Monday, May 31, 2010

Blowing Smoke in Montreal

  

Awoke this morning to the smell of smoke and promptly started looking around my house for its' source. Checked downstairs, asked my wife if she'd burned anything to start the day - no, nothing. Shrugged it off and went to the radio station noticing when I arrived that the smell was present. Turns out there's more than 50 fires burning in the province, 8 of which are out of control and was cause for a city-wide smog warning. Apparently the smoke and haze reached all the way to Ottawa. Funny, I thought the prevailing winds blew the other way.

So, $1 billion plus are to be the costs for security at the upcoming G-8 and G-20 summits, and do you want to know the real reason for the hefty price tag? Logistics? Terrorist threats? Nope. It's the fault of the Liberals. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told CTV’s Question Period yesterday that using the military – which would have been a much cheaper option than the RCMP – would have provoked political outrage from the Liberals. Damn those Liberals!

Speaking of poll watchers, this morning a poll on possible coalition governments was published and with Jack Layton at the head of such a coalition, it would defeat the Conservatives by a 43-37 percent margin. Interestingly, in such a scenario in Quebec, Layton polled ten points more than the Bloc. Michael Ignatieff did not fare as well. With him leading a Liberal NDP coalition, he lost out to Harper by a 40-34 percent margin. Go Jack go!

Mulroney, Schreiber dealings ruled inappropriate - if it were you or me, they would have been ruled criminal bribery.

Word is the Americans are still planning an offensive in the city of Kandahar, located in the spiritual capital of the Taliban and the region where most Canadian soldiers are currently serving.

Gunslingers Invade Lansdowne Park - Canada Makes Top 10 List for Arms Dealers

Ottawa:  Canada's largest trade show exhibiting the latest in guns and weapons is taking place this week in the nation's capital. If you can make it past the chain link fence you can hang out with Canada's top military brass and the folks selling the guns and ammo. Luckily just in time for the defence show the Defence Department suspended the some rules governing dealings with the private sector allowing military personnel to be "wined and dined" by the military contractors.

According to Amnesty International Canada as of 2006 was in the top ten of countries selling small arms and light weapons and came in at just under $9 million dollars in reported sales. Number two on the list was Belgium at just over $27 million and the leader, way ahead of the pack, is the USA at $228,512,000. A pdf of the full report can be found at here. The Canadian government, never one to miss on a deal, according to 2006 numbers sold $360.4 million dollars in military equipment to 68 states. Some were involved in armed conflict at the time, with Colombia being the leader of that pack buying $1,177,088 worth of goods. The full Ploughshares report can be found here.

More proof that the suns rises in the morning and s*** don't change. Have a good Monday everyone!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Iggy..? Iggy..? Are you there?

 

So first we write up a story about how the only people taking action on doing something about taking the non-budget items out of the tories budget bill, C-9, are members of Canada's normally phlegmatic Senate. Now I'm here to tell you that Jack Layton has jumped aboard the 'let's fix this damned bill,' express. He's calling it a "Trojan horse" bill which seems appropriate enough considering all the nasty things hidden inside it - now if someone would just apply a Trojan to the thing and prevent its conception that'd be about perfect.

Layton is calling for Ignatieff to stop pussy-footing around and behave like a real opposition leader and conduct some tough negotiations with Harper, of whom he believes would do most anything to prevent the government from falling before his very expensive G-8 and G-20 confabs. He may have a point.

Ignatieff really doesn't have anything to lose by trying a new tack like threatening to bring the government down and meaning it. The worst that could happen is that he'd be forced to go to the polls and take a lot of popular stands on issues over which he should have been jumping up and down about in the first place. Two examples: C-9 guts important environmental legislation - Sec. 20 of the bill gives authority to the federal environment minister to unilaterally decide whether an environmental assessment needs to be done for any project, it deregulates Canada Post ...opening up international mailers to competition, Canada Post could lose millions of dollars in annual revenue and inevitably will have to cut services or hike rates.

Layton points out that while regular Canadians are ignored here, there are $15 billion dollars in corporate-tax giveaways - again not an issue likely to be popular with anyone but Harper's corporate pals and his mindless conservative base.

So Iggy? Where are you while this crap is being shoved down our collective throats? This is not something you can sit back and gaze upon from an ivory tower and speculate on where it leads. The answer to that is clear - this leads to GWB style governance and policies. Is that what you really want?

Canada's Conservatives Renege

 
A shocking development in the Afghanistan detainee issue: The tories are going back on their word to make all documents available and allow them to be viewed by selected members of Parliament on the grounds that some of them are “not necessary or appropriate for the purpose of holding Parliament to account.” In related news, there's word of gambling taking place at the Casino:


 The tories are trying to insert a loophole into an already agreed upon deal that averted a possible election. All sides agreed in principle to let a small panel of MP's have full and complete access. The Conservatives have gone the weasel route and inserted a paragraph that allows Ottawa to keep secret any records on detainees that can be linked to advice it received from government lawyers.

Paul Champ, a lawyer for Amnesty International, said, The key to finding out why Canadian government officials and soldiers acted the way they did will be found in the legal opinions." If they can't look at how the opinions were weighed and what advice they got from their lawyers, then the whole process will have been rendered moot.

Just like the plot of a bad sci-fi movie, this was predictable.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Habs Goalie Gets White House Support

  

Were this the first day of April, I'd hold back on posting this, but the calendar has been checked and the sources too, so I'm running with it. Word from the White House is Halak is awesome and deserves a new long-term contract. Seriously.

The U.S. ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, chatted about hockey during a speech in Montreal today and he saluted the Habs' surprising playoff run. The White House envoy also joked that, with his limited French, he understood the word "Halak" to mean "gigantic contract."

Carey Price could not be reached for comment but word is his agent is considering switching his allegiance to the Republican party.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Roundup!

                                     

You're going to love this: Mexican president Felipe Calderon, embarrassed his host Stephen Harper at a joint press conference, stating, "We cannot wait for the developed countries to make a decision. Some of them, like the U.S., could take another eternity to decide on what they had decided since the Kyoto Protocol. We know that the quality of life, and the future, is at risk. And I mean the future of a great deal of humanity.”

Mexico will host the next round of UN-sponsored climate change talks in Cancun at the end of November, and in a speech to the House of Commons earlier in the day, Calderon that stressed the need for Canadian leadership on climate change. 

Needless to say, asking for Harper to lead on anything other than American ass-kissing is a long shot at best.

Here's what our MP's do in Parliament most every day - one of the main issues of the day was nyah-nah-nah nyah-nah!

This is a problem all across North America and even sexy, urbane Montreal is not exempt - black youths get targeted unfairly by Montreal police and are more than twice as likely to be arrested as white teens.

The one billion dollar plus pricetag of the coming G8 and G20 summits are on everyone's mind and so the Liberals have asked for an audit. I don't believe that's going to change much. The real problem is these events are staged - it's all pro-forma - and everything has already been agreed to in advance. This meet-up is entirely for show and at these prices it's a shameful waste.

Were you aware that by 2021 the elderly will outnumber kids? The number of people over 65 will more than double, from 4.7 million in 2009 to between 9.9 million and 10.9 million by 2036. Seniors will surpass children aged 14 and under between 2015 and 2021. Needless to say the Monty Python gang foresaw this problem and predicted the likely course of events:



To close with a bit of good news, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has bought 14 square kilometres of land in an environmentally sensitive area of southwestern Ontario that is home to dozens of endangered species of animals and plants. The land will help fill in gaps between areas that are already protected, giving the threatened wildlife more terrain to live in and increasing its chance of survival.

The Canadian Senate Gets Busy!

If you're rubbing your eyes or you're sitting there thinking to yourself, "Good one Karl! Always room for more sarcasm when discussing Canada's sleepy Senate." Well, think again. Members of the Senate are unhappy with Harper's omnibus style budget that is loaded with crap that has nothing to do with the budget and are getting ready to carve it up. They even have the support of Progressive Conservative Senator Lowell Murray.

Since Bill C-9 is a confidence matter that could bring down the government if it is defeated, the Conservative government has stacked it with measures that the opposition finds unpalatable. They are unlikely to act on this as the political parties are all led by not so brave men who spend all their time reading polls and do not want to go to the polls right now.

One of its more egregious proposals would exempt a wide range of commercial projects from rules designed to protect the environment - does this idea make you think of the Deepwater Horizon? And the cabinet would have the right to sell off the country’s nuclear corporation, Atomic Energy of Canada, without parliamentary approval. Top it all off with Harper's law and order obsession - Harper seems intent on sending more Canadians to prison at a time when crime in Canada is decreasing - and and it's altogether a nasty sh** sandwich they're serving up to Canadians.

Good for the Senate!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why Aren't Canadians Pissed Off?

The more I sift through the Canuck news on a daily basis the more frustrated I become. I don't understand why that frustration is not shared and why complacency is the order of the day. Near as I can tell both the Liberals and the NDP have been given the gift of Harper, an obfuscating idealogue whose policies do not reflect how most Canadians feel on... pick a topic!

They should be eager to go to the polls and run against the policies of the Conservatives, yet clearly they are not. Do they feel unable to articulate these differences and afraid to run stictly on matters of policy and principle - as opposed to personality? If so, both Iggy and Layton should retire immediately then and let people with courage take their place.

Sadly, Canadians lost another soldier in Afghanistan on Monday - Trooper Lary Rudd. The 26-year-old Brantford, Ont., native was killed when an improvised explosive device went off underneath him on Monday. He was on patrol near the village of Salavat in Afghanistan’s Panjwai district, about 20 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City. Heartfelt condolences.

Our brave MP's who have not experienced an audit of their expenses in 20 years are doing everything possible to avoid one now. Sheila Fraser is quite right in suggesting that if they've nothing to hide there really should be no problems. As it's Canadian taxpayers money at stake here, there really should be an audit every five years or so - anything else just encourages corruption.

Of course we are dealing with a government that does everything in their power to fight transparency - in fact, it looks like they are gunning for another showdown with Parliment as there's new Tory policy that says only cabinet ministers and not their political staff can appear as witnesses before parliamentary committees. Wouldn't it be great if you could rob a bank and none of the bank employees were allowed to testify?

House leader Jay Hill pathetically blamed the opposition and decried the "tyranny of the opposition majority." Conservatives the world over are consistent - whenever they disagree with the rule of law and don't like what's happening, they claim victimhood. In a democracy that tyranny of the majority will get you every time!

Speaking of tyranny of the majority, someone should tell Cardinal, Marc Ouellet that Canadians have had the debate and favour choice by a 2 -1 margin. Maybe he'd like a debate on whether or not churches should retain their tax free status I'm against it, especially if they're going to get involved in politiics. Still, you won't catch me shoving my opinion down his throat. It'd be nice if he'd reciprocate but I'm not holding my breath.

Bad news on infant mortality in Canada - we've dropped from 6th to 24th. The main causes cited by researchers were poverty, isolation, premature births and to some degree, the way the data are collected. Finally, good news about teenage birth and abortion rates across Canada, which have dropped by 36.9% as a result of progressive policies that include sex-ed and acceptance of adolescent sexuality.

On the climate change front comes word that Arctic ice is shrinking faster than it did in 2007, a year of record lows for ice coverage.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stephen Harper - Assalogue!

A question was posed here on the site some time ago was, Stephen Harper, ass or idealogue? The answer we (NM&P editorial staff) came up with, after much debate, was both! That required a new word and the word we felt most appropriate was assalogue (sancithole was a close 2nd).

Today, news from Parliment revealed itself to us and we dust that word off and scream it from the rooftops, ASSALOGUE!

The Globe & Mail is reporting that on the issue of the maternal health care initiative, Harper and his fellow sanctiholes ignored the advice of their own civil servants when they excluded funding from organizations that include providing abortion as part of their overall programs to assist women in the developing world. The numbers are staggering and damning from the standpoint of human decency. - The Globe and Mail reports:

Each year, some 500,000 women die during pregnancy or while giving birth, and 9 million children die before they reach the age of five, according to CIDA statistics compiled for the minister.



The document, approved by CIDA president Margaret Biggs, also highlights the fact that about 2.5 million teenagers have unsafe abortions each year and tend to be more seriously affected by complications.


The Harper government chose to target child and maternal health during the upcoming G8 meetings and then behave like the only constituency they answer to in Canada are the Christian right. Canadians favour choice by a margin of 2 -1. As PM of all of Canada it is Harper's duty to respect their wishes and views on such issues - when so many lives are at stake you'd think common decency would triumph over ideology. Maybe assalogue is the wrong word... how's coward sound?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Politically Canuck

Took time off following my show on Friday, but being a good ex-Catholic I'm feeling guilty about it - doesn't seem to matter to my sub-concious that I'm now agnostic - so an early Sunday morning post for anyone checking in.

Thankfully the scrutiny Canadians have been giving to the state our own off-shore drilling means the Chevron project - they are digging the deepest well in Canadian history -  off the coast of Newfoundland, is receiving a closer and harder look.

Canadians as a whole have mixed feeling about off-shore drilling but could be said to be desirous of erring on the side of caution. The percentage that would like it stopped completely is low at 13%, but there are 39% who think it should be suspended while risks are reassessed, 32% who believe drilling should continue while risks are reviewed, 9% who believe business should continue as usual and 7% who don't know.

Canada gets ranked sixth out of eight in the G8 when it comes to climate change and the economy, and all Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice can do is moan that the judgement was "unfair." Maybe if he had a credible plan that didn't involve aping our Americans cousins he wouldn't come off as such a wanker.

Gilles Duceppe took aim at the government's vanity project, getting itself a seat on the 15 member UN Security Council, for not taking any real action on climate change (Harper has steadfastly refused to live up to the terms of the Kyoto Protocol of which Canada is a signatory) and has refused to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The response from Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon was a predictable mix of bluster and accusations that Duceppe is a undermining peace, love and harmony in Canada.

A story about the costs of the tories get tough on crime bill - Harper wants madly to imprison more Canadians at a time when crime in Canada is decreasing. Any day now Harper will no doubt announce he`s going on vacation to clear brush at his ranch in Alberta. Canadians should be extremely concerned about this.

Climate change is most visible in our Arctic and signs that sea ice is headed for a record low.

Lastly, a Canadian treasure almost on par with David Suzuki, Bob McDonald of Quirks and Quarks fame explains the week`s most exciting news, the creation of synthetic life, and what it means.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Canuck Related Blogging

A spate of recent attacks in Afghanistan making it look like it could be a long summer for NATO allies which doesn't auger well for Canadians either of course. Taking place all over Afghanistan and talk is that this is the beginning of the Taliban summer offensive. At some point in the recent past wasn't it NATO who were said to be planning a summer offensive?



There are tons of posts here on what I've been calling the BP Valdez, in the hopes it would go viral and people would notice our little blog (can't blame a guy for trying). You'd think that what's taking place in the Gulf of Mexico would make people sit up and take notice. Maybe pause before they did anything as stupid, or reckless. You'd be wrong. In fact so far as getting people to think differently about the inherent costs and risks of  retrieving and burning fossil fuels it seems little has changed. Canada's tar sands on track to suppliy 30% or more of US oil needs in 2030.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Politically Canuck Blogging

Leading off stories with politics and Canucks in mind is the suicide bombing in Kabul which has claimed the lives of Six NATO soldiers, including Canadian Colonel Geoff Parker, 42, a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment who died when a massive car bomb struck a NATO convoy on the edge of the Afghan capital of Kabul. Included in the casualties are 12 civilians with 47 more wounded.

When Harper declares that everything besides the economy is a sideshow, does he include Canadians involvement in a shooting war on the other side of the world? All that blood and treasure a mere sideshow when little if anything is being acomplished?

That wasn't even the most objectionable thing he said at yesterday's little meetup with 120 members of the G8/G20 National Youth Caucus and host/Senate-appointee Mike Duffy. He stated that Canadians wanted non-controversial solutions to the maternal health care issue. Maybe he should look at the numbers and he'd realize that having abortion included as part of maternal health care program is controversial only to him and a minority of Canadians. To top it all off, the event was stage managed so as to avoid difficult questions about the Gulf oil spill. Brave, brave sir Harper bravely ran away!

This poll on the popularity of Canada's party leaders made me laugh, as it perfectly illustrates the current state of Canadian politics. It shows Harper's support to be at 29.5%, Ignatieff at 17.5, Layton at 15.6, and Elizabeth May at 5.5, you might ask yourself, "where do the rest of Canadians stand?" The answer to that is 14.5 don't know, and 11.3% don't care (technically unsure and none of them)! That means that don't know and don't care together only trail Harper by 4%, they lead Iggy by 7, Layton by 9 and May by 20.

I didn't mention Gilles Duceppe's results in the poll as his aspirations, of course, are strictly nationalist and deluded. This poll shows that the majority of Quebeckers  believe the sovereignty issue to be settled. As I've tried to explain many times to non-Quebec residents, the Bloc is merely a place for Quebeckers to park their votes when they don't like or trust the leaders of the national parties. These poll results bear that out.

Some good news on the environment front in Canada: Timber companies and environment groups have unveiled an agreement aimed at protecting two-thirds of Canada's vast forests from unsustainable logging. This is massively importannt as Canada has actually been losing forests at a faster rate than Brazil!

The bad news for the environment is that the successful development of Canada's tar sands has triggered a rush by Shell and other oil companies to set up similar operations in Russia, Congo and even Madagascar.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Late on a Monday

Hello there and thanks for showing up!

Sadly, we are going to begin with more Unsexy War blogging. This was the Canadian news focus on my radio show this morning. Starting with: the casket carrying the latest Canadian soldier to die in the Afghanistan mission, Pte. Kevin McKay, 24, who was originally from Richmond Hill, Ont., arrived at CFB Trenton, Ont., on Sunday afternoon. Rest in peace.

Something that's altogether galling in all of this, certainly from a Canadian perspective is that for all the sacrifice in blood and treasure, NATO Commander General Stanley McChrystal admitted on the weekend that as far as the war in Afghanistan goes, "Nobody is winning." And just to emphasize the futility of the NATO efforts in Afghanistan, read this May 15 news roundup of insurgent fighting taking place all over Afghanistan in the space of a couple of days.

Moving on, Canadian like Michaƫlle Jean, they want her to remain the GG. Are they politicizing the GG?

Don't you love people whose sole purpose in life is to tell you what to think and will say the most digusting things in defense of their beliefs like, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who said on Saturday, "...abortion can never be justified, even in cases where a woman has been raped." Words fail.

When it comes to deficits and spending, Conservatives are only capable of singing the same note over and over again: Stephen Harper is urging world leaders to issue clear deficit-cutting plans...

Instead, why not something as simple as pay as you go policies? Like those instituted by the Clinton administration in the 90's that led to budget surplusses and forecast surplusses over the following ten years of more than 5 trillion dollars. All that of course was pissed away by GWB the lesser, with massive taxcuts for the rich and two wars. The idea is a simple one: try not incur any more debt and don't take much needed capital out of an already strained economic sytem - you can't give up eating. It's in fact what most households do when finances get tight. Then when they're flush again you work on paying down debts as happened in the aforementioned 90's in the US, and in my house.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Conservatives Courting Christian Right

The Harper Conservatives are taking another play out of the Bush Republican strategy guide and courting the Canadian religious right. Sparked by the government's  decision not to fund abortions as part of aid packages to less endowed countries, Canadian anti-abortionist held a rally in Ottawa. 

CP photo: Anti-abortion activists march in Ottawa on
 Thursday May 13, 2010    
Of the twenty-one members of Parliament that addressed the crowd eighteen were Conservatives. Ontario Tory MP Dean Del Mastro said he's ready for a renewed abortion debate in the House of Commons. President of the Commons "pro-life caucus" Winnipeg Conservative Rod Bruinooge said the campaign must be waged one step at a time.

According to Toronto journalist Marci McDonald the religious right  in Canada has increased it's influence  due to a cosiness between the prime minister and Christian conservatives.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Omar Khadr and Catch-22

News of a plea deal being offered to Omar Khadr surfaced weeks ago as the Obama administration did not want to be seen prosecuting someone who was 15 years old when he was plucked off the battlefield. Add to that evidence of abuse at the hands of his American captors and you have a PR nightmare for the Obama administration. Rumors have the deal being offered at time served up until now plus five years. At the time Khadr seemed determined to reject the deal and have his day in court.

Now, word is that he's having a change of heart and his defense team are busy negotiating with his prosecutors on a plea deal. It's likely the prospect of a military tribunal where no precedent exists is the determining factor in the decision to negotiate. Such tribunals have been ruled illegal during G.W. Bush's presidency but that has not kept Barrack Obama from maintaining them.

This would also end a potential headache for Canada's Conservatives as Stephen Harper, in spite of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling that Khadr's human rights were violated, has done nothing to protect or repatriate him. Remember Canadians, he'd do the same for you!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Deal On Afghan Detainee Documents Reached!

I was wrong. I never thought the Conservatives had any intention of making a deal with the opposition on the release of the heavily redacted documents relating to torture of Afghan detainees and were instead involved in a game of chicken with what appears to be a chicken-hearted opposition. Today however all the parties involved arrived at a deal:

If a dispute arises over whether blacked-out records should be divulged to the public, it will be referred to a panel of arbiters who will decide what can be released without compromising national security. The membership of this panel is still under discussion.

NDP defence critic Jack Harris said, “It satisfies concerns about national security, while ensuring Canadians will learn the truth about how the government responded to the possibility of torture by the Afghan authorities to whom detainees were being transferred.”

Let's hope he's right, because I believe if he is there will be a day of reckoning for Stephen Harper, Peter Mckay and the rest of the tories.
 
A 24 year old soldier died yesterday in Afghanistan as the result of and IED. Private Kevin Thomas McKay, just days away from finishing his assignment in Afghanistan, has been killed by an improvised explosive device southwest of Kandahar City. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
 
Sadly, even General Stanley McChrystal admits that all the efforts extended by NATO forces in Afghanistan have not produced much in the way of results.
 
A little sanity regards off-shore drilling in Canada, in light of the disaster currently taking place in the Gulf of Mexico. The moritorium against oil and gas exploration on Georges Bank, one of the most productive and ecologically sensitive fishing grounds off the East Coast, has been extended to 2015. Needless to say, there are always those who will try and use a disaster like the Gulf spill to further their own agenda - in this case it's Canada's Environment Minister, Jim Prentice shilling for the tar sands in Alberta. Makes you proud, don't it?
 
Canada's Conservatives are not as tone deaf as those down south and for the moment are talking tough on off-shore drilling rules and regs. Still, they are rejecting a call for a moritorium on such exploration. Environment minister Jim Prentice says ominously, "Here in Canada, we’ve not had those kinds of incidents and that’s because of the strong regulatory environment that we have had with the National Energy Board (NEB).”  Isn't that the kind of hubris that led to the spill in the 1st place?
 
Here in Quebec, physicians have launched an online campaign to move the government to address a shortage of family doctors.

Now, after the horse is out of the barn, Charest is promising to close the barn doors (Introducing new gov't. code of ethics!).

Finally, on this day in 1968, Montreal secured a Major League Baseball franchise - here's the original CBC report. Have a box of tissue handy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Politically Canuck - The Showdown Edition

So here we are on the eve of the deadline for the negotiated release of the Afghan detainee issue documents that was extended past the original two weeks, as ordered by Speaker of the House Peter Milliken, and there's an  impasse. I'm shocked, shocked I tell you. I'm shocked that the impasse didn't occur earlier. I'll say it clearly now, I never expected the tories to relent and and I had even less confidence in the courage of the opposition to hold them in contempt of Parliment and force a snap election.

The leaders of the opposition are poll-watchers and not confident in their abilities to bring the issues at hand to the Canadian public and sway them in their favour. I do not pretend to understand why this is so as the Conservatives would seem to be on the wrong side of issues that Canadians care deeply about but there you have it.

The former Liberal Defense Minister, Bill Graham admits an agreement signed under his watch to protect detainees handed to rough Afghan jailers was flawed and should have included better follow-up monitoring for torture.

The campaign to free Marc Emery from being extradited has begun and I urge you to e-mail Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and let him know how you feel, politely.

Add another big voice to those calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to talk about climate change at the Group of 20 summit in Toronto next month. Nicholas Stern, the British economist  and author of a seminal 700-page study on the economics of global warming, says the G20 has a role in achieving the “political agreement” that he believes is necessary to advance on the commitments made at the UN climate change conference last December in Copenhagen.

Finally, there are those that hate democracy - they'd much rather shove their agenda down our collective throats than give in to fact that Canadians have spoken on the issue! I really wish people would accept that choice is between the people involved and their maker.If they truly believed in god they'd accept tthat. It's about smug self-righteousness and little else - either that or they don't believe the big invisible guy's in control and not having anticipated what the creatures he created would do, made no provisions for the souls of the unborn.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Politically Canuck

Have been away for a couple of days and not able to make more than the occasional post. Was back in Montreal and on the radio today.

Here's some of the important stories going on in Canada beginning with the deadline on the Afghan detainee document handover being extended until this Friday. It should be noted a failure means the Conservatives will be in contempt of Parliment and, if the opposition has the stomach, it could trigger a snap election. And it's pretty much agreed by those in the know that the government could have done much more to protect the detainees from being tortured.

The tories just aren't into the whole democracy, transparency thing - kind of fascist buttholes they like to prove themselves to be time and again. In this case an aide to then Public Works minister Christian Paradis, Tognieri claimed he was censoring documents to save the "requester" money.

You know what they do love? Pretending they're the victims of a non-existent culture war. They also like to talk tough about law and order all the while avoiding the responsibility of protecting the rights of Canadian citizens. The victim here is the so-named "Prince of Pot," who will be extradited to the US to stand trial for selling marijuana seeds. Truly despicable! And they want to imprison people for growing 5 pot plants which is absurd and will tax the prison system as well as turn otherwise good citizens into criminals.

The judge will be ruling on the Syncrude killing the ducks with their unwatched tailings pond case any day now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Detainee Documents Deadline Approaching

The government and opposition parties have until Tuesday to resolve the detainee documents affair.  House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken gave the parties the deadline aiming to avert a parliamentary showdown.



The document in question can be downloaded in PDF form at:
http://newmediaandpolitics.blogspot.com/2010/05/torture-never-stops-even-under.html

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday Night Forecast

I was looking around for a sunday night story and all I could find is our Prime Minister trekking about trying to save the world or drum up business for the  G-8 and G-20 meetings being held in Toronto . On a similar note the UN chief Ban Ki-Moon will be visiting Ottawa on wednesday to chat about the meetings in June and the up coming economic collapse. Recession 2010 coming to a town near you. I was going to post all that but instead I'm going to take a cue from Karl and post some Temptations.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

John Coltrane for Mother's Day

So life gets busy for a couple of days and posting will be light but since it's Mother's Day and  I wanted to leave a little something for mothers everywhere especially my own: 'My Favorite Things,' performed by John Coltrane and his modest quartet that included McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on drums, Reggie Workman on bass plus the inimitable Eric Dolphy on flute - it could not possibly get better than this.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Best Canada's Tories Can Hope For

So reading yesterday's EKOS poll on how Canadians feel about their political parties it's hard not to get a bit despondent as a Canadian progressive. Of course if I was a tory I wouldn't feel that great about things as they stand either. This result is the best they can hope for.

There aren't now nor will there likely be in the near future a plurality of conservatives in Canada. So they have to hope the Canadian left remains divided and they can preside over a series of minority Parliments. They also have to hope that people don't look too closely at the ivory tower man, Michael Ignatieff, and the Liberal Party or they might discover just how conservative these clowns are and start voting for parties that are comprised of actual progressives.

As things stand the Tories bounce around between the high twenties and low thirties in the polls. The Liberals poll in the high twenties mostly, occasionally topping thirty percent. The poll totals of the NDP and the Green Party add up to somewhere around twenty-six percent. The Bloc, where Quebecers park their votes is arguably a vote for progressive policy - Quebec is many things but hardly a bastion of conservatism.

So there you have, in a Canadian nutshell, where we stand. One third of the country favours the Conservative Party and two thirds vote for liberal and progressive parties and yet we are governed by the party that represents one third of how Canadians feel. That this doesn't seem to bother anyone speaks to the complacency and cynicism of Canadian voters.

Politically Canuck

Back late for the daily post of links both from the stories I covered on my radio show and just important things being ignored by the various asshats in the MSM.
Not much Canadian news on the radio show today. CBC story has Afghan authorities beating citizens on a whim, so it makes you wonder why detainees were handed over without much follow up scrutiny. Here's a list of the officials named in Richard Colvin's testimony. And here's a comprehensive look at war crimes and what's known as Superior Responsibility.

In spite of Canadians being unhappy about the proroguing, the detainee issue, politicizing the funding of the maternal health for women in developing countries, the tories actually gained ground in the polls on the Liberals. The incompetence of Ignatieff and co. would seem to know no bounds. The NDP is unable to take advantage as well.

Here in Quebec, our Premier is facing numerous ethics questions about the Liberal financing practices. The muckrakers in the Bloc Quebecois up to their standard s*** disturbing. Sure wish people in Quebec would stop parking their votes there during federal elections. It's kind of a cop-out.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Politically Canuck

Wanted to come back last night and toss in a post about the lowlife tory Senator Nancy Ruth, but haven't had the time. She's a reflection of bad and misguided conservative policy as well as ideology, which is clearly out of step with what the majority of Canadians believe. I promise to revisit this and soon.

In the meantime I want to blog the Canadian stories I covered on my radio show this morning. You can always stream me on-line at CJLO.com.

Omar Khadr's trial by a Military Tribunal in Guantanamo Bay continues. A timeline from CBC.  Four reporters banned from attending and covering future military commission at Gitmo by Pentagon.

Safety precaustions for proposed deep water well off the Nfld. coast questioned.

Sydney tries to clean up tar ponds.

The tailings ponds in Alberta will be far more difficult to cleanup, so says the executive director of the Oilsands Developers Group in Fort McMurray. "A lot of it would require application of new technologies, increased timelines, so there's some physical difficulties. There will be some cost difficulties associated with it as well."

They really don't care how much they crap all over the Canada and they show little intention of adhering to the laws unless they are forced to at the point of massive fines. Fine's like those Syncrude faces ($800,000) in the case of its responsibility for killing 1,600 ducks are less than a slap on the wrist for a company whose profits exceed a billion annually.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Politically Canuck

Okay, new(s) feature here at NMPCanada and our sister site as well. A quick roundup of the day's links to important news stories and videos of concern to Canucks and our own sorry state of political affairs

Some of these stories got covered on my radio show and some I just didn't have time to get to. So many issues, so many outrages, so little common sense.

This story about the Tory Senator telling people who disagreed with gov't. policy on maternal healthcare for women in developing countries to shut the f**k up was unbelievable to me. Nancy Ruth is a disgrace and should be kicked out of the Senate. The Conservative's policy is reprehensible and should be rejected by all Canadians.

For some reason calls for Michaƫlle Jean's term to be extended is greeted with calls of politicization of the GG. I don't see why. I was under the impression she had done a terrific job and that was reason enough - I never got the sense she tried to favour anyone politically. In fact it was she that allowed the Parliment to be prorogued twice at Stephen Harper's convenience.

From the trial (can you say, kangaroo court?) of Omar Khadr, we learn on Wednesday from Damien Corsetti, a former interrogator nicknamed Monster, that interrogators at Bagram prison were under great pressure to extract information and confessions from detainees and had a free hand to terrify detainees into confessing.

"We could do basically anything to scare the prisoners." Remeber if Stepher Harper would do nothing about repatriating Khadr there's a damn good chance he'd do the same for any of you.

Montreal Police trying to argue that because Freddy's brother was a gang member they had to shoot and kill Freddy.

Canadian conservatives not as dumb as their American counterparts and in the wake of Gulf oilspill are talking tough about not relaxing the rules on offshore drilling.

Caribou in the NWT's, disappearing at alarming rate for unknown reasons so a ban on hunting was imposed sparking rancor. Climate change considered a factor.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Canadians 1, Syncrude 0...

Now before you get too happy with that score you'll have to remember that's just a tally for last week. The previous weeks pretty much all went Syncrude's way. In fact before last week's ruling that Syncrude Canada Ltd. was legally responsible for the death of 1,606 ducks on one of its tailings ponds, they were having it all their own way. By my count it's about 3,761 - 1 in Syncrude's favour. But there's hope.

For example Syncrude alone releases 245 tonnes of  sulphur dioxide a day. Five Percent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are produced by Alberta's tarsands. It is Canada's fastest growing source of carbon dioxide. By 2020 the tarsands will account for 16 per cent of the nation's total emissions.

For killing those ducks, the maximum fine they face for this is $800,000. Chump change in the world of bigoil profits. Plus they still have the freedom to pollute and degrade the environment all they want. It's not as if anyone in Canadian politics has the courage to stand up to them.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Very Unsexy Afghanistan War

On the one hand I should be happy that amongst  the NATO allies the war in Afghanistan is completely an unsexy topic for discussion and that is especially true in Canada. War shouldn't be glorified but that doesn't mean we should ignore it. Especially if we have sent our troops there to fight, kill and die.

That's kind of the problem. If you look hard enough all you can see is mayhem. Not freedom for Afghanis, who are no more free now than they were before our considerable contributions, just 8 long years of disjointed efforts to try and bring and then maintain stability in an ungovernable part of the world.

Violence, death and chaos is what Canada along with her NATO allies have brought. And no matter how much the enemy is outnumbered or how superior our ordinance is, the final outcome is always unsure and often surprising. When discussing the nature of war and I want to get this point across I often refer people to the film "The Fog of War." If you watch it in its entirety you'll come away with the understanding that you cannot control what happens on the ground in war.

No matter how well-meaning you may or may not be. No matter how smart you are, how much you plan for all manner of contingincies, you can never account for how humans will behave and react. You can't stick in the letter X to represent the unknown behaviour of those same people in the middle of the death and destruction and pretend you can come out with the answer to the equation. Any more than General McChrystal will ever understand his now infamous power-point presentation of which he said, "When we understand that slide, we'll have won the war."



So when I tell you that it's being reported that NATO forces regard Afghan allies with fear, you won't be surprised that you never saw that reported in your local fish-wrap. Unsexy. You also won't be surprised that the coming offensive in Kandahar hasn't received any press of late and there's been little talk, especially from the Canadian government, because tough times are expected and that's unsexy too.

Finally, and this is the equivalent of your overweight, grizzled and wrinkly uncle in a speedo, is the hard truth that for all their efforts and 8 long years of slugging it out, NATO forces are at the mercy of factors over which they have no control. It's one of war's true constants.

Semper FUBAR.