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Has Harper Betrayed The West? A Mound Of Sound Guest Post

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 05:28

Recent summer flooding across southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba seems to be bringing the reality of climate change home to the people of the prairies and it’s drawing some unwelcome attention to prime minister Harper.

Look, it was bound to happen. You can’t have once-a-century weather disasters arriving every two or three years for very long before even the doubters stop listening to climate change deniers. That, from a glance at some prairie newspapers, seems to be happening at the moment. Postmedia science scribe, Margaret Munro, writes that these summer floods are the new reality for much of western Canada. Reginal Leader-Post columnist, Murray Mandryk, writes that Saskatchewan has to catch up to the fact of climate change.

“But don’t take my word for it. Ask someone like hydrologist John Pomeroy – Canadian Research Chair for Water Resources and Climate Change at the University of Saskatchewan – who has studied the issue for years, including intensive study of the drainage of Smith Creek, which flows near Langenburg along the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border.

“’We have to stop doing what we are doing,’ Pomeroy said in an interview from Alberta, where he is currently studying the impact of mountain run-off into the South Saskatchewan River.

“’Things are happening and they are happening much faster than anyone imagined.’”

Munro highlighted Dr. Pomeroy’s remarks about how the pro-oil/anti-science Harper government has gutted federal hydrology, climate and flood management programmes, leaving the provinces to fend for themselves.

“By July, Smith Creek is usually ‘bone dry.’ Last week it hit a new high as 24.5 cubic metres of water a second roared down the stream.

“[Pomeroy] says heavy winter snow had saturated the soil, which was made even wetter by unusually heavy spring rains. Then the frontal system came up from the US, stalled over southeast Saskatchewan in late June, ‘and pushed it over the top.’ The system dropped more than 150 millimetres of rain in a few days – almost as much rain as normally falls in southeast Saskatchewan all year.

“He says the change in the past decade has been remarkable.

“’Everything we know about hydrology of the prairie appears to be different,’ he says. ‘We never have saturated spongy soils with flow running off farmers’ fields in the midsummer. Never.’

“The situation calls out for a national Canadian strategy and program to improve flood prediction and water management, Pomeroy says, pointing to the US which has more comprehensive systems.

“He says recent cutbacks and, in some cases, the ‘gutting’ of federal hydrology, climate and flood management programs have left the country ill-prepared.

“When it comes to the flood forecasting problem, he says, ‘every province is left on its own, with some doing better than others.’”

Coastal British Columbians know how Harper has betrayed us and left our environment defenceless. Harper has moved the west coast oil spill emergency centre to Montreal. He has shut down many of our Coast Guard stations. He has axed entire departments of Fisheries and Oceans once responsible for monitoring our coastal waters and the health of our marine species. He has stripped navigation regulations and done everything asked of him to facilitate hazardous oil tanker traffic. To us, the fact that Harper has gutted federal hydrology and flood management programmes, leaving the prairie provinces defenceless. is old hat. This is simply another illustration of Harper’s rank ideology at work in betraying the West for the sake of Big Oil only this time it’s Harper’s natural constituents caught in the crosshairs.

Reality is catching up with Harper and even the usually reliable, centre-right media are beginning to speak out. Doubters and deniers are beginning to sound utterly unconvincing, shrill, desperate. Pomeroy might have coined a suitable epitaph for Harper’s conservatism when he said, “Things are happening and they are happening much faster than anyone imagined.”

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Girls night with Kathryn Marshall and BC4P

Creekside - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 03:18

This past February, Kathryn Marshall, former spokesy for Ethical Oil, and Brittany Allison, Interim Executive Director of British Columbians For Prosperity, had a "girls night" at a West Vancouver restaurant. 

You'll recall Ethical Oil's Kathryn Marshall, formerly of the Koch-funded Fraser Institute :
"Successfully recruited major prospects for donations and sponsorships and built and maintained relationships between the Fraser Institute and donors. May 2008 – July 2009 "... and her hapless tv stints raving against "foreign special interests and their deep pockets" that secretly funded opposition to the tarsands' efforts to get its ethical bitumen to Chinese markets. 

"I'm just a student with a website," insisted Kathryn - wife of Hamish Marshall, former manager of strategic planning in Stephen Harper’s PMO, whose company Go Newclear Productions, created and hosted websites for Ethical Oil and Con MPs Joe Oliver, Pierre Poilievre and Jason Kenney.

She took over the job from former American Enterprise Institute intern Alykhan Velshi, who left Jason Kenney's employ in 2011 to head up the website based on Ezra Levant's book of the same name and returned to Harper's office afterwards as planning director
After her came Jamie Ellerton, executive assistant - first to Jason Kenney til September 2010 and then to teabaggin' Tim Hudak .

Ethical Oil's specialty was attack ads. 
Recently, climate change skeptic Ezra Levant, who interned with Koch 20 years ago, has pondered in the pages of the Edmonton Sun whether environmentalist groups in Canada are funded by Putin.

For all their concern about foreign funding, neither Velshi nor Marshall ever answered repeated media questions about whether Enbridge or any other Canadian corporate interest was backing Ethical Oil.  Ironically, at the timeEnbridge's chair and 5 out of 12 directors were American.

Kathryn's 'girls night' buddy, Brittany Allison, also maintains a focus on shadowy foreign funding from her perch at BC4P : 
FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL AND EXPLORE THE U.S. FOUNDATION FUNDING HYPOCRISY THAT'S IMPACTING CANADA'S SOVEREIGNTY"Wealthy American Foundations pump millions of dollars into campaigns to halt Canadian oil sands production and pipelines."According to BC4P, that would be the Foundations Rockefeller, Pew, and Tides, among 70 odd others.

BC4P Interim Policy Director Brittany Allison was previously :
"Policy Researcher in the Prime Minister’s Office in Ottawa and Research Officer in the B.C. Legislature in Victoria"prior to being Public Affairs Advisor for Fraser Surrey Docks coal expansion project.

Like Ethical Oil, BC4P director and frequent CBC commentator Alise Mills also declines to reveal their sources of funding.
Foreign funding researcher Vivian Krause, who you would expect to be a natural political soul sister to these two, stated in a Kootenay Co-op radio interview in April that in addition to her objection to BC4P's flawed arguments - [transcript in comment #8 ] :
"I'm not involved with that group at all. They asked me to be involved but they wouldn't disclose their own funding sources so I wasn't willing to work with them."

Like Ethical Oil before them, BC4P has likely come to the end of its robocalling astroturfing usefulness, only to be replaced by yet another *grassroots org* of undisclosed funding - - like this one :

Canada Action Plan"Full Value for Canadian Resources - Support Northern Gateway"

Just two guys with a grassroots website ...

... and a op ed in the CAPP/Postmedia partnership world of the Vancouver Sun a month ago :

Pipeline fear factor is inappropriate

... and a *surprise* visit from Ezra Levant at the "No Enbridge!" Sunset Beach protest in Vancouver where their Canada Action counter-protest banners were big enough to block the view of the ocean.

Two days ago, Olivia Ward had a piece in The Star : Billionaire Koch brothers are big oil players in Alberta as the largest foreign landholder. 
"During an ill-fated run for vice-president in 1980, David Koch campaigned on a platform that promoted destruction of the social welfare system, repeal of taxation and an end to public education, children’s services, government medical care, minimum wage laws and environmental regulation.
But through the Kochs’ persistence and lavish funding, their libertarian ideas are now part of the Republican Party’s agenda, and they have helped to change the face of America.

Founding or funding groups like the Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity, the American Enterprise Institute and the State Policy Network — which acts as a seed bank for dozens of others — the Kochs gradually inched across the political landscape.In Canada, Koch’s presence in the oil sands has set environmentalists’ teeth on edge as the brothers back U.S. climate skeptics, tout fossil fuels and oppose the Obama administration’s environmental agenda."The Kochtopus with its unfettered free market oil-friendly political tentacles winding 
"into the mainstream through the tea party and "dark money" political coalitions that allow donors to shield their identity while funding attack ads "In the same article, Ward interviews Kenneth Green, the Fraser Institute's Energy and Natural Resources director. Although she doesn't mention it, Green spent 3 years with the Fraser Institute and then seven with the Koch and Exxon-funded American Enterprise Institute before cycling back to the Fraser Institute again last year. In 2007 while with AEI, Green offered $10,000 each to any scientists willing to refute the IPCC's climate change report. 
Ward :"Fraser Institute president Niels Veldhuis says that although Koch contributed $115,000 to the Fraser Institute in the past year, “it is for our Economic Freedom of the World project
You know, the next time you two girls get together to talk 'foreign special interests and their deep pockets', you might want to have a look into that. .

Stephen Harper, Omar Khadr, and the Con War On the Supreme Court

Montreal Simon - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:36

I wrote my first post about the case of Omar Khadr just over seven years ago. And since then I have written more than eighty others.

I have always considered the way that Canadian child soldier was treated to be one of the worst travesties of justice in the history of this country. 

And I believe Stephen Harper's cruel treatment of that young Canadian to be an absolute abomination.

So you can imagine how I felt when I saw that Khadr had finally won a measure of justice.
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