Last year the New Model Government of Canada killed a $2.8 million-per-year program designed to help ordinary Canadians challenge court decisions affecting their rights under the Canadian Constitution. Recently one of the victims of this cut got their final screwing-over.
About twenty years ago, some officious uniform on the border stopped a load of books from hitting the shelves of Little Sisters, a "gay bookshop" (how one determines the sexuality of a building is beyond me) in Vancouver, and at the time one of few places where you could openly buy gay literature.
This box-opening nosy parker decided--despite the protection of freedom of expression under said constitution--that the material was unfit for Canadian consumption.
Get it straight (a-hem): the material broke no laws. It offended some stuffed shirt with a badge. Other outfits were freely allowed to import the same materials. Canada Customs was unquestionably, officially, picking on Little Sisters.
Thus began a legal battle that cost Little Sisters millions, including constitutional challenges all the way up to the supreme court, where a decade later the case was settled in their favour.
Because of the death of the Challenges program, they are now apparently ineligable for compensation for the court costs arising from the officious harrassment they suffered.
So in short the New Model Government is saying--if you want to take on the government for persecuting your ass, it's always going to be out of your pocket.
Harper and Co.--working to make democracy available to those who can afford lawyers.
The sheer mean minginess of a government cutting this program is perfectly in keeping with the other cuts they've made. They trumpet that they're paying down the debt, but they're doing on the backs of women, aboriginals, and anyone else without political leverage.
"This government has a $13-billion surplus, and they cut funding for literacy. Two billion dollars for fighter jets in Afghanistan, and they cut funding for women’s programs. Over a billion dollars going to their friends in the big oil and gas companies, and what do they do? They cut funding for aboriginals and young people. Total arrogance. No consultation. No debate.”--Jack Layton
Oh--and apparently permitting the spread of malaria while they're at it. Check back for more on that. And a little something on Greenwashing.
The current "Canadian New Government™" budget page is a pack of damn lies. For example, they tell us they "saved 15 million" by "settling" the Softwood Lumber issue. They don't mention that that settlement cost $1 billion in lost monies owed by the US under legal judgements. In the "unused funds" column, did they provide one, you'd find the money set aside to help produce an action plan for dealing with the Mountain Pine Beetle that's crunching its way through the forest. But hey, I guess you gotta spend money to get to spend more money.
"Canadian New Government™" Stooping to new lows, every day.