Posts from our progressive community

Why I will NOT vote NDP in the next Election. . .

kirbycairo - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 09:14
If the NDP was looking to create reasons for us not for vote for them then their past year has been a resounding success both provincially here in Ontario and Federally. If you want to know what is wrong with the contemporary NDP you need look no further than this weekend's Ontario NDP convention. Despite Andrea Horwath's miserable failure as NDP leader, yesterday at their convention she underwent an obligatory leadership review and received more support than she did last year. If you are having trouble letting that sink in, I will repeat it for you. She received more support than she did last year. Andrea Horwath is an embarrassment to the NDP that extends well beyond Ontario's borders and a poster-girl for hypocrisy. As you will recall, after supporting the minority Liberal Government for years, in their last budget round she suddenly decided to pull that support and force Ontario into an election. This election held serious problems beyond Ms. Horwath's crass and crude style. The plain truth is that the Liberal budget was arguably left of any budget that Horwath herself would have presented if she had been premier and at the very least if an NDP government had presented this budget Horwath would have been the first to champion it as a great leap forward. This is just hypocrisy. There is no other word for it.

But aside from this act of unabashed hypocrisy, it was the political style of the Horwath campaign that progressives should find most troubling. Whether or not Horwath has taken the party to the right is something many people have argued about. But regardless of the veracity of the claim, many traditional NDP supporters were concerned during the election and this concern prompted 34 NDP heavyweights to write an open letter to Horwath saying that they she was "rushing to the centre." The people who wrote this letter, like Judy Rebbick for example, surely did not take this step lightly and the very fact that it emerged demonstrated that there was a serious breach taking place in the Party's core. Did Horwath or her team take these issues seriously the way anyone committed to democracy should do? Of course not. Instead they accused thee NDP 34 of being "hacks" and "has-beens" and NDP strategist Kathleen Monk even went so far as to suggest that they were working for the another political party and intentionally sabotaging the Horwath campaign. That accusation in and of itself is reason enough to never vote NDP again.

This Karl Rove/Stephen Harper strategy-style has not only infected the Ontario NDP, it has become the stock-in-trade of the federal NDP under the leadership of Tom Mulcair. Let's take two important events in recent NDP history. First, the NDP's prevention of the nomination of Paul Manley. The NDP clearly blocked Mr. Manley's nomination because of his (and his father's) stance on Israel, particularly on the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. Not only did the NDP deny that this was the reason for blocking Manley's nomination (a denial that is universally suspected to be false) but, more importantly they  adopted the Harper political strategy and proceeded to smear him publicly. Manley claims that in private the NDP admitted that Palestine was the reason that they denied him a nomination. The NDP denied that claim, but when Manley asked for a written reason for the blocking of his nomination, the NDP, in true UN-Democratic style flatly refused. But the wording of this refusal was deeply problematic. Andrew Mitrovica wrote about it on ipolitics in an article well-titled, "Is Mulcair just another Harper with a Beard?" Mitrovica wrote -

"To blunt the blowback, McGrath (The NDP's National Director) wrote concerned and outraged NDP supporters, telling them "I can assure you the issue being cited in stories and social media about Manely's rejected application is not accurate. The rejection is not related to the NDP's position on the Middle East." That just poured gasoline on an already out of control fire. Not surprisingly, Paul Manley saw this as a "smear" because it leaves open the possibility that he was guilty of some immoral, illegal, or unethical act."

Mr. Manley rightly pointed out that this was not a job application but was supposed to be part of a democratic process. It is one thing for a Party to block nominations, but to fail to give reasons for that is an entirely different matter and is blatantly untransparent and smells distinctly undemocratic. Mr. Manley is correct to see what Anne McGrath said as a blatant smear because the vocal refusal to explain the blocking of the nomination coupled with a denial that it is Manley's stance on Gaza suggests to anyone who is paying attention that the nomination prevention is rooted in something nefarious of which Mr. Manley is guilty.

But worse than their treatment of Paul Manley was the NDP's treatment of MP Sana Hassainia. Ms. Hassainia ostensibly quit the NDP over their overt support of Israel and their failure to defend the rights of Palestinians. Though the Party did attempt to defend its position in the days following Ms. Hassainia's resignation,  (a defence which in my opinion was sorely wanting) they quickly reverted to their Harperesque default position which was to attack and smear Mr. Hassainia. Party spokespersons quickly suggested that Ms. Hassainia had a terrible attendance record in the House and that she was too busy being a new mother to be an effective MP. The entire affair was nauseatingly reminiscent of  the Harper regime's attitude toward anyone who disagrees with them.

The fact is that there are many significant policy reasons for progressives to stop supporting the NDP. But increasingly there are also many other reasons to reject the poison politics of the NDP and the provincial and federal levels alike. There is no question that the Harper regime has poisoned Canadian politics. But the NDP can choose to follow the Harper example or to operate with integrity, transparency, and honesty. It is increasingly clear that they have rejected the path of good and opted for the path of poison.


Apparently, Nothing Is Sacred To These People

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 09:05
Thanks to Ed Tanas for this:



Ed asks in a tweet why the mainstream media aren't covering this. A good question.Recommend this Post

The Consequences Of His Inaction

Northern Reflections - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 06:00
                                  http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/

There are some who believe that the deal which the United States and China reached on greenhouse gas emissions will force Stephen Harper to act on climate change. But Jeffrey Simpson warns that such optimism is misplaced. To begin with, the Republican dominated congress will act immediately to nullify the agreement. And, of course, Harper is philosophically a Republican:

When a leader such as Mr. Harper spends the better part of a decade not even speaking about the issue, let alone the rest of what political leadership entails, there is almost no chance the general public will be alerted to its importance. This is especially true of the leader’s natural political followers.

Leadership means a willingness to spend political capital on an issue, and in Canada’s case, there is no such leadership at the top. That this absence would suddenly shift as a result of a China-U.S. understanding is improbable in the extreme.
There are several reasons for Mr. Harper's refusal to act:

First, Mr. Harper doesn’t like the issue of climate change. He avoids it wherever possible and looks distinctly uncomfortable when forced to discuss it. He considers it a political and economic loser.

Second, the core of his party doesn’t like the issue either, believing climate change to be unrelated to human activities, too expensive to worry about, or a plot by lefty enviros to nail: a) Alberta; b) jobs; and c) “hard-working taxpayers.” Canadians who want more action won’t be voting Conservative anyway.

Third, Mr. Harper dislikes being pressured. When it happens, he prefers to push back rather than yield. Call it stubbornness. Call it principled. It’s how he is. The idea that he would be pressured by a “deal” whose impact won’t be felt for decades belies everything we know about the man.
What some call stubborn others would call pig headed. As for principles, we've seen Mr. Harper shred his principles in the pursuit of power. If power depended on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, he would move.

But the Prime Minister calculated long ago that power lay in the other direction. He is quite content to let the planet suffer the consequences of his inaction.

Juxtaposition

accidentaldeliberations - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 05:35
The minister responsible for the plight of Saskatchewan's homeless people:
In response to a CBC iTeam question about the waiting list for social housing faced by homeless people Harpauer said, “you’re assuming that there’s these desperate homeless people.”The plight of Saskatchewan's homeless people:
Saskatoon police have confirmed that a 42-year-old homeless man was found dead inside the cab of a an abandoned semi-trailer in an alley off Avenue K. ... There is no confirmation on the cause (of) Peequaquat’s death, but police said it did not appear suspicious.

Severight said he did have addictions issues and he had been homeless since being cut off social assistance.I do hope Harpauer will clarify how much more desperate someone like Jerry Peequaquat needs to become in order to receive some help.

Joe Oliver's Dangerously Reckless Budget Scam

Montreal Simon - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 04:58


Well as you know, I wasn't exactly impressed by Joe Oliver's totally political fiscal update, and by the way he is recklessly blowing the surplus.

To try to buy votes and leave no money in the cupboard, so the opposition can't make their own spending promises.

While also leaving no money for a rainy day should the economy take a dive, and oil prices keep tanking.

So I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thinks that Ol' Joe, and his equally incompetent master Stephen Harper, could be leading us to DISASTER.
Read more »

Stephen Harper, Vladimir Putin, and the Great G20 Showdown

Montreal Simon - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 01:57


OMG. I see Stephen Harper has stolen the spotlight at the G20 summit, by going dictator to dictator, with Vladimir Putin.

Stephen Harper told Russian President Vladimir Putin flatly that he needs "to get out of Ukraine," when the two met at a Group of 20 summit of major economies in Brisbane.

Or mano a mano.

The Russian Leader stuck out his hand. Mr. Harper accepted the gesture but said to the Russian Leader: "I guess I'll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you, you need to get out of Ukraine."‎

In a crass attempt to make the summit all about him, and the ethnic vote.
Read more »

when sexual assault goes public: #beenrapedneverreported and the presumption of innocence

we move to canada - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 12:18
The revelations about Jian Ghomeshi hit my Facebook feed in waves.

First many friends were shocked by CBC's announcement that they were "severing their relationship" with the longtime and very popular radio host. I don't listen to radio and I'm always surprised at how many people do.

Then came Ghomeshi's own statement, which one friend very perceptively recognized as likely Ghomeshi's attempt to get ahead of a story in which he would be accused of assault.

Then came his victims - now 14 people - who have courageously come forward to tell their stories.

Despite the corroboration of multiple victims, one Facebook contact of mine (a woman) continued to praise Ghomeshi for "pushing the boundaries of what the public finds acceptable sexually" - that is, a brave warrior for BDSM. I unfriended. BDSM has at least one thing in common with any other sexual activity: it's consensual. (See: poor persecuted pervert by Sex Geek.)

Whenever a famous and well-liked public figure is accused of sexual assault, the public's reaction serves as a microcosm - and a litmus test. First it's "He wouldn't do that!" - based on a public persona, as if rapists are somehow recognizable. They're certainly not good-looking, congenial, and hip! Then it's "If these women were assaulted, why didn't they report it?" and "They're only saying this to get attention!"

Statistics: YWCA Canada.These ignorant reactions present an excellent opportunity for education. But for those of us who have been educating about rape half our lives, it can be so tiring. Do people still think these things? Do they still not understand? Is rape still shrouded in ignorance and myth? Yes. Yes. Yes. Sigh.

#BeenRapedNeverReported

But that's the great thing about solidarity. When one of us is too tired or too disgusted, or feeling too raw and vulnerable, to do the work, a sister or brother will step up and do it twice as well.

Antonia Zerbisias, who very recently retired from The Star, along with her friend Sue Montgomery, also a journalist, started a hashtag on Twitter - and it took off, big-time. #BeenRapedNeverReported gave survivors a place to share, and it gave the media a peg on which to hang many excellent stories about why victims of sexual assault usually do not report the crime to the police. Sadly, #BeenRapedNeverReported is also awash with stories from women who did report, and wish they had not.

If you are hearing about this for the first time, the Twitter phenomenon has gotten some excellent media attention:
Women find power in #BeenRapedNeverReported hashtag (Toronto Star),
#BeenRapedNeverReported hashtag trending, as women share stories of assault (CTV),
Women who were raped take to Twitter to explain why they didn't report it (Montreal Gazette),
#BeenRapedNeverReported: This was our way of silencing the silencers and denying those who would deny us our voices, our justice. (Al Jazeera English)
- Why women go online to report sexual assault but not to police (CBC, "The Current")...
and many others.

It would appear that most people actually don't know that the majority of rapes are not reported to the police. Why would that be? Here's an idea. (Please go and read the full story.)
So what kind of woman is reluctant to report sexual assault? Anyone who consumed drugs or alcohol before the incident, who was intoxicated; who flirted with, has a relationship with, knows, or has significantly lower status than the perpetrator.

Any woman who's had an abortion or messy divorce. Anyone who might be in a custody battle. Anyone with a sketchy social media history. Anyone who's sexted nude photos or has unorthodox sexual tastes.

Any sex worker. Anyone who initially consented to sex. Anyone with addiction issues. Anyone afraid of her assailant. Any First Nations woman. Anyone from a minority or immigrant community. Anyone who's been raped before and not been believed.

Anyone without a strong support network. Any woman who waits too long. Anyone who's seen a shrink, or been prescribed medication for mental or emotional conditions. Any woman who doesn't want her medical records or psychiatric history disclosed. Or who has family members and a community who could be hurt or shamed by disclosure or publicity. Anyone with a criminal record or who is on public assistance.

Any woman with a past. Any woman with a future she doesn't want derailed by the stress of reporting.

In short, the kind of woman who doesn't report a sexual attack is almost any normal rational woman.The "presumption of innocence" and some other legal concepts

I once saw an online commenter claim that former district attorney Linda Fairstein said that 98% of rape accusations are false. (I think that was when I decided to stop reading comments on news stories.) What Fairstein really said: 98% of rapes don't generate enough legal evidence to be prosecuted as rape, so most are "bumped down" to another category, such as aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault with intent to harm, sodomy, sexual abuse, or other legal categories. These categories are legal distinctions, each carrying different implications for evidence and punishment. But they are all sexual assault.

Prosecutors routinely down-grade formal offenses to the highest level for which they feel they can get a conviction, a kind of legal gamble based on a whole raft of variables, from the likability of the accused to the perceived credibility of the victim, to what kind of defense the accused can afford. Prosecutors don't downgrade rape to other legal categories because they think the victim is lying, or because they're not sure if the accused actually did it. If they thought that, the case would never proceed to court in the first place!

Statistics: RAINNThe legal distinctions of rape, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, and so on, can denote all different things: whether or not a weapon was involved, whether the victim was tortured, what sexual acts were involved, whether the victim met the criteria for good victimhood (not a sex worker, not intoxicated or doing drugs), whether the victim and assailant knew each other, whether the victim and assailant had engaged in consensual sex in the past, and so on.

These are legal categories. And none of the categories have any bearing on whether or not a sexual assault occured. That definition is conveniently black-and-white. Was there consent? If no, it's sexual assault.

Think manslaughter versus murder: either way, someone has been killed.

If a friend of yours - or a student, your daughter, your niece, your colleague - discloses that she was raped, you would never ask, "Was that really rape, or was it aggravated sexual assault? Does that constitute sexual assault under the laws of Ontario? Is there enough evidence to prosecute?" You would never even think such a thing. You would know that the finer points of the law have nothing to do with your friend's pain.

Yet one legal concept is frequently invoked in just this inappropriate way: the presumption of innocence. As person after person came forward to say that Jian Ghomeshi had sexually assaulted them, people cried, "Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence? He is innocent until proven guilty!"

The presumption of innocence - or "innocent until proven guilty" - is an important tenet of the legal and judicial systems, and one that is constantly undermined by practices such as pre-trial confinements. (See this excellent column by Carol Goar.) It is not some sort of golden rule that we should invoke by closing our minds to logic and reason.

A blogger I know once posted photos of her daughter's battered face - purple and green with bruises, eyes swollen shut, lips split and bloody - at the hands of her ex-husband. A commenter-troll said, "Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence? Is this guy guilty before proven innocent?"

There was no question that the woman had been assaulted. And there was no question of who had assaulted her. Unless this assault was prosecuted and went to trial (two highly unlikely outcomes), no one had to think about any presumptions of innocence.

Legal guilt is not the only form of truth

Rape is rape whether it is reported, whether it is prosecuted, and whether a rapist is found guilty.

If a person is murdered, that person is dead, whether or not the murderer is ever tried or convicted. If you are mugged and someone runs off with your wallet, a crime has taken place, whether or not you report the crime to the police. Rape is the same way. If you are sexually assaulted or raped, that has taken place, regardless of what comes after. Most women do not report rape, and most reported rapes never go to trial. Does that mean those women were not raped?

Some people seem to think that a legal concept that allows an accused person certain rights in court is somehow applicable in a general sense. That somehow we must wait for a court to convict an offender before we admit what we have seen and heard with our own senses. As if the only kind of truth is the declaration of a court of law.

Or do they?

Have we really confused legal conviction with actual truth? I don't think so. In many cases, we will continue to believe an accused is innocent or guilty, despite what a jury declares. (O.J. Simpson, anyone?) But rape? Suddenly we need a conviction in court before we will believe a woman who says "This man assaulted me".

I understand that there are false accusations of rape. They are rare, but they do occur. Sexual assault, however, is not rare. And we're not the legal system. We're not a jury. We're not bound by law to process information according to a certain formula. We're human beings, and we can operate from a place of both logic and compassion.

When someone takes a painful and courageous step forward to say, "I was raped": presume truth.

Harper Chasing Votes Down Under

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 10:57


His supposedly blunt message to Vladimir Putin reveals how Steve Harper really knows how to work a room when there's an election in the offing.

Walking up to Putin at the G20 summit, Harper's aides claim he said this:  "Well I guess I'll share your hand but I only have one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine."

Missing, naturally, was the "or else" part because for Harper which his defunded military in decline there is no "or else."  Talk, however, is cheap except as it relates to vote-getting, in this case the Ukrainian-Canadian vote.  Then it's priceless.

Oddly enough, all the pictures of this supposed showdown encounter reveal Harper positively beaming at the little Russkie he knows could care less about dire warnings from Canada's clown prince.

False Witnesses: A Rogues' Gallery of BAD Scientists

Dammit Janet - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 08:03
Everyone who writes or cares about reproductive justice, women's rights, science, etc. should bookmark this amazing feat of research, Reproductive Health Reality Check's False Witnesses project.

Here at DJ! we have an abiding interest in BAD science in general but in particular as it is applied to abortion and women's health.

"BAD" stands for biased, agenda-driven, or science-for-hire. And it is everywhere.

Here's RH Reality Check's explanation.
First Big Tobacco, then climate change denial, and now, the anti-choice movement.

The issues might have changed, but the techniques now widely used by conservatives to distort science and, with it, public policy, remain the same.

They create nonprofits, staffed with die-hard ideologues, and set about producing and promoting bogus science, to build the illusion of dissent or doubt over conclusions drawn by peer-reviewed scientific or medical research. They develop their own “research findings” to suit their ideological views. Then they deploy scare tactics, all with the goal of passing laws that suit their agenda.
And anti-choice has been at it for decades now. They've even got "institutes" and sciencey-sounding "research groups." Some we've tried to profile here but RH Reality Check has really dug and got the goods.

In the False Witnesses Gallery are 14 "scientists" for hire, some familiar to us, some not so much. They're mostly USian. Click on their photos to find out more.

The format for each profile is fabulous. Each is divided into sections: "Signature Falsehood," "Setting the Record Straight," "Role Within the Anti-Choice Movement," and "Blatant Errors," as well as their connections, credentials, and the amount of dough they've raked in with their obligingness. And they are all connected, all cite each other's publications.

In short, hours of fun reading.

And while there are no Canadians among them, these liars regularly show up at Canadian anti-choice events and venues.

Like Martha Shuping, who caused a fuss recently when she was invited to speak at Memorial University, and Angela Lanfranchi, who is Maurice Vellacott's go-to gal for bullshit on the "abortion causes breast cancer" canard.

Very gratifying for us here at DJ! is the inclusion of our fave Perfesser of Home Economics and Slut-Shaming, Priscilla Coleman, whose work has been so thoroughly and utterly dismantled it's a wonder she has the gall to show her face. Here's the RH Reality Check research on her.

We have one addition. There is a disreputable gang of Canadians operating under the banner of the Deveber Institute. Small and pretty lame, but all ours.

So, bookmark and browse.

And congratulations and grand merci to RH Reality Check.

Postscript: the casting-out of Hassan Diab as purification ritual

Dawg's Blawg - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 07:57
The disturbing dissonance between the crime of which Hassan Diab has been accused and the flimsiness of the case against him should force us all to step back to examine the cultural function fulfilled by his expulsion from Canada and... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

On the QT

Northern Reflections - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 06:21

                                              https://www.policyalternatives.ca/

Canadians like to think that income inequality is an American problem. But, Linda McQuaig writes, on that meme, Canada is a close second behind the United States:

It’s true that the U.S. has the most extreme inequality, but a recent OECD report noted that Canada has the second-largest share of income growth going to top earners.

However, even that OECD report understates the drift of wealth to the top in Canada — according to dramatic data from a recent academic study which received relatively little attention.
That study presents some pretty stark numbers:

It shows that billions of dollars in income received by the very richest Canadians have not been included in calculations of their income. That’s because the wealthy funneled this money through private corporations in order to legally reduce their taxes — a practice that is more widely used in Canada than the U.S.

Once this income — amounting to an astonishing $48 billion in 2010 — is added to their reported personal incomes, Canada’s rich are considerably richer than we’ve been led to believe.

For example, according to commonly-used data, the average income for Canadians in the top 1 per cent is $359,900. However, this doesn’t include money channeled through their private corporations. Once we include this additional income, the actual average income of these high-rollers rises to a much heftier $500,200.
And, remember, all of this has been happening while 37,000 civil servants have lost their jobs, while medicare funding has been cut and while veterans affairs offices have been closed:

The study also shows that the share of Canada’s national income going to the top 1 per cent — commonly believed to be 10 per cent — is actually 13.3 per cent, once private corporation income is included. This share has been rising, from 12 per cent in 2009 to 13.3 per cent in 2011 (the latest year available).
Meanwhile, the OECD has warned that:

 “Recent empirical work finds that high levels of inequality are harmful for the pace and sustainability of growth.”
The rich keep getting richer -- but our politicians want to keep it on the QT


Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 06:02
This and that for your weekend reading.

- The Economist discusses how a tiny elite group is taking a startling share of the U.S.' total wealth:
The ratio of household wealth to national income has risen back toward the level of the 1920s, but the share in the hands of middle-class families has tumbled (see chart). Tepid growth in middle-class incomes is partly to blame; real incomes for the top 1% of families grew 3.4% a year from 1986-2012 while those for the bottom 90% grew 0.7%. But Messrs Saez and Zucman reckon the main cause of falling middle-class net worth is soaring debt. Rising home values did little to raise middle-class wealth since mortgage debt also soared. The recession battered home prices but left the debt untouched, further squeezing middle-class wealth.
...
On the other side of the spectrum, the fortunes of the wealthy have grown, especially at the very top. The 16,000 families making up the richest 0.01%, with an average net worth of $371m, now control 11.2% of total wealth—back to the 1916 share, which is the highest on record. Those down the distribution have not done quite so well: the top 0.1% (consisting of 160,000 families worth $73m on average) hold 22% of America’s wealth, just shy of the 1929 peak—and exactly the same share as the bottom 90% of the population.- Meanwhile, Lana Payne points out that the Cons are looking to set up the same level of inequality in Canada by pushing tax giveaways at the top end of the income spectrum. And Mike Konczal and Bryce Covert rightly challenge the regressive claim that pushing people toward marriage is somehow a solution to inequality.

- Thomas Walkom and Jeffrey Simpson are both duly skeptical as to whether Stephen Harper will do anything of substance in response to the new greenhouse gas emission reduction agreement between the U.S. and China. But even if we should fully expect continued stonewalling from the Cons, it's not such a bad thing for Harper to be forced to explain that choice.

- Harsha Walia calls out the Cons' "managed migration" which serves primarily to limit individual rights and freedoms:
While Canada is often cast as a liberal counterpoint to aggressive U.S. immigration enforcement tactics, the U.S. has actually pointed to Canada as the model to implement for U.S. migration policy. This is because Canada has perfected a system of managed migration to ensure the steady supply of cheap labour within neoliberalism while entrenching racialized citizenship.
...
Canada currently accepts more migrants under temporary permits than those who can immigrate permanently. Permanent residency for refugees, skilled workers and family members is restricted, citizenship is becoming harder to get and easier to lose, but the migrant worker program is exploding.

These changes are drastic. The number of family-class immigrants dropped by 10,000 in the first four years the Conservative Party of Canada formed government.

According to Avvy Yao-Yao Go, Director of the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, "Thirty years ago, family-class immigrants made up the majority of all immigrants. Today, they account for less than 20 per cent of the total intake."
...
For the few refugees and migrants who do become permanent residents or citizens, the battle for secure legal status doesn't end there. The Immigrant Criminalization law that passed last year allows for deportations of thousands of permanent residents who have been convicted for minor offences including traffic offenses.

And the new Stealing Citizenship law makes it possible to revoke citizenship from dual nationals or even from Canadian-born children who have the possibility of accessing dual citizenship.- Finally, David Broockman and Joshua Kalla examine the effectiveness of direct personal contact with voters - both in making an immediate impression, and actually inspiring people to vote. And it's well worth contrasting Broockman and Kalla's findings that genuine conversations represent the most important result of door-to-door canvassing against Derek Willis' claim that it's a problem for volunteers to have their own principles and values rather than merely seeking to match a voter's preexisting views.

More Of The Same

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 05:56


In today's Star, Thomas Walkom explains why the U.S. China climate deal is not likely to have any impact whatsoever on Harper's ongoing and egregious contempt for all things related to climate change:
For this prime minister, only one player in the climate change debate matters: the petroleum industry.

When Harper talks about dealing with climate change in a way that protects jobs and growth, he means jobs and growth in the Alberta tarsands.
In part, this is sheer politics. Alberta is the Conservative heartland. If Harper were to be seen as neglecting Alberta, he would risk triggering the same kind of rebellion that destroyed the old Progressive Conservative Party of Brian Mulroney and Joe Clark.

But in part, it is based on Harper’s theory of the Canadian economy. The prime minister views resources — particularly energy resources — as the driving forces of the entire economy.

Under this logic, whatever is good for oilsands producers is good for Canada.Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose Recommend this Post

Stephen Harper and the Politics of Fear

Montreal Simon - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 05:40


As I've mentioned several times recently, I've never seen this country so paranoid and so fearful.

So that even a small marine police exercise in the bay the other day, had some people wondering whether the terrorists were coming.

The ones Stephen Harper would have us believe would behead us in our bedrooms.

Which helps explain why I've never seen him look so happy, and yet so deranged...



To see the Fear Factor glowing red, even on Parliament Hill.
Read more »

write a letter, save a life: sign up now for write for rights

we move to canada - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 05:30
For the past few years, I have participated in Write For Rights, Amnesty International's annual write-a-thon for human rights - actually the largest human rights event in the world (Canada; US; elsewhere: Google it.)

Every year, on December 10 - International Human Rights Day, which celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - tens of thousands of people all over the world shine a light into darkness. By writing letters, we tell governments that someone is watching. We tell political prisoners - people in jail for opposing dictatorships, for fighting for clean water for their communities, for standing up for women and girls - that they have not been forgotten.

It's really simple to do. Amnesty gives you "case sheets" with background stories and instructions, plus tips on letter-writing. And you write a letter. Or maybe more than one letter.

To make it more fun, you can invite a few friends, print out some case sheets, open a bottle of wine, and write letters together. Or to make it easier, you can write letters on your own. Either way, it's easy and not very time-consuming. And it makes a tremendous difference to people who are enduring real suffering.

After participating in Write for Rights for a few years, I decided to take the next step and join Amnesty's Urgent Action Network. This, too, is not a huge time commitment and not difficult to do. There are no meetings to attend and no fundraising involved. Just you and your keyboard or pen.

The greatest thing about doing activism for Amnesty is knowing that their methods work. Amnesty campaigns have helped win release for political prisoners all over the world. Their observers have helped expose injustice and begun the process of change. And time and again, when activists are finally released from prison, they say, "Without your letters, I couldn't have made it through," or "Knowing I was not forgotten helped me survive". That's a big incentive right there.

If you've never participated before, how about it? This December 10: one letter. Take the pledge.



The Day Stephen Harper Couldn't Hide Any Longer

Montreal Simon - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 00:56


He has always been a strange bird. 

When it comes to the Great War on Terror, or any war from 1812 onwards, he's a raging chicken hawk.

He can't get enough of it, or squawk loud enough

But when it comes to the Great War on Climate Change, he has always been a clucking chicken...



But at least now Stephen Harper can't hide any longer.
Read more »

Pages

Subscribe to canadianprogressives.ca aggregator - Posts from our progressive community