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Must Be A Form Of Tough Love

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 08:32


For a government that frequently and loudly proclaims its veneration of our military, the Harper regime has a strange way of showing the love:
Veterans Affairs Canada has returned $1.13 billion to the federal treasury in unspent funds since the Conservatives came to power in 2006 — cash that critics say should have gone toward improved benefits and services.In what I'm sure is a mere 'coincidence,
Data tabled in the House in response to a written question shows roughly one-third of the so-called lapsed funds were handed back between the 2011 and 2013 budget years when the government was engaged in a massive deficit-cutting drive.Asked by NDP MP Peter Stoffer about the unspent funds, Veteran Affairs minister Julian Fantino, drawing upon a talent undoubtedly honed through his various career incarnations, responded with a non-answer, saying that the government has spent a total of $30 billion for vets since 2006:
“It means improved rehabilitation for Canadian veterans,” Fantino said. “It means more counselling for veterans’ families. It means more money for veterans’ higher education and retraining. It means we care deeply about our veterans.”If I know the law from watching television, one could characterize the minister as being non-responsive, which allowed Stoffer to offer his own interpretation of the withheld funds:
“The deputy ministers . . . have obviously been told by the higher-ups that, ‘This money has to come back to us in order for us to have our books balanced, and that way we can use that money for other purposes, like income-splitting.’”Not to be outdone, Liberal veterans critic Frank Valeriote offered a trenchant assessment, saying that
ex-soldiers who’ve been denied benefits will look at the unspent funds and feel “hoodwinked, completely abandoned” and wonder why they’ve made sacrifices for their country.

“It is reprehensible and unconscionable what they’re doing so that the government can create an image of fiscal responsibility”.Perhaps in light of what many would describe as a betrayal of veterans, the Kenora Legion might like to rethink the punitive measures it took against Rev. Sandra Tankard for speaking out on their behalf on Remembrance Day. They have clearly misidentified the true enemy here.
Recommend this Post

You May Know a Man By the Company He Keeps

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 07:32

There's much to be learned by exploring the type of persons our prime minister seeks out; the gaggle of fixers, hustlers, punks, pocket liners, bullies and reprobates who surround him.


Here, in no particular order, are but a few.  The Sullied.

Fantino
Ford
Jacobsen
Abbott
Anders
Porter
Redford
Zaccardelli
Brazeau
Wright
Del Mastro
Duffy
Wallin
Flanagan
Oda
Netanyahu
Tkachuk
Sona
Carson
Jaffer



 And, by the company Stephen Harper keeps, it's pretty easy to take the measure of the man.

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 06:23
Here, on how the City of Regina has learned a painful lesson about the Saskatchewan Party's habit of accepting credit but not responsibility on P3 projects.

For further reading...
- Emma Graney reports on how the province forced the City to foot the bill for immediate site development costs here.
- For background on how decisions about education have been taken out of the hands of elected school boards, Joseph Garcea and Dustin Monroe examine the history of education funding in Saskatchewan (and other provinces) here (PDF).
- And finally, I'll point back to my earlier columns as to how public interests can diverge from those of both P3 proponents and higher levels of government seeking to avoid the bill for new developments.

Yesterday's Man -- Again

Northern Reflections - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 06:14
                                                 http://news.nationalpost.com/

There is a lot of florid rhetoric coming from supporters of the Keystone Pipeline these days --  both north and south of the border. But, Tom Walkom writes, Keystone isn't as important as its shills claim it is:

The truth is that even if Keystone fails, a pipeline from the tar sands to tidewater will be built. The Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats disagree on many things. But all agree that the so-called Energy East pipeline — from Alberta to New Brunswick — should go ahead.

Similarly, a world with no Keystone will not much affect carbon emissions. As long as there is some method of getting Alberta heavy crude to markets — by train, truck or pipeline — tarsands production will go on.
The United States has found energy reserves in North Dakota, so Alberta bitumen is no longer the prize  it once was. And, if Alberta oil finds its way to the Atlantic, it will make its way to world markets.

The truth is that Keystone is an idea whose time has passed. And its chief shill has proved -- once again -- that he is yesterday's man.


Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 06:14
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- George Monbiot comments on the far more important values we're endangering in the name of constant financial and material growth:
To try to stabilise this system, governments behave like soldiers billeted in an ancient manor, burning the furniture, the paintings and the stairs to keep themselves warm for a night. They are breaking up the postwar settlement, our public health services and social safety nets, above all the living world, to produce ephemeral spurts of growth. Magnificent habitats, the benign and fragile climate in which we have prospered, species that have lived on earth for millions of years – all are being stacked on to the fire, their protection characterised as an impediment to growth.

Cameron boasted on Monday that he will revive the economy by “scrapping red tape”. This “red tape” consists in many cases of the safeguards defending both people and places from predatory corporations. The small business, enterprise and employment bill is now passing through the House of Commons – spinelessly supported, as ever, by Labour. The bill seeks to pull down our protective rules to “reduce costs for business”, even if that means increasing costs for everyone else, while threatening our health and happiness. But why? As the government boasted last week, the UK already has “the least restrictive product market regulation and the most supportive regulatory and institutional environment for business across the G20.” And it still doesn’t work. So let’s burn what remains.
...
Why are we wrecking the natural world and public services to generate growth, when that growth is not delivering contentment, security or even, for most of us, greater prosperity? Why have we enthroned growth, regardless of its utility, above all other outcomes? Why, despite failures so great and so frequent, have we not changed the model? When the next crash comes, these questions will be inescapable.- Meanwhile, Michelle Butterfield writes about increased income inequality in Canada - particularly in resource-rich provinces where nominal growth is being efficiently funneled only into the pockets of those who already have the most. And Nick Hanauer points out that the loss of historical overtime pay has made a huge difference in the lives of American workers (who are now working the same extended hours without being compensated accordingly).

- Katrina vanden Heuvel discusses how citizens end up paying the price for corporate tax giveaways. But Andrew Prokop documents how ALEC is putting a well-funded thumb on the scale to make sure that public policy serves only select private interests. And Lindsay Abrams highlights one example of government power being used to undermine public interests, as Republicans have passed a bill to prohibit any scientists other than industry shills from informing environmental decision-making.

- Andy Blatchford reports that the Cons are just like their Republican cousins in abandoning any pretense of doing anything more than rubber-stamping the policy preferences of corporate lobby groups - this time pushing a tax credit based on nothing more than the CFIB's spin. And PressProgress notes that the Cons' definition of an "extremist" - which is of course their threshold for the wholesale elimination of any civil rights - includes people who advocate for renewable energy.

- Jeremy Warren reports on Saskatoon's homeless population and (unsurprisingly) finds that while Jerry Peequaquat may have received more public notice than most, his death was far from an isolated case.

- Joshua Shaw proposes that we recognize collective health as an enforceable right.

- And finally, Rick Mercer offers the definitive response to Stephen Harper's crisis management:

I See That Rob Anders' Replacement Is No Prize Either

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 05:07
I'm sure some hoped that when Rob Anders, the Conservative MP for Calgary Signal Hill and national embarrassment, lost his riding's nomination to run in the 2015 election, he might be replaced by someone with at least a modicum of balance and rationality. Alas, the new torchbearer for the riding, Ron Liepert, is proving such hopes were futile.

An appearance on the CBC's The Current the other day amply demonstrates that while he will fit in well with the ethos that dominates the Harper regime, his 'logic' and his contempt for opposing views will prove to be a deep affront to those who favour reasoned argument over ad hominems:
Debating the Keystone pipeline with Greenpeace Canada's Keith Stewart, Liepert repeatedly complained of "extreme environmentalists" with "extreme arguments" waging "extreme environmental attacks on Alberta's oil industry" for calling for a transition to renewable energy sources.

After labelling critics of unsustainable oil and gas development as "extremists" several times, Anna Maria Tremonti finally interrupted Liepert and asked him point-blank: "Why do you call them 'extreme environmentalists'?"

"Because individuals like your guest would like to see fossil fuels eliminated across the world. That is simply not going to happen. You know, he lives in this dream world where somehow airplanes are going to fly with solar power, how transit in his city is going to be powered by renewables from wind. This is just a dream world that these extremists live in and we have to face reality. If you were to shut down the oil and gas industry in Canada today -- I don't have the statistics in front of me -- but our unemployment rate would probably be pushing 20% in this country. And we'd be living in a dream world that simply cannot exist."
As you will hear in the following excerpt, Stewart responded to Liepert's ranting calmly and rationally, two qualties that I am sure were completely lost on the political aspirant.

Recommend this Post

Julian Fantino and the Royal Conadian Choir

Montreal Simon - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 04:13


When I heard the news that Julian Fantino had met with a group of veterans in an apparent effort to rebuild all those bridges he has blown up in the last few years, I was suitably impressed.

Until I found out the meeting was at the Citadel in Quebec City, not Ottawa as is usually the case. So he could get as far away from the Parliamentary media as possible, short of heading for Tuktoyaktuk.

Or Stephen Harper's closet.

And that veterans who weren't prepared to join the choir and sing along with him, weren't invited. 
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Arthur Finkelstein: "We have to convince Canadians to drink pig piss"

Creekside - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 03:19
In his bestseller Party of One, Michael Harris cites a lecture the usually reclusive Republican Party backroom political strategist Arthur Finkelstein gave to a conservative free market private college in Prague in May 2011. I've uploaded it below. 

In introducing Finkelstein, aka "the merchant of venom", the college president lauds his work with Ayn Rand and his successful campaigns for Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu : 
"He pioneered the concept of independent expenditure campaigns which would operate as a third force in an election beyond the control of candidate or party officials." One of those "independent expenditure campaigns" in Canada was the occasion of the pig piss quote.  Finkelstein, Harris tells us, had been working in Canada with the the National Citizens Coalition since the 1980's, teaching them "the art of commando politics as practiced in the US" and the 15-second attack ad that will end a career. 
"In 1988, Finkelstein did a poll that alarmed the far right, suggesting that Canadians might be on the brink of electing NDP leader Ed Broadbent as prime minister. Broadbent stood at 40% in the polls. ... Since there were difficulties driving a scandal-ridden Brian Mulroney's numbers up, the NCC decided to bring Ed Broadbent's down. They spent half a million dollars doing it. .... [A]s [NCC's] Gerry Nicholls reported in his book Loyal to the Core, Finkelstein told his colleagues at the NCC, "We have to convince Canadians to drink pig's piss." They did."In the following lecture, Finkelstein explains this technique of "rejectionist voting." 



A few quotes from his lecture:
"The most overwhelming fact of politics is what people do not know rather than what they do know. And in fact in politics it's what you perceive to be true that's true, not truth. This is a very difficult concept for people who are rational, but for those of us who are engaged in politics, it has become the norm. ... if I tell you one thing is true, you will believe the second thing is true even though you haven't a clue whether I'm telling the truth or not. That is the way politicians behave and a good politician will tell you a few things that are true before he tells you a few things that are not true because you will then believe all the things he has said, true and untrue.I think we may have caught up with this one actually. When Calandra or Poilievre speak, no one pays any attention because it's all just deflection spin regardless of whether it's true or not. However when Steve or Airshow or Shamwow or Kenney speak, we wait patiently for the important untruth - the only reason they are speaking at all - to make its inevitable appearance.

Tribal or structural voting. 
"Most of an election is over before the first vote or even before the candidates are chosen because the electorate votes according to who they identify with and it doesn't move much. Structural voting takes up 60 to 90% of the vote so almost all of the votes are already decided before you get started which is why you shouldn't spend a lot of time trying to get votes. There is a difference however. There are campaigns where you try to get people not to vote for candidates. I call it rejectionist voting. .... In New York there are 2.7 million more Democrats than Republicans. You cannot win in New York as a Republican. But you can if you can create a negative vote against the Democratic candidate among Democrats and the Republicans are irrelevant." Finkelstein explains how he never once allowed his NY Republican candidate to go on tv : 
"He was completely irrelevant to the campaign. The campaigns were vicious and mean - we attacked the opponent over and over again and never showed our candidate. It was totally negative." 
Stephen Harper joined the NCC in 1997, resigning as President in 2002 to run for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance Party. 

Emily Dee wrote about Finkelstein's influence on Canadian politics three and a half years ago and Montreal Simon reminds us of four Finkelthink attack ads the Cons launched against Dion, Ignatieff, and Layton. 
.

On the Benevolence of Slippery Slopes: Women Taking the Lead

Song of the Watermelon - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 23:54

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/51/KimCampbell.jpgI had the pleasure last week of attending a public talk called “Women’s Voices: What Difference Do They Make?” featuring Canada’s first and only female prime minister, Kim Campbell.

Appearing at Vancouver’s Harbour Centre campus of Simon Fraser University, the former PM sat down with Shari Graydon of Informed Opinions to discuss women’s participation in government, business, and the media. She spoke with ease and humour about her time in politics, relating such anecdotes as the aura of stunned silence which prevailed when, having recently been promoted to cabinet, she disrupted the old boys’ atmosphere by launching into a graphic elucidation of some of her own personal struggles with birth control; or the way the press hammered her during the 1993 election over such irrelevancies as her choice of earrings, or whether it was wise for her to have made a proclamation she never actually made (i.e. “an election is no time to discuss serious issues”).

The moment I had been waiting for, however, came towards the end when, in response to a question from the audience, Campbell talked about a proposal for electoral reform she had outlined some weeks earlier at a women’s conference in Prince Edward Island. The proposal goes like this: every federal riding would elect two members of parliament — a man and a woman — instead of just one. Thus, the perennially out-of-reach goal of gender parity in the House of Commons would finally be achieved.

The plan is not without its difficulties. It would require either an increase in the number of MPs, a decrease in the number of ridings, or, most likely, some moderate combination of the two. I also worry that with the reintroduction of multi-member districts under what is still a plurality voting system, the problem of disproportionality would be exacerbated. In fact, Campbell herself admitted that gender parity might fit more easily with proportional representation, under which parties could simply be required to alternate female and male names on their party lists.

But it was not minor quibbles such as these which captured the attention of Canada’s newspaper commentariat. By way of critiquing Campbell’s scheme, the National Post’s Kelly McParland writes:

Once a law was passed requiring a woman MP in each riding, there would inevitably be pressure to expand the mandate. Gays have as much right to demand more gay MPs, as do transgendered Canadians, and all the colours of the Canadian sexual rainbow … And if we are to introduce gender quotas, should we not also be making provision for aboriginals, the handicapped or any of dozens of significant ethnic blocks?

Trying to be cheeky, the Toronto Sun’s Adrienne Batra takes it a step further:

Create a special case for female candidates and where does it end?

Special seats for the left-handed? Dog owners? Those suffering from male pattern baldness?

The common thread seems to be that any proposal for gender parity in parliament will open the floodgates to other traditionally oppressed groups demanding fair representation of their own.

And this is a bad thing how, exactly?

Why shouldn’t our elected institutions reflect the broad demographic spectrum of Canadian society? Why shouldn’t we expect our representatives to be, you know, representative? Marginalized communities tend to bring with them lived experiences which differ from those of the rich white males who still largely hold sway. To bring about the greatest possible diversity in public office would benefit not just this or that group, but everyone.

Later on during the question-and-answer session at Campbell’s event, somebody mentioned the recently unveiled Up for Debate campaign, put forward by a coalition of more than 100 organizations calling for a televised leaders’ debate on women’s issues leading up to the 2015 federal election. The proposal has a precedent in the form of a similar debate held 30 years ago, and already, both Elizabeth May and Thomas Mulcair have accepted the challenge to give it another try.

Media coverage has been minimal, but once attention starts to pick up, it is easy to imagine the objections. Why a debate on women, the opinion page contrarians will crow, and not First Nations, LGBT issues, poverty, immigration, or the environment? Won’t other groups expect equal attention? Taken to its logical conclusion, this well-meaning proposal will produce an unstoppable proliferation of televised debates the likes of which a Canadian election has never seen.

As before, I fail to see the downside.

Leaders’ debates are some of the most substantive policy discussions that take place during elections. This is not to say they are perfect — their choreographed, over-rehearsed nature makes them about as stimulating as a Stephen Harper piano recital — but compared to the usual fare of self-congratulatory press conferences and BBQ photo-ops that constitute modern-day electioneering, the debates are practically paragons of intellectual vigour.

We need not fear efforts to raise the political profile of women. To pursue gender parity in parliament, and to bring to the electorate’s attention issues like childcare and violence against women, are just causes in and of themselves. But if these priorities also help to embolden others in their struggles for justice, all that does is make a strong case even stronger.

More than 20 years have passed since Canada’s singular experiment with having a female prime minister. Perhaps the time has come for us to think about giving it another shot.

This post appears on rabble.ca.


Filed under: Canadian Politics, Democracy, Gender Tagged: electoral reform, Kim Campbell, Up for Debate, women

Michael Sona, Stephen Harper, and the Robocall Conspiracy

Montreal Simon - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 16:10


It was an attempt to steal an election, and today one of Stephen Harper's Cons was sent to jail for that crime against democracy. 

Former Conservative staffer Michael Sona has been sentenced to nine months in jail plus a year on probation for trying to keep some voters in Guelph, Ont., from casting ballots in the 2011 federal election.

But it wasn't much of a sentence, and the burning question remains: 

What about the others?



For there were others, and it was a conspiracy.
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Slavery is freedom

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:00
Shorter Brianna Heinrichs:
Oh sure, you soft-hearted progressives think you're helping workers with your "employment standards" and your "occupational health and safety". But have you ever considered some people might prefer to have serfdom as an option?

Sona Bags Nine Months for RoboCalls

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:24


I hope Michael Sona gets a frail, elderly cellmate.  He's not the sort of guy who would do well with a guy named "Bubba."

Off to the Greybar Hotel for Michael Sona.  The little bugger scored himself nine months plus a year of probation for  his "blatant disregard of the right of people to vote."

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 09:31
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The 25th anniversary of Parliament's unanimous - if failed - commitment to eliminate child poverty has given rise to plenty of worthwhile commentary. Marco Chown Oved talks to Ed Broadbent about what the resolution meant at the time (as well as how it came to be ignored), while also interviewing social justice advocates about the need to effective start from scratch now. And Olivia Carville explores one life which could have been changed for the better if Canada had made good on its promise.

- Meanwhile, Dennis Raphael discusses the need to combat both poverty and inequality - with wages serving as a primary issue on both fronts. And Joseph Stiglitz highlights how inequality is undermining economic and social progress alike in the U.S.:
The extreme to which inequality has grown in the United States and the manner in which these inequities arise undermine our economy. Too much of the wealth at the top of the ladder arises from exploitation—whether from the exercise of monopoly power, from taking advantage of deficiencies in corporate governance laws to divert large amounts of corporate revenues to pay CEOs’ outsized bonuses unrelated to true performance, or from a financial sector devoted to market manipulation, predatory and discriminatory lending, and abusive credit card practices. Too much of the poverty at the bottom of the income spectrum is due to economic discrimination and the failure to provide adequate education and health care to the nearly one out of five children growing up poor. 
...
We now know that there are huge disparities even as children enter kindergarten. These grow larger over time, as the children of the rich, living in rich enclaves, get a better education than the one received by those attending schools in poorer areas. Economic segregation has become the order of the day, so much so that even those well-off and well-intentioned selective colleges that instituted programs of economic affirmative action—explicitly trying to increase the fraction of their student body from lower socioeconomic groups—have struggled to do so. The children of the poor can afford neither the advanced degrees that are increasingly required for employment nor the unpaid internships that provide the alternative route to “good” jobs.
...
(M)any of the distributional issues are related not to how much we spend but who we spend it on. If we include within our expenditures the “tax expenditures” buried in our tax system, we effectively spend a lot more on the housing of the rich than is generally recognized. Interest deductability on a mega-mansion could easily be worth $25,000 a year. And alone among advanced economies, the United States tends to invest more in schools with richer student bodies than in those with mostly poor students—an effect of U.S. school districts’ dependence on local tax bases for funding. Interestingly, according to some calculations, the entire deficit can be attributed to our inefficient and inequitable health care system: if we had a better health care system—of the kind that provided more equality at lower cost, such as those in so many European countries—we arguably wouldn’t even have a federal budget deficit today.

Or consider this: if we provided more opportunity to the poor, including better education and an economic system that ensured access to jobs with decent pay, then perhaps we would not spend so much on prisons—in some states spending on prisons has at times exceeded that on universities. The poor instead would be better able to seize new employment opportunities, in turn making our economy more productive. And if we had better public transportation systems that made it easier and more affordable for working-class people to commute to where jobs are available, then a higher percentage of our population would be working and paying taxes. If, like the Scandinavian countries, we provided better child care and had more active labor market policies that assisted workers in moving from one job to another, we would have a higher labor force participation rate—and the enhanced growth would yield more tax revenues. It pays to invest in people.- Carol Goar remarkably sees reason for optimism about the possibility of social progress based on the rhetoric of Kathleen Wynne and John Tory. But sadly, Goar is in fact referring to that Kathleen Wynne and that John Tory. And Sheila Block notes that Wynne in particular is spending far more of her attention on shuffling pools of money around for accounting purposes than on improving the lives of Ontarians.

- Finally, Murray Mandryk writes that we should recognize Jerry Peequaquat's death as the result of multiple social failings.

WildRose Revisited

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 08:30


The other day I wrote a post about the Wildrose Party's retraction of its definitive equal rights clause that covered almost every conceivable individual. Although leader Danielle Smith had enthused the day before about its inclusiveness, when party delegates voted it down, she quickly changed her tune, saying that the more generic substitute was better.

In this morning's Globe, Gary Mason offers his own view on what many see as a regressive step for Wildrose, and what he calls yet another 'bozo eruption.":
The change was important for a political institution that is still viewed suspiciously in some quarters. It is widely accepted that it lost the past provincial election when an old blog post written by one of its candidates was unearthed in the dying days of the campaign. In it, Allan Hunsperger condemned gays and lesbians to an “eternal lake of fire.” Ms. Smith lamented the “bozo eruption,” and pledged that the party would do a better job in future of weeding out those with bigoted and narrow-minded attitudes.The policy alteration was designed to do just that:
Last year’s recommended alteration to its human rights policy was designed, in part, to show Albertans that Wildrose is as inclusive as any party in Canada. It was hoped the change would dispel any notion it is not ready to govern an increasingly multiethnic and socially liberal society.The failure of the party is egregious in this regard, and is reflected in its recent loss in the four by-elections last month, which saw all taken by the newly-revived Conservatives under Jim Prentice.
Suddenly, Wildrose looks lost and uncertain. At the convention Ms. Smith blamed the media for many of the party’s woes, accusing news organizations of perverting or ignoring positive stories to instead perpetuate the image of a negative and angry political brand. This takes gall, considering that for much of Ms. Redford’s two-year tenure, the media focused almost entirely on the former premier’s near-constant travails. Wildrose was served up daily opportunities to take vicious, but legitimate, swipes at its main rivals.Surely, part of the blame must be put on Danielle Smith, who after those losses urged a leadership review that was rejected by the party.

Gary Mason ends his piece with this ominous observation:
The decision to reject overwhelmingly a human rights policy change that would have made the party look decidedly more modern and inviting does nothing to help its cause. At one time, Wildrose seemed close to governing Alberta. Now it could not seem further away from power.The lesson for the Alberta electorate, I suppose, is clear. No one should be surprised that when these 'bozos' remove their 'public face,' the same faces peers back at them in the mirror.Recommend this Post

Dealing with sexual harassment

Dawg's Blawg - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 07:19
Back in the day, I was president of a small Local in the wider federal public service. One day a woman informed me that she was being sexually harassed by her manager. What to do? This was well before the... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

Coming Home To Roost

Northern Reflections - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 05:56

                                              http://www.huffingtonpost.ca

The Canadian Press reported yesterday that former Conservative MP Bill Casey wants to run for the Liberals in his old riding:

Former Conservative and Independent MP Bill Casey says he plans to seek the federal Liberal nomination in his Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.
Stephen Harper threw Casey out of the Conservative caucus after Casey voted against his government's budget because it altered the terms of the Atlantic Accord, which governed cash transfers  between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Labrador. Casey said that Harper had betrayed his constitutents and Casey felt it was his duty to speak for them. The Harper spin machine declared Casey persona non grata .

Mr. Casey says his motivation for running is not revenge:

Casey says there are several reasons why he wants to re-enter politics, but primarily he wants to "raise the alarm" about the declining state of the parliamentary system.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the upcoming federal election. Mr. Harper has betrayed lots of people on his way to power. Those betrayals are coming home to roost.



Crisis Pregnancy Centres: Alberta Fake Clinics Get Public Money

Dammit Janet - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 05:54
As promised, we're taking a look at other crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs) in Canada that apply for and receive public funding.

Back here in our how-to identify and expose fake clinics getting public money, Kathy Dawson found that the Alberta Lottery Foundation (ALF) does indeed funnel money to CPCs.

Alberta Lottery Foundation is like the Ontario Trillium Foundation. It redistributes the province's ill-gotten gains to "worthy" community assets. (Or does it?)

It's got a ton of dough to hand out -- $1.486 billion in 2013-14 alone.

The website has a handy search function. Kathy used the search term "pregnancy" and look what she found.


Since 2008, ALF has given $93,200 of "involuntary" donors' -- i.e. Alberta's gamblers' -- money to three "pregnancy"-related groups: Medicine Hat Pregnancy Support Society, Hinton Crisis Pregnancy Association, and Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre Society (Red Deer and Olds). Most of the funding was for operations and all of the funds were doled out under the Community Spirit Donation Grant Program.
The Community Spirit Donation Grant Program supports the generosity of Albertans with a matching Donation Grant Program and the Enhanced Charitable Tax Credit.There's not much information on this program on ALF's site, but it seems that not only are public funds involved in the grants, but Albertans fork out again in forgoing taxes on the donors' contributions in the form of "Enhanced Charitable Tax Credits."

Let's have a closer look at Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre. It's interesting for a few reasons. First, it's pretty rich for these kind of operations.

From its mandatory filing at Canadian Revenue Agency, in 2013, it reported revenue of just over $450K, with "government funding" $68,690 or 15%.

In 2012, it reported revenue of $442K and government funding of $95,879 (22%).

"Government funding"??????????????????

It was also the target of an undercover investigation in 2000 by CTV, which exposed the usual lies, manipulations, and misleading information. I can't find any of the original stories but I found an interesting "rebuttal" by Fetus Freak Media outlet The Interim.

The Central Alberta fake clinic can also boast of the fact that one of its founders is Valorie Day, Stockwell Day's wife.

Here is its mission statement:

The Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre is a Christian charity dedicated to upholding the sanctity of all human life. We help women, their partners, and their families to explore all pregnancy options; giving access to accurate information and the space and time needed to make a well informed decision.

The Centre does not perform, refer, or advocate for abortion. However, we are committed to unconditional acceptance of everyone we serve, regardless of their choices.It is also a member of Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services, you know, the umbrella organization, that the Ontario Trillium Foundation had a "philosophical" issue with.
The decision came after pseudonym-using blogger Fern Hill reached out to OTF Oct. 29, confirmed Thomas Chanzy, vice-president public affairs.

“The issue that was raised when we looked into that grant more deeply was the affiliation with CAPPS, the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services,” he said.So, if you live in Alberta and buy lottery tickets, you are willy-nilly supporting these lying liars. If you live in Alberta and don't buy lottery tickets, your tax dollars have to stretch just a bit farther because you are underwriting donations to them.

Later, a look at the other two publicly funded fake clinics in Alberta.

Why The Harper Cons Must Pull These Porky Ads

Montreal Simon - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 04:17


As you know, I had a little fun yesterday with this latest Porky Action Plan ad, produced and directed by the Con Ministry of Propaganda and Disinformation.

Because it's so misleading, so obviously partisan, such a blatant attempt to brainwash Canadians with their own money.

I simply can't help myself...



For how else are you supposed to react to such totalitarian propaganda? Except laugh in the faces of those who made it.
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Stephen Harper and the By-election Message Progressives Cannot Ignore

Montreal Simon - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 03:00


You'd think Stephen Harper would have been cheered by his two by-election victories in Ontario and Alberta.

But he wasn't. In the Commons yesterday he was tense and irritable.

And with good reason. For when you examine the results closely you can see that hidden in them are the seeds of his own destruction.
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