The G8 Twitter Scorecard: Which leader has most Twitter mojo?

G8 Family Photo
The G8 Family Photo, as seen by me on the TV screen in the Media Centre a few kilometres away from the Lough Erne Resort, Northern Ireland. From left to right: Euro Commission Pres Jose Manuel Barroso, Japan PM Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian Prez Vladimir Putin, UK PM David Cameron, US Prez Barack Obama, French Prez Francois Hollande, Cdn PM Stephen Harper, Italy PM Enrico Letta and (cut off out of frame) Euro Council Pres Herman von Rompuy

The G8 is wrapping up here today in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland. When the leaders are apart from each other, will they use Twitter to stay in touch? Some do. Some don’t. And if you want to reach German Chancellor Angela Merkel, better use the phone. Here’s the Twitter Scorecard: Continue reading The G8 Twitter Scorecard: Which leader has most Twitter mojo?

Why "Harper the Trotskyite" does not believe Putin will change on Syria

Harper meets Putin
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia: Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2012 APEC Summit in October, 2012. (DAVID AKIN/QMI Agency)

G8 Leaders convene in Northern Ireland Monday. France, the United Kingdom, and the United States will be leading the charge to take some action on Syria where, those three countries have concluded, dictator Bashar al-Assad has been using chemical weapons to gas his own people. Canada agrees with its allies on that issue though Canada does not believe it is time to arm Assad’s opponents.  Continue reading Why "Harper the Trotskyite" does not believe Putin will change on Syria

Big news in Dublin: The Canadian PM is here!

Stephen Harper arrives in Dublin
[PMO Photo]
I must say: In the seven years I’ve been following Prime Minister Stephen Harper (and briefly Prime Minister Martin before him) around the globe, I have never seen his arrival in any foreign land reported with the gusto of Pamela Duncan of the Irish Times today. Bravo, Ms. Duncan!

In what was reminiscent of a scene out of a US blockbuster movie, security personnel wearing dark suits and darker sunglasses fiddled earnestly with their earpieces as they made their way to where the prime minister’s plane would be taxied ….

As the plane roared in for landing, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore made his way from his car looking relaxed and sporting the obligatory fashion item for any such event – the Irish EU presidency tie.

With a smile and a wave Mr Harper exited the aircraft wearing the placid smile of a man used to diplomatic displays.

Read the whole thing here: Canada PM arrives in Dublin ahead of G8 summit – Irish News, World News & More | The Irish Times – Sat, Jun 15, 2013.

Charity to Trudeau: Can we have the money back?

Back there on page A5 of the Fredericton Daily Gleaner (which is not online) you’ll find this story. (I provide some excerpts here)

Charity asks Trudeau to return $20,000 speaking fee

Byline: CHRIS MORRIS Legislature Bureau

A charitable organization trying to raise money for a seniors’ home in Saint John is asking federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau to please send back the $20,000 it paid him for a fundraising event that flopped. Continue reading Charity to Trudeau: Can we have the money back?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's speech to the UK Parliament

The text of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s speech to be delivered at 1200 GMT in the Robing Room at the Palace of Westminster to members of the UK Parliament (pardon the formatting hiccups. That’s my fault, not anyone else’s, as I rushed to get this online) . The speech is 3,320 words long:

Lord Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Monsieur le premier ministre, Prime Minister, Lords and Members of the House of Commons: For anyone who fully understands and truly cherishes the free and democratic nature of our institutions and the long history upon which they rest
there is no honour to compare with an invitation to stand here at the very cradle of our political system and to address the Members of the Parliament of Westminster. Continue reading Prime Minister Stephen Harper's speech to the UK Parliament

Prime Minister Harper. Funny guy. No really …


Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Funny guy. Video surfaces of Harper doing (killer) impression of Joe Clark (not bad) impression of Brian Mulroney and (a bit over the top) impression of Preston Manning. Shot during rehearsal for 2011 election night in Calgary presumably by company hired by the party to do its election night work. So far as I know, this was not shot by an Canadian media outlet.

Once, Stephen Harper promised: "We will increase the powers of members of Parliament"

In the 2004 general election, the then brand new Conservative Party of Canada promised Canadians:

We will increase the power of individual Members of Parliament

The Plan :

  • A Conservative government led by Stephen Harper will make all votes, except the budget and main estimates, “free votes” for ordinary Members of Parliament.
  • A Conservative government will allow Parliament to review and ratify important appointments, such as Officers of Parliament, Supreme Court Justices, and heads of major Crown corporations and agencies.
  • A Conservative government will increase the power of Parliament and Parliamentary Committees to review the spending estimates of Departments and hold Ministers to account.

The Conservatives lost in 2004 but held Paul Martin’s Liberals to a minority and then forced an election in late 2005. Voters went to the polls in early 2006. The Conservatives made the following commitments in its 2006 platform: Continue reading Once, Stephen Harper promised: "We will increase the powers of members of Parliament"

A Conservative MP quits the Conservative caucus

Last night, after watching his private members bill get gutted by his own caucus colleagues, Edmonton MP Brent Rathgeber quit the Conservative caucus and announced he will sit as an independent MP. This morning, on his blog, he indicted his former colleagues…

Clearly, the Government’s decision not to support my Private Member’s Bill on CBC and Public Sector disclosure and transparency in Committee was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back; however, this decision and my comfort level in caucus has been evolving for at least a year when I first spoke out against Ministerial opulence in a blog entitled “Of Orange Juice and Limos.”

Recent allegations concerning expense scandals and the Government’s response has been extremely troubling. I joined the Reform/conservative movements because I thought we were somehow different, a band of Ottawa outsiders riding into town to clean the place up, promoting open government and accountability.  I barely recognize ourselves, and worse I fear that we have morphed into what we once mocked.

My constituents demand better.

My constituents simply do not care what somebody, who they hope will never become Prime Minister, did or didn’t do seventeen years ago. They do care, however, about the relations between a sitting Senator and Langevin Block PMO.  For a government that was elected on a platform of accountability, my constituents are gravely disappointed.  They appreciate human frailty but when a group misses its self-proclaimed standards, a little contrition and humility not blust and blunder, is the expectation.To say that we are somehow better than the other guys is similarly woefully inadequate.  If we are measuring our ethical performance against the Sponsorship Scandalized Liberals, perhaps we need to set our ethical bar a little higher.I have reluctantly come to the inescapable conclusion that the Government’s lack of support for my transparency bill is tantamount to a lack of support for transparency and open government generally.

Read the rest: Brent’s Blog | Brent Rathgeber | Member of Parliament for Edmonton -St. Albert.