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Tom Mulcair Weighs In on Bill C-51 Today - At Last, Finally, Maybe We Hope.

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 08:37
They're both trained lawyers, Tom Mulcair and Elizabeth May.  One of them knows right from wrong, the other waits awhile to see which way the wind's blowing.

Elizabeth May only had to read the Harper Cons bill C-51 to realize it was an assault on Canadian democracy.  The man who tells us he's fit to be prime minister of Canada wasn't so sure.  At first he was sort of for it, then he was sort of hesitant about it.  He needed time, a lot of time for someone who claims to be prime ministerial material, but - at long last - Mulcair has formulated a New Democrat position on this widely denounced legislation.

Oh please, Tom, what's it going to be?

UPDATE -  this just in.

Well, that's that then.  The NDP has given it much careful thought and concluded that it's probably safe enough to stand up against Bill C-51.   Why, Tom even called it "dangerous, vague and ineffective."  Good for you, Tom.  That didn't take long at all.  Very prime ministerial, very.

What's Stopping Them?

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 06:45


Compelling reasons exist for putting a price on carbon. Three Star readers offer theirs:
Re: Ontario carbon price policy in the works, Feb. 13

I was struck by the total disconnect between two of your news articles on Friday.

One was on the Wynne government’s decision to put a price on carbon, which is clearly essential given the urgent need to reduce our emission of greenhouse gases. In this article, the Conservative leader, Jim Wilson, is quoted as saying that a price on carbon will “hurt the economy and kill jobs” even though both claims have been disproven by the B.C. carbon tax.

The second article reported the scientific study that shows that climate change will bring decades-long droughts to the American Midwest that will devastate its agricultural economy by mid-century. We can expect similar disruptions in Canada.

How can the Conservatives, both provincial and federal, continue to claim fiscal responsibility and yet totally ignore the future costs of climate change by opposing action to reduce greenhouse gases?

Alan Slavin, Peterborough

Environment Minister Glen Murray notes in a strategy paper that, “Climate change is already costing Ontarians by threatening our communities, businesses and way of life. While Ontario is showing leadership in fighting climate change, we know we need to do more and we need to act fast.”

We agree. The time to place a fee on carbon is now. A fully refunded greenhouse gas pollution fee can be used to fund tax reductions on jobs and income, and levels the playing field, encouraging all players to reduce their pollution.

We win by reducing pollution at least cost, by having more money in our pockets and by encouraging clean technology business with price signals, not subsidies.
As citizens of Ontario we should advocate growing the economy by implementing a greenhouse pollution fee that is: fully refunded, simple, competitive, transparent, predictable and priced right. It’s a win, win, win.

Andreas Kyprianou, Canadians for Clean Prosperity, Toronto

What if world governments put a rising fee on carbon, and gave the revenue to their people? The rising fee would improve industrial productivity and drive innovation in clean technologies. It would produce quality jobs and help clean the air and water, improving people’s health.

The money returned to citizens would help take the edge off the rising cost of living and stimulate spending. It will also help reduce carbon pollution that is disrupting the global climate.

The World Bank and IMF are calling for a fee on carbon. It’s time the G20 do the same.

Cheryl McNamara, TorontoRecommend this Post

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 06:18
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Garfield Mahood and Brian Iler discuss the challenge facing charities as compared to the special treatment of businesses in trying to advocate as to public policy:
(T)he solutions to many of society’s problems do not need more research and the criticism-free public education that the CRA permits. They cry out for advocacy and changed law. Unfortunately, the CRA only allows NGOs to spend 10 per cent of their income on policy advocacy and law reform. Thus a charity has to be substantial in order to be large enough to fund meaningful advocacy.

In contrast, while the Harper government blocks charities from using tax credits to influence public opinion, it allows corporations to write off as a business expense 100 per cent of the money they spend to derail or support legislation that affects their interests.

Unfortunately, the situation is worse than the 10 per cent limit imposed by CRA guidelines. The chill created by the fear of the loss of charitable status inhibits many NGOs from working effectively. The self-censorship that is produced constrains even the allowable advocacy. Thus, there is a good reason to question whether charitable status is more of a burden than an asset for many non-profits. - PressProgress exposes five of the Cons' most regressive policies. And Barrie McKenna points out the need for greater investment in young families, rather than allocating resources based solely on the goal of buying off wealthier and older voters.

- Meanwhile, Anuj Shah observes that people operating under a mindset of scarcity value resources far more consistently than those who have money to spare. But the most significant outcome of that finding looks to me to be that a focus on additional unnecessary resources at the top of the wealth scale only amplifies irrational decision-making.

- Robyn Benson argues that we should all be able to agree on the importance of safe workplaces - making it particularly striking that the Cons are spending so much time trying to force workers to impose the dangers of ill health or fatigue on themselves and the public. And Eric Atkins discusses the continued epidemic of oil derailments.

- Finally, Jim Harding slams the Cons' wedge politics, while asking whether we'll allow them to dominate the 2015 federal election. L. Ian MacDonald calls out Stephen Harper's step toward outright xenophobia. And both Lawrence Martin and the Globe and Mail's editorial board weigh in on the disastrous consequences of the Cons' terror bill, while Shawn McCarthy reports that "anti-petroleum" activity figures to be one of the main targets.

A Very Dangerous Man

Northern Reflections - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 06:00


Stephen Harper has based his political career on the notion of austerity. Deep down, he believes it's good for the soul. But, Thomas Walkom writes, he also stands fourscore for another a-word -- absurdity. The recent arrests of two people in Halifax underscore just how absurd his new anti-terrorism legislation is:

Canada’s anti-terror laws don’t criminalize actions that might cause terror. Well before the current law was enacted in 2002, it was illegal in Canada to murder people or blow up trains.

Rather, they criminalize intent. It may be illegal to kill people in Canada. But it is even more illegal to kill people for a religious, ideological or political purpose.

More important, it is left to the state to decide — in the first instance at least — which murderous conspiracies have a political motive and which do not.
If there is a common thread between Harperian austerity and absurdity, it's the notion that anything means what I say it means:

So that’s the first point about the terror laws: They are unusually arbitrary.The second is that the government’s interpretation of these laws is infinitely flexible. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, with the backing of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, proposes a new anti-terror law that would give the security services even more power and citizens even fewer rights.
Never mind that the new law isn't needed. What Harper needs is the ability to define everything and everyone. He is a man possessed with power and his own survival -- a very dangerous man.

Stephen Harper and the Black Helicopters

Montreal Simon - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 01:51


It was a chilling moment in Question Period yesterday, that should raise questions about whether Stephen Harper is still mentally fit to govern, and whether we are already living in a police state.

The moment when Tom Mulcair asked him whether his totalitarian bill C-51 could be used to spy against his enemies, and he replied by accusing the NDP of being a "black helicopter fleet."

Even though it was a very good question, and his sinister black helicopters are already threatening our democracy. 
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