Posts from our progressive community

Paul Fromm and the Council of Conservative Citizens: Canadian MSM Makes Connection

Anti-Racist Canada - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 17:06
In the early hours of June 22, we published a story that reminded our readers that Canada's own Paul Fromm is closely associated with the Council of Conservative Citizens (CoCC) as both a board member and as the international director. The CoCC is in the news as a result of their connection to the Charleston killer and, falling from that, the financial contributions made by the CoCC president to a number of high profile Republican politicians. At the end of our article, we made the following comment:

At the end of the article we posed the following question:


Well, it looks like Paulie has had just that opportunity:

Read more »

Jason Kenney Makes a Fool Out of Himself on Twitter. Again

Montreal Simon - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 15:50


Among his many dubious achievements, Jason Kenney is also known as the Con's most aggressive Twitter warrior.

A man who blasts tweets out of every orifice without stopping to think what he's saying.

And today he made a fool out of himself. Again.

By invoking Sharia law rather than Canadian law in the debate over whether woman should be allowed to wear a niqab at a citizenship ceremony. 
Read more »

Oh Why Did I Buy this Damned Book, Why?

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 14:20
I purposely leave my copy of Chris Hedges new book Wages of Rebellion, the Moral Imperative of Revolt on my breakfast table.  It suits me to take it a few pages at a time over a light lunch and then set it aside for another day.

This is what I took in over a BLT today.  See if you recognize yourself in any of it.

Clive Hamilton, in his 'Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change' describes the dark relief that comes from accepting that 'catastrophic climate change is now virtually certain.' This obliteration of our 'false hopes' requires not only intellectual knowledge but emotional knowledge, which requires us to accept that those we love, including our children, are almost certainly doomed to insecurity, misery, and suffering within a few decades, if not a few years, is much harder to acquire.  To emotionally accept the impeding disaster, to attain the visceral understanding that the power elite will not respond rationally to the devastation of the ecosystem, is as difficult to accept as our own mortality.

The crisis before us is the culmination of a 500-year global rampage of conquering, plundering, exploiting, and polluting the earth - as well as killing by Europeans and Euro-Americans of the indigenous communities that stood in their way. The technical and scientific forces that created unparalleled luxury and unrivaled military and economic power for a small, global elite are the forces that now doom us.  Ceaseless economic expansion and exploitation has become a death sentence. But even as our economic and environmental systems unravel - thirteen of the fourteen warmest years since weather record-keeping began over a century ago have occurred in the opening years of the twenty-first century - we lack the emotional and intellectual creativity to shut down the engine of global capitalism.

Anthropologists, including Joseph Tainter in 'The Collapse of Complex Societies,' Charles Redman in 'Human Impact on Ancient Environments,' and Ronald Wright in 'A Short History of Progress,' have laid out the familiar patterns that lead to the breakdown of complex societies, which usually collapse not long after they reach their period of greatest magnificence and prosperity. 'One of the most pathetic aspects of human history is that every civilization expresses itself most pretentiously, compounds its partial and universal values most convincingly, and claims immortality for its finite existence at the very moment when the decay which leads to death has already begun,' Reinhold Niebuhr wrote.

The last days of any civilization, when populations are averting their eyes from the unpleasant realities before them, become carnivals of hedonism and folly. Rome went down like this. So did the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Men and women of stunning mediocrity and depravity assume political control. Today charlatans and hucksters hold forth on the airwaves, and intellectuals are ridiculed. Force and militarism, with their hypermasculine ethic, are celebrated. And mania for hope requires the silencing of any truth that is not childishly optimistic.

...Our major preoccupation is pleasure. Margaret Atwood, in her dystopian novel 'Oryx and Crake,' observes that as a species 'we're doomed by hope.' The mantra is to be positive, to be happy. This mania for optimism - for happiness - leads to fantasy being mistaken for reality. Reality is dismissed when it is unpleasant. 

'We hardly dare face our bewilderment, because our ambiguous experience is so pleasantly iridescent, and the solace of belief in contrived reality is so thoroughly real.' Daniel Boorstin writes in 'The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America.' 'We have become eager accessories in the great hoaxes of the age. These are hoaxes we play on ourselves.'


Running on Fumes and the Problems of Leadership. . .

kirbycairo - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 13:20
As the Harper government sputters toward the fall election, a political machine that seems to be running on fumes alone, the issue of leadership is continually arising amongst the MSM as well bloggers at large.

All political and activist organizations must struggle with the the fundamental problem of balancing centralized leadership on the one hand and grassroots input on the other. A political party can often withstand greater centralization than an activist organization because an activist body relies so significantly on the time and input of its members to define it and push its agenda forward. Martin Luther King for example, as far as I know, only ever held a technical leadership role in the SCLC. His leadership for the Civil Rights Movement was largely derived from his popularity and perceived moral authority. Gandhi was, for a time, the leader of the Indian National Conference but most of his real leadership existed outside of any official organization or institution.

Because of the way Party politics work, I think we expect (or at least tolerate) a higher level of centralization, and leadership is often less a matter of moral authority and more a matter of perceived strength and strategic victory. However, even here where we accept a high degree of centralization, when a political organization goes out of balance there are grave consequences. Even within the highly charged atmosphere of capitalist democracy, and in the inherently centralized Westminster System of Government, a party out of balance is a deeply problematic thing. The reason for this is obvious, a political party relies on generational turnover to thrive. Anyone familiar with basic institutional process, let alone the specifics of party politics, understands that unless a party can continually train new crops of leaders, it will face serious problems. Thus a good political leader balances her own power with a good group of supporters to whom she can delegate responsibilities, people who can not only keep the leader fresh by asking the right questions and challenging the leadership, but can learn on the job to get better at what they do. Over centralized leadership, therefore suffers from two basic problems in political parties. The first problem is the tendency for an iron-fisted leader to lose touch not only with the party's supporters but to lose touch with reality in general. It would be like writing a complex book and having no one on whom you can rely to read it and speak up for any potential problems or mistakes. The result would be a text riddled with errors and conceptual pitfalls. The second, and perhaps more fundamental problem with extreme leadership is the tendency for such a leader to close out intelligent leaders in waiting. If a political leader choses to surround himself with yes-men and dull-witted peons, a basic power vacuum forms around the leader and the party's options for the future begin to close up.

It is should be obvious to even the most partizan conservative in Canada that the party of right has suffered from both of these basic problems. If Harper is unable to cheat his way to a victory in October and he actually willingly gives up power in the event of a loss, the Party is going to find itself in real trouble. Not only will it be unable to field credible and intelligent candidates for new leadership, but it will have a seriously difficult time distancing itself from the internal rot that has plagued it since its inception. In addition to this it will have handicapped itself in a serious way by setting all sorts of precedents allowing any ruling party from undermining the strength and potential of opposition parties. If a leader like Mulcair were to become the next PM, a leader whose centralizing style is frighteningly close to that of Harper himself, we could easily see the continuation of opportunistic prorogations, omnibus bills, the extreme stacking of government agencies with party friendly hacks, and even worse, the possible use of powers like we see in Bill C-51 to actually arrest and detain activists who oppose the government's agenda. Conservatives salivate at the thought of environmental activists being harassed by Revenue Canada or arrested for "Anti-Canadian" positions, but how will those same Conservatives feel if the Fraser Institute is harassed, of if climate-change deniers are arrested and held without charge, etc? Obviously I am not saying such a thing will happen, but the Conservative government has established the conditions by which it could.

Lenin worked for much of his career to establish a centralized power within the Bolshevik movement. As he became increasingly incapacitated by a series of strokes, he became the victim of the very thing he had worked for as Stalin took control of the Party and used the very mechanisms that Lenin had created to sideline him and silence his opposition to Stalin. The result of this very simple political mistake was seventy years of genuine dictatorship which then degenerated into a country run by organized crime.

Almost all of the scandals plaguing the current government in Canada are rooted in an extreme top-heavy structure which has allowed a leader to do literally almost anything (including in many cases ignoring the will of the Commons and increasingly ignoring the will of the SCofC) unchecked. Harper has appointed hopelessly incompetent people because he has no one around him who is willing to say "wait a minute." And even if he did, he wouldn't listen to them anyway. When the drive for power overtakes the drive for everything else, disaster can't be far behind. Most of Harper's scandals could have been avoided or easily overcome by appointing better people, delegating more skillfully, being more conciliatory, and admitting mistakes. Thus despite policies that I think have been absolutely disastrous for the country now and well into the future, I think Harper could have sailed to another four years in power by simply taking a better approach.

In the end, this fact makes me wonder - has Harper's intention all along really just been to cripple and destroy as much as possible the smooth functioning of Canada's democracy, to rob the capacity of the government of being a proper government? Not because of some perverse hatred of Canada (although, somewhere deep inside him this surely plays a part) but because the basic goal of the right over the last forty years has been to create a de facto dictatorship of the rich and powerful and reduce government to a body that cannot properly deliver services (one of the very things that a government is meant to do) but to can only operate as a kind of shell for corporations to run roughshod over society's larger interest.

It is not clear to me that we can overcome the damage that Harper has done to this nation. Fixing democracy in Canada will take several generations of committed political leaders, very active civil society, and a much more responsible media. The only way I see this happening is if the millennials begin to take up more active roles in society's problems and start committing themselves to collective solutions. I can only hope that the observant millennials have seen the dangers now of extreme, centralized, oligarchical leadership.

Teeth and Pot

Feminist Christian - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 12:14
Can someone explain to me why anything that has to do with teeth is excluded from medicare? I mean, besides money? How, when dreaming up this system of fuckery, did the government get away with saying that dental care is not medical care? Teeth, mine anyway, are as much a part of my body as my cervix is. Both right inside an oriface. Both rather important body parts. One gets treatment if there's an issue. The other I have to pay gobs of money to have fixed. Why?!

Getting away from my angry rant for a second, let's look at some facts. Oral health is directly related to other health.
 Cavities and gum disease may contribute to many serious conditions, such as diabetes and respiratory diseases. Untreated cavities can also be painful and lead to serious infections. Studies are also currently examining whether there is a link between poor oral health and heart disease and between poor oral health and women delivering pre-term, low birth rate (PLBW) babies.Guess where I got that bit of progressive, pro-dental care propaganda? Oh, wait. It's Health Canada. Health Canada says that oral care can contribute to diabetes. But they won't force the provinces to cover treatment for them! It's absurd and it's cruel.

There are lots of things not covered. Usually conditions that are seen to be preventable or safely ignorable. Bad teeth? Shoulda brushed them better, asshole! Bad back? Here are some pills. Not enough of them, because we don't want you to be an addict. But no chiropractic, massage, or physiotherapy for you! You might enjoy that. And besides, only losers have pain. (That does seem to be the message). Got an infected toenail? Nope, podiatry isn't covered either.

And the kicker... meds. Medications are not covered. Pharmacare in BC is a joke. My family of five has hit our limit once. Once. And most of the meds that one of them needs aren't covered anyway. Every time, I have to get the doctor to fill out a form and send it, asking them to cover the medications. These forms are valid for one year. Even when the medication is a long term thing. And if you don't have a family doctor, as we did not for 7 long years, that's nigh on impossible. So Tony's insurance picked up the difference.

Thank God for the Public Service Health Care Plan. I don't know how people do it without things like that. People whine about unions and their benefits because of one thing: They. Are. Jealous. We are covered for things they are not, and they're a bunch of whiny little children, whining that if they don't get it, we shouldn't either. FFS. That's backassward thinking. DEMAND the benefits for yourself too. Don't try to take away my kids' healthcare because you don't have it.

But you know what? We shouldn't need extra insurance. Ever. If we're sick, it should be covered. Need teeth filled? Cover that shit. Need your neck adjusted once a month so you can avoid headaches? Cover that shit. Need an anti-depressant so you don't feel like killing yourself because the dog looks sad, which is clearly proof that you're the worst human ever? COVER THAT SHIT.

But Luna, who would pay for this utopian system? And how?

It's simple: Legalize marijuana.

Marijuana is already BC's biggest cash crop. But right now, all the money is in the hands of organized crime. Take it from them. Take it from them hard. Cripple their industry, at least temporarily. Remember prohibition? Remember how rich the booze runners were because it was illegal? Criminals always find a way to be criminal, but removing their big cash crop from the playing field will do them some real damage for a while. Let small businesses sell it legally. Tax the hell out of it.

Look, the world is waking up and seeing the value in marijuana. Not just as a recreational drug that doesn't cause overdoses, but as a medicine for pretty much everything that ails you. Get the government into the business of making medicines to export (and use here). Get small businesses selling whatever they like - seeds, plants, harvested ready to smoke, edibles... the whole nine yards. And KEEP THE PROFITS. None of this allowing big corporations to run it and take profits out of the country. That's just organized crime that's gone legit - still hurts people, just differently. We can get in on the ground floor on an industry that is just coming around to legal. This is a huge opportunity.

Look at Colorado. They're saving millions on not prosecuting people for owning a plant. Crime went down (pdf), and not just what was defined as crime which was now not a crime.
"Violent crime in Denver went down by 2.2% in the first 11 months of 2014, compared with the first 11 months of 2013. In the same period, burglaries in Denver decreased by 9.5% and overall property crime decreased by 8.9%." Colorado brought in 40 million dollars in tax money. And they could raise taxes on marijuana by 200%, easily. Their economy is thriving. Unemployment is down. They're giving grants to schools. They're ... They're what BC should be.

We can do this. We should do this. We can put the police on serious crime, saving money. We can put the overburdened judicial system to better work. We can bring in some serious money while taking it from criminals. We can use that money to fund our ridiculous medical system.

Dammit. I just want to smoke a joint and get my teeth fixed for free. Is that too much to ask?

Is This a Battle We've Already Lost Without Knowing It?

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 12:02


Okay they're listening and I've unwittingly let them in my house.

We were somewhat troubled to learn, several years ago, that certain game consoles had cameras that could allow others to watch what people were doing without them knowing of it.

Now I might have fallen for something along the same lines.  I've developed a heart issue that is somewhat sleep related.  I read about this fitness tracker plus thingee offered by Jawbone, the UP3, that has additional sensors that monitor, record and report things such as resting heart rate and detailed sleep data according to light, deep and REM sleep and waking intervals.

The software is amazing. It provides daily reports on activity, exercise, sleep, heart rate and such. These stats are then crunched into weekly and monthly summaries.  All this info is stored in "the cloud" for up to five years or at least you can supposedly access five years of your own data.

The other morning I woke up parched and immediately downed two glasses of water.  When I looked at the morning UP3 summary, I was surprised that my resting heart rate was a good bit higher than normal.  My smartphone app then went on to conclude that I had probably become dehydrated and urged me to drink 8 glasses of water that day.  I have to say I was pretty impressed.

The Cloud.  That's a network of remote servers and that's about all you'll ever know about them.  They're supposedly secure but don't tell that to the celebrities who risque selfies were hacked and then leaked online.

Now I'm not particularly worried.  I don't see how anyone would be interested in my health data or could possibly benefit by stealing it.  That said, I think others could be quite vulnerable.  Employers are becoming more focused on the health of their workers or those applying for openings.  What about insurers?  They really want that information and they don't have a great reputation for being too scrupulous about getting it.

Some months ago my daughter received an invitation through Amazon Prime (US) to purchase an Amazon Echo device at half price.  These are apparently much sought after.  She wasn't interested but she thought it would be great for me, living alone and all.

It's a black cylinder sort of thingee that operates by voice command.  Some of its functions resemble iPhone's Siri or Android's "Okay Google."  You can ask it things like directions to some destination or trivia such as who won the 1956 World Series and it spews out the info.

The Amazon Echo goes a few steps beyond.  You might turn your smartphone off to save battery power between charges but the Echo is plugged in so it's always on.  You activate it by saying its name "Alexa."  It has a wonderful voice synthesis technology that doesn't sound robotic.  You can ask Alexa for information.  If you're cooking you might need to know how many grams in an ounce or how many teaspoons in a tablespoon, that sort of thing.  Trivia is a specialty.  Whose faces are on Mt. Rushmore, that sort of thing, or who succeeded Joseph Stalin - your sense of curiosity is the limit.  It'll summarize the latest news, give you the local weather, tell you want time it is in Dublin or Tokyo.  It has a bluetooth speaker so it'll play whatever music you request, handy when you're doing something time consuming like making a batch of ravioli.

Amazon, of course, is a mega retailer so it's not surprising that Alexa can make up shopping lists.  "Alexa, put paper towels on my shopping list."  Done.  Then, when you're ready to go the shopping list is on your cell phone and you're away to the races.  Once you set up an account with Amazon, Alexa can also order directly from Jeff Bezo's outfit.  "Alexa, order Pears Soap from Amazon Prime." After that you just wait for the parcel to show up at your doorstep.

It all sounds too good to be true and it probably is.  Your communications with Alexa can go out via bluetooth and wind up somewhere in the Cloud.  I'm damned sure Amazon will be logging everything you put on your shopping lists, building up your consumer profile to target you for advertising.

What would happen if you began each morning with "Alexa, how can I contact al Qaeda?" or "Alexa, what household ingredients are required to make explosives?"  In this era of total information awareness is there some computer out there, maybe a horde of them, scouring the ether for these sorts of buzzwords, identifying the source, adding them to watch lists?

The thing is, I'm not sure Alexa and I are going to have a wonderful relationship. I might just wind up having to drown her in the bathtub - not that I would know anything about that sort of thing you understand.

Entitled To Her Entitlements

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:57
That seems to be the attitude of Ann Gray, another former Harper appointee, on her and her husband's lavish 'fact-finding' trips, which cost the taxpayer plenty. She regards the fuss as much ado about nothing, seeing the trips as a 'thank you' for her unpaid time sitting on the Blue Water Bridge Canada crown corporation.

Rarely has a volunteer done so little for so much, some might say.

Recommend this Post

Why Won't the Media Denounce Harper as a Despot?

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:14
As the Vancouver Observer points out, day in and day out Canadian journalists themselves are willing victims of Harper's tyrannical ways.

We like talking to him. It's our job, even when he makes it hard.

And he does. Harper takes only 3 questions at each public appearance (or none at all).

Reporters wishing to ask a question must be pre-approved by his team. If we're approved, we get one question. No follow-up for clarification. No discussion.

Same goes for his ministers, who stick to a script. This is bad for democracy. This damages the public's right to know.

The essence of democracy, its very legitimacy hinges on the consent of the governed.  But consent itself is predicated on an informed decision maker, in Harper's case the Canadian people.  It's their consent to give or withhold but it can only be validly given if their government informs them of what it intends to do and explains why and is prepared to answer questions.
When journalists can't question government officials, get the full story, their corporate bosses might not mind but they're abrogating their responsibility to the public.  When "don't make waves" becomes the standard for journalists, the erstwhile "watchdogs of government," it's bludgeoning democracy.


Oxfam Fingers the "Toxic Triangle"

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:02
Oxfam has identified three factors, the Toxic Triangle, it considers most likely to defeat our efforts to prevent runaway global warming - political inertia, financial short-termism, and vested fossil fuel interests.

“The fossil fuel industry has conjured a toxic triangle that is trapping us into a warming world. Governments and investors are helping the industry to recklessly protect its own profits at the expense of us all. The world’s poorest are already being hit hardest and millions more will be made hungry by climate change,” the Oxfam chief executive, Mark Goldring, said. Oxfam says the “toxic triangle” supported spending of more than $674bn (£423bn) on fossil fuels in 2012. Investment in the industry was propped up by tax breaks, government incentives and an estimated $1.9tn of subsidies a year. More than $500,000 a day was being spent on lobbying US and EU governments, it says.

Dear Steve, Don't Go Down in History as a Mass Murderer

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 10:34
It'll be millions, that's for sure.  More likely many hundreds of millions.  If you add in collateral events such as war, it could well end up in the billions.  Nobody really wants to pin the tail on that donkey, the one representing 4 degrees Celsius of global warming.

Yet that is the future that proponents of high-carbon fossil fuels would bequeath us, a world of chaos and mass death of unprecedented, unimaginable scale.  Here in Canada we've got those very people running the place or waiting in opposition to replace them and pick up where they leave off.  You can think of them as diabolical plague rats.

Look at this picture.


In a way it resembles photos of Chinese factory workers assembling iPhones only the product here is infants.  They're being treated for respiratory illnesses at the children's hospital in Xi'an, China.  Ever see such a thing?  If we don't stop Harper and the rest of the Tar Sanders on Parliament Hill on both sides of the aisle, maybe some day you will.

Germany's climate change centre, the Potsdam Institute, with the sponsorship of the World Bank, recently presented an excellent online course exploring what awaits us in a world beset by 4C warming.  There are plenty of reasons that's not discussed in polite company.  It is certainly not fit for dinner table conversation.

A report just issued by the British medical journal, Lancet, in conjunction with London's UCL (possibly the best university you've never heard of) concludes that climate change threatens to wipe out half a century of advances in global health (see photo above).

“We see climate change as a major health issue and that it is often neglected in the policy debates,” said Professor Anthony Costello, director of the UCL Institute of Global Health and co-chair of the commission.

“On our current trajectory, going to 4C [of warming] is somewhere we don’t want to go and that has very serious and potentially catastrophic effects for human health and human survival and could undermine all of the last half-century’s gains. We see that as a medical emergency because the action we need to do to stop that in its tracks and get us back onto a 2C trajectory or less requires action now – and action in the next ten years – otherwise the game could be over.”

Game over, indeed.

There are only two camps, an we're all in one or the other.

One camp accepts science and fact, especially in the face of such an overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.  It recognizes the enormity of the challenge and the incredible sacrifices necessary to meet it.

The other camp is for denialism.  There are the active denialists who reject the scientific consensus on the strength of belief as well as those who have personal interests to defend.  There's also another group in the denialism camp, the really large group who simply find climate change far too ominous and overwhelming to accept and who, instead, either ignore it or grasp for nonsensical responses about how the Earth has always warmed and cooled, it's all a scientific conspiracy and a massive hoax, or global warming has stopped.  Another substantial element just can't deal with it.  It's more than they can handle.  There are plenty of Liberals and New Democrats in this last subsection. Theirs are the votes that will keep the plague rats in power.

Of course as Canadians we'll be the last and least affected by the ravages of climate change.  We've got our own "sin eaters" - the poorest and most vulnerable in the most hard scrabble corners of the world.  They didn't accept that role but our prosperity prescribes it for them.  Can't be helped.  I suppose.


Obama's interview and his use of 'N' word commenting on South Carolina tragedy

LeDaro - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 09:54
One can do a google search and find a plethora of racist images of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and yet this is what’s fuelling outrage?  Listening to the interview and context, Obama’s use of the n-word made sense.  It was about how, while there has been much progress in race-relations, much more needs to be done.  It was blunt, it got people talking, though I’m worried a lot of the media coverage misses the point, trying to turn it into a gaffe-of-the-week and not recognizing the depth and seriousness of the problem Obama was talking about.
Blacks are literally being gunned down in city streets in America, deep inequalities persist.  A few feel-good gestures are not enough, that’s what Obama was getting at. What’s especially ironic is conservatives, who have engaged in dog-whistle politics against African-Americans for decades, choose to get outraged over this.
I’m with the president on this.  You can watch the video of the president’s podcast interview below.

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 09:17
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Mark Anderson reports on the Change Readiness Index' findings that the growing concentration and inequality of wealth is making it more and more difficult for countries to deal with foreseeable disasters. But Jon Queally points out that a concerted effort to quit abusing fossil fuels could do a world in making our world both more fair and more sustainable.

- James Galbraith suggests that the EU is guilty of gross malpractice in how it continues to treat Greece in the face of overwhelming public opposition to austerity. But as David Dayen points out, the course of treatment makes a lot more sense if the goal of creditors is to make the patient suffer as a warning to others.

- Andrew Nikiforuk interviews Gus Van Harten about the pernicious effects of the Cons' FIPA trade deal with China:
Just how lopsided is this investment deal with China?

I have followed these treaties for a long time and reviewed hundreds of them. One thing that stands out for me in the deal with China is the unequal rights of market access. In the FIPA -- and I've never seen this before -- the Harper government gave Chinese investors a right of access to Canada's economy, but did not get the same right for Canadian investors in China. That was an extraordinary concession to China.

So, the FIPA requires Canada to open its economy and resources to Chinese companies in general, but it lets China keep a closed economy. China can also keep favouring its own companies at home, in areas like intellectual property, approvals and tax levels. The FIPA is clearly more about giving Chinese investors the freedom to buy what they want in Canada than it is about protecting Canadian investors in China.

How else is the FIPA lopsided? It lets Canada and China block specific investments, but is lopsided on this issue, again in favour of China. China has belts and suspenders to keep unwanted Canadian investors out. Canada has given up the belt and kept a thinner pair of suspenders to keep Chinese investors out.

Treaties like the FIPA are also lopsided in favour of foreign investors, who get far more powerful protection than anyone else does in international law. That comes at a cost to taxpayers and voters. With the FIPA, this part of the deal also favours China simply because the Chinese own more in Canada than Canadians do in China.- Don Braid writes that Rachel Notley's NDP government is not only challenging corporatist dogma in Alberta, but also building a new coalition of previously-marginalized voters who figure to benefit from more progressive governance. And Laurie Monsebraaten reports on Toronto's new - if still somewhat vague - plan to fight poverty in Canada's largest city.

- Finally, tcnorris offers a roadmap for an NDP government in working to abolish the Senate.

Mostly competent government

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 08:05
To nobody's surprise, Stephen Harper's brand of economic management means election slush funds throwing tens of millions of dollars away for no public benefit.

And it also means public servants going unpaid due to the failure of the Cons' supposed attempts to make government more efficient.

Do we dare take the risk of having another, more responsible party in charge of our public purse?

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