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Liberal Majority Electoral Reform Committee

Creekside - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 11:20
Electoral Reform Committee announced today: Liberal Chair. Six Liberals, three Cons, 1 NDP.  Elizabeth May and one Bloc sit in but no voting rights. 

That's likely 9 to 1 against adopting any form of proportional representation.

For a preview of how 9 to 1 committee dynamics work, take a look at last week's Finance Committee vote, same numerical party makeup as above, as they debated a motion to "compel" KPMG to account for hiding Canadian tax dollars offshore.
How'd that work out for us?

Last word goes to PM Justin Trudeau : "A good political party that has the right kind of platform or program for Canadians should be able to make any system work."

Presumably especially one that guarantees Liberal majorities forever.

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 11:00
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Caroline Plante reports on Quebec's scourge of medical extra-billing and user fees (as identified by its own Auditor General). And Aaron Derfel notes that the federal government has done nothing to apply the Canada Health Act to rein in the practice.

- Erika Shaker highlights how federal funding for post-secondary education serves mostly to provide further advantages for students who already have the most.

- The Star makes the case for the Communications Security Establishment to answer for breaches of Canadians' privacy. And Kaveh Waddell discusses how big data in the hands of the corporate sector can lead to systematic discrimination against poor communities, while Dennis Howlett challenges KPMG's claim that confidentiality entitles tax cheats to avoid exposure.

- Susan Delacourt offers a few suggestions as to how Justin Trudeau could usefully use some political capital - with a particular focus on reversing the Cons' attacks on the political system. And Kelly McParland notes that the Cons themselves may be continuing down the path of artificial barriers against experience and competence with internal leadership term limits.

- Finally, Trish Kahle discusses the shared interest of the labour and environmental movements in a sustainable economy.

Need a Good Laugh?

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 09:43
Rachel Maddow with the results of a new poll by PPP

When Man Met Gaia

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 08:58
This pretty much captures the whole thing.

The Saudis' Assurances Are Worth Nothing, As Trudeau Well Knows

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 08:39
The Trudeau government is adamant about seeing through the $15 billion sale of armoured vehicles to human rights' suppressor Saudi Arabia, trying to hide behind assurances given that they will not be used against its civilian population. That, of course, is absolute nonsense, a fiction intended to paper over the fact that our leaders are essentially saying that blood money is acceptable, as long as the price is right.

I hated it when the Harper government lied to us, but I hate it even more that our 'new' government is doing exactly the same thing. The Globe and Mail reports the following:
Footage analyzed by The Globe and Mail shows Saudi Arabia using armoured vehicles against minority Shia Muslim dissidents in the Mideast country’s Eastern Province, raising serious questions about Riyadh’s tendency to use these military goods against its own citizens.

Copies of the videos, which date from 2012 and 2015, were supplied by Saudi human-rights activists who want Canada to suspend shipments of combat vehicles to Riyadh in a $15-billion deal between Canada and the ruling House of Saud.

The Trudeau government in April approved export permits for the bulk of these vehicle shipments in what Ottawa calls the largest advanced manufacturing export contract in Canadian history. The vehicles, made in London, Ont., are expected to ship over four years, and will have machine guns and anti-tank cannons.

The combat vehicles in the videos are not Canadian-made, but they demonstrate the regime’s inclination to use such military assets against its own people in a region that is very difficult for Canada to monitor. It also casts doubt on the Liberal government’s assurances that the massive arms sale to Saudi Arabia presents no risks for the country’s civilians.
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Hotter, Drier = More, Bigger Fires

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 08:15

As the world heats up and dries out, ever more and ever bigger wildfires are becoming the new normal.

Many Canadians were shocked by the wildfire that engulfed Fort McMurray. Those are people who have been asleep at the switch.

The fact is massive wildfires are becoming somewhat commonplace around the world and science tells us they're going to getting more massive, more commonplace for decades to come.

Now I know that the "Fort Mac Mourners' Brigade" doesn't think it's appropriate to discuss that conflagration in the context of climate change, especially given the link between that city and the Athabasca Tar Sands, but to them I say "bollocks."

Would it help if we just added the Fort Mac fire and the rest of the wildfires that we'll be experiencing this summer to the bag full of mega wildfires from every other corner of the world? Would that help? Could we then have a grownup discussion of the problem.

It's not called "Alberta warming" or "Saskatchewan warming." No, it's called "global warming," emphasis on global. Just as those pesky scientists have been warning us, seemingly forever, our Earth is heating up and, with it, most wet parts are getting wetter while the dry bits are getting drier.. and hotter. Drier + hotter = more, bigger fires.

We shouldn't give Fort McMurray a pass just because it's the home base for the Tar Sands operations. It is, after all, the home base for the Tar Sands operations. And, if there's a lesson in this conflagration, we'd be foolish to waste it.

Justin's right. There have always been forest fires. But it's sort of like when he calls armoured fighting vehicles "jeeps." That boy sure has got a way with words.

There haven't always been forest fires of the scale and severity we've been seeing in recent years. That's the part Justin conveniently left out. Perhaps he thought it might mess up his pipeline narrative.

You see, what's happening on the Prairie, in Canada's boreal forest, and in Siberia, Brazil, Australia, Mongolia, Alaska, China, California and other places that have forests is something you can think of as an early-onset climate change impact. Early onset? Yeah, this is going to get a lot worse in the decades to come.

Look at it this way. In the States, the last three decades have seen forest fire losses, by acreage, double. For most of you that's happened in your own lifetime. And, in the next three decades, the US Forest Service expects that to double again. Wowser.

How much worse will depend on us and Justin. A lot of this is already "locked in." Nothing we can do about it now. But we can still make it worse, a lot worse, than it has to be. Here's one way. We can ramp up the extraction and export of the highest-carbon synthetic petroleum on the planet. Let's build some pipelines. Let's "git'er done," eh Justin? Sounds like a plan - if you're a pyromaniac.

Jeebus, if you've got another 40-years in you, you are going to see some things that my generation and the generations before me never saw. You're going to see this Earth biting back. You're going to feel what we're doing today and what people like Justin and Rachel and Brad would have us do tomorrow.

Or, we could come to our senses and take a really hard look at what's already going on around the world and figure out what's on the way if we don't decarbonize our economy and our society in Canada and every other major emitter, overall and per capita alike. We've got a choice and not choosing is one of them.

Dean Del Mastro Wants Us To Know He's Not Happy

Montreal Simon - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 05:56

Gawd. Or Mama Mia. I thought we'd seen the last of Dean Del Mastro, when he lost his appeal, and the judge ordered him to spend a month in the Big House.

But I forgot that he got sprung after only a week behind bars, so that he could launch yet another appeal.  

Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro is out of jail on bail and his lawyer says the Ontario Court of Appeal will hear his case again. 

Del Mastro went to jail last week after losing his original appeal of a conviction in the fall of 2014, when he was found guilty of violating the Canada Elections Act during the 2008 election.

And now he's back, and on the loose again. And he wants everybody to know that he's NOT a happy camper.
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As Flies To Wanton Boys

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 05:43
As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods.
They kill us for their sport.

King Lear, Act 4, Scene 1

In earlier times, we would have blamed the gods for their capricious acts of destruction. Today, we know better. We need only look in the mirror to see the truth.

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The Pressure Is Building

Northern Reflections - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 05:24
Tim Harper writes that Justin Trudeau will soon be under pressure to approve a pipeline -- whether he wants to or not:

When the economic cost of this tragedy is tallied, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is going to be under renewed pressure to approve a pipeline and get oil to market from a province staggering under the weight of historic economic troubles.
Oil production in Alberta is down a million barrels a day — this in a province already coping with jobless rates unseen in 20 years, which bled 21,000 jobs last month before the fires, and now must cope with oil patch shutdowns and international investor nervousness.
Beyond Alberta, the fires are going to have a huge impact on the Canadian economy.
How he can do that and meet his commitments to reduce greenhouse gases seems impossible. Add to that the Liberals commitment -- announced yesterday by Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett -- to sign the United Nations' Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and it's clear that Trudeau has to try and unscramble a political Rubik's Cube.
Mr. Harper is right: "The expectations and moral suasion from Alberta will be even greater. The pipeline-environmental-aboriginal axis on which Trudeau spins is about to get a lot more dizzying."

in which i ride an emotional roller coaster and get off at the top

we move to canada - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 04:00
Short version: Tala has had surgery and has a very good chance of remaining cancer-free. Whoo-hoo!

It's been a crazy couple of days. Monday afternoon we hear the biopsy results. Tuesday morning we have X-rays done. Our vet recommends a top surgeon who is in the area. She has a cancellation, that very afternoon!

I cancel plans at work, and we rush over. The surgeon is amazing, explaining everything clearly and in great detail. Tala has already been fasted for the X-rays, so even though the she still has another emergency to take care of, she's going to work on Tala that day anyway.

The staff at this clinic couldn't be nicer, calling us with updates, assuring us we can call at any time, even sending us photos of Tala in recovery!

I work Tuesday nights, and by 7:00 Allan has called to say the surgery is over and Tala is recuperating nicely. The doctor said it turned out to be not as extensive as she had thought, based on the external tumour. Statistically, there's a 75% chance it will not return. In this doctor's personal experience, of 21 surgeries on this type of tumour, there has been only one recurrence. Gotta like the odds.

I feel incredibly fortunate. I have a huge credit card bill to pay off - I had that before this happened! - but I feel very fortunate to be able to say that, too.

Here's our little girl in the recovery room.

Why Bernie Sanders' Campaign Will Not Surrender

Montreal Simon - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 02:14

Bernie Sanders won another Democratic primary yesterday, this time in West Virginia.

White House dreams fading, Bernie Sanders added another state to his tally against Hillary Clinton with a win in West Virginia on Tuesday — a victory that will do little to slow the former secretary of state's steady march toward the Democratic presidential nomination.

But since most in the MSM have written him off, his victory got little play on the U.S. news networks.

And the dominant message from the corporate media these days seems to be this one.
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Always Brings a Big Smile

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 01:12

Sure, the world is pretty screwed up. But, if you just look for them, there are these gems.

Chester Arthur Burnett, a half a century basking in Howlin' Wolf:

That's as powerful as the very first time, decades ago, I first heard it. Hell, if Howlin' Wolf doesn't get you, consult somebody.

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 05/10/2016 - 18:51
Elevated cats.


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