Posts from our progressive community

Covering the Impact of the transit lockout

Cathie from Canada - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 16:03
CBC Saskatoon is doing a good job covering the impact of the transit lockout. Today there are two stories -- this one: Saskatoon transit lockout affects high school attendance:

Of the more than 300 people that are registered students at Oskayak High School, more than half missed class on Wednesday...the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools board is looking into hiring a bus to pick students up from an area where the greatest number of absentees live. The buses can carry 72 passengers, but if more students need a ride to Oskayak, they may look into acquiring a second bus.

In the meantime, some staff members from other Catholic schools are going out of their way to get students to school.and this story: Transit lockout hitting Sheena Bird's family hard

Bird said the city's decision to shut down bus service might force her to keep her son out of school.

"Usually I have to drop him off and then I take the bus to work after I drop him off early," Bird said. "But now I can't get him to school at 9 and be at work at 9. I have to now walk an hour to get to work."

...Bird's husband is walking about 45 minutes to work.The Star Phoenix is doing an abysmal job -- a "both sides are to blame" editorial a day ago which I cannot link to because it is not online; and no other coverage today at all.  Great leadership!

Warning! Pay No Attention To This Seditious Suggestion

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 15:53

A CRA Audit-Free Zone

Okay boys and girls. Please resist the impulse to manipulate the Fraser Institute's data. Really, don't do it. I mean it. There will be consequences. ;)Recommend this Post

Harper and the Elections Rumours. . .

kirbycairo - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 15:18
The rumour mill has been working overtime predicting that Harper might call an early election. These rumours went into overdrive this week when an April date was set for the Duffy trial. The speculation of many of my esteemed peers in the blogosphere, goes like this - Harper seems to have run out of his political cache (as so many leaders do as the years go by), Trudeau continues to be very popular in spite of (or, indeed, maybe because of)  continual Conservative attacks on him, Harper has lost a number of important Supreme Court rulings and has set himself to lose more (with the prostitution bill and the Union disclosure bill), and as all his scandals gradually chip away at the Conservative credibility in general, and Harper's credibility in particular, the Duffy trial could could be the last nail in Harper's political coffin, particularly coming, as it will right before the election.

All of these facts are clear. However, I don't believe that they point to an early election, for a number of reasons. The first reason is simple: Harper is a deeply deluded and power-hungry individual and he is probably oblivious of his growing unpopularity. Harper, like many politicians with a dissociative disorder, is detached from much of what is actually going on in his own country. Furthermore, like other such leaders, Harper has surrounded himself with grovelling yes-men who don't dare point out the stark political realities to him. Harper's growing isolation, coupled with the fact that he won't want to face potentially negative news, means that he probably isn't even aware of the possible need for an early election. Reason two is this - if Harper is aware of the dire situation then he must know that calling an election a short time before a potentially devastating court battle would be perceived by everyone, even his base, as blatantly self-serving and could have a fatal effect on the electorate who already perceive him as too sneaky and partisan. (He did call an early election last time, but remember he was in a minority situation and there was no impending scandal.) The third issue that few seem to be considering is the fact that Harper doesn't actually need to have an election until may of 2016. Therefore, a more likely scenario in my mind than an early election is a late election. If Harper can avoid testifying in the Duffy case (or at least have his testimony covered by a publication ban), he can ride things out for another year, thus distancing the election from the events of the trial.

 The biggest reason that I don't believe that Harper will call an early election is that his real strategy  is now becoming clear. Like Thatcher in the early 80s or Bush in the early 90s, it seems that Harper is hoping to use a war-footing to get reelected. Perhaps aware that the Conservative record in almost every field is in tatters (poor economic record, poor environmental record, poor labour record, poor job record, poor legal record, etc), Harper is hoping to pull Canada into war in the Middle East and near war in the Ukraine because he knows that most populations, even Canada's, have a tough time not wrapping themselves in the flag. He also knows that the opposition parties don't have enough backbone to oppose his war agenda, and he can therefore make the opposition look compliant at best, weak at worst. (This worked very effectively for years with the Liberal Party that essentially rubber-stamped everything that Harper did, making their vocal opposition to him seem slightly ridiculous). I simply believe that Harper is hoping to have enough time to implement his war-footing strategy and believes that it will override his perceived unpopularity and continual scandals. Think about it, everyday on the news all we hear about now is Harper's international dealing concerning the Ukraine and the Middle East. And let's not forget that elections have been postponed beyond the five year rule in times of war before.

Stephen Harper's reign has been a kind of national nightmare for Canada. He has gradually eroded much of the good that this country represented and as taken us into what some people are calling a "post-democratic" era. He has made it clear that he doesn't like the constitution and walked all over it in his pursuit of power and his rightwing agenda. He has hired an army of communications staffers whose sole job is to spin all events in a pro-Conservative light, and has more or less turned the government of Canada into an arm of the Conservative Party, the guiding principle of which is to make money for the oil companies. He routinely has government spooks spying on anyone who opposes his agenda, and is using various arms of the government to shut down groups or silence individuals who might speak against him and his interests. Harper has so entrenched his party in power and held that power with such unscrupulous negativity, that it is not even clear that the Conservative would ever leave power voluntarily, even if they loose the next election.

Harper will do anything, absolutely anything, to stay in power and the best way to achieve that goal appears to be not to call an early election but to postpone it as long as possible to give his war strategy time to work or even to use a war to postpone an election beyond the normal constitutional limit.

Farewell to friends.

A Creative Revolution - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 12:32

Many of us found out today that Skdadl, AKA Susan Kent-Davidson has passed. She was one of the most idealistic people I have come across on the blogs. Lovely, funny. Smart as a whip, and a fantastic writer.

She was also a very nice person. 

We also find out because we went looking- that Pogge, the head of, AKA Robin Hills, passed back in July.

Obituary for Mr. David (Rob) Robin Hills 
Passed away peacefully at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa on July 6, 2014. Will be greatly missed by brother Glenn (Sandra), nephew Daryl (Nancy) and niece Carly (Rob). Cremation has taken place and a private memorial service will be held at a later date.
To send flowers to the family of Mr. David (Rob) Robin Hills please visit our Sympathy Store.'

Giants in the Canadian blogging world, I think anyway.

Farewell. And thanks. :)


Thing is - Paul Calandra is right

Creekside - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 11:08

Boris    Buckdog   Lorne   Montreal Simon   Canadian Cynic   Kev   Aaron Wherry  

Paul Calandra responds :  

Harper's Parliamentary Secretary Paul Calandra is pleased to use Israel as a shield to avoid answering questions in the House of Commons about Canadian troop deployment in Iraq and we are all rightly appalled at both him and Andrew Scheer.
And yet ... thing is - Calandra is right. Questions about Canadian troop deployment in Iraq *are* always about "Israel", the Cons' preferred collective term for the various neocon government officials that reside there. 
In 1996, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, who went on to attain key positions in the George W. Bush administration, were working in an Israeli thinktank for Benjamin Netanyahu on Clean Break : A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. It recommended reshaping the Middle East through the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and "the containment of Syria by engaging in proxy warfare". Chaos and destabilization of the whole region, according to their "skittles theory", is the entire point. 
How's that working out so far? When will our Con neocons outgrow their support for a two decades old strategy written in Israel and all the horror of endless reprisals and sectarian warfare it has wreaked on the world since?
Here, on Sept 12 2002 prior to the US invasion of Iraq and the Second Intifitada, Harper's BFF Netanyahu testifies to the US House of Representatives that Saddam Hussein is working on weapons of mass destruction and atomic bombs and urges them to invade Iraq to protect the USA. Cakewalk ensues.

Calandra is right that the Con answer to questions about Canadian troop deployment to Iraq is to "stand up for Israel" - although in all likelihood, reading off his little paper from the PMO, he doesn't know why..

Chris Hedges Speaks . . . .

Moved to Vancouver - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 10:23

and he speaks very well, I might add:

Now if only the people will listen . . . .

The Climate Change Deal We Cannot Live Without

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 09:33

Just what does all this squabbling about greenhouse gas emissions really mean? What has to go into an effective climate change agreement?  What factors are in play?

Here, courtesy of, are a few charts that reveal a climate deal is both urgently needed and extremely difficult to craft.

First up, where we stand today.  Annex B countries are the wealthy nations that participated in the Kyoto Accords.  Non-Annex B countries, the poor nations and the emerging economic superpowers, now account for the lion's share of global emissions.

Next is an illustration of per capita emissions.  While we're still higher than the developing world they are catching up.  In fact, China's per capita emissions have now overtaken Europe's.

Emissions records, however, can be misleading.  While China is an easy target for criticism, it fires back that most of its emissions result from "outsourcing" of Western production.  Attribute those emissions back to the land of WalMart and you more than offset our supposed emissions cuts.

The thing is, we don't really have the luxury of time to squabble about who is responsible for what.  Without a regime of substantial, global emissions cuts we're on course to exhaust our total carbon budget by 2045.  Once there we can kiss goodbye any reasonable hope of keeping global warming within the 2C cap.

Yet, here's where it gets tricky.  We have accurate figures on the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases already emitted.  We have accurate figures on the total amount of greenhouse gases we can emit into the atmosphere before we blow through the 2C target. There are only a few ways to stay within that target and that's going to mean sacrifice with some advantaged countries called upon to make the greatest cuts.

The western world's current share of emissions is 31%.  Our "suppliers" - China and India - account for another 32%.  That leaves the Third World with just 37%.

The "Equity" model reflects how emissions would be allocated by population. There, the Third World would have a legitimate claim to 53% of the remaining capacity.  The western world would be slashed back to around 11% (from the current 31%).  That would pretty much kill off our fossil-fuel based economy and require a rapid and radical transition to non-carbon, renewable energy. Given how successfully our governments have conditioned us to believe that losing fossil fuels will be the end of life as we know it, we're not going to accept the Equity model and, let's face it, we have all the guns.

That leaves the Blended model that gives the West an undeserved 'extra' share but increases the Third World share nominally.

Bear in mind that this proposal incorporates both a major cut in total emissions compounded by substantial reductions in our share of those reduced total emissions.  The pie has to get smaller and our slice of it even smaller yet. Which goes a long way to explaining why our supposed prime minister ducks a world leaders' summit on climate change.

The reality depicted in these charts utterly confounds Stephen Harper's vision of Canada as a filthy fossil-fuel superpower.  Like it or not, the world is going to have to squeeze into the equivalent of Carbon Spanx.  That's a tight fit and leaves little room for high-cost/high-carbon energy like - oh, I don't know - Athabasca bitumen.

Vancouver Sun: Let’s Give ‘Em Subban to Talk About…

Left Over - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 09:15
Vancouver Sun’s Jordan Subban photo caption sparks outrage Newspaper posted photo online calling Vancouver Canuck ‘dark guy in the middle’

CBC News Posted: Sep 24, 2014 7:41 AM PT Last Updated: Sep 24, 2014 8:25 AM PT


The Vancouver Sun is doing what they do..they always feel the need to talk ethnicity, and race is always a factor, just like it portrays its women subjects based on their looks or what they wear, rather than what they are really in the news for…unless of course you are Mayor Watts from Surrey, a Con supporter and wannabe FedCon…then she gets all sorts of publicity…but her looks? Never mentioned…

While Americans get castigated, almost daily, and rightfully so,  for the idiocy of their owners (and players) regarding racial issues, the problem is obviously alive and well and  rearing its ugly head in Canada…not for the first time. English  football (soccer) as well has had its share of racially motivated one has learned much  over the years, and Canadians, so famously tolerant in their reputations, have just joined the rest of the world  in casual racist comments, printed unthinkingly and then  forced into retracting them…too late.

The Subbans have a rich hockey history and no one needs to make light of their heritage, in any way, for any some respect!

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 08:15
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Joe Cressy argues that we need to take strong progressive positions to highlight the kinds of public investment which need to be made, rather than buying into right-wing spin about slashing taxes and eliminating public institutions:
Public investment is about social justice, taking care of people and making sure our communities have affordable housing, public transit, child care, clean air to breathe and water to drink.

Now, when progressive candidates talk about investing in communities, we are often labeled as ‘tax-and-spenders,’ as if that were something to be ashamed of.

The reality is that taxing, spending, and regulating are the core functions of government, no matter who holds office. The difference lies in how you prioritize spending.

Instead of running from the word ‘tax,’ we need to look at what we are actually doing with our resources. Are we taxing fairly, and are we investing in things that will make life better? That should be the ‘bottom line.’- Which fits nicely with Ken Neumann's view that we should demand better in the next federal election (and in our political system generally), not just settle for any alternative.

- Meanwhile, Celia Carr laments the stigmatization of people living in poverty. And Danielle Kurtzleben notes that based on our actual standards of fairness, we should instead be far more critical of CEOs who extract massive amounts of wealth at the expense of workers.

- Jason Fekete reports on the Cons' obscene expenditures on media monitoring and communications

- Finally, Barrie McKenna discusses how the fetishization of small business leads to our spending billions on programs which don't accomplish anything of value. And I'll note that we shouldn't merely be drawing distinctions between small and large businesses either, as we'd do far better to highlight the importance of public services - as Janet Newbury does:
We don't have to choose between supporting the public sector and economic prosperity: investing in the public sector is good for our economy.

A good jobs plan for B.C. would enhance the public sector -- particularly supporting jobs in health and human services. It would replace the current trend towards temporary, resource-dependent jobs with a commitment to maintaining stable, permanent jobs that contribute to societal well-being. Creating and maintaining public sector jobs can foster our social and economic well-being by ensuring the quality of vital gap-reducing social services, and by building a strong and stable workforce in B.C.

The Big Mac VS The Whopper

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 07:15

Clearly, based upon the shameful falsehoods she uttered at yesterday's U.N. climate summit about Canada being a “global clean energy leader” doing “its part” to cut carbon emissions that warm the earth, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq's preference is clear.Recommend this Post

A Fossil Fool

Northern Reflections - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 05:29


Stephen Harper is at the UN today to attend a meeting of the Security Council. He chose not to attend yesterday's meeting on climate change. As appalling as Harper's decision to skip that meeting was, Tom Walkom writes that, in the end, he probably did the climate a favour. In the past, when Harper has attended such meetings, his strategy was two fold: to obstruct and to delay:

He made an alliance of convenience with Russia, Australia and, at one point, Japan to deep-six any attempt to resurrect Kyoto.
In 2011, Canada became the first country to formally withdraw its ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.For a while, Harper aligned himself with U.S. President Barack Obama. Canada, the prime minister said, would follow Washington’s lead on the climate-change file.
He gleefully supported Obama’s efforts to replace binding international commitments with voluntary ones.
To that end, Harper solemnly agreed, at the 2009 Copenhagen summit, to reduce Canadian greenhouse gas emissions in lock-step with the Americans.But the prime minister never delivered. The U.S. under Obama is on track to meet its 2020 targets. Canada, by the federal environment department’s own admission, is not.

Two days ago, the Rockefeller Foundation announced that it was moving its assets out of fossil fuels. Stephen Heintz, the president of the Rockefeller Fund, announced that "progress toward complete divestment from fossil fuels is being made slowly but surely." When the family that made its fortune from Standard Oil says that the future is not in fossil fuels, you would think that announcement might give people like Mr. Harper pause.

But he's always been slow on the uptake. That's because he's a fossil fool.

The Utter Disgustingness of Ezra Levant

Montreal Simon - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 04:30

I never thought Ezra Levant could stoop as low as he did when he donned a red wig after Jack Layton died to mock his supporters.

But his recent attack on Justin Trudeau shows that he is still crawling through the gutter.

Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is refusing to speak with Sun Media until the company responds to his allegation it aired an "offensive" attack against his family. 

Because let's be clear eh?

This is nothing less than political pornography...
Read more »

Stephen Harper and the Day of Reckoning

Montreal Simon - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 03:02

Well there he was last night attending a Climate Summit dinner in New York along with his Con cousin David Cameron.

After skipping the summit itself. 

And while Cameron seems very chatty and was no doubt telling him how the Queen "purred" when she heard the Scottish referendum result. 

Knowing how much Harper loves the Queen AND cats.

Great Leader seems troubled or very far away, as if staring at his own bleak future, or wondering how he's going to dodge this one. 
Read more »

The Con Speaker and the Death of Parliament

Montreal Simon - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 23:35

For years Stephen Harper and his Cons have been slowly killing our Parliament.

They have have debased it, they have rendered it impotent. 

They have reduced it to a scripted horror show, where every question is answered with an attack on the opposition.

But yesterday with their ghastly leader out of the country they practically finished it off.
Read more »

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 18:27
Tunnelling cats.

Some Nightmares Are Real

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 18:20
Sleep tight, Prime Minister Harper.

Recommend this Post

US Lobsters Take Climate Refuge in Canada

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 17:03

They're voting with their - oh, I don't know - legs, tails, claws?  However they're doing it, American lobster stocks are heading north, to Canada.

Lobster fishermen across southern regions of Connecticut and New York hauled in their traps this month in accordance with the second annual fall closure of their fisheries as state officials strive to sustain what little is left of their prized crustacean populations.

According to Connecticut's Department of Eneregy and Environmental Protection, the amount of lobster caught fell from 3.7 million pounds in 1998 to 120,000 pounds in 2013, including a 100,000 pound drop since 2012.

...But a few hundred miles north, the story is much different, as lobstermen off the shores of Maine and eastern Canada hve almost doubled production levels.

"Our largest LFA, or lobster fishing areas, the Canadian Maine Gulf and Bay of Fundy, have been persistently climbing over the last 10 to 15 years," said MichAel Tremblay, a biologist focused on crustaceans at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  

This report seems to mirror what we're seeing here on the West Coast.  Certain marine species are already migrating out of the south into Canadian waters with prey fish stocks seemingly drawing their predator species ever northward.

On The Further Debasement Of Parliamentary Debates

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 16:54
In which Parliamentary Secretary Paul Calandra, a loyal Harper soldier, does his utmost to discourage Canadians from watching the misnamed debates.

Recommend this Post


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