Posts from our progressive community

Wham! Bam!

Dammit Janet - 10 hours 39 min ago
Oh boy, we've really got to work harder to raise awareness of what fake clinics are and do.

In August this year, a group of generous community-minded guys in Yarmouth, NS, got together to bestow money on a local charity.

Sadly, the winner of the windfall $11,600 was a fake clinic, called Tri-County Pregnancy Care Centre.

Here's how it works:
The 100 Guys Who Share – Yarmouth County, is one of more than 350 similar groups located worldwide that focus on coordinating funding for local, community charitable organizations. The group gathers for one-hour quarterly meetings to hear three short presentations on local charitable organizations. Members vote then each person writes their check for $100 directly to the winning non-profit chosen for a collective, impactful donation.

The three charities that presented at the first meeting were Parents Place, South End Community Youth Garden, and the Tri-County Pregnancy Centre.

The men’s group has grown to 116 members at last count. They have scheduled their quarterly event so that combined with the women’s initiative there will be good news in the community every six weeks throughout the entire year.Members of the group can nominate any local charity. Three are chosen at random to make presentations.

From the website of the Halifax group, 100 Men Who Give a Damn.

"Bam!" indeed.

There might be drinking involved. More from the Halifax chapter.

under 60 minutes
Start the quarterly meeting with some heroic conversation, maybe visit the cash bar and be out the door in under 60 minutes. 

We’re all about giving smarter, not harder.

we don’t exist
We are a non-organization – no bank account, no fixed address, no opinion. Everything goes to the charity. 100%. Always. 

Otherwise, what are we doing this for?So, it's fast -- and manly.

Too bad there's no vetting to ensure that their hard-earned dough is going to a real community asset and not an operation whose sole mission is to shame, guilt-trip, lie, and manipulate vulnerable people out of asserting their human right to autonomy and privacy.

It's hard to believe that in pro-choice Canada all 116 guys are anti-choice. More likely, the majority simply did not know what fake clinics are and do.

I'm going to write to the Yarmouth group and ask them if they understand where their money is going.

I'll report.

h/t Kathy Dawson

The Death March of Donald J Trump

The Disaffected Lib - 11 hours 18 min ago

It has been one of the few graces common to American politics that presidential candidates, Democratic and Republican, have been graceful in defeat. John Kerry, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Al Gore are all deservedly known for their concession speeches.

Then there's Donald Trump.

The communications director for Jeb Bush, Tim Miller, writes that the signs that the Trump camp is ending the campaign in Death March mode are everywhere.

Donald Trump is going to lose this election. His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is going to lose this election. Even if they would never admit it, they know Donald Trump will never be president. Trump and Conway are on the political death march. (This, to be clear for the Trump fans, is a political metaphor, not an actual death wish.)

This is the part of a losing campaign that exposes the true character of all those involved. So it should come as no shock that Donald Trump and his staff are failing this test in the most shameful and divisive manner imaginable.

...The death march is why Conway has begun to resurrect a time-honored practice: duplicitous political operatives throwing their boss under the bus to try to save face. In an attempt to preserve a lucrative fee on the public speaking circuit after the campaign, Conway has sent a series of tweets over the past week trying to position herself as both in on the joke with Saturday Night Live and the conscience on Trump’s shoulder trying to get him to behave. As a fellow anti-Trump conservative pointed out, Conway is officially playing the role of “punch clock villain.”

To a casual observer, this behavior might seem counterproductive to the goal Trump and Conway share: winning the election. But the reality is the only goal either has in mind now is self-preservation.

Miller has no doubt that Trump won't be a graceful loser. He breaks down Trump's Death March into three sections labelled, Shameful, Despicable, and Pathetic.

In today's Sidney Morning Herald, Nick O'Malley explores the ashes and embers of the final days of Donald Trump, would-be president of the USA.

Speaking with Fairfax Media [former Romney advisor, Avik] Roy notes that Trump is not in any real sense a Republican. He conducted a hostile takeover of the party by identifying and catering to an under-served section of the GOP vote – resentful older whites. It was marketing genius.

As an outsider he had no Republican staff to help build his campaign, and instead hired a crew of mercenaries. They have little loyalty to Trump, and none to the party. So as the death march begins they have little capacity or inclination to curb Trump's excesses, to force him to observe the basic traditions of American presidential politics, such as the gracious acceptance of defeat rather than the dangerous indulgence of claiming a rigged election while exciting racial animosities.

...As the death march goes on the Republican establishment has already started letting blood.

A sign of it was a spat on the MSNBC program Morning Joe on Thursday morning. The guest was Bill Kristol, the leading neoconservative editor of The Weekly Standard, the host was the former Republican Congressman, Joe Scarborough.

Kristol, one of the earliest and staunchest of the Republican's "Never Trump" faction, asserted that Trump was a "fluke candidate" who should be ignored come election night.

Scarborough and his co-host Mika Brzezinski scoffed at the suggestion that Trump was a fluke and declared the Republican Party needed to "come clean" about his candidacy. Kristol, angry, accused Scarborough and Brzezinski of going soft on Trump and giving him free uncritical and very high-rating airtime during the primaries, in effect helping him win. The segment deteriorated into an angry, ugly slanging match, each blaming the other for the rise of Donald Trump.

Back in North Carolina, the young Republicans were divided on who to blame for a candidacy one group's office-holder called "a joke". Some pointed the finger at Paul Ryan, the House Speaker who the establishment hopes will lead them out of the wilderness, some at Ted Cruz, the Tea Party-er who railed for years against the party hierarchy. None had any real idea at what would come next.

...The most optimistic Republicans view the death march as a necessary ordeal.

When other Republicans were calling for Trump to somehow be forced from the Republican ticket earlier this month, the Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist George Will wrote that he must remain in place.

He argued the nation needed the pleasure of seeing Trump being made the thing he most disdains, "a loser," and that his presence would serve as a reminder to the party that "perhaps it is imprudent to nominate a venomous charlatan".

Trump was the GOP's chemotherapy, he said.

If so, Roy is not sure that the death march will be curative.

Still a staunch Republican, he believes that over a period of years his party has lost its way, turning from the tenets of classical liberalism towards a dark nationalism.

Weighed down by the angry old white men that dominate its constituency, he says, the party has no interest in governing a large diverse nation, and therefore has no moral right to.

According to Roy, the Republican Party must first tackle its moral problem before it does its political one.

Greenwald and Snowden Versus Assange

The Disaffected Lib - 11 hours 50 min ago

There's not a lot of love going around for WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, these days. It seems his friends list is down to perhaps just Donald Trump.

Even his hosts, the government of Ecuador that has granted Assange refuge in their London embassy, may have had about enough of him. That was clear when they recently cut off their guest's access to the internet to keep him from continuing to dump emails and other documents, supposedly hacked by the Russians, said to be embarrassing - or worse - to Hillary Clinton. Ecuador said it didn't want Assange dragging them into American electoral politics.

Assange might be worried about slipping into obscurity, irrelevance. Since he's gone in hiding he's been somewhat eclipsed by Edward Snowden and journalist, Glenn Greenwald.

Greenwald doesn't think much of Assange's antics.

"You'd have to be a sociopath to think that we ought to just take all of this material and dump it all on the internet without regard to the impact that it will have for innocent people."
For his part, Snowden weighed in on the running battle between Greenwald and Assange with a tweet that noted, in part: "Opportunism won't earn you a pardon from Clinton and curation is not censorship."
I feel almost sympathetic to Assange but he has brought this on himself.

An Affliction of the Mind or Why We Can't Handle Climate Change

The Disaffected Lib - 12 hours 14 min ago

We're just too set in our ways to have any real hope of tackling the basket of looming existential challenges facing mankind and, for that matter, pretty much all life on Earth.

Forget everything else. Forget overpopulation, over-consumption of essential resources, terrorism and nuclear proliferation, forget everything except climate change. The thing is, if we can't respond effectively to climate change we don't have a snowball's chance in hell of resolving the others. As a global civilization, we're going down.

Which leads me to Andrew Simm's essay in The Guardian in which he explores the self-defeating process of using conventional thinking in response to the climate change dilemma.

The problem with ...scenarios that emerge in the mainstream, is the intellectual editing that occurs before they even begin. Most share two overwhelming, linked characteristics that strictly limit any subsequent room for manoeuvre. Firstly the demand for energy itself is seen as something innate, unchallengeable and unmanageable. It must be met, and the only question is how.

Secondly, the assumption remains that the principles and practices of the economic model that has dominated for the last 30 years will remain for at least the next 30 years. There is no sign yet of the ferocious challenge to neoliberal orthodoxy happening at the margins of economics shaping mainstream visions of our possible futures. The merest glance at the history of changing ideas suggests this is short-sighted.

There are reasons why we need to get a move on with tackling energy demand. Extreme weather events abound. Record flooding in North Carolina in the United States follows record flooding in Louisiana earlier in the year. While no individual event can be described a direct cause and effect relationship, increasingly heavy rainfall and flood events are consistent with climate models for a warming world.

...What sort of scenarios should we be looking at then? We can learn from the impoverished Brexit debate that was marred by binary choices cloaked in wilful misinformation. For the whole population to fully understand our options, and the choices and challenges embedded in them, we should be thinking as openly and broadly as possible. We can look at how far techno-fixes will get us, and at the maximum speed and scale of change that market mechanisms and the pricing of carbon are likely to deliver. In both, the different impacts on rich and poor need assessing.

But we should go further to assess the pros and cons of radical scenarios for changing how we live and work.

Rarely considered but important variables come from new economics, including the shorter working week, the share economy, shifts in corporate ownership and governance, and intelligent but deliberate measures for economic localisation. Compare these to the “stumble on”, or business as usual scenario, in which we give up control of our future to a permanently destabilised climate change, but also assess seriously the consequences of the argument for planned so-called “de-growth” of the economy.

At the height of the 2008 financial crisis, the UK government promised to “go beyond the conventional thinking” to put things right. It never did, but with the climate crisis there is no choice. Conventional thinking is off-course and contradictory.

Without a balanced, comparative assessment of strategies to align energy use and industry with inescapable climate action, we won’t be able to choose the best possible future.

Now, assuming that climate change became an imperative at least 20 years ago, look at how each of our governments, Conservative and Liberal, over that period approached this problem. A good place to start, perhaps, is to look at where Canadian government has come today. Today they're talking about some token carbon price that may or may not take effect in 2018. I think Simms could have been describing the Trudeau regime when he wrote, "Conventional thinking is off-course and contradictory." Yet that is where we are and, so long as our petro-pols on both sides of the aisle pack the House of Commons, that's where we're going to remain.
This is Canada where our environment minister proclaims she is "as much an economic minister as I am an environment minister." Dame Cathy doesn't even grasp the inherent conflict in that. It's as though she's the minister for tobacco production and the minister of health in some blended portfolio. She's oblivious to Canada's urgent need for a full time and powerful environment minister ready and able to go toe to toe with reluctant premiers and with her cabinet colleagues who are entrusted with economic matters whether that be trade, resources or foreign affairs. We're a petro-state, Cathy, and we can't get by with a part-time environment minister who folds at every scowl of some provincial tyro. Maybe that's why Trudeau singled her out for that portfolio. Maybe he wanted a reliable milquetoast. If so, he chose wisely.

Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - 15 hours 21 min ago
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Scott Sinclair and Stuart Trew applaud Wallonia's principled stance against the CETA. And Joseph Stiglitz discusses the need to set up social and economic systems which actually serve the public good, rather than favouring corporate interests:
Where the trade agreements failed, it was not because the US was outsmarted by its trading partners; it was because the US trade agenda was shaped by corporate interests. America’s companies have done well, and it is the Republicans who have blocked efforts to ensure that Americans made worse off by trade agreements would share the benefits. 
Thus, many Americans feel buffeted by forces outside their control, leading to outcomes that are distinctly unfair. Long-standing assumptions – that America is a land of opportunity and that each generation will be better off than the last – have been called into question. The global financial crisis may have represented a turning point for many voters: their government saved the rich bankers who had brought the US to the brink of ruin, while seemingly doing almost nothing for the millions of ordinary Americans who lost their jobs and homes. The system not only produced unfair results, but seemed rigged to do so. ...There are two messages US political elites should be hearing. The simplistic neo-liberal market-fundamentalist theories that have shaped so much economic policy during the last four decades are badly misleading, with GDP growth coming at the price of soaring inequality. Trickle-down economics hasn’t and won’t work. Markets don’t exist in a vacuum. The Thatcher-Reagan “revolution,” which rewrote the rules and restructured markets for the benefit of those at the top, succeeded all too well in increasing inequality, but utterly failed in its mission to increase growth. 
This leads to the second message: we need to rewrite the rules of the economy once again, this time to ensure that ordinary citizens benefit. Politicians in the US and elsewhere who ignore this lesson will be held accountable. Change entails risk. But the Trump phenomenon – and more than a few similar political developments in Europe – has revealed the far greater risks entailed by failing to heed this message: societies divided, democracies undermined, and economies weakened. - Jesse Brown rightly questions whether Canada is living up to its self-image as a progressive example for the world, while Cindy Blackstock notes that continued discrimination against First Nations children is just one crucial area where a change in government hasn't led to improvement in substance.

- Leilani Farha discusses the need to start seeing housing in terms of human rights rather than market commodities. Elisheva Passarello describes how transitional housing allowed her to move from poverty and homelessness toward improvement in all facets of her life. Beatrice Britneff reports on a new study  showing that we could end homelessness in Canada in a decade. And Rachel Zeineker notes that at least in Yellowknife, the public is well aware that homelessness ranks ahead of everything else a problem demanding immediate attention and resources.

- Erika Shaker makes the case for zero tuition (while countering some of the usual spin which has resulted in the cost of education being borne increasingly by students without the means to pay it).

- Finally, Stewart Prest discusses the "yellow dog effect" as an important argument against first-past-the-post politics.

Electoral Reform Cannot Be Postponed

Northern Reflections - 17 hours 37 min ago

This week, Justin Trudeau backed away from his promise to reform Canada's electoral system by the next election. There was -- rightly -- an explosion of criticism. By the end of the week, Trudeau was saying that his government is "deeply committed" to electoral reform. Alan Freeman writes:

Trudeau was rightly attacked from all sides for appearing to duck out of his election promise to reform the first-past-the-post system in time for the next election — and for the arrogance of the claim that his election alone was enough to deal with the issue once and for all.
Dropping an election pledge is nothing new. Freeman writes that lots of leaders have backed away from promises if they thought they could get away with it. George W. Bush, for instance, tried to privatize Social Security:

Bush launched a campaign to promote a dramatic reform that would allow Americans to set aside a portion of their Social Security and invest it themselves in private accounts. The ideological right and the investment industry, which had been pushing the idea for years, were thrilled. But voters, particularly older ones, were horrified when they realized that the change would simply impoverish the already-stretched Social Security system and risk the guaranteed benefits they depended on in return for the crapshoot of the stock market.
And Stephen Harper, with the support of Jim Flaherty, tried to harmonize the GST:

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was initially a big proponent of GST harmonization, throwing billions of dollars at Ontario and British Columbia when they decided to come on board with a harmonized sales tax. He embraced the view of leading economists and his own Finance Department — that a harmonized GST would lead to tax efficiency and remove the burden of provincial sales taxes from business.

But the moment grassroots opposition to harmonization started to build in British Columbia, Flaherty ran for cover. He never spoke about harmonization again. At the Finance Department, where I was working at the time, the order came down that the department was not to answer any questions about the issue — to act as if it didn’t exist. In the end, B.C.’s harmonization effort died and the province refunded the big grant it had been given to go ahead with harmonization. Flaherty and Harper had dodged a bullet and spent not a cent of political capital doing it — but an opportunity to change tax policy for the better was lost.
Electoral reform is a bullet Trudeau can't dodge. If he takes that tack, he will not make it through the next election -- even if it occurs under the First Past The Post system.

Image: CBC

Michael Sona and the Robocall Scandal

Montreal Simon - 17 hours 50 min ago

I'm sure you remember Michael Sona, the young Con operative who was the only person ever convicted in the Robocall Scandal.

Well now he's out of jail, talking to Michael Harris.

Still proclaiming his innocence.
Read more »

Gord Downie, Chanie Wenjack, and the We Matter Project

Montreal Simon - 17 hours 51 min ago

This weekend will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Chanie Wenjack, the Ojibway boy who ran away from a residential school, only to die of hunger and exposure.

The boy Gord Downie, who is also dying, has made it his last project to remember.

You know, this boy...
Read more »

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 18:04
Yuri Kane feat. Melissa Loretta - Daylight

America's Hair Apparent. Vanity Fair Takes the Piss Out of Donald Trump And That Thing On His Head

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 17:18

It's an understatement to mention that there's no love lost between Donald Trump and Vanity Fair editor, Graydon Carter.

Carter has a lengthy history of poking fun at The Donald's stubby fingers and his other shortcomings.

Now VF has published a photo-essay, a trip down Memory Lane with Trump's hairline. America's Narcissist-in-Chief ain't gonna like this. Enjoy.

Hypocrisy, Your Name is Trudeau

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 16:54

Remarks by Natural Resources Minister, Jim Carr, and Environment Minister, Dame Cathy, have erased any lingering hope that the Trudeau government is serious about climate change and the world future generations of Canadians will have to endure.

First up, petro-resource minister Jimmy who said, "People say, ’Leave the oil in the ground,’ they don’t want any development. Our view is we use the wealth of the old economy to finance the new energy economy."

Okay that's the standard line that the way to a clean energy future is to ramp up production of the dirtiest, most energy intensive hydrocarbon resource on the planet - bitumen. Carr's predecessor, Joe "Leatherback" Oliver, couldn't have said it any better.  Of course there is no link between bitumen royalties and alternative clean energy. That's something in Carr's mind and he wants it in yours also. It's an illusion. If he actually believed it that would be a delusion. I'm pretty sure he doesn't.

Then there's Trudeau's environment minister, Cathy. It was beyond galling when she described herself,  "as much an economic minister as I am an environment minister." Oh Cathy, no need for such modesty. With you the petro-economy trumps the environment. That's obvious.

Perhaps the hallmark of this government is weasel words and wiggle room. Sort of like how they justify Canada's role in flogging death machines to war criminals in charnel house conflicts abroad. Now we'll "balance" their supposed human rights violations and war crimes against our industrial benefits. "Cash talks, innocent blood walks" or something along those lines.

Not for nothing did Thomas Juneau refer to Canada as "the definition of hypocrisy."

Speaking of the Surveillance Society

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 15:30

Anyone remember Gigapixel, the Vancouver company that developed the 4-billion pixel photograph that could capture an entire crowd with resolution suitable for face recognition software?

Look at the picture below, a Gigapixel rendering of a 420 pot protest on Vancouver's waterfront. Go to their web site and call it up. Use your mouse pointer, click and scroll in. See every face in the crowd up close and personal. This is our world today.

This Is Good News

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 09:09
I'll have more to say about this in the future, but for now, some good news for those who oppose free trade deals that sacrifice national sovereignty and jobs so corporations can be further enriched:
Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has walked out of negotiations to salvage a major trade deal with the European Union, saying she is returning home because she feels the 28-member bloc is unable to reach an accord with Canada.

In fact, she said she considers it “impossible” for an agreement to be clinched.

The development throws the future of the Canada-EU trade deal into doubt and, coming only months after the United Kingdom voted to quit the European Union, is a blow to the EU’s efforts to demonstrate it is still moving forward as a viable entity.

The European Council has been unable to reach a consensus on approving the Canada-EU deal because Belgium is unable to give its assent. Politically-decentralized Belgium requires the approval of regional governments on major international agreements and the French-speaking Wallonia region has opposed signing the agreement with Canada.

Recommend this Post

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 07:34
Assorted content to end your week.

- Mainly Macro offers a useful definition of neoliberalism, while highlighting its relationship to austerity. And Ed Finn writes that we shouldn't be too quick to presume neoliberalism is going to disappear just because it's proven to be harmful in practice - and that it will take a massive shift in our politics to actually create real change:
We should always keep in mind that neoliberalism is as much a methodology as it is an ideology. Perhaps more so. It is the deeply entrenched doctrine through and by which corporations exert and maintain their dominant economic system. Global capitalism could not survive without the prevalence of neoliberalism, or some equivalent belief system that rationalizes its brutally inequitable operations.

No matter how vigorous the upsurge of anti-establishment populism becomes, it will never on its own topple the titans of corporate rule. That could only happen when countries have genuinely democratic governments instead of governments that function mainly as the flunkeys of big business. We live in a world where nearly all governments (including Canada’s) have embraced and deployed neoliberalism as zealously as the corporations — and on behalf of the corporations.

As long as the corporations can rely on this powerful political support, neoliberalism will remain unassailable. Without the levers of reform that only governments can provide, the dissidents can never succeed in their crusade, no matter how large their numbers. This is the grim reality.
There is some hope that, if a massive multitude of voters could be mobilized against the nabobs of neoliberalism, it could be concentrated into a powerful electoral force. What if every MP who favoured neoliberalism — or even a majority of them — were defeated in the next election and replaced by a candidate who wanted it scrapped? If duplicated in every large industrial country, could this international tsunami of anti-establishment populism sink global neoliberalism?

Simply to pose this fanciful scenario, however, exposes its improbability — if only because the destruction of neoliberalism also entails the destruction of capitalism.

Neoliberalism is the lifeblood, the very beating heart, of modern capitalism. So it will be fiercely defended by both corporations and their obsequious political allies, regardless of the social, economic, and environmental devastation it wreaks.- Alison Grizwold discusses how the gig labour market looks disturbingly like the pre-industrial economy in its total lack of security or protection for workers.

- Aditya Chakrabortty writes that anti-social populism is a natural response to the spread of trade agreements as a substitute for democratic control over policy. Steven Shrybman analyzes (PDF) the utterly ineffective "interpretative declaration" which is supposed to offer some comfort against the obviously worrisome terms of the CETA. And Brent Patterson points out that Ontario is claiming it's bound by existing trade rules as an excuse for refusing to protect needed water sources from corporate exploitation.

- Finally, Elizabeth Goiten calls attention to the U.S. government's reliance on secret laws, while pointing out the obvious dangers of sidestepping both public review as to what laws are in place and the ability to know what legal burdens have been applied. Edward Snowden discusses the politics of fear behind C-51 and other surveillance legislation. And Matthew Behrens laments the fact that even CSIS' supposed watchdog is going out of its way to defend the use of information obtained by torture (however grossly that violates international law).

The Sprawl Lobby's scorched earth campaign against council

The Winnipeg RAG Review - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 07:10
Runaway suburban sprawl puts pressure on
City services & drains resources from
existing neighbourhoods.

Image Source: The Analyst/Twitter
The Sprawl Lobby is engaging in a brutal, scorched earth campaign against our City Council. They're still running the anti-fee, fake populist "Don't Stop Growth" smear campaign. A vast array of forces that profit off of a free ride for developers are "partnering" with the campaign along with the rightwing fringe front group that is the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Sprawl Lobby heavyweights like Eric Vogan already made a petulant, self-entitled mess while presenting at City Council in late September. You would think they would have learned some dignity and humility in the proceeding weeks, but sadly they did not.

The histrionics continued at the Executive Policy Committee meeting. Mike Moore of the Manitoba Home Builders Association moaned that the move is "reckless and unacceptable", which seems to mean unacceptable to developers who want a free ride. Vogan was at it again, whining about the move being "an attack on neighbourhoods" and that it "insults new home owners". Meanwhile, stooges on council like Russ Wyatt bemoaned the plan for supposedly vilifying developers, who create "wealth" for the city (ignoring that developers are supplying consumer goods whose values are immensely boasted by City funded services).

"Partners" of the Don't Stop Growth campaign.

Image Source: NoHomeTax
There were also stooges for the development industry who used to be on Council. They cashed in through the revolving door and went on to work for the development industry. These include Justin Swandel, a hardline defender of Sam Katz's unaccountable mayoralty, and rightwing loon Garth Steek.

Steek, a past president of the Manitoba Home Builders' Association, even insisted that Council was "lucky" to have developers present.
Past Manitoba Homebuilders Association president
and hard right former councillor
Garth Steek.

Image Source: Sean Kavanagh/Twitter

Yeah, Garth Steek really claimed that City Council was lucky to have special interests presenting at their meeting and trying to stop them from implementing new fees. It truly was a noble honour for the City to have corporate mouthpiece after corporate mouthpiece bellyaching about how awful new development fees are.

The Sprawl Lobby really is gunning against this. They hint at a possible legal challenge. They have sent out mass emails urging people to phone Mayor Bowman to oppose the new development fees. Garth Steek even wants to make the fee proposal an election issue.

Proponents of smart and sustainable growth need to fight against the Sprawl Lobby. We need to contact our City Councillors and  - in the case the City does need provincial permission - MLAs (find yours here) and tell them we need developers to pay their fair share.

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Lessons Learned?

Northern Reflections - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 06:40

It's been a year since the Harper government was sent packing. But, Gerry Caplan writes, if those vying to replace Stephen Harper are any indication, their defeat taught the Conservatives nothing:

There’s the widespread view among people within the party that the problem was their “tone.” It’s not at all clear what they think they mean by this, but it seems to have little to do with a series of mean and bigoted policies that failed to appeal to any but the Conservative base.
The Harperites have, so far, not morphed into Boris Johnson or Donald Trump. However, they haven't morphed into anything:

For example, take Kellie Leitch, who seemed at first to be ashamed of her shabby role in the Conservative pledge to establish a tip line to report barbaric cultural practices to the RCMP, but has since doubled down on the very notion.
As a leadership candidate, she is promoting a “discussion” of Canadian values for immigrants. Yet when given an opportunity by interviewers, she refuses to discuss anything except how very, very much she wants to discuss. So she simply advances her meaningless slogan, then repeats it over and over again without any elaboration.
Chris Alexander now claims he loves immigrants. But, Caplan asks, "Who can doubt his sincerity?"
Then there's Maxime Bernier. "Quebec MP Maxime Bernier wants to turn Canada into a libertarian dystopia; he’s the Ayn Rand candidate, beloved no doubt by many impressionable first-year university students."
And, of course, there's Brad Trost:
Someone named Brad Trost – allegedly an MP from Saskatchewan – offers to turn the clock back by repudiating both a woman’s right to choose and same-sex marriage.
The Conservative Party itself entered modern history only in May when its convention voted that marriage need not be defined as between a man and woman, something Canada itself had decided a decade ago. But history is moving far too fast for Mr. Trost and for that third of the convention delegates who voted against the resolution. But early indications are that they are resisting Mr. Trost’s reactionary lure.
Harper's Conservatives were always stuck in the 19th century. The only member of the party  who wasn't was Michael Chong. And, for that reason, Chong will face a tough slog for the leadership of the party.
Lessons learned?  There's no evidence of that. 

Justin Trudeau and the Electoral Reform Farce

Montreal Simon - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 05:55

Yesterday I celebrated the one-year anniversary of the day Justin Trudeau brought down the Con regime, after a decade of darkness.

Only to be reminded how fragile was that victory.

And how desperately the Con media are to return us to the nightmare we escaped.

And to try to destroy Justin.
Read more »

Donald Trump and the Lost Democratic Traditions of America

Montreal Simon - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 04:45

As we all know, Hillary Clinton had Donald Trump for dinner at their final debate Wednesday night.

But not before he had called her a "nasty woman" and threatened not to accept the election result.

For as we also know, Trump is a bad loser. 

But at least yesterday he made it clear what the decent people of America must do to avoid a post-election nightmare.
Read more »

The Brilliance that was Bacharach and Warwick

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 10/20/2016 - 22:28

His music, her voice - magic. Warwick with Stevie Wonder, the late Whitney Houston and Luther Vandross.

Somehow, I Don't Think America is Done With Her Yet

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 10/20/2016 - 21:45
It's difficult for me to imagine that America is ready to let go of Michelle Obama no matter how much she wants just that. I think Americans, like most of us pistol-whipped by hardcore wedge politics, yearns for healing. This woman is the consummate healer.


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