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Shaming Those Who Deserve It

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 06:47
Many of them probably sleep quite well at night in the belief that their unethical, criminal behaviour is likely never to see the light of day, and even if it does, it will at worst be exposed on a somewhat obscure Ministry of Labour website. Taking advantage of people seems to come naturally to them; denying workers their rightful wages perhaps even gives them some pleasure. They are employers no one should ever have to deal with. And now, some of them are finally being exposed.

Guided by the Atkinson principles (A strong and united Canada, civic engagement, individual and civil liberties, a necessary role for effective government and the rights of working people), The Toronto Star takes its mission seriously, as recently demonstrated by its exposure of two people, Robbie Elpueppeto Yuill and Kim McArthur, for their refusal to pay their employees the wages they are owed.

Let's start with the experience that Kris Kadas had at the hands of Mr. Yuill, the operator of a small restaurant called Grilled Cheese in Toronto's Kensington Market. Kadas says he is owed backpay of $856.75, part of what he says are thousands of dollars owed to a handful of workers:
In a string of text messages Kadas showed the Star, between himself and a phone number that former workers identified as belonging to The Grilled Cheese owner Robbie Yuill, Kadas repeatedly asked for the owed money.

The texts he got back included: “Hey why don’t you come over here stand right in front of me my brothers want to talk to you too.”

Kadas fought back, telling Yuill: “you need to treat your workers better,” but he still received no pay.Kadas went on to post his experience on Reddit, advising people not to patronize the business, now temporarily closed owing, one assumes, to the adverse publicity generated. Kadas sees this closing as a ploy:
As of yesterday the doors have been locked and the owner is nowhere to be found. He has done this before and reopened with a new team only to screw them over as well. When and if the place becomes operational again please do not give your money to a terrible person.
Global News took up the crusade, and filed this report:



After that report was aired, other former employees came forward:



Exposing corrupt practices to the light of day through both social and mainstream media may be the best way to remedy them. As you will see in my next installment, which looks at the shameful behaviour of Kim McArthur, orders issued by the Ontario Ministry of Labour to pay wages owed often go unheeded.Recommend this Post

Conservative death throes

Dawg's Blawg - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 06:02
An animal is most dangerous when it’s wounded, they say, and the Conservative Party of Canada has been metaphorically bearing that out for months. Sinking steadily in the polls, it has sought to further impose its brand of sado-politics upon... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

Alone At Last

Northern Reflections - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 05:16
                                               http://www.quickmeme.com/

Stephen Harper's allies are abandoning him. At last count, 46 of the 166 Conservatives who rode into Ottawa in 2011 have left the Harper stable. Andrew Coyne writes:

It isn’t just the half-dozen ministers who have, just months before the election, announced their retirements, in some cases (John Baird) without so much as a day’s notice, in others (James Moore) without a word of acknowledgment from the prime minister. It isn’t the two dozen other MPs who will not be running again, or the notable absence of star candidates among the new recruits.

It is the palpable sense of other ministers maintaining their distance, in rhetorical terms at least, unwilling to indulge in the harshly partisan attacks he demands of his subordinates. The undying loyalists, the ones whose careers he promoted on just this basis — the Pierre Poilievres, the Chris Alexanders — will stick with him to the end. But that is pretty much all that remains, a dwindling palace guard of zealous staffers and the callower ministers. “The Harper government” used to be a branding exercise. It is now an almost literal description.
Harper has become, in Michael Harris' phrase, a Party of One. The numbers are bad and they keep getting worse:

Averaging the polls together, the ThreeHundredEight.com poll-tracking website shows the Tories sliding steadily all through the last two months, from a pallid 32 per cent at the beginning of May to a dismal 29 per cent at the end of June. Worse, only about five to seven per cent of non-Conservative voters would consider them as their second choice. 60 per cent of voters tell EKOS the government is moving in the wrong direction, versus just 32 per cent for the contrary.
Still, the folks in charge say it's steady as she goes:

The strategy is to stay the course, make no sudden moves, until voters return to their senses. Yet there are distinct signs of jitters in Conservative central command. Recent days have witnessed a pro-Harper political action committee launching and shutting down in the space of a week, followed by the production of an anti-Trudeau attack ad so grotesquely over the top — it features photos of ISIL victims just before their execution — it had even stalwart Tory supporters denouncing it.

Only the true believers are left -- and their numbers are dropping. Mr. Harper may, indeed, find himself alone at last.


Stephen Harper and the Creeping Militarization of Canada

Montreal Simon - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 02:58


In my last post I showed you yet another example of how Stephen Harper is trying to militarize our culture.

By having such gentle and iconic Canadian traditions like the RCMP Musical Ride, compete in the same arena with a sinister SWAT show...



Complete with armoured cars, explosions, and even a prisoner to carry off in handcuffs.

And yesterday's Canada Day show on Parliament Hill was more of the same. With more soldiers and police officers than you could count. A twenty-one gun salute.

And this thundering message from Great Warrior Leader. 
Read more »

Worth considering

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 19:24
Shorter National Post:
Rachel Notley and the Alberta NDP are keeping their campaign promises. For some reason, we think this should be a warning rather than a beacon of hope for the rest of Canada.

Stephen Harper and the Harper Police

Montreal Simon - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 16:30


Well as you know, Stephen Harper has turned the RCMP into the Harper Police. 

And sadly the Musical Ride isn't what it once was. 

Is there no place now where Canadians can be spared the Conservative government’s jingoistic militaristic bleating with its conjured-up images of dangers lurking around every corner, nurturing the fear that “others” are out to rob us of our freedoms?”

But every now and then the Mounties still do get their man.
Read more »

Wednesday Afternoon Links

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 12:11
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The Star's editorial board writes that five years after police committed serious human rights violations at Toronto's G20 summit, nobody seems to have learned any lessons from the abuses. And David Lavallee tells his story of being interrogated for a "precursor to terrorist behaviour" based solely on his having filmed a pipeline for a documentary.

- Ian Gill argues that the impending federal election will may represent a last opportunity to take Canada off of a path toward environmental destruction. And Brian Kahn notes that the rest of the world is predictably shifting toward cleaner energy whether we're on board or not.

- Gillian Steward reports on Rachel Notley's precedent-setting participation in the UN's next climate-change conference (in contrast to past Alberta premiers who tried to fight climate action). And Dennis Howlett points out that to the extent there was any doubt, Saskatchewan is now Canada's worst climate laggard.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on widespread wage theft in Ontario, along with the distinct lack of enforcement mechanisms to reliably recoup what workers are owed.

- Finally, Robyn Benson highlights how the Cons had to break every rule in the book to force Bill C-377 through the Senate. And Bill Tieleman writes that the result is to impose exactly the type of useless red tape the Cons claim to oppose everywhere else on Canada's labour movement.

On half measures

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 10:51
Having written this column a couple of weeks back on electoral financing in Saskatchewan, I'll take a moment to address this letter to the editor in response from R. Curtis Mullen.

It's indeed true that Saskatchewan has spending limits which apply during an election campaign. But the Canada Elections Act does in fact regulate both donations and campaign spending, leaving little room for anybody to argue that it's an "either"/or situation.

More importantly, though, campaign spending limits fall short of addressing the principled basis for donation restrictions on two fronts.

First, they do nothing about the problem of concentrated donations.

However a party is limited in spending its money, it may still have a strong incentive to run its campaigns (and its other operations) to please donors who contribute a disproportionate share of their funding. And the combination of lax donation rules and limited spending could in fact make it all the more likely that a party would be bought at an affordable price by one or more wealthy donors.

And second, they do nothing about pre-campaign spending by a party.

That's been less an issue in Saskatchewan than on the federal scene as the advertising we currently see tends to be funded out of government or caucus coffers. But surely it's not hard to see how a gusher of unregulated funding could swamp our public discourse - leaving little room for other voices to push their way back into the mix during an election campaign.

It may well be worth also considering other options to improve our political system, such as regulations on third-party campaign advertising as suggested by Mullen. But that reality only signals that we should be having a conversation about the changes which ought to be made - not settling for matters as they stand as the Wall government seems inclined to do.

Happy Canada day

LeDaro - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 10:37
I wish you Happy Canada Day. I hope better days are ahead for Canada.  In the meantime it should not interfere with our celebrating the Canada Day.We are one of the best country in the world.


..... Canada Day

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 06:10
I wish that I could have inserted 'Happy' in front of today's title, but for reasons too obvious to discuss, I can't. However I will say this: may next year find all Canadians in circumstances whereby we can freely us that adjective in a heartfelt salutation to our country.

Meanwhile, allow me to offer the following to observe this day:





And my most heartfelt wish:

Recommend this Post

Canada Day 2015

Northern Reflections - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 05:52
                                         http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.ca

Yesterday, Greece defaulted on its creditors. We are in yet another financial crisis. Jim Stanford writes:

No one can predict how the European drama will unfold next. Or how other after-effects of the 2008-2009 crisis (such as the coming rise in U.S. interest rates) will shake still-fragile economies around the world. What is certain, however, is that globalized, financialized, polarized capitalism is incapable of finding the stable and efficient equilibrium fantasized by conventional neoclassical economists. Repeated outbreaks of credit-fuelled, speculative exuberance are inevitably followed by panic, retrenchment, and recession. This will keep happening. We don't know precisely when the next crisis will occur, nor its precise proximate cause. But we do know another crisis will occur, with 100 per cent certainty. And we do know that the 99 per cent of humanity who do not possess enough financial or business wealth to support themselves without actually working for a living, will be asked again to bear the brunt of the subsequent pain and dislocation.
On this Canada Day, we need to remember that those who presently hold the reins of power are manically devoted to the same neo-classical economics that has caused our recurring financial crises. And it doesn't have to be that way:

This pattern of repeating crisis and growing polarization is hard-wired into the DNA of modern capitalism: an economic system organized around the self-serving decisions of a surprisingly small and privileged segment of society. This crisis, no different from the last or the next, was not an unpredictable, unpreventable, one-off occurrence: a "black swan" event. Rather, it was the predictable, preventable result of an economy that puts the interests of financial wealth above the interests of the vast majority in working and supporting themselves. And it will happen again, unless and until we change the fundamental rules of the game.
Stanford writes that,  just as Naomi Klein suggested in The Shock Doctrine, these crises are organized for the benefit of the fabulously wealthy few:

She showed how ruling elites regularly take advantage of moments of fear and confusion, arising at moments of economic, social, or even natural disaster, to enforce painful changes that they were preparing for years -- but that most people would not tolerate under "normal" circumstances.
Today is a day to reflect on what we've become. And what we've become -- particularly in the last decade -- is an ongoing tragedy.


Canada Day in Harperland, Between Hope and Despair

Montreal Simon - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 03:56


It's Canada Day in Harperland in the grim year of 2015. And I must admit I'm finding it hard to find a reason to celebrate, or find words to express how I feel.

For it has been a grim year, and think I said what I wanted to say about Canada, in this post the other day.

How I once thought of this big beautiful country as a magical place. 

But now I don't recognize it.
Read more »

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 17:35
Entranced cats.



In Frank and Passionate Defence of Thomas Mulcair

Montreal Simon - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 16:10


Well I've defended Justin Trudeau a lot recently, in three of my last six posts.

When she was attacked, I defended Elizabeth May. 

And now it seems I must defend Tom Mulcair.

From a story that suggests that he is really a closeted Harper Con. 
Read more »

#YQR Evacuation Centre Volunteers Needed

The Regina Mom - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 11:09

Too much going on politically.  And now this, too!

Evacuation Centre Volunteers Needed

Due to the unprecedented level of fires and smoke in the north the Red Cross will be assisting with evacuees arriving in Regina as early as June 29 evening for two evacuation centres being set up at the University of Regina (200 people) and Evraz Place (up to 800 people). They are in dire need of volunteers to assist with set up and also to assist with personal support and recreation for evacuees during their time here. Volunteers are needed for assistance at all times of day and through the weekend.

Please consider volunteering. To do so you need to get a criminal record check done with the Regina Police Service and the Red Cross has arranged that this can be done on the spot when you go to get it.

If you plan to volunteer please send your availability over the next ten days as soon as possible to:

Cindy Fuchs CHRP Provincial Director Saskatchewan

Canadian Red Cross | Croix-Rouge canadienne Western Zone 2050 Cornwall Street | Regina | Saskatchewan | CA | S4P 2K5 Cindy.Fuchs@redcross.ca T 306 721-1631 | F 306 721-1602 | C 306 536-6700 www.redcross.ca | www.croixrouge.ca


As Canada Day Approaches

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 09:32
A little something to think about:

Recommend this Post

Conflicted about Foothills

Rusty Idols - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 08:48

#andp
This is hard, I'm conflicted and not happy to be writing this.

Bob Hawkesworth has thrown his hat into the ring for the Foothills by-election to replace Jim Prentice who took his ball and slunk home on election night resigning his seat before the votes that won it for him were even counted.

Bob is a stellar candidate, experienced, skilled and a great potential addition to Alberta's NDP government.  He kept the NDP fires burning in Calgary during some dark years and I'd be glad to see him in government now that the party is in ascendency.

BUT....

He had the chance to run in the general.  He could have put himself out there, back in the startlingly recent days when running as a New Democrat in Calgary was quixotic at best.  He didn't.  Anne Wilson did. 

Anne Wilson is a criminal lawyer specializing in legal aid cases who put her life on hold to make a kamikaze run against the leader of the mighty PC dynasty in Calgary Foothills in order to bring attention to starved social services in Alberta.  While Bob sat the General out, she was campaigning hard against the leader of the PCs.  And ultimately came within a few thousand votes of beating him as the orange wave crushed the Progressive Conservative Party.

Lots of commentators recognize that between the wave, the government's honeymoon and lingering anger at Prentice's punk move on election night Calgary Foothills is an extremely likely pickup for the NDP in the coming by-election.

And now, Bob Hawkesworth has thrown his hat in the ring.

And as much as I like him, as much as I think he'd make a great candidate and a great MLA that offends my sense of justice.

Anne Wilson put herself out there, she knocked on doors and put up signs and committed months of her life to give the NDP a voice in a riding that was an all but guaranteed PC win.  Bob sat the General out, there no shame in that, he's put himself on the line in a lot of elections and won some and lost some, he was in fact the guy who beat Jim Prentice the first time he ever ran for office decades ago. He had every right in the world to take a break from campaigning, maybe he was saving himself for the federal race or had family considerations or just didn't want to expend the energy on an all but guaranteed loss.

But Anne Wilson did.

She put her life on hold she campaigned hard and she came within a few thousand votes of defeating the leader of the PCs in the party's stronghold.

And now Bob Hawkesworth wants to, forgive the hyperbole, swoop in and benefit from the orange wave that Anne Wilson along with all the other NDP candidates helped create in the general.

Once again, Bob is awesome, he's a great guy, he'd make a great candidate, a great MLA and probably with his long experience a great cabinet minister.

But pushing aside the woman who put the work in during the general now that the byelection is a much better bet for an NDP candidate leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

sdnxry5z7g

It's Time to Bury the Myth of the NDP Being the Party for Blue Collar Canadians

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 08:43
As the Layton-Mulcair tag team "Blairified" the NDP, it triggered some grumbling among its more devout members who briefly bemoaned the extinction of social democracy in Canada.  Even that passed quickly enough and the membership got used to being what they for so long so loudly decried - liberals. Yessir, real honest to Odin, market fundamentalist, neoliberals.

They still like to make themselves out as progressives (is there such a thing as a "closet progressive"?) but that's just pretentious.

Yesterday Emily Dee ripped the beard right off Tommy Mulcair to expose his true colours.  It was a scathing indictment of Mulcair and what he really stands for (hint: if you're blue collar that's not you).

Then there's well known and respected voice of the Canadian Left, James Laxer, who dismantles the Dippers' claims that the Green Party are just "conservatives with composters."  Laxer explores the Greens' economic policy platform and finds that, if anything, they're more progressive than today's Dippers.

Laxer doesn't even get into the Greens' policy to restore a free press in Canada or the party's clear and decisive foreign policy (remember Gaza?) that should shame Dippers into utter apoplexy.  And I think we'll give the environmental/climate change issue to the Greens hands down, won't we?

But don't worry, Tom Mulcair is just screwin' with ya.  I got that straight from Dipper apologist in residence Ron Waller who left this telltale remark: "Certainly the NDP is a right-leaning centrist party. But they can be trusted to move the political football back towards the center and eventually to the left-of-center."

They can be trusted - once they hoodwink enough voters to win the election - to change course?  What part of "trust" does Waller not understand?  This guy Waller also upbraided me for referring to Mulcair as "the Angry Beard." Talk about thin skinned!  Hell, I didn't even mention those dead, "serial killer" eyes.

(h/t Northern PoV for the Laxer/Rabble link).

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