Posts from our progressive community


Fat and Not Afraid - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 19:32

It's been nine months since we decided to try and make a go of it in the Soo, to work with Skyline at their apartments, build friendships, strengthen family ties and soak up the North instead of going back to Vancouver Island. Skyline dumped us a month before Christmas and we spent the winter at my inlaw's again, dreaming of spring. Some friendships have faded, some have grown, and family is more family than ever. The last year and a half has been a bitter pill but it's also taught me so much about compassion and empathy, communication, gratitude, and grace. Trying to handle this ongoing situation with grace hasn't always been easy, or even possible, but I'm learning. The nine months leading up to creating a new person isn't easy, but it shouldn't be. Stripping away the layers of accumulated damage and debris is work. Delving deep into who I am and who I want to be, and becoming that person, is work. Grace carries me.

Grace keeps me from resenting my situation and allows instead for being thankful for what I do have.

Grace keeps a (mostly) civil tongue in my head during frustrating situations, or helps me to say nothing at all.

Grace asks "Is it kind? Is it true? Is it needed?" before speaking. Or at least it tries. I'm no angel.

Grace reminds me to say 'thank you' as often as possible to those who deserve to hear it, and they are legion. So many people are helping us get our feet back under us, helping with the kids, but especial thanks go as always to my inlaws. We might get under each other's skin now and then but at the end of the day I know they've got my back.

Grace lets me pour my heart out to those who need to hear it when I need to say it and creates true understanding and connection with no room for misunderstanding.

I don't have the spoons for a lot these days, but with a tentative plan in place for finally for real moving out on our own for this fall, I dare to dream of things again.


Winnicki Donates to Free Dominion's Warman Appeal

Anti-Racist Canada - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 17:06
Looks like London's biggest hater (his own words, by the way) has warm and fuzzy feelings for Free Dominion. Or more likely vitriolic and caustic feelings towards the people Free Dominion isn't fond of. With him it's more likely the former than the latter.

Not long ago, the folks at Free Dominion opened up for business again on a more limited basis, however they soon launched a fundraising effort to appeal the Warman defamation suit that went to horribly against them.

Now, to be fair, the content of Free Dominion hasn't been as bat-fucking-insane as it had been in the past (relatively speaking of course) perhaps due to certain former regulars no longer posting on the forum. <coughchoughedkennedycough>

And, much to our surprise, we at ARC even found ourselves agreeing with their position on Bill C-51.

We figured that maybe, at least in the short to mid term, they had learned the value of moderation.

And then one of our readers tipped us off to this:

Uhm, who donated $200 to Free Dominion's appeal?

Oh dear.

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Stephen Harper and the Betrayal of the Canadian Rangers

Montreal Simon - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 15:17

They are one of Stephen Harper's favourite photo-op props. The thin red line of Canadian Rangers who guard Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic.

He even likes to dress up as one of them...

But now that there is news that the Rangers may be in trouble. 

A "significant number" of Canadian Rangers in the Arctic have died in recent years, a trend that is causing concern about the strains on those tasked with being Canada's "eyes and ears" in the North, according to documents obtained by CBC News.

There is no comment from him or the Canadian military.
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10 reasons the Saguenay ruling establishes Canada as a secular country

Terahertz - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 12:54

It’s been only 5 days since the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that the prayers said by the City of Saguenay discriminated against atheists, and already cities across Canada are reviewing their own practices. But I suspect (although caveated with the standard, I am not a lawyer) this ruling will have wide reaching consequences as there are very few Supreme Court precedents on cases of religious freedom in Canada.

Reading the ruling, I think secularists should feel confident. Here’s my interpretation of my 10 favourite parts of the ruling (in the order they appear).

1. Canadian society supports a secular state, according to the Supreme Court.

The state’s duty of religious neutrality results from an evolving interpretation of freedom of conscience and religion. The evolution of Canadian society has given rise to a concept of this neutrality according to which the state must not interfere in religion and beliefs.

The Supreme Court interprets the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in light of wider society. The highest judges in Canada recognised that Canadians are a generally secular lot and do not want the government interfering with religion.

2. Government must be neutral with respect to religion

The state must instead remain neutral in this regard, which means that it must neither favour nor hinder any particular belief, and the same holds true for non?belief… The state’s duty to protect every person’s freedom of conscience and religion means that it may not use its powers in such a way as to promote the participation of certain believers or non?believers in public life to the detriment of others.

Canada does not have an official separation of church and state like the USA. This ruling makes it crystal clear though that Canada is a secular country. The government should neither support nor oppose any religion or belief.

3. Atheism is afforded equal protection as religion

Following from the same quotes, belief and non-belief, believers and non-believers, are mentioned in the same passages. This shows that the right not to believe is afforded equal protection under the Charter.

4. Secularism promotes a multicultural Canada

The pursuit of the ideal of a free and democratic society requires the state to encourage everyone to participate freely in public life regardless of their beliefs. A neutral public space free from coercion, pressure and judgment on the part of public authorities in matters of spirituality is intended to protect every person’s freedom and dignity, and it helps preserve and promote the multicultural nature of Canadian society.

5. History and tradition are invalid arguments for maintaining religious privilege

If the state adheres to a form of religious expression under the guise of cultural or historical reality or heritage, it breaches its duty of neutrality.

When I argued that the University of Alberta should remove god from its convocation charge, tradition was the most common argument that it should be maintained. Similarly the Parti Quebecois in introducing its Secular Charter argued that the cross in the National Assembly should be maintained due to cultural history. Nevertheless, the Court is again unambiguously clear: Tradition and heritage is no excuse to maintain religious privilege.

6. Religiously-motivated laws are invalid

A provision of a statute, of regulations or of a by?law will be inoperative if its purpose is religious and therefore cannot be reconciled with the state’s duty of neutrality.

7.Discrimination against atheists is non-trivial

The prayer recited by the municipal council in breach of the state’s duty of neutrality resulted in a distinction, exclusion and preference based on religion — that is, based on S’s sincere atheism — which, in combination with the circumstances in which the prayer was recited, turned the meetings into a preferential space for people with theistic beliefs. The latter could participate in municipal democracy in an environment favourable to the expression of their beliefs. Although non?believers could also participate, the price for doing so was isolation, exclusion and stigmatization.

The adoption of the phrase “isolation, exclusion and stigmatization” is powerful here. School prayer, which is still legal in Alberta public schools, similarly risk isolating, excluding and stigmatizing students who choose not to participate.

8. Ending religious privilege does not promote atheism

Barring the municipal council from reciting the prayer would not amount to giving atheism and agnosticism prevalence over religious beliefs. There is a distinction between unbelief and true neutrality. True neutrality presupposes abstention, but it does not amount to a stand favouring one view over another.

There is a clear difference between secularism and atheism and it’s well described here. The state should be neutral, full stop.

9. Even “inclusive” prayers may exclude atheists

Even if [a council prayer] is said to be inclusive, it may nevertheless exclude non-believers.

Many proponents of public prayers opt for a non-denominational version in an effort to be more inclusive. But even these, which aren’t necessarily sectarian, can discriminate against atheists.

10. The Charter’s preamble does not mean that Canada is a theistic country

the reference to the supremacy of God in the preamble to the Canadian Charter cannot lead to an interpretation of freedom of conscience and religion that authorizes the state to consciously profess a theistic faith. The preamble articulates the political theory on which the Charter’s protections are based.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins with a phrase that “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God”. The inclusion of this phrase was arguably a sop to the religious right and is used to argue Canada is a Christian country. This ruling destroys that argument and potentially nullifies the use of the preamble in Court.

On radioactive proposals

accidentaldeliberations - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 09:12
Never mind Brad Wall's hand-picked group of nuclear industry shills using public money to further their own profits found that nuclear power is not price-competitive even among an artificially limited set of options absent a substantial carbon price - and that Wall himself refuses to set one.

And never mind that a subsequent public consultation found that "the overwhelming response...was that nuclear power generation should not be a choice for Saskatchewan".

When it comes to locking in a high-cost, high-risk nuclear plant just as renewables are emerging as a viable large-scale alternative, Wall won't take "no" for an answer. But if Wall is telling us that he insists on having Saskatchewan pay for an expensive nuclear toy with the rent money saved by living in Ontario's basement, that's all the more reason to ensure he isn't in a position to make the call.

Monday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 08:53
Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jay Baron Nicorvo discusses how the myth of U.S. meritocracy serves largely as a means of funneling profits toward the 1%. And Mary Hansen points out one way of fighting back against evolving forms of corporate power - being the development of new, cooperative alternatives to businesses designed to exploit workers.

- David Korten highlights a few of the most obvious dangers in the Trans-Pacific Partnership as just the latest and most draconian agreement intended to lock anti-democratic principles in as a restriction on government decision-making. And ICIJ and the Huffington Post shed needed light on how past attempts to account for the public interest in trade arrangements - in this case through the World Bank - have proven to be miserable failures due to a lack of interest in enforcing rules which protect people rather than profits.

- Meanwhile, Louis-Philippe Rochon notes that even the International Monetary Fund is admitting that decades of constant attacks on workers have served solely to drive down wages rather than doing anything to improve economic performance.

- Steven Zhou writes that the Cons' politicization of the Canada Revenue Agency to attack groups who disagree with their corporatist message represents a serious threat to democratic discussion.

- Finally, the Broadbent Institute highlights just a few of the ways the Cons are deliberately making inequality worse. And Scott Clark and Peter DeVries comment on the Harper Cons' catastrophic economic record:
At the end of 2014, the unemployment rate was higher than at the end of 2008. The labour force participation rate was lower than in 2008. The employment rate (the percentage of the adult population employed) was lower than at the end of 2008. The youth unemployment rate was higher than at the end of 2008. The share of total employment made up of full-time jobs was less than in 2008 — and the quality of jobs had sunk to its lowest level in a quarter of a century.

Then there’s Oliver’s claim that his government has put money back in the hands of Canadians through its commitment to reducing taxes. This government has definitely cut taxes for high-income, single-earner families with children under 18 — just 15 per cent of all families. They’ve been very good to families with teenage children who — somehow — still need ‘child care’. They’ve been generous to families who can afford to put their kids in sports leagues and summer camps, and they’ve cut taxes for high-income seniors who can split their pension income with a spouse.

The government has announced it will double the contribution limits for Tax-Free Savings Accounts, despite research by the PBO and others indicating this will — again — overwhelmingly benefit high-income Canadians and leave a growing unfunded liability to be paid for by all Canadians in the future. Oliver and Harper claim to be doing this for our grandchildren. Somehow we don’t think they’ll be grateful.

All of this, of course, came after the government’s biggest and most foolish tax cut — the two point cut in the GST which every economist warned them was a terrible idea. Sure enough, it was a major factor in putting the government into deficit.

The key thing to remember here is that these tax cuts accomplished nothing for the economy. None of them contributed to economic growth or job creation. They certainly didn’t contribute to tax fairness.

Numbers don’t lie, but people do. It’s one thing to spin your failures as successes — it’s another thing entirely to try to present a decade of fiscal failure as one long triumph.

Blue Ocean Event: Much Worse Than Predicted By The Models

Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 07:46
Although I gladly yield expertise on the environmental and climate change files to my fellow blogger, The Disaffected Lib, who has been doing exemplary work these past several years, every so often I come across something that is a screaming indictment of world leaders who have been content to whistle past the graveyard while we plunge headlong toward irreversible climate change, change that will make life very difficult, if not impossible, for many of our children and grandchildren.

One of the blessings and, in some ways, curses, of using the Internet to seek out information that the mainstream media either declines to pursue or pays scant attention to is to feel a little like Cassandra, who was given the power of prophecy but destined to never be believed. I suspect the people who appear in the following presentation feel much like her as well.

What follows is the first press briefing of the Arctic Emergency Methane Group(AMEG) held on Dec. 4, 2014 at the 20th annual Conference of the Parties (COP 20) for the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Lima, Peru. You do not have to watch the entire video to appreciate the gravity of the situation as they discuss the accelerating pace of Arctic sea ice melting, and the consequences of that melt. In the words of presenter John Nissen, "All hell will break loose". His solution, however, may not sit well with everyone:

Recommend this Post

Stephen Harper and the Great War on Russia

Montreal Simon - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 05:58

As we all know Stephen Harper is no Great Warrior Leader, no matter what his faithful flunkies, and the voices in his head tell him.

And we'd be crazy to trust him with our safety, when he's the greatest threat we face.

But it seems tomorrow's long delayed budget, won't just be a crass attempt to buy votes, it will also be a Great War and Security Budget. 
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Joe Oliver and the Con Plan to Kill Government

Montreal Simon - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 00:35

OK. I realize that Joe Oliver doesn't know what's he's doing. And that the budget he will finally deliver tomorrow was written in the PMO.

But you'd think the Cons would have stopped promoting his absurd balanced budget bill, which would punish cabinet ministers with a five percent wage freeze if they dared run a deficit.

After the NDP pointed out how much it would cost them and their Great Economist Buffoon Leader. 

But no, since they are shameless, they're promoting it harder than ever.  
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TS up & at 'em!

Cathie from Canada - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 00:29
Tabitha Southey's column is priceless:

TS begins work – as TS has begun work at every job TS has ever had – that is, with one clear objective: Whatever else TS may actually accomplish today, TS will try not to do anything that might cause a massive public outcry leading to demands that the institution for which she has been labouring be dismantled.

Don't like carding? @TPSboard, @TorontoPolice, @TPAca team up for a giant F.U. | #TOpoli

Orwell's Bastard - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 20:38
[View the story "New face at @TorontoPolice? Whatever" on Storify]
Aw, come on, you old sourpuss! Can it really be that bad?

Well, maybe. He smiles nicely for the camera.

On guesswork

accidentaldeliberations - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 17:19
Shorter Bob Rae:
Some people actually believe voters deserve a meaningful idea what political parties plan to do before choosing between them? That's crazy talk.

London, UK Nazis' Canadian Content and Topham News

Anti-Racist Canada - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 13:50
Continuing technology issues seem to have been thwarting our regular writer so I'm going to step in to provide much delayed content.

On April 11, an innocuous sounding conference called the London Forum was held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, UK, but looking at the speakers left one with an impression best summed up by the great actor Sir Alec Guinness:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Yep, Nazis. Or Nazi supporters and Holocaust deniers. Really, is there a need to make a distinction?

And among this group of the infamous and reviled, two Canadians showed up to speak. We're sure you will be shocked [SPOILER: You will not be shocked] that one of those speaker's was Paulie:

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