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The Madness of Stephen Harper and the C-51 Revolt

Montreal Simon - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 22:21


By now it should be obvious that Stephen Harper is not going to allow any changes to his infamous anti-terrorism bill C-51.

That he is now so crazy and so desperate that he will not let anyone or anything stop him from getting his hands on another weapon to go after his enemies.

And has finally arrived at the state the first Harper to arrive in Canada was in, when he had to be removed from his magistrate's position for "violent and oppressive measures" vindictive beyond the point of reason.

He made that very clear yesterday, when Tom Mulcair asked him why he was lumping legitimate dissent in with terrorist activity? 

And today he made that even clearer by moving to shutdown debate on the bill. 
Read more »

Kenney : CPC faces high risk of terrorist attack

Creekside - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 17:28
The Conservative Party of Canada faces a “high probability” of a jihadist attack from homegrown terrorists, Defence Minister Jason Kenney warned Thursday as he defended toughened security laws and hinted that Ottawa will extend its military mission in Iraq into the inevitable quagmire of jihadist reprisals."The threat of terrorism has never been greater."In his first major address since taking over the defence portfolio several weeks ago, Kenney explained the growing danger of terror :"We've got the Del Mastro election fraud trial, the Duffy trial, the Jason MacDonald trial, and the insecurity of an election is only months away."“There is a high probability of future jihadist attacks from within,” Kenney said, citing attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. "And let's not forget that two Canadians have been killed in terrorist attacks on Canadian soil in the last 12½ years since 9/11."Kenney spoke as Parliament begins debate on Bill C-51, sweeping new anti-terror legislation that contains measures that would for the first time allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to actively disrupt emerging terror plots. Kenney said concerns about the bill are “much exaggerated.” “We are taking all of these steps while respecting the rights of Canadians,” Kenney said as his party closed down parliamentary debate on the controversial bill after only two hours.He said the new powers are “necessary” to meet the evolving terror threat. 
"It could come from anywhere - muzzled scientists, enviros, FNs, birdwatchers, other parties - you name it."“This is a threat that is going to keep mutating. We can’t have a permanent policy setting. We have to be flexible,” he said.  "We were going to run on having transformed the Canadian economy into a 1950s-style strong stable single resource extraction state but that hasn't exactly panned out for us so now we're going with this terror terror terror thing."

Recent polls have shown 25% of Canadians believe jihadist terrorism is the number one problem facing Canadians today. "We'd like to scare that number up a little higher," said Kenney. "With only 60% of Canadians voting and 40% of that 60% voting for us, we could win the next election on terrorism alone."Kenney advised all Canadians to be on alert in the upcoming months. "Duck and cover", he quipped, "it's the CPC way."

h/t Toronto Star for original article : Canada faces high risk of terror attack, Jason Kenney says   Check it out - it's kinda scary how little I changed it..

I am so, so proud of my neighbour!

Trashy's World - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 16:41
Some call her Crystal. Others know her as “Snowflake”. But in the highlands and lowlands of South-east Ottawa, she is known as a dedicated volunteer, a good and honest friend, but most of all, a fan of the Detroit Red Wings. Which is why I was shocked to see her sudden and complete buy-in of […]

The Strategy of Permanent War. . .

kirbycairo - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 14:30
We live in difficult times for anyone who is wants to promote justice and equality. We are living through an era in which large, globalizing corporations have overwhelmingly dominated the political discourse for more than 30 years. And as the Neo-Liberal consensus has begun to show cracks and is basically breaking down, the rightwing has begun to ramp up its strategies of fear: fear of change, and fear of 'the other.' The primary target of this strategy of fear has been the relatively soft target of Islam. I call this a soft target because this has been a pretty safe target for Western leaders for hundreds of years. It is easy to feed on people's underlying bigotry, particularly religious bigotry. And the Neo-Liberal leaders of the West, desperate to consolidate their power and narrow our political discourse, thrive on religious bigotry. Oh, of course they will never admit that this is their strategy because that has become socially unacceptable. But they are fully aware that this is what is going on.

The most interesting (and tragic) part of this strategy is that for a long time now, Western leaders have been quite intentionally aggravating so-called Islamic extremism with the clear knowledge that they need this "enemy" to drive their economy of war and their politics of fear. The grandest deception of modern times is the portrayal of Israel as "victim." But the focus of political Zionism has been fairly clear from the beginning. The creation of Israel was orchestrated by violent "terrorists" like the Stern Gang who intentionally created as much conflict as possible with Palestinians in order specifically to create an image of Middle Eastern Jews as victims. They did this because it was the only ideological shield that they could use to hide behind as they took more and more Palestinian land. This strategy among Israeli leaders has continued unabated now for generations. Take Palestinian land, lock them up in giant prison camps and then portray yourself as a victim on the defensive every time the Palestinians fight back, meanwhile continue to take Palestinian land (in clear violation of international law) while everyone is looking at and blaming the Palestinians. It is a strategy has even deceived many Israelis as so well illustrated by the Israeli peace activist Miko Peled.

But our own leaders have more or less adopted the very same strategy. Part of this has been the simple and clear knowledge that failure to support the Palestinian people will continue to feed the ranks of desperate and angry groups who actively, and understandably, use any means at their disposal to fight back. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have also been central to this strategy. The strategy is this - create conflict, ignore or exploit religious and ethnic differences, arm and incite these groups either directly or through proxy states like Saudi Arabia, and then use these enhanced conflicts to further expand war, military spending, and increased security powers in our own countries. It is, in fact, an age old military/political strategy; create conflict and then use that conflict as the excuse to enhance your power, military might, and surveillance or our own population.

It is a sad strategy in every possible sense. It destroys lives, creates chaos and death, and it is easily sold to a surprisingly gullible population. Part of the problem is that there is a significant conceptual deficit among people when it comes to the issue of power. Most people have only a one dimensional view of power which sees power moving in only one direction and misses the subtleties of how it is used to deceive and how it moves through structures and can expand backward toward the source. Thus, people in the West will, for example, demonize Islam or Islamic nations, failing entirely to see how Western nations not only created these countries (mostly during the First World War) and then exploited thees nations to enhance the need for continual war. It really is just a more complex version of using provocateurs, which governments and capitalists have been doing forever.

Arguably the worst by-product of this strategy of fear and one dimensional view of power is bigotry. You see it all the time and it is profoundly frustrating. People will see the terrible actions of 'the other,' (in this case Muslims) as the main source of conflict and evil, meanwhile they will ignore not only our own Western history of violence and evil, but completely ignore the active part that our governments and arms dealers play in the sustaining this history of violence etc. Thus people will ignore the fact that George Bush started a war almost solely for personal vengeance that killed over half a million innocent people, but they will drone on and on about a single murder perpetrated by 'the other.' This is the kind of ignorance that our leaders are actively promoting.

As Bertrand Russell once said, "Most people would rather die than think; many do."

Desperate Crisis Pregnancy Clinics: Healthcare or Counselling?

Dammit Janet - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 12:46
These are trying times for fake abortion clinics.

First, the old styling -- "crisis pregnancy centre (CPC)" -- has become so indelibly associated with lies, manipulation, and slut-shaming, they've taken to rebranding themselves as Options/Choice/Life/WhatHaveYou Centres.

Then they were getting dinged by false advertising claims and lawsuits.

According to an analysis by NARAL [US pro-choice organization], 79 percent of the crisis pregnancy centers that advertised on Google indicated that they provided medical services such as abortions, when, in fact, they are focused on counseling services and on providing information about alternatives to abortion.
In response, they began vociferously denying they were medical facilities.
"We aren’t a medical facility,” explains [Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre's executive director Kim] LeBlanc.  “We don’t refer people to pediatricians and we don’t refer them to abortion clinics. We aren’t qualified.”
So what then to make of fake clinics acquiring medical equipment and advertising "healthcare services"? Here we reported that we'd found only one such ultrasound-enhanced CPC in Canada.

Now, spurred by a virtual brown envelope over the transom, we report on another, Crossroads Clinic in Brooks, Alberta.

From its Services page:
More than just a pregnancy care center, Crossroads Clinic is a medical facility focusing on all aspects of sexual [!] health.It lists the usual "Pregnancy Options Counselling," "Abortion Recovery," "Pregnancy Testing" (drugstore pee-on-a-stick type), but also includes "Sexual Abuse or Trauma Recovery" and "STI or STD Testing."

(Anyone ever heard of a CPC offering sexual abuse counselling? Let us know.)

We accessed its charitable status to check on its funding. It reports government funding running at 4-5% of total revenue for the past four years. (No specific sources given.)

Canada Revenue Agency asks its lucky participants to inform them of "new services" and in 2013, Crossroads reported one such.
HEALTH CARE SERVICES ==> Medical professionals provide pregnancy test and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment.Okey-dokey, now they provide healthcare services and indeed ask that "patients" bring their Alberta Health Care number and a photo ID. (Maybe a DJ! reader would like to undertake a query to Alberta Health over that oddity.)

So, beyond aiding patients' peeing on a stick, what do these services entail?

A magic ultrasound machine!
Women come to Crossroads Clinic both to confirm pregnancy and review their options. Having an ultrasound scan by trained medical professionals gives a client the accurate and timely information she needs to make educated decisions about her pregnancy and her future.

We are so blessed to have ultrasound technology on-site.
Blessed, indeed. While its website is all very secular and professional, its Facebook page is way more jesus-y.

As of course it should be since Crossroads is a member of Canadian [formerly Christian] Association of Pregnancy Support Services (CAPSS), whose "core documents" (well worth the read for the Bible verses alone) can be downloaded here.

Regular DJ! readers might remember that it was the affiliation with CAPSS that got the above-mentioned Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre stripped of the second part of its Trillium Foundation grant, according to the Sarnia Observer.

Upshot: no matter how they style themselves, what services they try to offer, who they associate with, CPCs in Canada are on the ropes.

And here ends, for now, DJ!'s survey of fake clinics in Alberta.

But we're on a mission here at DAMMIT JANET! We want to see the closure of all fake clinics in Canada.

And we'll do whatever we can to effect that.

Up next, British Columbia, and perhaps more surprisingly, Quebec.

Will the E.U. Again Pull the Rug Out From Under Harper's Feet?

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 11:26
The European Union's FQD, fuel quality directive, was once seen as a bitumen killer.  It's intended to encourage the use of lower-carbon oil and to kill off the European market for tar sand oil.

It had been reported that the Canadian government persuaded the Euros to drop the regulation, opening Europe to Athabasca exports.  Now it seems the FQD isn't dead after all.

The EU’s most senior energy official confirmed that the fuel quality directive (FQD) to encourage greener road fuels will not be scrapped at the end of the decade, as had been thought.
Asked by the Guardian whether that meant the FQD would continue after 2020, the EU’s vice president for energy union, Maroš Šefčovič, said: “My first reaction is yes. We just have to adjust it to all the lessons learned from biofuels, and all the [other] lessons learned from the previous time.”

The FQD has been a platform for measures intended to price tar sands out of the European market – and for targets to provide 10% of Europe’s transport fuel from low carbon sources,mostly biofuels, by 2020.

And the Next Nuclear Power in the Middle East Is....

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 09:45


You're probably thinking Iran.  What about Saudi Arabia, the bunch of radical Sunni extremists we consider our close ally?

Take it from The Times (of London, of course) where it's reported that the Saudis, with CIA approval, secretly aquired DF-21 ballistic missiles from China plus British-built cruise missiles, all with an eye to taking on Iran.

Saudi Arabia, once a reliable client state of the US, is busy putting distance between Washington and Riyadh.  China is in the running to sell armed drones to the Saudis.  Riyadh is also considering adding the Pakistani-Chinese JF-17 fighter to its arsenal.  Then there's the $15-billion worth of armoured fighting vehicles, LAV II, that the Saudis have ordered from Canada.

If the Saudis do introduce nuclear weapons it's possible they'll come from Pakistan, home to the "Islamic Bomb."

Oh, My God! What If We Got This One Completely Wrong?

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 08:41
A recent article in Aviation Week claims that senior officers in the Pentagon are beginning to evaluate whether counter-measures already developed by the two obvious adversaries of the F-35 have seriously compromised its effectiveness.

The article explains that what is going on is preparation for what the staff of the next president will have to wrestle with.

What's most interesting is the part that deals with the Pentagon's obsolescence policy.  These same people are trying to catalog all the very good technology within the F-35 so that they can be incorporated into the next warplane, the one to be built to correct all the F-35's mistakes. That's the history of the evolution of warplanes.  You progress from two wings to three to just one; from air-cooled to liquid-cooled engines to jets; from canvas covered surfaces to metal covered; from straight wing to swept; from rifles to machine guns to precision-guided bombs and radar-guided missiles.

Progress is a process.  You take what works and quickly find new ways to do what doesn't.  The point has been made all along.  This overdue, over-priced and under-performing warplane is very prototypical.  It's more a technology demonstrator than a well-rounded warplane.  Lockheed may boast that the F-35 is at the leading edge of 5th Generation fighter technology but, if that was true, it would have to be Generation 5.0 Beta.  They got some things very, very, brilliantly right.  They got as many things very, very wrong and they haven't distinguished themselves in how they've dealt with those shortcomings.

Before we, and our allies, get saddled with what might be a lame horse straight out of the gate, we need to get reliable intelligence on whether the F-35's vaunted stealth cloaking, for which it compromised speed, agility, range and payload, remains valid and for how long?  Lockheed isn't going to provide us with F-35s we can stage at Cold Lake along with all the other warplanes worth looking at so that we could have a legitimate fly-off.  Since we're not getting the option to kick the tires, at the very least we need to know if this hyper-expensive warplane has already been neutralized.  The Pentagon wants to know - and prepare for the possibility - and we should too.

With the sort of money it costs to build a modern fighter, you really can't afford to get it wrong.  Once you own it, it'll be a 'come as you are party' for the next 30+ years.

I have not lost such confidence in Canada to believe that, when the F-35's shortcomings are exposed, we will allow our aircrews to still use them as our front line, Swiss Army knife warplane.  We will, however, have to deal with a huge hole in our federal budget as we scrape up money to buy the next plane, the F-35's successor, the one that will have many of the best parts of the prototype but with the wrinkles ironed out.

The Harper government (Harper and MacKay especially) has spun so many lies about the F-35 that they no longer have any credibility.  They lied about cost. They lied by trying to claim there was a contract, one put in place by the Liberal government of Paul Martin.  The most preposterous of their lies is that the F-35 will be in front-line service with Canada for upwards of 50-years.

The Aviation Week article uses the term "cannibalize" to describe the process now underway.  Senior defense officials are looking to cannibalize the F-35 - to take from it all the best stuff and leave the rest on the hangar floor.  Yet we're expected to buy it warts and all.  What do you do if it turns out to be a flying wart?


Note - I've not been able to find the article online to link to it.  I can access it through a Zinio subscription.  It is published in the February 2 issue.
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Feeding His Base

Northern Reflections - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 07:44


Fear fueled Stephen Harper's victory in 2011. Back then, he stoked fears about a coalition government. This time  around, he hopes to surf back to power by fanning two categories of fear -- fear of jihadists outside the gates and fear of criminals within. Frances Russell writes that fear of the criminals within is completely unfounded:

“The 2011 Canadian rate of 1.73 homicides per 100,000 population is the lowest of all the Americas, 14 times lower than in Mexico and about one-third of the rate in the United States. The homicide rate in Canada is more comparable to many European countries and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), but remains much higher than the rate in Japan and Hong Kong.”

So reports Statistics Canada in its latest international comparison of homicide rates.

Yet to listen to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet and their ongoing “tough on crime” drumbeat, you would think Canada was in the midst of a major crime wave.
Crime isn't rising in Canada. But our incarceration rate is. Howard Sapers, Canada's Correctional Investigator, reports:

 “Over the last three or five years, we’ve definitely seen a population increase and it’s definitely around eight to 10 per cent at the federal level and perhaps a little more at the provincial level.”

And the dominos just keep falling. “We’re now seeing, for example, a higher proportion of provincially incarcerated individuals are being held pre-trial which means they’re simply being held on remand and haven’t even been convicted.”Russell writes that many prisoners are now incarcerated before trial:

It’s not uncommon now for 60 to 65 per cent of all provincial and territorial jails having to house inmates who are still at the pre-trial stage – in other words, serving time before they’ve been found guilty and sentenced. In case the government won’t tell you, that’s akin to denying the ancient right to due process.No one seems to be questioning the fairness -- or the wisdom -- of this change:

In reality, the whole safety/punishment mantra has nothing to do with science and evidence. It’s simply raw political opportunism by a governing party who likes to use fear and threat to capture every populist wave it can generate to mine more support and money from its already rock-solid base.
Harper believes he will win by feeding his base -- even if the country loses.


Godwin without apology: a panicky juxtaposition

Dawg's Blawg - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 07:27
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

On oversight

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 06:48
Since one of the main issues talked about so far in relation to the Cons' terror bill is the question of oversight, I'll point back to what I said the last time we were told that the way to split the difference between abuses of power and a desire for secrecy was to allow only a small number of elected officials to know - but not act on - what's going on:
Remember that many of the worst abuses by the U.S. government under Bushco were defended later on the basis that Democrats were informed of their existence. And that the fact that the opposition officials were sworn to secrecy and lacked any practical means to stop the abuse didn't stop a bullying government from claiming that their failure to act immediately made for tacit agreement with the policy.

Of course, that wasn't a reasonable position by any stretch of the imagination. But it did create a handy distraction tactic as soon as revelations did leak into the public eye - ensuring that the governing party wouldn't bear sole responsibility for its own actions, while the public would perceive insiders of all parties as having hidden information.  And the need is even more glaring in the case of C-51. Instead of merely investigating past misconduct as in the case of the Afghan detainee scandal, any oversight mechanism would need to be able to assess and respond to the use of nearly-unfettered powers on an ongoing basis. And a term of tightly-scripted Con majority government should put to rest any hope that MPs from the party currently in power will lift a finger to hold the executive accountable for anything.

Of course, the best option for now is to challenge whether those powers are actually needed in the first place. On that front, the answer looks to be an emphatic "no".

But we should also press to make sure that any powers which might be granted are accompanied by full and public disclosure as soon as the immediate reason for action has abated. Because if the Cons think so little of the public as to believe we should have no knowledge of what's being done in our name, there's no reason for confidence they'll think any more of us when it comes to using and overseeing new secret police powers.

Diseased Leadership

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 06:28


Almost four years ago I wrote a post on failed leadership, using the Elizabethan notion of The Great Chain of Being as it pertained to the relationship between the governed and those who govern. In essence it postulated that if the leader was good, the nation would prosper, but if bad, it would suffer. That suffering could take many forms, including the corruption of the people.

In many ways, it echoes what has happened in our modern age. Instead of inspiring and cultivating the best in the people, our leaders often seem far too intent on bringing out the worst in us, appealing not to our nobler impulses but our darker ones. Greed, self-interest, and suspicion abounds as our demagogues bray about 'the other' and ignore the collective.

A letter in today's Star, I think, very effectively captures how Canadians and the larger world have been adversely affected by the diseased leadership of Stephen Harper these past long nine years:
Re: Harper plays politics of hate, weakens our democracy, Opinion Feb. 15

Thanks for the excellent column on the damage that Stephen Harper and his ilk are doing to our society. People who I always thought were tolerant and open are picking up on his hateful venom. Even worse, he is cynically using this to get votes.

I hope it backfires and people see through it. I’m dismayed that the opposition parties are not calling him out on this but they too seem to be afraid to call it what it is — hate mongering.

I lived in three Muslim countries — Nigeria, Algeria and Oman — for a total of two years in the 1970s and now hardly recognize them. I lived in the northeast of Nigeria for almost a year while leading a Canadian and Nigerian team of surveyors and explorers mapping the whole northeast part of Nigeria. The situation there has almost brought me to tears when I see the terrible things that Boko Haram is doing to innocent people in the name of religion.

I felt the same way a few years ago when Muslim fanatics were killing entire villages in Algeria. Many of the towns where the violence is taking place in Nigeria are towns that I spend months in and where I made many local friends. They were peaceful places when I was there in 1974.

The whole Muslim world is suffering from the collapse of the world’s 19th century empires and the battle for control of oil in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the stability provided by the Ottomans has not been replaced and this battle for control will continue for some time yet.

Yuval Noah Harari in his book Sapiens points out that the situation in the Middle East since the end of World War I, with no empire in control, is unprecedented in the last 2,000 years or more. Islam has suffered the same damage in this battle as Christianity did in the European religious wars of the 16th century. Protestants and Catholics killed each other for a long time and their theology is far closer than Sunni and Shia Islam. It really wasn’t about religion but for control of political power and resources, as it is today in the Muslim world.

Canada needs to recognize this and, at the very least, do no more harm, like Harper is doing both here and in the Middle East. We may not be able to achieve much in the short term in settling this huge problem of bringing stability to the region but being cheerleaders for Israel certainly isn’t helping.

We need to be even-handed and do all we can to support those who wish to bring peace and stability through democracy, the rule of law rather than dictators, tolerance, economic development and many more building blocks of civil society.

Maybe the collapse of the oil market and ultimately the replacement of oil by renewable electricity for transportation will allow the citizens of the Muslim world to begin solving their problems without interference from others protecting their grip on oil.

I went to the movie American Sniper and was saddened by the glorification of the killing of Iraqis who, misguided or not, were protecting their country from foreign invaders there to take their oil. It’s going to take some time to change attitudes.

Alex Miller, TorontoRecommend this Post

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 05:32
Here, on the Cons' attempt to spin an election narrative out of a fictional bogeyman rather than protecting or helping Canadians.

For further reading...
- The National Academy of Sciences offers a comparison of death rates from multiple causes in Canada and elsewhere, while Statistics Canada has more detailed data. And it's also worth a reminder as to the large number of deaths caused by inequality.
- In contrast to the real risks we face and accept every day, even the Cons' attempt to fabricate a paper trail around terrorism resorts to labeling arrests as failures or dangers (rather than examples of threats being detected and eliminated) in order to pretend there's a problem.
- Global Research makes the case for greater perspective in comparing risks from a U.S. perspective, while Paul Adams highlights the massive distance (in geography and other connections) between Canada and any serious threat. And of course Dan Gardner is always worth a read for a longer-form analysis.
- Finally, the most obvious discussion of threats (real or imagined) has surrounded the Cons' terror legislation. On that front, the NDP is taking the lead role in challenging pointless intrusions into our civil rights, and earning praise from even the likes of John Ivison in the process. Matthew Behrens notes that the Cons' message is a combination of warmed-over George W. Bush war rhetoric and ignored warnings from the RCMP (yes, that RCMP) about conflating terrorism with legitimate activity. And having already offered an important summary of C-51, Craig Forcese now examines how it's designed to attack purely peaceful and democratic activism.

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 05:20
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jeffrey Sparshott discusses new research into how automation stands to displace workers and exacerbate inequality, while a House of Lords committee finds that 35% of the current jobs in the UK could fall prey to exactly that process. And Szu Ping Chan reports on Andy Haldane's warning that a vicious cycle could prove disastrous for everybody:
Mr Haldane warned that robots could soon replace workers en-masse.

"Intelligent robots could substitute for lower-skilled tasks. If the capacity of the machine brain approached, or surpassed, the human brain, higher-skilled jobs could also be at risk. Where this leaves trends in employment, inequality and social capital is unclear. But, most likely, this would be far from blissful ignorance," he said.

"A second secular headwind, closely related to rising inequality, concerns human capital," he added. "Inequality may retard growth because it damps investment in education, in particular by poorer households. Studies show parental income is crucial in determining children’s educational performance. If inequality is generational and self-perpetuating, so too will be its impact on growth."

"In sum, if history and empirical evidence is any guide, this cocktail of sociological factors, individually and in combination, could restrain growth. They could jeopardise the promise of the fourth industrial revolution. Pessimists’ concerns would be warranted." - Of course, a more fair distribution of wealth and income could go a long way toward ensuring that nobody is left behind even as the economy changes. And Tom Clark observes that there's far more public appetite to catch and punish wealthy tax dodgers than people receiving public benefits.

- Meanwhile, Angella MacEwen offers some needed suggestions to ensure that Employment Insurance is available when workers need it - rather than seeing its funds used for political purposes.

- Scott Clark and Peter DeVries note that the Cons' economic rhetoric is sounding more detached from reality by the day. And Steve Barnes discusses the double whammy of low wages and no benefits facing far too many workers in Ontario.

- Finally, Keith Stewart writes that while it's not yet a crime to act to help the environment in Canada, the Cons have designs on changing that fact. Andrea Germanos notes that the RCMP's report on the oil industry goes beyond even peaceful protest, and moves squarely into criticism of issue advocacy where it's inconvenient for the oil industry. And PressProgress points out much more bizarre material in the report.

Ralph Nader to Stephen Harper: What's Happening to Canada?

Montreal Simon - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 04:16


In the monstrous darkness of Harperland, and when I read a poll like this one.

There’s rarely been a bill before Parliament that was more popular. The public Conservatives’ new anti-terror legislation is filling a public demand for tough new measures aimed at a terrorism threat that Canadians believe is serious, and close to home, according to a new poll. 

More than four in five Canadians – 82 per cent – back the new legislation to expand the powers of intelligence agencies and police, according to the survey of 1,509 Canadians conducted by the Angus Reid Institute. Far from seeing it as too sweeping, they tend to want more: 36 per cent say it does not go far enough.

I wonder what's happening to my country. And how so many could surrender their freedoms so easily.

So I'm glad to see that a person like Ralph Nader is asking the same question in this open letter to Stephen Harper. 
Read more »

Tom Mulcair, Bill C-51, and the Monstrous Xenophobia of Stephen Harper

Montreal Simon - jeu, 02/19/2015 - 02:24


It was good to see Tom Mulcair finally take a stand against the Con regime's totalitarian anti-terrorism bill. 

Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair says the NDP will fight the Conservative government's new anti-terrorism bill when it goes before the House on Wednesday and pushed for the Liberals to do the same. After his party's weekly caucus meeting, Mulcair said the real threat of terrorism requires responsible measures, not the "dangerous, vague, ineffective" Bill C-51.

Because it needed to be said: Bill C-51 is a rotten bill and should be scrapped.

But what was depressing, and deeply alarming, was to see how Stephen Harper reacted:
Read more »

The Totally Wonderful Downfall of Dean Del Mastro

Montreal Simon - mer, 02/18/2015 - 14:45


Well it was a brave attempt, some might say an outrageous attempt, to put a fork in the wheels of justice.

But sadly for Dean Del Mastro it just didn't work, and he will not be getting another trial.
Read more »

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