Posts from our progressive community

Justin Trudeau and the Last Days of the Mad King Harper

Montreal Simon - Wed, 09/23/2015 - 04:03

Well he took his time, and I must admit the suspense was killing me.

But Justin Trudeau has finally done the right thing.

And announced that he will not support a Stephen Harper  minority government.
Read more »

Rona Ambrose and the End of the Great Con War on Marijuana

Montreal Simon - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 20:54

As you know Rona Ambrose likes to pretend she's a doctor, a nurse, a Health Minister, and a Justice Minister.

And has extreme views on marijuana and Justin Trudeau.

So I'm glad to see that the Canadian Medical Association has taken some time to correct her mindless ravings about the Killer Weed.

And made her look like a dangerous quack or a maniac.
Read more »

On partial answers

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 16:46
Having posted earlier on the message we should expect from our opposition leaders when it comes to ensuring change, let's make clear exactly what Justin Trudeau has now said - and most notably, what he hasn't said.
“There are no circumstances” under which the Liberals would prop up Harper should the Tories emerge with only a narrow plurality of seats, Trudeau said Tuesday in his strongest statements to date on the possibility of a Tory minority.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has long maintained that his goal is to ensure Harper doesn’t win government. He has also said he would be willing to work with the Liberals to ensure that happens.
Although he has said he would be “willing to work with others,” Trudeau has already rejected the notion of any formal coalitions, including with the NDP.
On Tuesday, he sidestepped the question of whether he would support a NDP minority.Which means Trudeau's answers to the two questions I'd raised now look to be as follows:

A. Will you commit to voting non-confidence in Stephen Harper at the earliest opportunity?

Not exactly. Trudeau's promise is to not vote confidence in a Harper government - but that's different from committing to vote non-confidence, leaving open the possibility the Libs might again simply sit on their hands rather than voting one way or the other. But it's at least something more than Trudeau had offered before.

But then we get to...

B. Will you commit to voting confidence in a government led by the leader of a current opposition party at the earliest opportunity?

Not at all. And this is just as crucial a decision point as the first question: if the Libs fail to offer support for an alternative government, then we could well end up in the second election campaign the Cons seem to be hoping for - with Harper continuing to hold power on a caretaker basis for lack of anybody able to take power.

Which is to say even if one takes him at his ever-changing word, Trudeau has a long way to go before committing to the basic process needed to ensure a change in government.

On questionable support

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 16:05
Shorter Stephen Harper:
I only need to receive a single piece of correspondence from somebody to claim their permanent blanket endorsement of everything I might someday propose. Stay tuned for future policy announcements unveiled with the enthusiastic support of grade-school penpals, American Express, and multiple members of Nigeria's royal family.

Hey CPC! Leave Canadian icons be!

Trashy's World - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:58
So it is becoming painfully obvious that the CPC is feeling the pressure and are actually considering the possibility that they may not form the next government. Hence, the shorts pants in the PMO have launched a pre-planning campaign to counter such an eventuality. Code named “Operation Impending Doom (OID)”, the strategy is to trot out and associate the […]

Let’s Not Face the Truth….

Left Over - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 09:28


Canadians of all stripes oppose face coverings at citizenship ceremonies: Vote Compass Conservative and BQ supporters most opposed; Liberals, NDP and Greens more mixed

CBC News Posted: Sep 21, 2015 3:58 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 22, 2015 11:11 AM ET

Do I think that politicians of all stripes in this election, mostly male, are swinging this cat as a red herring? Absolutely..
I don’t agree with the Cons, and especially not Emperor Steve about anything..but this is just bizarre as an election ploy. Do I think that wearing a face-erasing veil during an official ceremony  in this country should be illegal? Hmmm..then, what about Halloween? I know there are some stores that won’t allow masked people into their premises for obvious reasons, so why is it a stretch for us to disallow women (or anyone, in fact) to wear a mask during a citizenship ceremony..why are we playing identity politics with someone who wants the legal right to mask her identity, all in the name of religious ‘freedom’..there is nothing  ‘free’ about walking  around  with your  face covered, but  nothing  illegal either..however, at a citizenship ceremony?  One  would assume that part of the reason you want to become a citizen if this country is that you desired  to embrace the freedom (comparatively speaking..) available here….
Men are fighting about this issue as if it had any direct affect on them..only their patriarchal bent, perhaps,  but  Canadian women  have been sadly lacking in stepping forward on this issue, particularly progressive women..of course, I know’s a no-win situation.. but that isn’t what the question is supposed to be about.
I don’t understand why anyone would turn this into a legal argument in the first place.
Fact: if you or I walked into an official ceremony for citizenship with a mask on, no matter what gender, race, etc. all hell would break loose… I should know, I  remember it well, no one masked at the  civil ceremony that rendered me a Canadian citizen, remember, by choice, not an accident of birth…
Fact: If you or I wore a mask and tried to get a driver’s licence or any other important piece of identification (say, a passport…) we would be shut down. Why then is anyone defending the ‘rights’ of anyone to wear a face covering in an official ceremony? Will her passport picture her with the niqab? I mean, we aren’t even allowed to smile anymore, so important is it to identify us for officials.
In her country of origin, I might be forced by law and custom to wear a covering and would be beaten, arrested, who knows what, if I resisted..well, when in Rome, I guess..but because my freedom to wear what I choose would be compromised, I, as a Westerner, wouldn’t be caught dead in any country that imposed such oppressive laws on women..kinda like I would never go to Texas or any state that treated women like cattle or ‘possessions.’
I guess according to stupid PC rules we have to allow this woman the ‘freedom’ to be oppressed just this once..Orwell is somewhere, laughing …

A German Call for "Planetary Guardrails"

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 08:20
From the WBGU, Germany's climate advisory council, a call for environmental/ecological guardrails. It's about more than slashing carbon emissions. It's about defining limits of mankind's ecological footprint on everything from ocean acidification, soil degradation, biodiversity collapse and, yes, global warming.

My impression is that this horse has already left the barn. This would have been a grand notion if the nations of the developed world had embraced it twenty or thirty years ago. That, of course, didn't happen.

They're right about the need for these guardrails but, I fear, it's wishful thinking. What they envision would require some sharp limits on the developed nations' economies and what legislature, what parliament, what congress would impose that today?

Did Trudeau Blunder by Rejecting the F-35?

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 08:03
From everything I've learned about that warplane, Trudeau made the right call only it might not have been the right time.

The overdue, overpriced, under-performing F-35 is not the aircraft Canada needs unless we're planning on attacking China or Russia and, if we did, that would invite some massive retaliation from people who have some impressively powerful weapons.

At home and in the newly militarized Arctic, the F-35 would be of extremely limited use. It can't go very far. It can't go very fast. It can't carry very much fuel or payload. It can't even go stealthy without the support of sophisticated aerial intelligence aircraft such as AWACS and JSTARS and Canada isn't buying any of those, not now, not ever.

As the head of the US Air Force Air Combat Command said recently, it's not a fighter. The very limited number of missiles it carries are strictly defensive, a last chance to avoid destruction by intercepting fighters. If it does get in a dogfight, it's trapped, doomed.  It very quickly becomes the world's most expensive lawn dart.

I think the NDP leader knows what Trudeau knows - unless Harper is re-elected, the F-35 is toast. But is canceling out on the F-35 a suitable election platform? I seem to recall Jean Chretien promising to cancel the Mulroney/Campbell government's plan to buy a fleet of very expensive anti-submarine helicopters for our navy. Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't that occur during the pivotal 1993 election?

Mulcair took a shot at Trudeau for not waiting until there had been a full competition before deciding the F-35's fate. Fair enough, it's an election and his momentum seems to have stalled. I wonder, however, how many of the NDP rank and file would regret seeing the F-35 eliminated? My guess is very, very few.

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like this election has run out of steam? From Trudeau's perspective was this just an attempt to stir something up - something, anything? From Mulcair's perspective could he have done anything else but criticize Trudeau? It just seems, to me at least, as though the whole life has gone out of this campaign and there's really nothing much to say beyond repeating what's already been said again and again.

Wait, I know! How about going to bat for those poor Canadians who got stuck with Volkswagen diesels? Tell'em we're going to cross the Rhine again to finish what we left undone in 1945. That's the ticket.

Living In A Bunker

Northern Reflections - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 07:26


The Harperites have always lived inside a bunker. During this election, they've fortified the barricades. Lawrence Martin writes:

In the election campaign, the Conservatives have barred their candidates in a great many ridings from participating in all-candidates debates. That’s right. The candidates are censored by the leadership from taking part in the most basic, the most elementary of democratic functions. The Conservatives dispute that this is going on but evidence contradicts their half denials.
You might think Tory candidates with even a pinch of pride would refuse to put up with this. You’d think they’d tell the leadership that this isn’t the Canada they grew up in, that this isn’t Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Instead they kowtow.
They choose not to see or hear. Or to know. Anne Kingston recently wrote in Macleans that this government's attempt to destroy information is unprecedented:
It examines the impact of the killing of the long form census, how hundreds of small towns like Melville, Sask., have been turned into statistical dead zones and ghost towns. They are no longer factored into employment numbers, poverty rates, divorce rates.
But the report is about more than that. It tells of the degradation of knowledge across the board in Stephen Harper’s Ottawa and the threat it poses to a functioning democracy. It’s about how studies on air pollution and toxic chemicals containing unwelcome news have vanished. It tells of how credible information about our history is being supplanted by mythologizing historical narratives. It’s about how our data collection system with its emphasis on voluntary surveys is now skewered so that there is less evidence – how convenient is this for the party in power – of a poverty problem in this country. It reminds us that we’ll never find out if there was really a politically-driven crackdown on charities opposed to government policy. Why? Because the Canada Revenue Agency ordered employees to destroy all text-message records.
This is a government which has chosen to know nothing. And, it has concluded that the less we citizens know, the better. Of course, when you live inside a bunker, you can't see the end when it's coming.

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 07:01
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Oxfam points out that without a major redistributive effort, hundreds of millions of people will be trapped in extreme poverty around the globe no matter how much top-end growth is generated.And Michael Valpy writes that the Cons have gone out of their way to stifle any talk of shared responsibilities and communitarian goals.

- Meanwhile, Art Eggleton discusses the urgent need for more affordable housing in Canada. And Robyn Allan writes that Canadians are getting gouged while buying gas - with an assist from the Cons who ensured that we don't have access to accurate information about who's profiting from what we pay at the pumps.

- Harvey Cashore and Frederic Zalac report on the links between the Con government and KPMG as the latter was having any assessment of its offshoring tax avoidance schemes stalled in front of the courts.

- Lawrence Martin highlights what we lose when our government considers information suppression to be one of its core values.

- Finally, PressProgress exposes Ron Liepert's belief that civil rights aren't part of the Canada we live in. And Craig Forcese and Kent Roach comment on the effect of the Cons' terror legislation:
When enacting its 2015 security laws, the government consistently rejected the outside policy advice it received. It radically ramped up information-sharing about even marginal security threats. But it disregarded advice—from both the Privacy Commissioner and the judicial inquiry into Maher Arar’s mistreatment—to the effect that Canada’s system of independent review was partial, stuck in silos, and manifestly inadequate. The government also disregarded the advice it received from four former prime ministers and a score of other former officials urging that increased review and oversight of national security activities were necessary, and that they would improve rather than detract from security.

The architects of the new 2015 legislation also ignored the Air India Commission’s 2010 recommendations that CSIS be obliged to share intelligence about possible terrorism offences, and that its human sources not be able to veto appearing as witnesses in prosecutions (a recommendation that was echoed in a unanimous 2011 report of a Senate committee chaired by Senator Hugh Segal). In the final analysis, the 2015 “reforms” were long on rhetoric about a war against “violent jihadis” and attempts to secure partisan advantage, but woefully short on evidence and deliberation.
Bill C-51 in particular was drafted in a novel and provocative manner that departed from long-standing definitions of “threats to the security of Canada” or the more Charter-compliant pattern of past, similar laws—such as hate-speech laws, immigration security-certificate provisions, and the 2001 Anti-terrorism Act.

The complexity arises from the fact that most of these new provisions are not free-standing: they amend existing laws that have their own history and purposes. The most extensive amendments were made to the CSIS Act, originally enacted in response to concerns about RCMP illegalities in the wake of the October Crisis in 1970. The 1984 CSIS Act created CSIS as a civilian and largely domestic intelligence agency that would obey the law and whose mandate was limited to intelligence collection. The new laws radically change that.

On rigged outcomes

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 05:28
I'm not sure when "what would Michael Ignatieff do?" became the Libs' operating mantra. But as long as the subject of fighter procurement is on the table, let's highlight the real similarity between two parties on that front: both the Cons and the Libs seem bent on handing Lockheed Martin billions of dollars it's done nothing to earn.

In the Cons' case, that means pushing Canada into an ill-advised, sole-sourced contract based on the deliberate neglect of alternatives.

And in the Libs' case, that means publicly prejudging a procurement process in a way which would give Lockheed Martin a massive claim against Canada for its anticipated profits without delivering anything.

To be clear, what we know so far makes it highly likely that on a fair evaluation, we'd come to the conclusion that we can do better than the F-35. But the "fair evaluation" part is crucial both to competent government, and avoiding readily-foreseeable litigation risks.

Instead, Justin Trudeau's declaration that he'd rather grandstand than allow for fairness at best reflects cynical political posturing - and at worst means he's happy to waste public money through the mirror image of Stephen Harper's closed-mindedness. And it's hard to see how either of those possibilities represents anything but a continuation of the destructive politics we should be trying to move past.

How To Stop Stephen Harper From Stealing the Election

Montreal Simon - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 03:41

There are now only twenty-seven days to go before the election that will determine the fate of this country. Less than four weeks before we find out whether it will live or it will die.

But even as the decent people of Canada prepare for the battle they hope will bring down the brutish Stephen Harper and his sinister Con regime, a new danger looms.

For even as we struggle to get people to cast their ballots, you can be sure that the Cons are planning to suppress them or steal them. 
Read more »

Are the Harper Con Artists Faking Their Propaganda?

Montreal Simon - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 00:53

I'm sure many of you have seen this great sign carved into a field in Buford, Ontario, by a good Canadian to make it absolutely clear what he thinks of Stephen Harper. 

People flying over John Langs’ farm know exactly how the retired civil servant feels about the upcoming election.

“I think it’s time he left, I think he’s been bad for Canada,” Langs said.

So I wasn't surprised to see that the Cons had claimed to match it with this sign allegedly carved into a fallow field in Alberta.

But as with all things Con, almost nothing is what it seems.
Read more »

Mulcair to Spend More Than Harper on Veterans.

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 09/21/2015 - 22:25
My stomach churned a little bit when I saw the photo of Tommy with some old, bemedalled vets rolling out his platform of hundreds of millions more in funding for Canadian vets. That's when I knew those vets were mere props in Tommy's campaigning.

You don't offer money to disabled war vets. That's what Harper did. Mulcair is simply upping the ante.

Money is something you provide, not something you calculate for maximum political benefit. Money is whatever these vets need as the decades pass. As I've written before, my first six decades were spent living with a horribly wounded WWII vet, my Dad. He was a magnificent athlete before he boarded that troop ship in Halifax. It wasn't the same man who came back.

Still and all, my Dad did well after a few years finally getting re-established. This ex-foundary hand found an executive spot, first in chemicals, later in specialty steels. He made a lot of money and he paid a lot of taxes.  My older brother was the first in either family to attend and graduate from university. All three of his sons would wind up with bachelors' and professional degrees.

Dad did well by his country. He made good money and he never balked at paying equally good taxes. It was my Dad who made me understand that taxes were not a universal obligation, that the most advantaged got the most advantages and it was fair that they pay higher taxes.

Anyway, he was a great citizen; a real, no matter how ordinary, a real Canadian. He thought of the wrecked body he brought home and his friends who remain over there, underground, as an investment in the country. He had to find some way to rationalize his nightmares. He grew a belief in this country that he'd never  have had tripping a steam hammer in the forge.

As he got older, his conditioned worsened - an immensely strong but equally old man who has to relent. Mom was dead and he was living alone, his closest son a hundred miles or so distant.

Dad's last few years of life were tough on him physically. Three times I spent several days with daily briefings from his doctor at the time about how, surely, he must be dying. "Prepare yourself. Make your travel arrangements. He'll probably never see you again."

Twice they were wrong. Dad staged what they found to be unbelievable recoveries and they decried the slightest ability to account for it medically. The third time was when, a few days before, he stopped eating anything, even refusing water.

Then he was gone.

I can say, without the slightest hesitation, that he would not have had that last ten to fifteen years without the incredible support of what he always pronounced the "D-V-A." I know what, in his heart, he meant. I dealt with these people on his behalf as he became enfeebled.

I can also say that, without the support of these people and successive governments, my Dad and Mom would not have been able to so enjoy their last 20-years together.  After so many bad years, all the loss and sacrifice, they were rewarded at the end. How did that happen.

Decent governments didn't talk money, except for budgeting. as obvious they weren't limited to some funding regime. If my Dad needed it, it was his. If he deserved it, maybe even just a bit more, was his.  Seriously, they were about as committed a bunch of people as I've ever encountered. They even had a woman come in twice a week to give him a proper bath. When I needed their help on his behalf they never shirked. They talked me though everything for what I wanted to do and even what I needed to do afterward. The focus was never on cost or resources so much as it was on preserving the individual's dignity.

What's wrong with a fixed term compensation system.

Plenty. It's actuarially corrupt. It refuses to see that, as a wounded vet gets older, his woulds may treat him differently, even worsen catastrophically. It's nothing for wounds you sustained before 1945 to come back to claim your life 70-years later.

When government's approach is to impose a contractual, "take it or leave it - only we can force you to take it", it's an affront on basic, human decency. I have only to imagine my own father, at the ridiculous age of 92, falling to the brutality of Harper's plan.

Mulcair says he'll pump $400+ million more into veterans spending. That's a political game and shame on any politician who emulates Harper.

Veterans spending? You spend what it takes. If that's more than you would prefer to spend, tough.  You send these kids into harm's way to be killed or mutilated on our behalf, then it becomes our obligation to ensure you don't dishonour us and, far worse, them.

You pay what it costs. You spend what it takes. You can't begin to compensate them for what they've done, what they've lost and yet most of them would do it again tomorrow if only they could somehow be made whole again. You can rarely provide value for what they have sacrificed. They're not looking at it that way. Why are you?

You pay - every last dime - of what is needed in funding. You don't defend it for none is required. You sure as hell don't boast of it or exploit it in politicking.

In my Dad's six decades as "Dead Eye"  I saw how government's concern about the welfare of our wounded and the dead's dependents was directly proportional to the public's awareness of them.  Oh, by both Odin and Freya, trust me - when you're out of mind, you are in trouble.

The worst I ever saw was when legitimate claimants, who might have spent a decade or up to three, psychologically never fit to return to civilian life, leaving the alleys to find a way back and getting swept aside.

You don't ask, you just pay. You get these people and you bring them in and you give them the best possible chance they might ever have to find their way back to all of us. The devil take us if we say we don't want to pay it and would choose instead to burn that bridge.

There is no budget for this. Anyone who prescribes any number is a charlatan.

This Might Be the Mother of All Class Action Lawsuits

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 09/21/2015 - 16:23
The operative principle is that fraud vitiates (negates) consent. When a person is induced to enter a contract on the strength of fraudulent misrepresentation, the standard remedy is rescission of the contract. The contract is deemed rescinded and the parties are restored to their position prior to entering into the contract.

Now we have a situation involving vehicles equipped with Volkswagen's vaunted "Clean Diesel" or TDI engine.There are many like me who bought the vehicle because of its advertised low emissions and fuel economy. It turns out we were sold a bill of goods.

Volkswagen used a software trick to contrive the low emissions and fuel economy. When emissions testing equipment was being used the engine detected what was going on and responded by turning on the full emissions-control system. In ordinary operation part of the emissions-control hardware was deactivated to give increased performance and fuel economy.

It was a deliberate deception. Government regulators were deceived and so too were purchasers of the Volkswagen vehicles.

VW was exposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency which ordered half a million vehicles recalled and slapped the company with a multi-billion dollar fine. Presumably criminal prosecutions will follow. Somebody hatched this scheme. Software was written and installed in these vehicles. Results were fabricated to mislead regulators and customers alike.

And what of those half-million plus customers? There will be no cheap and dirty fix for this. Their vehicles, once highly regarded, are now infamous in the sort of way that tears the bottom out of market values. They too have been defrauded. They too will claim damages from the manufacturer, possibly the dealers also.

CBC News is reporting that Volkswagen Canada has issued a directive to dealers to stop selling certain models effective today. That's a start.

I'm figuring there'll be one if not several class action lawsuits filed against VW. Where do I sign up?


Subscribe to aggregator - Posts from our progressive community