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Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 16:46
Cats on guard.

Stephen Harper and the Muzzling of the Bill C-51 Debate

Montreal Simon - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 15:44

He didn't bother to attend the parliamentary debate on his dangerously flawed anti-terrorist bill C-51. He shut down that debate after only a few hours.

And now he's making sure that even the experts won't have a chance to explain why the bill is such a threat. 
Read more »

Apparently It's Our Fault. Sorry.

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 15:21
Hey, Nice Car!
I won't tell you about the lovely motorcycle ride along the coast road I enjoyed yesterday.  It was great but I won't get into that. And I'm not going to whine about having to cut the damned lawn, again. The crocuses and daffs that are coming up?  Who hasn't seen flowers?  They're just flowers.  The herbs, though, they're really coming in beautifully.  The chives are magnificent.

I won't get into this stuff because I know most of you are freezing your buns off. EnviroCan claims it's all our fault.  Something to do with an enormous high pressure front parked just off the Pacific coast that's triggering Arctic fronts to pour down through the prairies, central and eastern Canada.

Sorry about that.  If I could make it all better I would.  I can't.

And right here, right now I want to say sorry again because, according to EnviroCan, you're just going to keep getting more cold fronts for the next month or two, that Pacific thing again.  But, hey, you're breaking all kinds of records! That's something, isn't it?

And at least you're getting a winter, even if it is fierce.  We didn't get one this year.  We were even in a losing battle to keep some of our ski resorts open.  A bunch are already closed for the year.

So be sure to dress warmly.  Keep the snow shovel and the bag of rock salt handy.  Before you know it, it'll be May.  And, until then, again I'm sorry.

Humanists discuss political engagement

Terahertz - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 14:11

Last night, I attended a discussion hosted by the pan London Humanist group on what new opportunities there are for greater democratic engagement following the Scottish referendum on independence. It featured Ian Scott and Gary McLelland from the Humanist Society of Scotland (Ian is Acting Chief Executive and voted yes in the referendum, Gary is the Policy & Public Affairs Officer and campaigned for no), Andrew Copson (Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association), Will Brett (Head of Campaiggns at the Electoral Reform Society) and Alex Runswick (Chief Executive of Unloock Democracy). Anoosh Chakelin (Deputy Editor of New Statesman) stepped in as the chair for the evening.

It was an interesting discussion despite being, as Alex said, “in danger of everyone agreeing with one another.” That agreement included:

  1. Electoral reform
  2. Lowering the voting age to 16
  3. A citizen-led constitutional convention for the UK

While some non-humanists see tradition as a way to keep society structured, the humanists on the panel agreed that we should critically evaluate our political structures and apply a more rational design, based on evidence and tested against other countries. Humanism is about rejecting dogmas and putting the state in service of the individual. We should ask what we can do to enhance one another’s lives.

They also worried about some of the bitter nationalism seen during the referendum debate. Andrew Copson reminding us that Bertrand Russell frequently spoke out against nationalism, saying that it offered simple silver bullet solutions to all of life’s problems (like Scottish Independence or leaving the EU). Nevertheless, the speakers were optimistic about the engagement generated by the referendum.

The most disagreement in the night came from the questions posed by some members of the audience. One worried that we are just “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” by not dealing with the problem of big business’ influence on politics. Another said we should have compulsory voting – to which Gary said he was against anything compulsory as a humanist and Alex pointed out that compulsory voting in Australia had failed to drive up turnout rates at the local level (where it isn’t compulsory). Another questioner asked how you keep small parties out of government in in proportional representation, and he pointed to Israel where (in his words) the Jewish far right has wielded so much influence their airlines can’t even fly 7 days a week – the answer is given by countries across Europe which have threshold levels before a party gains any seats.

The bet comment of the evening though has to go to Andrew Copson, who said the venue, the Palace of Westminster, “was the least democratic building in the Western world, architecturally.” A point I tried to illustrate recently.

Harper's Contempt For Thinking Canadians Is Egregious

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 14:02
That is the only conclusion I can draw, based on the unseemly hurry the regime is in to pass its 'anti-terror' bill:
The Conservatives are pushing to devote just three meetings to hearing expert testimony on the government's proposed anti-terrorism bill when it goes to the public safety committee for review, CBC News has learned.

Sources say that one of those days would be taken up by Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and departmental officials, leaving just two meetings to hear from outside experts.For obvious reasons, the Harperites want nothing to do with the witness list the NDP wants to put forward, which includes former prime ministers Jean Chrétien, Joe Clark, Paul Martin and John Turner and six retired Supreme Court justices. As well, they
also want to hear from three former members of the secretive Security Intelligence Review Committee that oversees CSIS operations: Bob Rae, Roy Romanow and Frances Lankin.The depth of Harper contempt for thought, reflection and reason, as opposed to his preferred method of reflexive campaigning and reactionary legislation, is evident in his response to Thomas Mulcair during question period:
Tom Mulcair challenged Prime Minister Stephen Harper to commit to a full review at committee — one in which, he said, "security experts and human rights experts [will be] not only heard, but listened to."

In response, Harper called Mulcair's criticism of the bill "ridiculous."Precisely the reaction I have when anyone suggests our Chief Demagogue has been good for Canada.

Recommend this Post

Say It Ain't So. Fake Clinics Triple in Quebec

Dammit Janet - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 13:17
As a feminist not living in Quebec, I guess I had an overly rosy view of how thoroughly the women of the province have shucked off centuries of patriarchy.

So this report, issued on the 27th anniversary of the Morgentaler decision -- and let us never forget Quebec's role in that victory -- shocked the shit out of me.

The Federation of Quebec for Planned Parenthood (FQPN) warns of new strategies being employed in Quebec and in particular of the alarming increase in the number of crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs).

In ten years, the number of fake clinics has ballooned from fewer than 5 to more than 15.

The tone of the report indicates that the researchers were not familiar with the standard operating practices of these gangs.

CPCs lie! The report documents the CPC stock in trade of outrageous lies -- about abortion causing breast cancer, infertility and mental health and substance abuse problems.

CPCs manipulate and shock! Here are some quotes presented in the report.

"Are you really ready to live with the decision to have killed your child?"

"Foundations for the protection of animals give grants to laboratories to use aborted fetuses instead of rats. They also use it to manufacture cosmetics. "

"You know, I know women who have had abortions and sank into depression, drugs, and hate men."
This must be all rather unsettling for a population overwhelmingly pro-choice (85% according to Leger Marketing, 2010).

And a population -- until recently -- relatively free from the machinations of the fake clinics that infest the rest of Canada.

Here's a link to the pdf of the report complete with FQPN's recommendations.

A group of dedicated volunteers is compiling a list of CPCs in Canada. Here are the known ones in Quebec. (The research is not complete. If there are errors, please let us know.)

Options Pregnancy Crisis Centre, Chateauguay

Accueil-Grossesse/Birthright, Montreal

Accueil-Grossesse/Birthright, Drummondville

Action Nouvelle Vie, Longueuil

Centre Conseils Grossesse/Pregnancy Counselling Centre, Montreal

Enceinte et inquiète, online only

Grosssess-Secours Inc., Montreal

Support familial flocons d'espoir (formerly Centre naître our ne pas naître), Montreal

Accueil-Grossesse/Birthright, Pointe Claire

Options grossesse, Quebec

Tu n'es pas seule (Paroisse Saint Thomas d'Aquin), Quebec

Options Pregnancy Centre, Sherbrooke

Secour et Vie, Sherbrooke, et Trois-Rivières, Granby

Accueil Grossesse Beauce-Appalaches, St. Georges

Accueil-Grossesse/Birthright, St. Laurent

Centre D'aide Oasis Care Centre, Verdun

Note that several of them operate under the Birthright banner. Birthright is somewhat different from the usual fundamentalist, Christian slut-shamers. It is non-religious and non-political, which perhaps makes it a better fit for secular Quebec.

The hotline Enceinte et inquiète is directly financed by Campaign Quebec Vie. Launched in 2011, its website is full of the usual bullshit about abortion's links to cancer, depression, guilt, etc.

Like other CPCs, these websites do not tell the whole story, so reporters have resorted to undercover investigations. This one from 2014 details some encounters.

Another from 2010 describes a visit to Options grossesse, Quebec, including the absolutely amazing claims that "pregnancy heals rape" and that "studies show that women who choose abortion are likely to be more violent with their other children."

Tu n'es pas seule is Catholic with a particular jones for adoption.

Quebec now even has its own umbrella organization for fake clinics, L'Alliance Ressource Grossesse (ARG) with 12 members.

I did some checking on a few of these at Canada Revenue Agency's Charitable Status division. For now at least, they seem quite small -- at least in terms of budgets.

It is to be hoped that with continuing excellent research and reporting by groups like FQPN people will become more aware of these fake clinics in their midst and learn -- sadly, like the Rest of Canada has -- what manipulative, lying scumbags they are.

**** Grand merci to deBeauxOs for help in keeping me from making a jackass of myself. ****

Obama Vetoes Congressional Go Ahead on Keystone XL

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 12:53
It's said to be Barack Obama's first veto of any significant legislation since he took office.  It comes as no surprise.  He said he would do it.  It doesn't decide the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline one way or the other.

Congress forwarded a bill authorizing the construction of the pipeline.  Obama vetoed the bill.

The president has said he'll take his time and wait until all environmental and regulatory reports are in before deciding on the project.

Are We Supposed to Defend Democracy or Just Mourn Its Passing?

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 11:10
There is certainly no shortage of opinion pieces these days bemoaning the steady decline in Western or "liberal" democracy.  I've penned a few myself.

People I speak or correspond with seem to agree that the introduction of Bill C-51 is an assault on freedom of speech and protest that sets government against the public and treats democratic dissent as subversive.

We have a government, make that a "regime", in power today that has erected walls of secrecy between itself and the Canadian people.  It's all but impossible to have a conversation with your government that is filtered through freedom of information requests.  We can ask questions but that doesn't mean they'll be answered.

Even as it has become much harder, in some cases an ordeal, to look into our government and what it's up to, our government has cloaked itself in powers that make it ever more capable of prying into our lives.

What does it say for Canadian democracy when we need Edward Snowden to blow the whistle on critical issues such as domestic spying?

Our government, instead of respecting our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, butts heads with it and seeks ways to circumvent or undermine it.  Time and again we have to fall on the Supreme Court of Canada to protect us from this government's predations.

We are witnessing the rise of illiberal democracy, a shifting of the balance of power between the individual and government.  This regime swept to power on clear and unequivocal promises of accountability and transparency, promises it had no intention of keeping.  Instead it promptly scurried behind walls of secrecy and lies as it put in place first a surveillance state and, now, a police state.

So what are we to do?  Under C-51 is the mere asking of the question subversive? Is raising the prospect of some response in defence of democracy, up to and including civil disobedience, an offence against the regime?  Does this earn us a place on some secret security service's watch list?

Or are we just to mourn the passing of our liberal democracy and sit idle as we watch it slowly displaced by neoliberal authoritarianism?  Are we to settle for a new style of democracy, illiberal democracy, where you can still vote yet that really matters very little?

Do we have a duty to defend our democracy?  Do we even have the right if that demands resisting our government? I wish I had some answers but I really don't.

Privatized playground at North

Left Over - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 09:32
Privatized playground at North Vancouver’s Cousteau International French School angers parent Cousteau International French School has leased the grounds of former Fromme elementary school

CBC News Posted: Feb 24, 2015 7:37 AM PT Last Updated: Feb 24, 2015 8:23 AM PT

When we read comments  bemoaning the fact that people just aren’t as ready to volunteer, to help with charitable causes, when those interminable pleas for money  infect our public broadcasting choices, we often despair of the public perception of selflessness, even as we resent the intrusion of such dunning in our lives.

This particular  story may seem trivial, but it illustrates why  some who at one time joined together to create something lasting , not only for their children but the ones to come, might feel that their efforts were  useless.  When old schools are  sold off to the private sector, it’s more than buildings and land, and this  example  is enough to make any parent reluctant to  participate in  their children’s public schooling, either within the system or in this case putting money and effort into a  play area that  privatization has rendered  legally impassable.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Reading through some of the comments accompanying this  ‘article’  is instructive..between the  government’s supporters who  feel that  once sold, it’s private, full stop, and those who point out that even private schools exist on public money, the argument gets down to the real issue, that of taxpayers funding  of private schools..

It’s depressing enough that parents have to band together to pay for  and work for a decent, safe place  for their children to play and exercise..there’s never enough money for  actual education costs, never mind  recreation areas that  are something beyond dirt and rocks, so  why should BC taxpayers be contributing to  private schools  where they aren’t even allowed to  use the playground facilities, never mind have the  income to afford this subsidized education? Adding insult to injury , this particular school is now the possessor  of the facilities created when the school was still public, and  the parental  outrage falls on deaf ears….

The next time  parents can’t be bothered to go to parent/teacher meetings, or refuse to  volunteer to help with whatever shortfall  is loaded onto their shoulders by an uncaring provincial government that they probably voted for (if they bothered to vote at all) I hope they remember this little incident and start questioning their choices.

Baglow v. Smith et al.

Dawg's Blawg - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 07:35
“But what good came of it at last?” Quoth little Peterkin. “Why, that I cannot tell,” said he, “But ‘twas a famous victory.” The judgement is in. Bottom line: I lost my defamation action against the Free Dominioneers. Like defamation... Dr.Dawg

More Warnings About Bill C-51

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 06:18

H/t The Globe and Mail

Increasingly disenchanted Globe readers weigh in with their thoughts:
Re Kenney Spurns Calls To Increase Security Oversight (Feb. 23):

The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) only reviews security-agency operations after the fact. Defence Minister Jason Kenney and the Prime Minister maintain that we don’t need oversight of the agencies’ day-to-day operations. That’s like saying we don’t need referees in professional hockey, it’s sufficient for someone to review the tape after the fact and penalize the players if they broke the rules. Does anyone seriously think the players wouldn’t behave differently without referees?

The PM says judges will provide the necessary oversight, but that’s only required if the security agencies plan something illegal. Continuing the analogy, it’s like expecting the players to check in with the referee before the hit.

National security shouldn’t be a self-policing game of shinny. This is serious.

Jason Scott, Ottawa


Once lost, freedom is hard to regain. As Canadians, we must demand that our politicians protect our society – not just from the threats of the few, but most importantly from the threat we impose on ourselves when we give too much power to too few people, with too little oversight and too little accountability.

John Rudan, Kingston


Stephen Harper wanted to run on his economic record, but the economy is heading south. So the new anti-terror legislation will have to do. He just has to convince enough people he can protect them. Then they’ll not only accept giving up their Charter rights, but will vote for his party.

Almost anything can qualify as terrorism under Bill C-51, especially now that the RCMP has set its sights on environmentalists (RCMP Express Alarm Over ‘Anti-Petroleum’ Ideologists – Feb. 17).

I’m scared, but it’s not terrorism in Canada that scares me.

Tia Leschke, Sooke, B.C.Recommend this Post

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 05:53
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Nora Loreto rightly challenges the instinct to respond to tragedy with blame in the name of "responsibility", rather than compassion in the interest of making matters better:
Blame is the projection of grief, sadness or fear. It is the projection of our own inadequacies; of our own feelings of, "oh god, that could be my kid" wrapped up in "thank god I'm a better parent than that." It pretends that all things are equal, that all family situations are equal and all children are essentially the same.

But it’s malicious. Blame, when targeted towards individuals, shifts the focus to their perceived personal failings. It starts from a place that believes that some parents just don’t love their children as much as others.

When applied to the proper structures, the process of applying blame changes entirely. Why are Indigenous children on reserve ten times more likely to die in a fire? Is it because a single First Nation stopped paying for fire services (because those fire services weren't being delivered)? Or is it because Canada still refuses to fund First Nations communities properly leaving local leadership to be in a perpetual state of balance, ready to collapse at any moment?

And how could household debt ballooning, good jobs disappearing and social services evaporating not have an effect on the already precarious lives of many parents?

Personal blame is a function of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism tells individuals that there is no such thing as community and that you are wholly responsible for your own decisions. It ignores broader social forces, like what happens when parents can’t make ends meet and are forced to work longer just to get by. It erases the fact that we are not equal and society demands minimal effort from some and maximum effort from others.

It also tells us that there is no one left to help you: not the state, not your neighbours. It places enormous strain on grandparents, aunts and uncles or close friends and other family. It erases the thousands of people who are ready to help regardless of the circumstances.- Paul Krugman eviscerates the myth that decades of declining wages as a share of income are the result of skill mismatches and education issues rather than a choice to concentrate wealth in the hands of the few:
(W)hile the education/inequality story may once have seemed plausible, it hasn’t tracked reality for a long time. “The wages of the highest-skilled and highest-paid individuals have continued to increase steadily,” the Hamilton Project says. Actually, the inflation-adjusted earnings of highly educated Americans have gone nowhere since the late 1990s.

So what is really going on? Corporate profits have soared as a share of national income, but there is no sign of a rise in the rate of return on investment. How is that possible? Well, it’s what you would expect if rising profits reflect monopoly power rather than returns to capital.
As for wages and salaries, never mind college degrees — all the big gains are going to a tiny group of individuals holding strategic positions in corporate suites or astride the crossroads of finance. Rising inequality isn’t about who has the knowledge; it’s about who has the power.
Now, there’s a lot we could do to redress this inequality of power. We could levy higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and invest the proceeds in programs that help working families. We could raise the minimum wage and make it easier for workers to organize. It’s not hard to imagine a truly serious effort to make America less unequal.
But given the determination of one major party to move policy in exactly the opposite direction, advocating such an effort makes you sound partisan. Hence the desire to see the whole thing as an education problem instead. But we should recognize that popular evasion for what it is: a deeply unserious fantasy.- Meanwhile, as Krugman notes, the solutions to inequality are far from complicated (even if we know they won't be implemented without a fight from a privileged few who consider themselves above the rest of us). On that front, Scott Santens looks at new evidence that cash transfers to the people who need it most produce massive social and economic gains. Lawrence Mishel writes that wage increases can have much the same effect. And Justin Worland reports on polling showing massive U.S. support for a more progressive tax system.

- Tom Sandborn reports on a few cases of employers being held to account for workplace deaths. But Lydia DePillis notes that in other areas, employers are severely restricting workers' ability to chart their own futures by attaching non-compete conditions to a wide range of jobs.

- Carol Linnitt highlights some good scientific advice from our federal civil service that's managed to find its way into the public eye, as officials have thoroughly rejected Kinder Morgan's failure to account for the impact of oil tankers on whales. And in a similar vein, Paola Loriggio reports on the Transportation Safety Board's observation that the Cons have done nowhere near enough to ensure rail safety after the Lac-Megantic disaster.

- Finally, Michael Harris discusses how Stephen Harper is playing Canadians for suckers in trying to scare us into keeping him in power. And Kent Roach comments on the need for an adult conversation about security, in stark contrast to the Cons' fearmongering talking points.

Look Somewhere Else

Northern Reflections - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 05:49


Stephen Harper talks tough. But when things get tough, Harper hides. Andrew Mitrovica writes:

The prime minister, simply put, is a nasty piece of work. His every act and statement is a product of a petty, parochial political calculus; the quaint notion of ‘nation-building’ isn’t part of his lexicon. And like any unrepentant bully, Harper prefers adversaries who can’t fight back — hence his venomous attack on Radio-Canada journalists.
When people fight back, he heads for cover:

You probably saw this iPolitics report — about how the PM quietly invoked parliamentary privilege to escape being grilled by lawyers representing the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM). Not exactly the stuff of profiles-in-courage, is it?The NCCM sued Harper and his freshly departed PR guy, Jason MacDonald, for libel after MacDonald appeared on Sun News Network to slime the NCCM by insisting it “has documented ties to a terrorist organization … Hamas.”

Anyway, the NCCM argues that MacDonald’s attack had his boss’s implicit, if not explicit, approval. Make no mistake, the explicit intent of that slur – based on laughable, discredited information culled from an obscure court case heard in the backwoods of the Lone Star state – was to malign all the loyal, hard-working Muslim-Canadians working at NCCM as Hamas sympathizers or worse. When Harper and company refused to retract and apologize, the NCCM sued the pair last May.

The overall effect, of course, is a blot on Harper’s carefully cultivated tough-guy image. A bad hombre wouldn’t hide behind his lawyer’s pinstriped pants. No sir. He would waive parliamentary privilege, agree to appear at discovery with his former spokesman — who, by the way, is still being represented by a government-hired lawyer — put his hand on a Bible and say: Fire away.
If you're looking for heated rhetoric about Muslims or Russians, Harper's your man. But, if you're looking for courage, look somewhere else.

Stephen Harper and the Days of Drums and Dummies

Montreal Simon - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 01:02

He's rushing his dangerously flawed anti-terrorist bill through the House of Commons, to the machine gun beat of a fascist drum.

Bill C-51, the government's proposed anti-terror law, has passed second reading in the House of Commons with a vote of 176-87 and will now be sent to committee.

He didn't bother to show up for the debate, he cut it off after a few hours. He says he needs the bill NOW to protect us from the terrorists and the niqabs that are EVERYWHERE.

Even though the bill threatens our freedoms more than the terrorists do, and he's just playing politics. 
Read more »

Did Crossroads Clinic Cross Its Fingers?

Dammit Janet - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 17:00
I'm confused. Is Crossroads Clinic pro-choice or anti-choice?

Or maybe, just, um, flexible.

Here they are trumpeting their involvement in The Sexual Assault Response Network.

The Sexual Assault Response Network (SARN) is a collaboration of seven partners including the Sexual Assault Response Committee (SARC), Crossroads Clinic, Cantara Safe House, RCMP, Southern Alberta Child & Family Services (Brooks Office), Victim Service Unit, and Alberta Health Services (AHS) Emergency, Sexual Health Unit, and Social Worker Unit. These agencies have banded together to address an overwhelming need of support for an estimated 3,400 victims of sexual assault in the City of Brooks alone.

Crossroads Clinic, the lead partner, was awarded a grant by the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta. This grant allows them to provide training for those working with the program from the various agencies, as well as purchasing a phone and phone plan for the Support Line. Crossroads Clinic staff mans the support line during the day and Cantara Safe House operates the phone during non-business hours.
I checked at the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta and found that yes, indeed, Crossroads Clinic Association (Brooks Pregnancy Care Centre) got a grant in Fall 2013 of $6,048 ($1,639 for Crisis Line Phone and $4,409 for Training for Crisis Line).

Since it is the standard of care to provide emergency contraception (EC, or Plan B) after rape/sexual assault, it seemed that this disclaimer sorted rather badly with Crossroads' new role as sexual abuse counsellor.
Note: Crossroads Clinic provides limited medical services. We provide free medical confirmation of pregnancy and Sexual Transmitted Infections screening and limited treatment for women. We do not provide ongoing prenatal care, abortions, birth control or contraceptives.
Kathy Dawson asked the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services on Twitter if Crossroads were a member. Nope.

@fernhilldammit @blueskies366 TY for the tweets. #CrossroadsClinic not an @aasasmembership service under our umbrella

— AASAS (@aasasmembership) February 23, 2015

I emailed two of the legit-looking organizations in the "network," Cantara Safe House and the Sexual Assault Response Committee (SARC) of Medicine Hat, to ask a) is it true that Crossroads is a partner and b) WTF -- do they know that Crossroads is an anti-choice crisis pregnancy centre?

Then I found that SARC has a twitter account. So I asked.

@fernhilldammit SARC is prochoice all of our partners have agreed to refer to AHS Sexual Health for

— Sarcmedicinehat (@SARCmedicinehat) February 23, 2015

@fernhilldammit for options counselling, plan B and medical care

— Sarcmedicinehat (@SARCmedicinehat) February 23, 2015

They call it "options counselling," do they? And EC/Plan B too?

But but but, Plan B is an ABORTIFACIENT!!!!!! Well, according to fetus freaks it is. (Sane people understand how EC actually works.)

So, now we're wondering. If, for the purposes of reaching out to a new group of potential "patients" and/or the six thousand bucks, Crossroads has agreed to act as if it's prochoice, do its fetus-freak donors know? More importantly, does the Canadian (formerly Christian) Association of Pregnancy Support Services know?

If they crossed their fingers behind their backs when agreeing to the prochoice protocols, do the other organizations in the network know and how are they keeping tabs on them?

Crossroads, crossed fingers. . . what's the diff?

To So-Called Liberals Who Slam Trudeau Over His ISIS Policy

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 09:27
Sometimes even I have to stand up for Justin Trudeau.  He has been attacked recently for his less than bloodthirsty views on ISIS.  Some of these attacks come from self-identified Liberals who apparently can't get a paid gig from Team Trudeau but are they fair?  MSNBC's Chris Hayes helps make Justin's point.

These days it's becoming harder to tell some Liberals from redneck Conservatives.  That, perhaps, is Ignatieff's lasting Liberal legacy - the unquestioning pro-Israel stance, the "muscular foreign policy" that just keeps falling on its face, the neoliberal contagion that has sent many progressive Liberals packing.

Canadian Political Reporting Suffers Another Blow

Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 08:41
But this time, the blow comes from within.

Thanks to Ed Tanas for bringing the following to my attention:
Ottawa reporters, photographers and cameramen face expulsion from Parliament Hill on the complaint of any politician or federal employee, with grievances to be heard at closed-door disciplinary hearings. The unprecedented measures are proposed by the Parliamentary Press Gallery, a volunteer group representing media.

“We thought we’d bring the proposal,” said Laura Payton, Gallery president, a CBC writer; “We’re leaving it quite open because the executive needs some discretion.”On first blush, the proposals might seem reasonable, given the prevalence of harassment claims these past many months:
Under proposed amendments, members may be expelled for a range of new offences including:

•“personal harassment”;
•“sexual harassment”;
•“threats of violence”;
•“a criminal offence that was or could have been tried by way of indictment and for which the member has been found guilty”.But, as the hackneyed saying goes, the devil is in the details. Perhaps the most telling detail:
The Gallery proposed to amend its own constitution, with the approval of Industry Minister James Moore, [emphasis mine]to suspend or banish media from Parliament Hill for a range of new offences including “harassment” and “intimidation”.A reasonable person will immediately see that any involvement, let alone approval, of a politician cannot bode well for freedom of the press. Consider, for example, Herr Harper's recent inflammatory remarks about Radio Canada employees hating conservative values. Consider his government's egregious contempt for the media and the fact that the only time Harper seems even remotely accessible is when he is outside the country. Consider the fact that we are groaning under the most vindictive and paranoid prime minister this country has ever known.

So what do the experts think of these proposed amendments?
“The press should be held to account, but is this the instrument?” said Prof. Sean Holman, of Mount Royal University’s school of journalism. “I think it’s open to abuse.” Holman, a former member of the British Columbia Press Gallery, said he was unaware of any Canadian gallery with such an enforcement code.

“Reporters covering legislatures are often treated like parasites and barely tolerated by the administration,” Holman said. “The administration has enormous power. We should really think about that. How is it that this space that is supposed to be a public space is so often treated as anything but? That is troubling.”Especially worrisome is the readiness with which the Press Gallery will cede authority to the politicians it is charged with covering:
The amendment also states the Gallery may defer to “House administration” if complaints against a journalist are deemed a “security concern”. The head of House administration is Conservative MP Andrew Scheer (Regina-Qu’Appelle), Speaker of the House of Commons.

In the past, parliamentary journalists never deferred to the Speaker and operated as a self-regulating association in a custom dating from 1867, noted Mark Bourrie, a 21-year gallery member and author of the bestseller Kill The Messenger: Stephen Harper’s Assault On Your Right To Know.I am completely dumbfounded by this development. The amendments go to a membership vote February 27. Let us hope that they will act accordingly against this unprecedented assault on their independence.
Recommend this Post

Screw Oversight! In HarperLand, We Watch YOU, You Don't Watch Us.

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 08:39
What's the point in having domestic spying if it means you're going to be, oh I don't know, "accountable?"

Canada's Closet Clausewitz, def min Jason Kenney, says there'll be no additional oversight of national security operatives after the Harper government rams through bill C-51.

Defence Minister Jason Kenney, who has functioned as the government’s lead spokesman for the legislation in recent days, rebuffed an appeal for more independent supervision of national-security agencies – one that came in the form of letter published in The Globe and Mail and signed by former prime ministers, ex–Supreme Court justices and others.

Mr. Kenney noted the letter’s key signatories, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, Joe Clark and John Turner, did not change the oversight of Canada’s spy agency, which is currently supervised by the Security Intelligence Review Committee, while they were in power.

“We have the same system that has worked well in Canada for over 25 years,” the Defence Minister told CTV. “I would point out those four former prime ministers all had exactly the same system of an independent oversight committee for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.”

Yes, Jason, they had the same system only they didn't have the same domestic spying powers because C-51 is the Orwellian hellspawn of your government. You created it, not Chretien, Martin, Clark or Turner.  Those wimps didn't think Canada should be a police state.  What were they thinking?

Now all eyes should turn to Justin.  Will Trudeau the Lesser grow a pair and oppose this terrible law or, just like Ignatieff, will he bow on bended knee to Harper?


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