Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Saturday, November 03, 2012

All-out strike and clashes at Ikea plant

Four workers have been hospitalized after riots took place in front of the gates of the Ikea plant in Piacenza this morning (November 2). The plant is the Swedish corporation’s main Italian storage centre and its workers are nominally employed by several cooperatives. However, as is often the case in Italy, the name ‘cooperative’ hides a dire reality of exploitation, the ignoring of labour regulations and of national collective agreements.

David Suzuki and Jeff Rubin form unlikely alliance

They certainly seem like an odd couple.

Environmentalist David Suzuki, who has said conventional economics is “a form of brain damage,” is on a cross-country speaking tour with Jeff Rubin, the former chief economist of CIBC World Markets.

Rubin quit his 20-year job at the bank in 2009 to publish Why Your World is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization, a book about how high oil prices were going to reverse the trend of globalization.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois 'guilty' of contempt of court: Terrifying precedent for free speech

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, former spokesperson for CLASSE and one of the most recognizable faces of this year's student movement, has been found guilty of contempt of court.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Denis Jacques took over a month to deliberate on the case, which was heard on the 27th and 28th of September, before ruling on Thursday that Nadeau-Dubois was guilty of contempt of court for publicly asserting that picket lines were a legitimate tactic to enforce democratically voted strike mandates.

Rupert Murdoch: Chris Christie Must 'Re-Declare' For Mitt Romney 'Or Take Blame'

Publishing titan Rupert Murdoch sent New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie what appeared to be a warning message on Friday, telling Christie to reaffirm his support for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney "or take blame for next four dire years."

The admonition, by way of a tweet from the Murdoch's verified Twitter account, was presumably in reference to the warm relationship Christie, a Republican, showed with President Barack Obama this week, as the two toured New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Ready to Vote? Rampant Suppression Threatens Already Tight Race

We’re just four days away from Election Day, and voter suppression schemes continue to strike—as does the push back against them. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy may mark an additional, and unforeseen barrier to the vote. Meanwhile, everyday people will contribute to the way we understand this election than ever before.

As seen above, Video the Vote is empowering communities to document what happens Tuesday, from long lines to voter machine failures. Their new promo video encourages voters to sign up, monitor hot spots, and hashtag shared social media content with #VideoTheVote.

Hurricane Sandy: Richard Garneau, Resolute CEO, Says Canada's Forestry Industry To Profit From Storm

MONTREAL — The destructive wrath of Hurricane Sandy will help boost recovery in Canada's forest products industry next year as communities in New York City area and along the New Jersey coast rebuild, the head of Resolute Forest Products said Friday.

"When you look at the devastation it's mind boggling and it's going to have an impact,'' CEO Richard Garneau said in an interview.

Would-be immigrant investors suing feds over processing delays

OTTAWA - A half-dozen Chinese immigrant investors have filed a lawsuit against the federal government over lengthy processing delays.

The would-be investors applied to the popular cash-for-visa program prior to September 2009 and want the courts to force the government to review their applications within six months to a year, according to documents filed in Federal Court this week.

Is Stephen Harper trying to reshape the national identity?

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper put the "Royal" back in the Royal Canadian Air Force and portraits of the Queen back in Canadian embassies, he raised a few eyebrows across the country. Then came the lavish celebration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 last summer and people began to ask questions. Is Harper trying to reshape the national identity?

Just two weeks ago, Harper took aim at another major cultural institution, the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, rolling out a $25-million rebranding program that will see it re-emerge as the Canadian Museum of History, with half its space to be turned over to a new gallery honouring Canadian heroes, achievements and milestones.

Federal government demands senior repay 11-year-old income supplement debt

OTTAWA— Frank Weinstock has some choice words to describe what the federal government was trying to do to his mother-in-law.

“Inconceivable, inexcusable, inexplicable, shameless, unfair, unprincipled and unreasonable,” were what came to mind when Weinstock first saw the letter that arrived in the mail from Service Canada last week.

Alberta awash in health dollars

OTTAWA — As Alberta awaits a massive windfall of extra health cash from Ottawa, a new report shows the province is already best able to pay for its health-care system.

Alberta will receive an extra $1 billion per year from Ottawa starting in 2014-15, shrinking the pot for the other provinces. But Alberta already has the lowest health-costs-to-GDP ratio in the country, a new report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows.

Tory MP Vellacott inciting anti-abortion activists to break law: Rae

OTTAWA - A Conservative MP who recommended a Diamond Jubilee medal to a jailed anti-abortion crusader could be breaking the law himself, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae says.

Rae says Saskatchewan MP Maurice Vellacott "crossed the line" last week when he nominated Mary Wagner for a medal commemorating Queen Elizabeth's 60 years on the throne.

Wagner is currently in jail in Toronto awaiting trial after forcing her way into an abortion clinic in August — this after she was convicted in March of committing a similar offence last November.

Anonymous comments? Dean Del Mastro's right: There oughtta be a law!

It's hard not to feel a pang of sympathy for Dean Del Mastro, the Conservative MP for the Ontario riding of Peterborough, who informed us the other day that there oughtta be a law about anonymous comments on the Internet.

Who among us hasn't felt the sting of the Anonymous Brigade on Twitter, Facebook and in the comments sections of myriad blogs and online newspapers? Just try to "censor" some Sun News Network bloviator's on-air ejaculations and watch what happens to your blog's comments section!

"One of the best ways to end on-line and electronic bullying, libel and slander would be to force people posting hurtful comments to properly identify themselves," Del Mastro (or some anonymous political sluggo toiling away in his constituency office) wrote last week on his Facebook account.

Living near a mine can be the pits

Living next to a mine can really be the pits.

Even in established and historic mining areas, local communities are being challenged with new bigger-than-ever projects and mine expansions that threaten their health, quality of life and properties. Three such communities that have been making news lately are Malartic, Quebec; Keno City, Yukon; and Timmins, Ontario.

McGuinty says he prorogued to avoid opposition 'shenanigans'

Premier Dalton McGuinty says he had to prorogue the Ontario legislature because of "shenanigans" and the "wasting of time" by opposition members.

McGuinty, in an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The House, defended his controversial prorogation, saying that the legislature was scheduled to sit 96 days and ended up sitting for 76 of those days.

Ottawa extends review of Chinese bid for Nexen

The Harper government is once again postponing its decision on whether to allow a $15.1-billion takeover of Calgary-based Nexen, Canada’s sixth-largest oil company, by China’s state-owned energy giant CNOOC.

Three weeks ago, the government gave itself a 30-day extension of its review of CNOOC’s bid, moving the deadline to Nov. 10.

Mayor Rob Ford’s team leaves TTC riders on the sidewalk

Regular riders were kicked off two TTC buses on Thursday so those vehicles could be dispatched to pick up Mayor Rob Ford’s high school football players.

When the first of the buses was delayed because the driver couldn’t find the playing field where the Don Bosco Eagles were waiting, Ford called TTC CEO Andy Byford’s cellphone.

Normally the TTC tries to dispatch shelter buses from terminal stations so it doesn’t have to interrupt riders’ journeys. But in this case, riders were left on the sidewalk mid-trip to wait for the next vehicle.

TTC pulls buses mid-route to ferry mayor’s football team

Two Toronto Transit Commission buses dropped off passengers mid-route at the start of rush hour so the vehicles could be sent to a nearby football field to drive Mayor Rob Ford’s team back to their high school, the TTC has confirmed.

When the driver of the first bus couldn’t immediately find the football field at Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School in Etobicoke Thursday afternoon, Mr. Ford called TTC chief executive officer Andy Byford directly to ask about the delay.

How to manufacture a factoid: The government's $12-billion claim about CETA

$12 billion. That number keeps popping up in debates about the CETA. It's the increase in Canadian GDP the federal government claims will result from the deal.

The number has been repeated so often, it now shows up unsourced in routine reporting on the negotiations. CETA "is a massive trade deal expected to boost the Canadian economy by $12 billion," opened a recent, typical article.