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Two Candidates, same story???

kirbycairo - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 12:23
I am not a big supporter of Hillary Clinton, but I believe that most of the ferocious, mainstream attacks on her are (whether consciously or not) motivated by sexism. The reason I say this is simple: Clinton is not only probably the most qualified candidate in recent memory (if not ever), but her stances and policies are completely in line with the Democratic candidates over the past thirty or forty years. It is easy and fair to criticize Clinton from a leftist point of view, and some of the public criticisms of her have been just this, something that is, I believe, a result of a rising tide of leftist politics in the millennial generation. But from the mainstream Democrats criticisms of her have been deeply hypocritical since her policies are not significantly different from Obama, Bill Clinton, Al Gore (when he was in the running), Dukakis, or even Mondale. Hillary Clinton is, in policy terms, simply an extension of the Democratic Party, a party that grew out of the Reagan years, a largely neo-liberal party (in economic terms) with a social liberal bent, that pays lip service to traditional left of centre issues. (Much like the Liberal Party here in Canada).

Now some people criticize Hillary Clinton by pointing to her scandals and alleged dishonesty. I am not going to take issue with every one of these issues because that would necessitate a longer blog than I have time for. But let me say this - for anyone who has been in public life as long, and at the high level that she has, her alleged offenses seem pretty much par for the course. I take it as read that Hillary Clinton is corrupt and dishonest to a degree, simply because I take it that the rich and powerful in capitalism are almost universally so. That is how the system works. It favours corruption and rewards dishonesty.

However, I find it hypocritical (or naive) in the extreme for people to portray Hillary as deeply flawed and dishonest and then go out and support Trump as though they are somehow doing something different. First of all, let's be clear, Trump has been a long time supporter of the same economic agenda that Hillary Clinton represents. That is a simple matter of record. But more importantly, to imagine that Trump is somehow outside of the establishment that Clinton represents is pure folly. Trump is a typically dishonest, wealthy businessman in a system that favours the rich and powerful. If he lived in a system that didn't economically and judicially favour wealth and power, Trump would be broke or maybe in jail. Like so many of the rich and powerful, Trump uses a corrupt system to shield him from prosecution, much like Clinton does. Trump uses his wealth to keep himself rich and to take wealth from smaller, more honest business people. (One simply has to examine his business history to understand this) It is simply ridiculous to think of a billionaire like Trump as somehow outside of the establishment of a capitalist nation. And his record of dishonesty is no less public, and arguably much worse, than Clinton's. But even if you think Clinton is uniquely dishonest as mainstream presidential candidates have been, it is ridiculous and blind to see Trump as any more honest or any less part of the establishment.

If someone was reluctant to vote for Clinton because she is too fiscally rightwing or too much of a foriegn policy hawk, I think that is fair enough. However, for someone to support Trump because they think Clinton is dishonest and too much part of the establishment would be as absurd as someone voting for the Neo-nazis because they think Trump is too racist and misogynistic. It is absurd. Trump's dishonesty is self-evident and obvious even without the huge amount of testimony from those he has cheated, his business failures are startling, and his support for the trade practices that he now criticizes has a long history.

So here's the thing - if I were an American voter and I was set on voting either Democrat or Republican, I would be choosing between the two generally dishonest, rich and powerful, neo-liberal candidates. Well, I would choose the one who isn't blatantly racist, misogynist, and hasn't been endorsed by the white supremacists. That seems pretty straightforward to me.

Well, There Goes the Neighbourhood

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 11:44
These are exciting times for Vancouver Island as large numbers of marine creatures move into local waters, migrating out of the south.

One species that has shown up in strength is the humpback whale. They attract a lot of attention from tourists on whale watcher excursions and from kayakers alike. This is what awaited a bunch of kayakers in the Discovery Islands off Campbell River.



If You Want to Stop Hearing These Stories, You Have to Act Now

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 11:11

Okay, July was the hottest month on record. Not the hottest July, the hottest month period. 2016 is now virtually guaranteed to be the hottest year ever, just as 2015 was in its turn. The last 15-months have each consecutively been record hot months. It's just plain getting hotter. It's going to keep getting hotter.  Too bad the Dauphin is too busy peddling bitumen to notice. If only he knew I'm sure he'd do something. Sure he would.

Interesting new development reported at phys.org (yeah, as in "physics"). Scientists have discovered that sea level rise in the Pacific Ocean accurately predicts global temperature changes. I know, I know, who cares? Wait just a minute.

Based on the Pacific Ocean's sea level in 2015, the team estimates by the end of 2016 the world's average surface temperature will increase up to 0.5 F (0.28 C) more than in 2014.

In 2015 alone, the average global surface temperature increased by 0.32 F (0.18 C).

"Our prediction is through the end of 2016," said first author Cheryl Peyser. "The prediction is looking on target so far."


Okay, now let's unpack that. We're already above 1 degree Celsius in heating since the pre-industrial era. Our leaders have agreed that the "never exceed" point for warming, the point at which we may have a reasonable chance of avoiding catastrophic, runaway global warming is 1.5 degrees Celsius. In other words we have less than half a degree Celsius to play with before we blow through that 1.5 C limit. Only we used up 0.18 degree Celsius in 2015 and we stand to add another 0.28 C this year. Wait a second. Hell's Bells - that's 0. 46 degrees Celsius of our somewhat less than 0.5 degrees Celsius limit and we've done it in just TWO years.

An old friend came to visit recently and at one point we somehow wound up watching a bit of YouTube. In particular we watched Russian dash cam video. As we went through it I was struck that it seemed to resemble our government's approach to climate change.  Watch it if you like, as little or as much as you can bear. Then ask yourself...






And We're a Long Way From Done Yet

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 09:13


Here's the problem. When our leaders are debating how little they can get away with doing about climate change,  they're looking only at the tip of the iceberg, the part above water. That's their frame of reference.

Despite how much publicity it has received, most of us have a poor if not erroneous understanding of atmospheric greenhouse gases and what they hold in store for the next few decades and over the two centuries following that.

There's already a lot of atmospheric GHG, enough that we've already locked in 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming even if we abandoned fossil energy entirely tomorrow. The stuff is very persistent, especially CO2, and it will continue to cause the planet to heat until, over a very long time, we're long gone and it finally dissipates.

At last December's Paris climate summit there was general agreement to limit warming to 1.5 C. We are effectively already there, just give it a couple of decades to work its magic.

Then there are the knock-on effects this 1.5C will create. That could add another 1.5C over a couple of centuries from the heating effect of the loss of reflective ice caps and glaciers. That's a total of 3 degrees Celsius without factoring in other natural feedback loops such as a massive methane release from melting permafrost and warming northern lakes and seabed.

Now, bad as this mess already is, we have a new government dragging its heels in the footsteps of its predecessor, intent on driving the extraction and export of ever increasing amounts of Athabasca bitumen. The greenhouse gas emissions from that initiative go directly on top of the basic 1.5 C plus the additional, long-term 1.5C plus the added warming from the methane feedback loop and so on.

Is "genocidal" too strong a word to use? There is credible scientific opinion concluding that we're on the path to a major extinction event, the first in our planet's history created by any species of life, by one species - mankind. It lacks the malevolence of concentration death camps of the Holocaust, the killing fields of Cambodia or the slaughterhouse of Rwanda yet, in raw numbers, it could eclipse all of them in sheer numbers.

Some, such as Gaia hypothesis creator, James Lovelock, foresee mankind emerging from this century with a population reduced to a few hundred million. If he's remotely correct that's talking not about millions of deaths or even hundreds of millions but many billions of humans wiped out through man's own indifference, greed and neglect. How genocidal is that? Global, encompassing almost every species, the lot wiped out. Maybe we should change it to "omnicidal."

Think about the image of that iceberg the next time you're treated to a heaping helping of climate change nonsense from Trudeau enviromin, Lady Cathy - especially when she gets to the part about keeping warming under 1.5C. When she starts on about 1.5C you know she's talking with her head up her past.

And We're a Long Way From Done Yet

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 09:13
Here's the problem. When our leaders are debating how little they can get away with doing about climate change,  they're looking only at the tip of the iceberg. That's their frame of reference.

Despite how much publicity it has received, most of us have a poor if not erroneous understanding of atmospheric greenhouse gases and what they hold in store for the next few decades and over the two centuries following that.

There's already a lot of atmospheric GHG, enough that we've already locked in 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming even if we abandoned fossil energy entirely tomorrow. The stuff is very persistent, especially CO2, and it will continue to cause the planet to heat until, over a very long time, we're long gone and it finally dissipates.

At last December's Paris climate summit there was general agreement to limit warming to 1.5 C. We are effectively already there, just give it a couple of decades to work its magic.

Then there are the knock-on effects this 1.5C will create. That could add another 1.5C over a couple of centuries from the heating effect of the loss of reflective ice caps and glaciers. That's a total of 3 degrees Celsius without factoring in other natural feedback loops such as a massive methane release from melting permafrost and warming northern lakes and seabed.

Now, bad as this mess already is, we have a new government dragging its heels in the footsteps of its predecessor, intent on driving the extraction and export of ever increasing amounts of Athabasca bitumen. The greenhouse gas emissions from that initiative go directly on top of the basic 1.5 C plus the additional, long-term 1.5C plus the added warming from the methane feedback loop and so on.

Is "genocidal" too strong a word to use? There is credible scientific opinion concluding that we're on the path to a major extinction event, the first in our planet's history created by any species of life, by one species - mankind. It lacks the malevolence of concentration death camps of the Holocaust, the killing fields of Cambodia or the slaughterhouse of Rwanda yet, in raw numbers, it could eclipse all of them in sheer numbers.

Some, such as Gaia hypothesis creator, James Lovelock, foresee mankind emerging from this century with a population reduced to a few hundred million. If he's remotely correct that's talking not about millions of deaths or even hundreds of millions but many billions of humans wiped out through man's own indifference, greed and neglect. How genocidal is that? Global, encompassing almost every species, the lot wiped out. Maybe we should change it to "omnicidal."

Think about the image of that iceberg the next time you're treated to a heaping helping of climate change nonsense from Trudeau enviromin, Lady Cathy - especially when she gets to the part about keeping warming under 1.5C. When she starts on about 1.5C you know she's talking with her head up her past.

"The Way We've Been Thinking Can't Be Right"

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 08:51

It was some 30-years ago that those shameless libertines - Thatcher, Reagan and Mulroney - hopped into bed with the comely whore, neoliberalism, and we've been getting screwed over ever since.

Their successors are still in bed with neoliberalism. Yeah, that goes for Trudeau too - in spades. But that's not the worst of it. The real creepy part is that , today, they're in bed with a corpse and yet they're still just merrily shagging away.

A corpse, I say? Pay no heed to what I say but you might want to listen to those who are calling out our political necrophiles. People like John Ralston Saul who took neoliberalism's pulse a decade ago and found its once beating heart, globalism, stilled and dead.

Or, if Ralston Saul isn't to your liking, how about Joseph Eugene Stiglitz, economist extraordinaire, Nobel laureate and all?

Since the late 1980s and the so-called Washington Consensus, neoliberalism — essentially the idea that free trade, open markets, privatisation, deregulation, and reductions in government spending designed to increase the role of the private sector are the best ways to boost growth — has dominated the thinking of the world's biggest economies and international organisations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The policies of Ronald Reagan and Clinton in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the UK are often held up as the gold standard of neoliberalism at work, while in recent years in Britain George Osborne and David Cameron's economic policies continued the neoliberal tradition.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, however, there has been a groundswell of opinion in both economic and political circles to suggest that the neoliberal consensus may not be the right way forward for the world. In the past few years, with growth low and inequality rampant, that groundswell has gained traction.

Stiglitz, who won a Nobel Memorial Prize in economics in 2001 for his work on information asymmetry, has been one of neoliberalism's biggest critics in recent years, and he says the "neoliberal euphoria" that has gripped the world since the 1980s is now gone.


"We've gone from a neoliberal euphoria that 'markets work well almost all the time' and all we need to do is keep governments on course, to 'markets don't work' and the debate is now about how we get governments to function in ways that can alleviate this," he said.

In other words, Stiglitz says: "Neoliberalism is dead in both developing and developed countries."

Stiglitz is not alone in his belief that neoliberalism has its problems, though his argument that the consensus is "dead" is somewhat more forthright than those of many others. In a blog post in May, three economists from the IMF — long one of the greatest champions of the neoliberal consensus — questioned the efficacy of some aspects of it, particularly when it comes to the creation of inequality.


..."The increase in inequality engendered by financial openness and austerity might itself undercut growth, the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting," Jonathan Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri argued. "There is now strong evidence that inequality can significantly lower both the level and the durability of growth."

"There are a lot of people thinking the same thing at this point, that basically some aspects of the neoliberal agenda probably need a rethink," Ostry told the Financial Times on the day the blog was published, adding: "The crisis said: 'The way we've been thinking can't be right.'"


We are not thinking right, indeed. The evidence is all around us, inescapable. Yet not one of our political leaders, Trudeau included, has thought about slipping out of that bed and maybe taking a long, hot shower. Nope, it's their turn, and they've got some more shagging to do.
And there's the problem. Three decades of hard-thrusting neoliberalism has rendered statesmanship and leaders of vision, redundant and worthless.  The political process, thanks to globalism, has been so neutered as to tolerate only technocrats like Harper and Trudeau. The way they're thinking can't be right. It isn't.

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 07:44
Assorted content to end your week.

- PressProgress points out that a large number of Canadians are justifiably concerned about our economy, with a particular desire to rein in income and wealth inequality. And Guy Caron notes that there's no reason for politicians to keep facilitating tax avoidance which exacerbates the gap between the lucky few and the rest of us: 
A basic principle of any modern democracy is equality before the law. That principle includes tax law.

Nobody likes to pay taxes. It is often said that it is the price to pay for civilization. After all, they help pay for our schools, our roads, our health-care system and a social safety net that helps decrease income inequality. However, the pill is easier to swallow when everyone pays their fair share.

It's increasingly clear that in Canada -- and in most industrialized countries -- many are not. We have a two-tier system where the wealthy and the corporations can escape their obligations, and the rest of us can't.

As early as 1992, the auditor general of Canada pointed out the dangers of this unfair situation, when it warned that "Avoidance mechanisms also have a negative effect on the equity and integrity of the tax system and on public attitudes toward voluntary compliance. Access to such mechanisms is usually limited to those who can afford expensive advice. Those who cannot, therefore, may be denied equitable or even-handed treatment."
...
The problem is systemic in nature.

To put an end to tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance, double standards and the culture of secrecy, we need to reform the system in Canada and on the international scene.- Sadie McInnes examines how homelessness (or the threat thereof) particularly affects Canadian women. And Ben Casselman points out why a focus on extremely long hours is antithetical to any attempt to reach pay equity.

- Andrew Coyne rebuts a few of the more outlandish lines of attack against proportional electoral systems with examples of highly successful countries which use them. And Devon Rowcliffe notes that PR's international track record actually involves improvements in representational diversity and political cooperation.

- Amanda Connolly reports on the Libs' delays and half-measures in reviewing Bill C-51, while Paul Wells argues that we shouldn't be surprised that the Trudeau Libs' idea of change to the Cons' surveillance policies is limited to matters of branding rather than substance. And James Di Fiore takes a closer look at Justin Trudeau's attempt to substitute carefully-managed photo ops for actual transparency:
Inadvertently, the piece outlined one of the most glaring problems with the Trudeau government: its brain trust has placed such a high value on presenting a certain image to the public that they have replaced transparency with celebrity, a strategy meant to seduce and distract rather than inform the public.

This calculation is duplicitous; it showcases an accessible leader but one with little time to get into the specifics of the policies that run counter to Trudeau's reputation of a real progressive. Keep giving the media the casual, approachable Trudeau, but keep the centre-right material in the vault. - Finally, Doug Cuthand discusses how the senseless killing of Coulten Boushie (and even more senseless attempts to justify or excuse it) has brought ingrained racism to the surface.

A Time For Some Critical Thinking

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 06:34

With Canada's police chiefs clamoring for new powers that would allow for a massive invasion of our collective privacy, Canadians need to take some time to think critically about our rights and freedoms. As you will see in the following, the first commentator, Rich van Abbe of Toronto, has done just that:
Re: Police chiefs pushing for your passwords, Aug. 17

It’s a bedrock principle of our justice system that no one should be compelled to give evidence against him- or herself.

That makes the demand by Canada’s police chiefs that a law be enacted to force citizens to divulge their computer and phone passwords such an odious suggestion.

There’s no question that authorities engaged in a lawful investigation should be able to obtain warrants from the courts to search suspects’ homes or businesses to seek evidence — even to bust down a locked door if necessary.

But no law requires that a subject of a search tell the cops where evidence may be concealed, or help them retrieve it. Finding it is what detectives are paid to do.

The law the chiefs are demanding might make investigators’ jobs easier, but it would enshrine a perverse violation of the principle of no self-incrimination, one of our most cherished legal protections.

The federal government should slap down this foray against Canadians’ rights in no uncertain terms.The second letter-writer, Claude Gannon of Markham, is quite happy to surrender his privacy, because he has "nothing to hide":
The police want my password? Here it is. I have nothing to hide.

The Internet has given criminals and radicalized individuals the possibility to operate anonymously, so the police and other law-enforcement bodies must be given the tools to curtail their activities. If this involves getting a hold of someone’s password, then so be it. Honest citizens have nothing to hide and will support the police.

Of course, civil libertarians and constitutional lawyers are very quick to cite privacy concerns, but safety and security should come first. Look around you: do people really care about privacy? Most of us are quite happy sharing our lives with banks, credit card companies, major retailers, rental companies…and the list goes on. Some people even display their whole lives on Facebook.

Let’s face it, we live in an increasingly dangerous world, and we need to give law-enforcement agencies all the help they need to combat crime and terrorism. If this means the occasional breach of privacy, then so be it!Finally, some fitting irony from Randy Gostlin of Oshawa:
Perhaps we should just assume everyone’s guilty until proven innocent —except, of course, for police. They’re always innocent.Recommend this Post

No Reason To Reject The System Outright

Northern Reflections - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 05:21


As Canada moves towards proportional representation, the Cassandras are wailing loudly. Andrew Coyne gives two examples -- from opposite ends of the political spectrum:

Here, for example, is Bill Tieleman, B.C. NDP strategist, writing in The Tyee: “How would you like an anti-immigrant, racist, anti-abortion or fundamentalist religious political party holding the balance of power in Canada? … Welcome to the proportional representation electoral system, where extreme, minority and just plain bizarre views get to rule the roost.”

At the other ideological pole, here’s columnist Lorne Gunter, writing in The Sun newspapers: “PR breaks the local bond between constituents and MPs … In a strict PR system, party leaders at national headquarters select who their candidates will be, or at least in what order they will make it into Parliament …” 
To the sceptics, Coyne writes, look at the countries where PR has been adopted:

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, all of whose parliaments are wholly or partially elected by proportional representation. 

We can at least describe accurately how their political system actually works, rather than rely on caricatures born of half-remembered newspaper clippings.

At one end, you have countries such as Austria, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Sweden, all with six to eight parties represented in their legislatures — or about one to three more than Canada’s, with five. At the other, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland, with 10 to 12. 

Virtually all of these countries have some element of local representation: only the Netherlands, whose total area is less than that of some Canadian ridings, elects MPs at large. And none uses the “strict” form of PR Gunter describes, known as “closed list.” Rather, voters can generally choose which of a party’s candidates they prefer, so-called “open lists.”

How unstable are these systems? Since 1945, Canada has held 22 elections. In only one of the PR countries mentioned has there been more: Denmark, with 26. The average is 20. It is true that the governments that result are rarely, if ever, one-party majorities. But, as you may have noticed, that is not unknown here. Nine of Canada’s 22 federal elections since 1945 have resulted in minority parliaments. 
The sceptics like to point to two countries -- Israel and Italy. But both countries are outliers:

The Israeli parliament has 12 parties, Italy’s eight. By comparison, France, which uses a two-round system, has 14, while the United Kingdom — yes, Mother Britain — now has 11. More to the point, there are circumstances unique to each, not only in their parliamentary systems — Israel uses an extreme form of PR, while Italy’s, which has gone through several, defies description — but in their histories and political cultures. 
So, yes, it's important that the system be designed with care. But the fact that two countries have designed their systems poorly is no reason to reject the system outright.

Image: canadians.org

Catching Up With the Adventures of the Republican Clown Donald Trump

Montreal Simon - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 03:06


During the almost three weeks I spent in Scotland, I wasn't able to follow the adventures of the RepubliCon clown Donald Trump as closely as I normally do.

Because as you may know, most Scots can't stand Trump and would rather ignore him.

So you can imagine how surprised I was to turn on CNN when I got home last night, and see the angry orange sounding almost reasonable.

Read more »

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 07:44
Here, on the forces competing to determine the scope and shape of Canada's security state - and why we shouldn't think it's good enough to settle for a status quo which includes needless intrusions into our civil liberties.

For further reading...
- Jim Bronskill reported here on Randall Garrison's plans to bring C-51 back before Parliament rather than letting the Libs keep delaying. And the bill establishing a closed-door parliamentary committee to review security matters (subject to full government control over both what it sees and what it reports) can be found here.
- CBC reported here on the outline of Aaron Driver's case, while Elizabeth Thompson highlighted how the system set up under C-51 failed utterly in managing an individual who was identified as a risk. And again, Murtada Hassain discussed Driver from the standpoint of the congregants of the mosque he attended.
- Finally, Bronskill also reports on the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police's resolution calling for people to be required to hand over electronic passwords. And Susana Mas reports on Ralph Goodale's response.

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 07:27
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Andrew Jackson makes the case for a review of Canada's tax system focused on boosting revenue from the wealthy people and corporations who can readily afford it:
These tax loopholes are costly. Partial inclusion of capital gains in taxable income costs the federal government alone $3.6 billion per year; partial inclusion of stock options costs $725 million per year; and special tax treatment of dividends costs $3.7 billion per year.

Realistic reform of these three tax preferences would likely limit them rather than eliminate them entirely. For example, the stock options deduction might continue, with a capped value and some exemption for employees in start-up companies. One might contemplate an increase in the capital gains inclusion rate to, say, 75% where it stood before 2000, with some protection for inflation, or a cap on the total amount of capital gains accrued.

Nonetheless, it is clear that significant additional tax revenues could be gained by limiting federal tax loopholes on capital income, and that this could lower the proportion of after-tax income received by the most affluent Canadians and promote greater income equality.- Will Denayer highlights how concentrated wealth can result in centuries of inequality. And Josh Boak discusses the issue of income inequality as it's been addressed in the U.S.' election campaign.

- Eric Holthaus weighs in on the need for immediate action to rein in climate change - along with the danger that we've already caused more damage than our planet can handle.

- Meanwhile, Ben Parfitt exposes BC Hydro's recognition that fracking and its resulting earthquakes could cause severe damage to hydro dams and other existing power infrastructure. And Derrick O'Keefe suggests that if fracking can't withstand a factual debate about its impacts, we should be hesitant to allow it at all.

- Finally, while some try to argue as to the main label to be affixed to the NDP, Don Braid nicely sums up what the party stands for at all levels:
The NDP always sees Alberta from the bottom up: from the street rather than the executive suite.

That simple fact explains how Premier Rachel Notley’s government behaves. It’s a useful lens for those still deeply disoriented by the first non-conservative government since, oh, early 1935.
...
The PPA dispute is just the most dramatic example of this instinctive sympathy for the underdog. More than a dozen policies reflect this, in every area from the workplace to the marketplace, from worker safety and consumer ripoffs to relations with First Nations.

The list includes minimum wage hikes; strict new controls on predatory payday loans; child tax benefits; investigating the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council; the controversial farm safety bill; a review of condo deals; allowing victims of family violence to break residential leases; an apology to victims of mistreatment in residential schools; recognizing gender identity and expression; and a post-secondary tuition freeze.
...
That’s how the NDP sees the world — from down below. After decades with a government that was more comfortable with a corporate view, it takes getting used to.

Can They Survive?

Northern Reflections - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 05:12


The Conservative Party of Canada is a pretty fractious group. Consider each of the party's leadership candidates. Brent Rathgeber writes:

Kellie Leitch comes from the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Before entering politics, she worked with the late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and his wife Christine Elliot, and was encouraged to run by former Ontario premier Bill Davis. Her support for the ill-fated barbaric cultural practices tip line notwithstanding, Dr. Leitch qualifies as a ‘progressive’ conservative.

Tony Clement served under Mike Harris before entering federal politics. He is a former president of PC Ontario and was said to be close to Mike Harris. He can be a fiscal hawk. He’s also the king of pork-barrel politics, having infamously diverted G8 security money to unrelated projects in his own riding.

Michael Chong is both a Red Tory and a democratic reformer. The author of the Reform Act, he once quit a cabinet position on a matter of principle. He knows how responsible government and parliamentary democracy are supposed to work.

Although Deepak Obhrai is tied for the longest-serving Conservative MP record, I don’t recall ever having heard him give a speech on domestic politics. I’m not sure what he stands for. His interests lie primarily in global affairs. If nothing else, the Tanzanian-born politician’s entry into the race shows that the CPC is still relevant to new Canadians.

Max Bernier is the darling of the libertarian wing. His plans to abolish supply management and end industrial subsidies also appeal to fiscal hawks and free-market classical liberals. But his live-and-let-live attitudes on social issues put him in direct conflict with Brad Trost, who entered the race yesterday.

Trost is unapologetically pro-life and anti-gay marriage. At the May CPC convention in Vancouver, Trost was the MP spokesperson for delegates opposed to a resolution deleting from official Tory policy the traditional ‘one-man-one-woman’ definition of marriage.
Each sect in the party has its candidate. But you see the problem. There appears to be no one who can bridge the divides. And those divides could tear the party apart. Conservatives may soon be asking the same question the Republicans are asking: Can the party survive its leader?

Image: telegraph.co.uk

Canadians Demand Action to Get the Gore Out of Our Faces

Dammit Janet - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 05:10
Abortion is a legal, common, safe -- and except in the tiny minds of a tiny minority -- ordinary medial procedure.

For the tiny minds, however, it is "killing" and they want it stopped.

To that end, some groups -- most notably the Fetal Gore Porn Gang, aka Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform -- will go to any lengths, including endangering drivers, scaring children, and disgusting just about everyone with their antics.

Some towns and cities have stood up to the gore-meisters. Others have caved, in fear of being taken to court over "free speech."

Well, Canadians are sick of the gore shoved in their and their children's faces and sick of their craven politicians, elected -- supposedly -- to represent constituents.

An e-petition to the Parliament of Canada is demanding action.

Text of the petition:
Petition to the Government of Canada
Whereas:
• Groups have been gathering in peaceful protest against abortion showing graphic imagery;
• The sight of such imagery is being exposed to nonconsenting individuals and children;
• Imagery may be triggering for persons who have suffered trauma and loss involving pregnancy, infancy, childbirth, etc.., including but not limited to: miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, abortion, domestic violence, and fleeing a country involved in war.

We, the undersigned, Citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to please intervene and create law setting out the limitations as to what imagery and content can be used in a protest or similar demonstration that is subject to public viewing.
The petition was started on August 15 and yesterday at about 7 p.m. I saw a tweet from Campaign Lie.

Petition sponsored by @MPCelina 2 stop graphic abortion images. Is this how @liberal_party defends #freedomofspeech? https://t.co/H4KyXiMpMD

— CampgnLifeCoalition (@CampaignLife) August 17, 2016

When I signed it, it had just over 1200 signatures. This morning, over 1800.

Clearly, this is something Canadians care about and want fixed.

If you care too, please sign it and pass the link along.

Here's the link in plain text for easy copying: https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-485

(We at DAMMIT JANET! contend that such ads and displays constitute hate speech. They target the patients and providers of a particular legal medical service and hold them up to ridicule, hate, and possibly violence. We'll have more to say about this later.)



Image source from Hamilton, Ontario, September 2013.

Scotland and the Battle to Free Canada

Montreal Simon - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 22:42


Every year when I return to my family home in Scotland I find myself doing the same things.

Reliving my childhood on the massive beaches that line the north east coast.



Returning to the bay where I first learned to sail, as the jet fighters from the nearby RAF base scream overhead.
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