Prime Minister Stephen Harper has in the past criticized China for their human rights record.  But he has evaded requests for comment on why he endorsed an organization inside Canada with a record of human rights abuses, the left wing Carnegie Community Center Association on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The CCCA interfered with election results by working with staff at Carnegie Center to ban William Simpson indefinitely from entering the building or attending Board meetings in June 2007, just after he got elected to the Board of Directors.  The ban continues to this day.  The CCCA also participated in a witch hunt to ban bloggers who were exposing deceptive use of funding at Carnegie — doors to educational and computer services for the poor were too often locked, and agitprop theater billed as a “Heart of the City” opera performed by homeless people, contained just one homeless person.

Despite the CCCA’s record being documented on internet news sites, the CCCA which has continued to organize agitprop under the banner, “Heart of the City Festival”, received an endorsement from Prime Minister Stephen Harper in October 2010.  A photo of Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, Jame Moore, appeared in last year’s Heart of the City Festival booklet, along with an endorsement from Harper:  ”On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada, I would like to thank all the organizers….”  On the opposite page is a photo of Gena Thompson, President of the CCCA who admitted on the internet news site, nowpublic, that she had been involved in the decision to ban Simpson.

This endorsement of the CCCA by Harper was not an accident.  According to Globe & Mail newspaper reporter, Lawrence Martin, Harper has instituted a screening program whereby every message transmitted by his government — whether by one of his Members of Parliament, a civil servant, the head of an organization, or the diplomatic corps — must be approved by the Prime Minister’s office or the Privy Council Office, an arm of the Prime Minister’s office.  Martin, author of the book, “Harperland: The Politics of Control”,  says the screening is so thorough that, “A Parks Canada official was putting out a release on the mating season of the black bear, and he had to get that approved by Harper’s office.”

Harper, as head of a minority Conservative government, may have had little choice but to fund agitprop by an organization interfering with the right of Canadians to free elections and freedom of expression.  He did have a choice though as to whether to use his name and his stature as Prime Minister to legitimate them.

The CCCA vilifies him incidentally.  Harper has roughly the same status in the CCCA newsletter as bloggers who are called names like, “pest”, “slimy”, and “blog bozo”. The CCCA newsletter is supported by Libby Davies, the MP in this safe New Democratic Party riding of East Vancouver, who they list as a donor.

By endorsing the CCCA though, Harper weakens an argument that the political Left has been making against him in the lead up to the federal election on May 2.  Judy Rebick, a founder of the news site Rabble.ca  – Libby Davies’ spouse Kimberly Elliott is the publisher of Rabble — told CBC Radio this month that Canadians should not vote for Stephen Harper as he “cuts off funding to anybody who disagrees with him.”  Not on the Downtown Eastside.

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