Agrégateur de flux

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - il y a 1 heure 7 min
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood discusses the close connection between the energy sector and inequality in Canada - with the obvious implication that policies dedicated to unduly favouring the former will inevitably produce the latter: 
(T)he real story from last week’s Stats Can report isn’t that Canada is turning the tide on inequality, but that the energy sector is a key driver of income inequality in Canada. Massive investment in the oil sands has benefited the wealthiest earners to the exclusion of most other Canadians, and those immense gains have simply been slightly reduced from their 2006 high.

The long-term trend in Canada is still towards greater inequality, as a new TD Bank report explains (PDF), and Alberta is still the most unequal province, which is exacerbated by new oil sands investments.

In other words, what’s good for the oil sands is good for Canada’s wealthy—and vice versa. However, no such connection exists with the incomes of the bottom 99%, even in cities like Calgary. Does that really justify such incredible investment in the oil sands? It’s a debate we should be having.- But then, as Frances Russell writes, attacking the poor to benefit the rich is par for the course for the Cons. And Bruce Cheadle reports that Stephen Harper has chosen to make reckless cuts to the public service with full knowledge as to how they undermine desperately needed programs.

- Evan Radford reports on the appalling state of child poverty in Saskatchewan, with over a quarter of the province's children living below the poverty line. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh points out that child poverty is common even in households with one or more working parents.

- Tom Sullivan notes that at least a few U.S. governments are trying to keep employers from exploiting precarious workers, only to face a predictably self-absorbed response from the corporate sector. And Michelle Chen examines the $1 billion in tax loopholes exploited every year by Wal-Mart alone.

- Both Ryan Meili and Vivek Goel discuss the absurdity of trying sever public health from broader public policy.

- And finally, Brent Patterson looks at one of the more novel abuses of free trade agreements, as corporate Canada is warning the federal government against cracking down on corruption lest it interfere with profit-making opportunities.

Respect, Fear, and Loathing

Politics and its Discontents - il y a 1 heure 46 min

If we are completely honest, many of us will admit to a deeply ambivalent relationship with the police. On the one had we look to them for protection against the less ordered elements of society, but on the other hand, in the deeeper recesses of our psyche, we also fear and, at times, loathe them. And on some level we probably recognize that they can be very dangerous if we insist too vehemently on our rights against their sometimes arrogant intrusions into our 'space.'

Think of the rampant abuse of police authority during the G20 Toronto Summit. Think of the murder of Sammy Yatim.

And I say all this from the cossetted position of a middle-class and educated white man.

I can only imagine how much more difficult that relationship must be if one is black.

Dr. Dawg has written a fine analysis/post-mortem of the the shooting of Michael Brown and the failure of the grand jury to indict his killer, Officer Darren Wilson. if you haven't already done so, make sure you check it out.

Similarly, the CBC's senior Washington correspondent, Neil Macdonald, has penned an arresting piece that deserves wide readership. His thesis: questioning police authority is a risky, even potentially deadly, business:
Most police despise any challenge to their authority. Some will abuse it, if necessary, to protect that authority, and the system can allow them to do that.

Some police are bright, professional and educated. Some are louts. Some are racists. You never know which variety you're facing.

But what they all have in common (outside Great Britain) is the weapon at their hip, and the implicit threat of its ultimate use to settle matters.Macdonald suggests there is but one way to behave when confronted by the police:
But I've had my share of dealings with police, in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere in the world, and there is a universal truth: when police demand submission, it's best to submit.Michael Brown's fatal mistake, he implies, was his refusal to submit:
Officer Darren Wilson told grand jurors that when he told Michael Brown and his friend to walk on the sidewalk that Saturday afternoon instead of down the middle of the road, Brown replied "fuck what you have to say."

Eventually, they tussled at the window of Wilson's cruiser. Finally, with both of them outside on the street and facing one another, Wilson shot the unarmed teenager to death.
Clearly, the yawning racial divide of the United States was a contributing, perhaps overriding, factor in Brown's death, and that chasm will likely never be bridged. But Macdonald suggests a practical measure that might go a long way to curbing the police violence that so painfully and periodically erupts:
Ensure that every police officer working the streets of America wears a body camera. That would certainly help.

Many police cruisers are already equipped with dash cameras. And the Ferguson case demonstrated the fallibility of eyewitness accounts.

So why not pin digital cams on uniforms? They would act as impassive, accurate monitors, both in cases of police abuse and when someone falsely claims police abuse.

I suspect police here will probably resist the idea, though. Nothing questions authority like hard video evidence.And as experience has shown us, such a measure is sorely needed in our own country as well.

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One big prison yard

Dawg's Blawg - il y a 4 heures 7 min
Ferguson, Missouri, has a population of 21,111. Number of National Guard deployed there: 2,200. More than one guard for every ten residents. Bob Dylan told it like it was—43 years ago.... Dr.Dawg

The Quiet Native Revolution

Northern Reflections - il y a 4 heures 38 min


In his book, A Fair Country, John Ralston Saul argued that Canada owed its existence to three founding nations -- Britain, France and its First Nations. But he took the argument further than that. What was best about us, Saul wrote, was what we unconsciously inherited from our First Nations. That inheritance has made us a "Metis Nation."

In his latest book, The Comeback,  Saul argues that Canada is in the midst of a Quiet Native Revolution. Lawrence Martin writes:

What’s happening today is comparable to the Quiet Revolution in 1960s Quebec, he says. Our indigenous peoples are about to impose themselves the way Quebec nationalists did then. Few understand this because the focus has disproportionately been on the suffering and the failures – the rapes, the poverty, the residential schools, the Attawapiskats.

There’s a new aboriginal elite. We have Inuit and Cree corporations. Supreme Court victories are giving aboriginals more control over the commodity-rich lands of the North. Climate change is playing to their agenda. The aboriginal population is rapidly increasing, as is aboriginal youth enrolment in universities and colleges. “They are smart, intellectually lean and rightfully angry young people,” he says – their clout was felt with Idle No More and will soon register more tellingly.

Never mind some of the negative stuff in the media, for example, the stories about some delinquent chiefs being overpaid. Indeed, some are, said Mr. Saul, speaking recently to a packed hall of 700 in Ottawa. But, “did anyone bother to compare the percentage of overpaid chiefs with the percentage of overpaid CEOs in the private sector?”

Indeed, Canada's natives people are putting the brakes on runaway corporatism:

Our Western model put few brakes on commercial development. Governments have too often run the Canadian North, where two-thirds of our resource wealth lies, “like slum landlords.” With the native peoples’ legal victories, their philosophy, which sees the human as integral, as opposed to a dominant part of the whole, will take hold.

Certainly, the revolution has been quiet. And the Harper government has done everything in its power to stop it. But, if Saul is right, the First Nations may -- as they have done in the past -- lead us back to our better angels.

Jason Kenney and the Shameless Con Zombies

Montreal Simon - il y a 6 heures 30 min

In my last post I told you how Jason Kenney and a group of Con zombies set out to try to use a secretly recorded conversation to discredit a Liberal candidate in Alberta.

Only to end up looking like clowns when it turned out they had gone after the wrong person.

So you might think they would have the decency to apologize for their idiot mistake, or at least admit they were wrong.

But no they will not, for they are Cons, and they are shameless.
Read more »

Public Funding of Alberta Fake Clinics, Part 3

Dammit Janet - mar, 11/25/2014 - 13:30
In our series, Hinton Crisis Pregnancy Association is last of the three fake clinics in Alberta that have received public funds from the Alberta Lottery Foundation.

(The others are Medicine Hat and Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre.)

Hinton CPC seems to be doing business as West Yellowhead Pregnancy Care Centre; the address is the same on its Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) annual filings.

The first thing to know about Hinton is that it's pretty small, with a population of 9,640 souls as of the 2011 census.

Another thing about HInton is that it has a photo radar system, the proceeds of which are doled out to deserving community organizations. More on that in a bit.

And now we've run out of things to say about Hinton.

The fake clinic seems a bit shy for these sorts of organizations. Its website is under construction and its Facebook page is rather desultorily maintained.

It is a member of the Christian Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services, the umbrella organization that the Ontario Trillium Foundation had an "issue" with.

I found a profile of the outfit in the local paper from 2007.
The pregnancy centre is a faith-based organization made up of volunteers from various Hinton churches. Church members also make up the board that operates behind the scenes.

The centre is made possible by donations from churches, local businesses and the United Way. In addition, the centre does three fundraisers per year including a banquet in October, a baby bottle campaign and usually a spring fundraiser. . .

Giffin said that his organization hasn't had much luck obtaining government grants, but that they are going to try again.Now to the CRA filings.




Expenses and revenue seem to run at around $100K a year. That's pretty impressive considering that costs at the Medicine Hat fake clinic, with a population six times Hinton's, run about $60K. (Maybe Medicine Hat has competition? Maybe the sluts in Hinton are extra slutty?)

And hey look, the Hinton fake clinic has been successful in getting the government money they were coveting back in 2007.

Some of that would be from the Alberta Lottery Foundation. From 2009 to 2012, it received $50K from ALF or more than half of all such funds given out to fake clinics in the province.

But the really genius part is that it has tapped into another source of public funds -- the aforementioned photo radar tribute.

In April this year, the local paper reported that it had done rather nicely.

Quality of Life grants were doled out last week, with a total of $97,116 for 18 local community groups.

Town council approved the grants at the April 15 meeting. Nineteen applicants had requested $281,068 in funding, which is nearly triple the $100,000 available. Recommendations to council on how to award the available funds were made by the Grant Funding Advisory Committee, which has five voting members. Quality of Life grants are allocated from photo radar fees. . .

The West Yellowhead Pregnancy Care Centre received the largest amount of core funding applied for ($10,000).So unsuspecting Albertans have TWO ways to contribute involuntarily to the fake clinic: through their lottery tickets and their traffic tickets.

If one is of a religious, anti-choice, misogynist bent, it's beauty. One can say: Well, sheee-it, I didn't win the lottery/I got a damn speeding ticket, but at least the money is going to a Christ-fearing, slut-shaming, human rights-denying outfit.

Of course, if one is not of a religious, anti-choice, misogynist bent, one might say: Well, sheee-it. WTF?

You gotta admire these Christers though. Tricksy with pregnancy/abortion information, tricksy with fund-raising.

h/t to Kathy Dawson for the photo radar link

Sundown Nation

Dawg's Blawg - mar, 11/25/2014 - 10:13
My 7 year old son just said: “Don’t worry mom. If we want to live, we just have to stay home”. I’m turning off my tv. My heart just broke. Mine too. Imagine a country where minority parents give their... Dr.Dawg

What If?

Politics and its Discontents - mar, 11/25/2014 - 07:06

Last evening, I was watching the 6:00 o'clock news, distracted and perturbed by the howling winds (up to 100 kms. per hour) buffeting our windows. Here in Southern Ontario, about 100 kilometres from the snowstorm that has devasted Buffalo, I can perhaps be forgiven for feeling especially sensitive to increasingly frequent bouts of extreme weather linked to climate change.

Then I was overcome with a real anger whose origin I couldn't immediately identify. But as I thought about it, I realized that it was in part related to the prospect of a power outage, something we seem to experience here at least three or four times a year. There is nothing like a power outage to reduce us to an almost primal state, a state in which our facade of mastery of the universe is brutally stripped away. It is always a sobering and humbling opportunity to realize that, vis-à-vis nature, we are nothing.

Then I realized the real basis for my anger: all of the corporate and federal poltical hostility to taking meaningful action to try to keep the global rise in temperatures within 2 degrees Celsius, the uppermost limit that science tells us might prevent runaway and irreversible climate change.

While our overlords may safely (but temporarily) ensconce themselves as the worst comes to pass, the rest of us will be left to contemd with an increasingly harsh environment, all so that corporate entities can continue to amass record profits, taking all they can before the world as we know it disappears.

Then a thought occurred to me. The Salamander has frequently commented on how we need some powerful symbols, metaphors, and imagery around which opposition to the Harper agenda can coalesce. What if, for all the increasingly volatile weather, for all of the power outages, for all of the floods, for all of the "100-year storms," and for all of the other frequent natural disasters we are facing, Canadians place the blame where it belongs: let us affix pictures in our public consciousness (and in our advertising) that expose the corporate giants and their chief Canadian aider and abettor, Stephen Harper, for what they are: Protectors of a monied status quo that is dooming the rest of us to a life soon to become nasty, brutish, and perhaps short.

What if, when the next wallop of nature visits us, we think of it this way:

This storm is brought to you by Stephen Harper, who refuses to lift a finger to mitigate climate change.

Just a thought.

Recommend this Post

Pre-Paleolithic Neanderthals

Northern Reflections - mar, 11/25/2014 - 06:59


That's what Stephen Lewis calls the Harper government. Lewis has always known how to turn a phrase. But he's also always known how to make an argument. And the evidence he offers in support of his case is damning. Tim  Harper writes in the Toronto Star:

  • Canada’s world standing is in free fall.

  • The Harper government’s contempt for Parliament and its traditions has degraded   political life and fostered voter cynicism.

  • Its attitude to aboriginals is not paternalistic, it is racist.

  • Harper’s refusal to join the rest of the world and move toward renewable energy sources is endangering future generations and contributing to a looming planetary meltdown.

  • Civil society and the ideas it fosters have been slapped down and censored, subverting democratic norms.

  • Lewis understands just how far Canada has moved from its moorings:

    "Vitriolic nastiness in debate does not breed respect,” he said. “Nor does adolescent partisanship, nor do pieces of legislation of encyclopedic length that hide contentious issues, nor does the sudden emergence of frenzied TV attack ads, nor does the spectre of a Prime Minister’s Office exercising authoritarian control.”

    "It is as though Canada had decided, like some mindless national curmudgeon, to be a permanent outlier on issues of minority rights and women’s rights,” Lewis said. “It does us damage. It does us shame.”
    He has said that there was a time in Ottawa when his father, Robert Stanfield and Pierre Trudeau led their respective parties. They could disagree and they could do it with wit. He recalls the time his father stood in the House of Commons, pointed at the prime Minister and proclaimed, "There, but for Pierre Trudeau, goes God!"

    But the three men respected each other. Lewis still believes that we can return to that kind of Canada:

    “Somewhere in my soul,” Lewis says, “I cherish the possibility of a return to a vibrant democracy, where equality is the watchword, where people of different ideological conviction have respect for each other, where policy is debated rather than demeaned, where the great issues of the day are given thoughtful consideration, where Canada’s place on the world stage is seen as principled and laudatory, where human rights for all is the emblem of a decent civilized society.”
    Let's hope he's right.

    Tuesday Morning Links

    accidentaldeliberations - mar, 11/25/2014 - 05:39
    This and that for your Tuesday reading.

    - Daniel Tencer reports on a couple of important recent warnings that Canada is in danger of following the U.S. down the path of extreme corporatism and inequality:
    Speaking at a fundraiser for the left-leaning Broadbent Institute, Reich said Canada is facing the same inequality-growing “structural problems” that the rest of the developed world is facing. Those two structural problems are globalization and automation, he said.

    He noted that businesses in the digital era require far fewer employees, citing the example of WhatsApp, the messaging app bought by Facebook. At the time it was purchased for $19 billion, it had 450 million users and just 55 employees.

    “This is the new economy,” Reich said.

    A new report from TD Bank cites the same two factors as being causes of growing inequality, but also notes that Canada used to do a better job of equalization through taxation.

    “Although Canadians take pride in the country’s more equitable outcomes [than the U.S.], Canada does less income redistribution than many think. Canada’s ranking on income equality falls from 9th place in the OECD on the basis of [income before taxes] to 19th place on the basis of after-tax and transfer income.”- Meanwhile, Tim Harper follows up on Stephen Lewis' blistering criticism of the state of Canadian politics under the Harper Cons. And they've only added to the list of jaw-droppingly callous actions lately by refusing consent on the NDP's renewed motion to end child poverty, as well as by voting against a UN motion against glorifying Nazism and neo-Nazism.

    - Barrie McKenna finds that the Cons' own supposed priorities are once again all spin and no action, as a much-ballyhooed manufacturing fund has funded exactly zero projects since it was introduced a year and a half ago.

    - Diane Cardwell reports on the falling cost of solar and wind energy, as renewables have reached a price level similar to that of dirty fossil fuels. And Geoff Dembick reports on Unifor's work in highlighting the fact that environmentally responsible development and good jobs are entirely compatible goals.

    - Finally, Paul Rosenberg interviews George Lakoff about the lessons progressives still need to learn in framing public policy debates.

    Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, and the Con Clown Circus

    Montreal Simon - mar, 11/25/2014 - 04:38

    As you know, I sometimes like to portray the foul Harper regime as a Con clown circus.

    Because although they are the most sinister government in Canadian history, fanatical, brutish, and cruel. 

    They are also hysterically incompetent.

    And today was one of their best shows EVER !!!!
    Read more »

    "Without Going into Details" *snerk*

    Dammit Janet - mar, 11/25/2014 - 02:26
    We had been wondering why Fetus Freak Media and its running blog lackeys hadn't done its usual shrieky foot-stompy hissy fit routine over the partial rescinding of an Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) grant to a fake pregnancy centre.

    The fake clinic itself responded on its blog in a rather tight-lipped manner citing "philosophical differences" with OTF while accusing an unnamed blogger (ahem).
    One particular blog has been making false allegations regarding our Centre and is taking credit for the rescinding of the OTF grant.  This same group has been making allegations against other Pregnancy Centre’s [sic] in Canada.And that seemed to be it for reaction from the zygote zealots.

    Well, silly us, we were googling terms like "Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre" (the defunded Sarnia racket), "Ontario Trillium Foundation," "crisis pregnancy centres" and, we admit, "Dammit Janet!" and even "fern hill."


    It appears that Fetus Freak Central has decreed that we are to remain "anonymous evil blogger" and the clinic itself is not to be named either. "Crisis Pregnancy Centres" seems now to have fully morphed into pregnancy options centres.

    Quite by accident, we ran across this yesterday by our old pal Mike Schouten, aka Creepy Dominionist Guy. It's a reprise of a blog post at his site, We Need a Law [Like a Hole in the Head].

    Here it is in its full goddy glory (my bold).
    Christians who strive to live by the Scriptures will know that the two greatest commandments are to love the Lord with heart, soul and mind, and to love their neighbours as themselves (Mark 12:30-31). 

    Follows of Jesus desire to live selfless lives and this is characterized by putting others [sic] needs ahead of their own. I bring this up in connection with the work of faith-based pregnancy care centres. These centres are for the most part staffed by volunteers who give up much to come to the aid of those in need. 

    The volunteers provide compassionate help to women experiencing unplanned pregnancies, post abortion grief, domestic violence, and sexual assault. They are on the frontlines of assisting some of the most vulnerable people in society and regularly help women make informed choices that set them on the path to a better life. The care they offer extends well beyond the moment of birth or abortion. In very practical ways they come alongside people in need and so enable them to continue living productive and joy-filled lives as they transition into motherhood. And right now, pregnancy options centres need our support. 

    As we documented* just over a year ago, pregnancy options centres are increasingly under attack by abortion advocates. Yes, there are Canadians who are so excited about the fact that a woman ought to be able to kill her own child that they simply cannot fathom the thought that some women choose life for their pre-born child. 

    Without going into details we want you to know that these attacks have intensified in recent weeks. We ask that you do what you can to support a pregnancy options centre near you. This can be done through donations (see here for a list of centres across Canada). You can also help them by offering words of encouragement and prayer for those on the front lines. They are daily engaged in the culture seeking to show love to those in need. 

    We can do better and we can certainly show those who oppose helping pregnant women that they have a skewed sense of social justice. Let us not be characterized as a country that let's [sic] its citizens flounder in depths of despair.(*That "documentation" goes to a previous protracted hissy fit over Joyce Arthur's exposure of fake clinics in BC, published in 2009 for hevvinsake. [And what is it with these people and apostrophes?])

    Onto their game, we looked some more and found amateur statistician Patricia Maloney's foot-stomper and its follow-up. And while she refers to me as a "fake person," she has at least the good bloggy manners to link to my offensive "potty mouthed" blogposts.

    Things have since escalated. I tweeted at Creepy Dominionist Guy on twitter and got this.

    Hey, genius, @mike_schouten did you actually read my blogposts? No bullying involved. I asked @ONTrillium questions. They reassessed. OOPS.

    — Fern Hill (@fernhilldammit) November 24, 2014

    They're playing the martyr card again and I'm now a bully. In addition to being fake and potty-mouthed.

    Note though they have NOTHING narsty to say about the organization that actually yanked the funding when asked (nicely) to justify the grant. The nice rich foundation that might yet be bullied convinced of the error of its ways.

    Nope. They're attacking a wee blogger.

    In other words, without going into details, they got nuthin'.

    We, on the other hand, have MASSIVE giggles.

    The Ghomeshi Scandal and the CBC Management Cult

    Montreal Simon - mar, 11/25/2014 - 02:02

    About ten days ago I wrote a post about the CBC and the Ghomeshi scandal, and I blamed its hapless managers for creating a cult of celebrity where such a horrible thing could happen.

    Then came this shabby incident. 

    Which not only reinforced my belief that CBC management treats its "stars" like gods. It also convinced me that some of those managers don't know what they're doing, and should be fired immediately.

    And now from the guy most responsible for exposing the Ghomeshi scandal comes this latest shocking revelation: CBC management isn't just promoting a celebrity cult.

    It's a cult ITSELF!!!!!
    Read more »

    Dean Clifford and Bill Noble: Emails

    Anti-Racist Canada - lun, 11/24/2014 - 22:48
    This day last November freeman-on-the-land guru, former active Stormfront member, and general nutter Dean Clifford was taken into custody during a seminar he was conducting in Ontario. Since that day, Clifford has been claiming that his release would be imminent as would be his take-down of the political and economic system in this nation. And despite his continued incarceration, which now includes charges that he made threats to directed at the police and court officials while in custody (we have at least one of those recordings saves), Clifford continues in his delusional belief that he has them all right where he wants them and that there will be hell to pay when he gets out. His supporters remain credulous in spite of all available evidence.
    Today those supporters who run the website provided the world with a gift; 9+ hours of Dean Clifford's pseudo-legalistic mumbo jumbo. We here at ARC humbly would suggest being subjected to more than 9 hours of Dean Clifford would be far worse than the torture he claims that he has undergone while a guest of Her Majesty.
    That noted, we thought we too might provide a gift to mark this auspicious occasion.
    A couple of years back, some one or some group hacked a number of racist websites and email addresses. It just so happens that three of those email addresses belonged to Bill Noble, someone our readers are very familiar with. And Noble kept up a fairly extensive correspondence with Clifford from 2007 into at least 2011. Some of those correspondences were related to Noble's own case in which he was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to a term of four months followed by three years probation (which he immediately violated soon after his release with no apparent consequence):

    Oh, perhaps we should have mentioned that Bill Noble once (and maybe still does) uses Adolf Hitler as means of identifying himself.
    The name that Clifford signed as, "Sovereign" is significant in that it is what he used as his online moniker on Stormfront. In some of the emails that will follow Clifford will refer to posts he made on Stormfront. Since some of his acolytes refused to believe that Clifford (who threw quite a temper tantrum when we suggested we would be writing an article about him) was the racist we proved him to be, maybe this provides sufficient proof, however there will be more so stay tuned.
    Anyways, Clifford included an attachment with his email, the content of which follows:Read more »

    #BlackLivesMatter but not in #ferguson

    Cathie from Canada - lun, 11/24/2014 - 22:09
    The failure to indict Darren Wilson is a travesty.

     By Langston Hughes:
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    New York:

    Los Angeles:
    View image on Twitter


    And in Toronto tomorrow

    Is it an epidemic?

    The Regina Mom - lun, 11/24/2014 - 21:45

    thereginamom has continued to read the Twitter hashtag, , and so much more.  She remains deeply moved by the outpouring of experiences shared and the conversations that are happening within various local communities, in the mainstream media, and online.  Though the number of tweets has decreased, the sharing continues.  Never has trm ever been involved in such a powerful online action — and she’s been involved in many, as some of you dear Readers know.

    sex assault stats ywcaThis infographic from YWCA Canada startled trm.  It clearly demonstrates the urgent, immediate need for change.  From what trm has read on Twitter we need to change the way reports of rape are handled by police and the justice system.  In order to do that, we need to change the way our culture looks at rape.  We need to end rape culture.

    Rape culture was not a term familiar to trm until her daughter went away to university and shared posts about it on Facebook.  trm has learned how her experience of rape is a result of a culture that not so subtly condones rape.

    How do we change this, dear Reader, and quickly?

    Joe Oliver, CFIB, and the Fraser Institute

    Creekside - lun, 11/24/2014 - 16:17

    FinMin Joe Oliver admitted last week that his department had outsourced government policy to the lobby group Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and further, had not done their own analysis of CFIB's work even though the lobby group represents the businesses the new policy was intended to benefit. The new CFIB/FinMin policy takes $500M from the EI fund and gives it to small businesses - ostensibly to create jobs.

    CFIB wasted no time taking credit for this piece of government policy.

    On their webpage CFIB shows this photo of CFIB President Dan Kelly at the government's "Jobs and Opportunities" dedecked lectern, with FinMin Joe standing demurely off to the side. 
    A sidebar on the main page headlined "We Make a DifferenceVictories" boasts :
    "Big breakthrough on payroll taxes: CFIB joined federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver to announce the creation of the Small Business Job Credit".

    CFIB certainly has the right to flaunt their influence over Con policy. 
    Two and a half years ago, they announced their success in lobbying the government "to make the Temporary Foreign Worker Program more responsive to the needs of employers", including a 10-day response time to LMOs, "a simplified online application process", and "a new more flexible wage structure". And lo, Human Resources Minister Diane FInley made it so.
    In fact, over the past four years from Nov 2010 to Nov 2014, Con MPs have quoted the CFIB more than 280 times in the House and in committee on everything from the Wheat Board to Canada Post to the temporary foreign workers program to federal budgets.
    Here's a few from one week this past October :

    With CEO Dan Kelly sitting on the Advisory Committee to the Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the CFIB currently have 46 lobbyists listed to lobby 39 separate government institutions on 28 matters of policy for the year 2014, including "fair access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program" and "support for Bill C525 (An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code) that secret ballot voting should be mandatory prior to union certification."

    At left, also from Press Progress, is the short version of the apparently joint $550M CFIB/FinMin EI policy. 
    Estimated to create 25,000 person-years of employment over the next several years, this figure was later corrected by the parliamentary budget officer to 800 jobs at a cost of $687,500 per job.

    However CFIB President Dan Kelly explains the whole jobs jobs jobs thing wasn't even the point :
    "The job-creation benefit of it is essentially secondary to the fact that this is essentially an EI cut because employers and employees should not have to pay higher EI premiums than is needed to pay for the cost of the program. So this is essentially returning EI rates back to their break-even level."No fault to the CFIB here - they're just doing their job for their guys, 109,000 small and medium Canadian businesses and franchises.
    Perhaps notable though is that according to their Contact page, the CFIB Exec Vice President was formerly Director of Environment and Regulatory Studies at the Koch-funded Fraser Institute while the VP of Communications interned there..

    Citizenship That Speaks Loudly

    Politics and its Discontents - lun, 11/24/2014 - 14:35
    Although we live during a time when the term 'citizen' has been largely supplanted by corporate misnomers like 'stakeholders' and 'customers' and 'taxpayers,' the concept of citizenship still lives in the hearts of many. And while we hear all the time about the 'rights' of stakeholders, not often are we reminded of the 'responsibilities' of citizenship.

    A recent post of a speech given by Tamo Campos, the grandson of David Suzuki, was one such reminder, as is this one by Simon Fraser University molecular biologist Lynne Quarmby, arrested at the same place as was Camos, Burnaby Mountain, for exercising her right of protest against the activities of Kinder Morgan:

    Earlier, David Suzuki himself gave an impassioned speech:

    All who see the world solely through the lens of 'market values' should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.
    Recommend this Post

    But Are His Pants On Fire?

    Politics and its Discontents - lun, 11/24/2014 - 11:21
    That is a question only Bill O'Reilly can answer, but given his veracity-challenged career, I would not his response at face value.

    The fun begins at about the 2:40 mark below as Keith Olbermann pierces some O'Reilly-concocted mythology:

    Recommend this Post


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