) that research and comment on a host of issues from Aboriginal affairs to zoological diversity. A healthy community of NGOs is a vital component of democracy. Every government supports them; some are even established by government (as Rights and Democracy was by Brian Mulroney). These organizations and programs have seen their funding cut or disappeared by the Harper Government.
- Action travail des femmes
- Afghan Association of Ontario, Canada Toronto
- Alberta Network of Immigrant Women
- Alternatives (Quebec)
- Association féminine d’éducation et d’action sociale (AFEAS)
- Bloor Information and Life Skills Centre
- Brampton Neighbourhood Services (Ontario)
- Canadian Arab Federation
- Canadian Child Care Federation
- Canadian Council for International Co-operation
- Canadian Council on Learning
- Canadian Council on Social Development
- Canadian Heritage Centre for Research and Information on Canada
- Canadian Human Rights Commission
- Canadian International Development Agency, Office of Democratic Governance
- Canadian Labour Business Centre
- Canada Policy Research Networks
- Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women
- Canada School of Public Service
- Canadian Teachers’ Federation International program
- Canadian Volunteerism Initiative
- Centre de documentation sur l’éducation des adultes et la condition feminine
- Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)
- Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples (Toronto)
- Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada
- Childcare Resource and Research Unit, SpeciaLink
- Climate Action Network
- Community Access Program
- Community Action Resource Centre (CARC)
- Conseil d’intervention pour l’accès des femmes au travail (CIAFT)
- Court Challenges Program (an important avenue to test Charter rights cases)
- Court Commission of Canada
- Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).
- Democracy Council
- Department of Foreign Affairs, Democracy Unit
- Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women Toronto
- Eritrean Canadian Community Centre of Metropolitan Toronto
- Ethiopian Association in the Greater Toronto Area and Surrounding Regions
- Feminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy (FemJEPP) in Nova Scotia
- Forum of Federations
- Global Environmental Monitoring System
- HRD Adult Learning and Literacy programs
- HRD Youth Employment Programs
- Hamilton’s Settlement and Integration Services Organization (Ontario)
- Immigrant settlement programs
- Inter-Cultural Neighbourhood Social Services (Peel)
- International Planned Parenthood Federation
- KAIROS (main-stream church NGO whose funding was ‘NOT’ approved by Bev Oda)
- Law Commission of Canada
- Mada Al-Carmel Arab Centre
- Marie Stopes International, a maternal health agency
- MATCH International
- National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL)
- New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity
- Northwood Neighbourhood Services (Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).
- Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)
- Ontario Association of Transitional Housing (OAITH)
- Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
- Ottawa Chinese Community Services Centre
- Pride Toronto
- Réseau des Tables régionales de groupes de femmes du Québec
- Riverdale Women’s Centre in Toronto
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police External Review Committee
- Sierra Club of BC
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
- South Asian Women’s Centre
- Statistics Canada long-form census
- Status of Women
- Tropicana Community Services
- Womanspace Resource Centre (Lethbridge, Alberta)
- Women’s Innovative Justice Initiative – Nova Scotia
- Women’s Legal Action and Education Fund
- Workplace Equity/Employment Equity Program
- York South-Weston Community Services Centre Toronto
- Environmental groups opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline called ‘radicals’ by Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources; Harper says the approval process is being hijacked. (Added 27 Jan 12)
- ForestEthics (a charitable project of Tides Canada) called an ‘enemy of the Government of Canada’ and ‘of the people of Canada by the PMO; Tide Canada’s charitable status would be at risk if it continued to fund ForestEthics. (Added 27 Jan 12)
Watchdogs & Whistleblowers
This list is of individuals who have run afoul of the Harper Government. Some have had their organization’s funding cut back, others quit out of protest, and still others were fired for doing their jobs. Some were smeared and harassed from their careers. In the case of Rémy Beauregard, his reputation was destroyed during a takeover of the internationally respected NGO Rights and Democracy. He died of a heart attack at the height of the takeover.
- Rémy Beauregard, President, Rights & Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development)
- Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak, Director General, Canada Firearms Program (for supporting the long-gun registry)
- Richard Colvin, diplomat, Foreign Affairs (smeared for blowing the whistle on torture of Afghan detainees)
- Yves Coté, Ombudsman, Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces
- Linda Keen, Chair, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (fired for closing down the problem-plagued reactor at Chalk River)
- Paul Kennedy, Chair, RCMP Police Complaints Commission (critical of how RCMP was handling in-custody deaths)
- Adrian Measner, President and CEO, Canadian Wheat Board (criticized Minister Chuck Strahl)
- Kevin Page, Parliamentary Budget Officer (budget cut by $1 million—several reports critical of government estimates of costs for programs, eg, F-35, crime legislation)
- Sheridan Scott, Commissioner, Competition Bureau (for reviewing, properly, a corporate takeover).
- Munir Sheikh, Deputy Minister, Statistics Canada (for his support for the long-form census)
- Col. Pat Stogran, the first Veterans Ombudsman (for criticizing how Veterans Affairs handled veterans’ claims)
- Steve Sullivan, Ombudsman, Victims of Crime
- Peter Tinsley, Chair, Military Police Complaints Commission (for persisting in his mandated review of the Afghan detainee scandal).
- Earl Turcotte, lead negotiator, Mine Action and Small Arms Team, Foreign Affairs (for criticizing the government’s interpretations of its obligations under the International Convention on Cluster Munitions—land mines).
This list researched and compiled by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Maria Gergin, April 6, 2011).
Here’s another list. This one is from Margaret Atwood on what she would like to see in a government (Toronto Star, April 25, 2011).
For Margaret Atwood’s interview April 29, 2011, with the Globe and Mail on the election and the gathering dystopia, click here.