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, December 01, 2012

Canadian Vs. U.S. Economy: GDP Growth South Of The Border Nearly 5 Times As Fast In Q3

Canadians have been patting themselves on the back in recent years over the country’s economic resilience in the wake of the financial crisis, but if recent data is anything to go by, our days of economic supremacy may be numbered.

Canada’s economy grew at slightly more than one-fifth the pace of the U.S. economy in the third quarter of 2012, according to data from StatsCan and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While Canada’s growth amounted to 0.6 per cent at annualized pace, the U.S. saw GDP growth of 2.7 per cent in the same period, according to recently revised figures.

Keystone Pipeline: Obama Faces Mounting Pressure Over Decision

WASHINGTON -- It's a decision President Barack Obama put off during the 2012 campaign, but now that he's won a second term, his next move on a proposed oil pipeline between the U.S. and Canada may signal how he will deal with climate and energy issues in the four years ahead.

Record-setting spring election cost Alberta taxpayers $13.6 million

EDMONTON — Alberta’s spring election was the most expensive in history costing taxpayers more than $13.6 million — nearly one-third more than the 2008 vote — and was marked by complaints about robo-calls, a flood and a suspicious package that delayed voting at one poll, according to Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer.

The vote that gave Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservatives 61 seats in the 87-seat legislature and drew the highest voter turnout in 19 years ran concurrently with a senate nominee election that cost taxpayers an additional $2.1 million, according to reports on the two elections released Friday.

Canada must explain polar bear policies to global watchdog

Canada is being forced to explain its polar bear policies to an international environmental watchdog.

The Commission on Environmental Co-operation, which is part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, has accepted a petition from a U.S.-based group that says Canada isn't following its own laws on protecting the bears.

In accepting the petition, the commission has found that the Center for Biological Diversity has registered a legitimate concern under the terms of the treaty.

Bureaucrats told Peter Kent reforms could undermine environmental protection

OTTAWA – Oil and gas companies were pushing for a weakening of conservation laws that could undermine the federal government’s ability to protect the environment, bureaucrats warned Environment Minister Peter Kent more than a year ago.

Their briefing material, obtained through access to information legislation, was prepared a few months before the government overhauled Canada’s environmental laws to reduce federal oversight and duplication in federal and provincial environmental assessments.

Canada is poised to give comfort to 'hateful, xenophobic nutbars'

The Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, had some pretty tough words on Friday for a country he has, in the past, described as a “liberal democracy” that “respects human rights.”

At a news conference in Ottawa on Friday, Kenney said that during a recent visit to that country he noted “a very disturbing rise of xenophobic extremism.”

Private prison firms look to cash in on Canada asylum crackdown

Dramatic changes to Canada's immigration laws expected to come into effect in December will mean that asylum seekers face more restrictions and have less time to make a claim. Advocates fear this will lead to more detentions and further opportunities for private prison operators to cash in.

Immigration detention is a growth industry around the world, and some of the biggest private security and prison firms are the beneficiaries. In Canada, increased government use of by immigration detention has refugee lawyers and advocates worried, particularly after the passage of the tough new immigration laws in June.

The Fiscal Cliff: Now for the Middle and End Games

To those of you, such as my colleague Andy Borowitz, who would rather read a calculus textbook or visit the proctologist than read another piece about the fiscal cliff, you have my sympathies. But spare a thought for us—the poor, benighted journos who have to cover this stuff on a daily basis for the next month or so. I guess you could call it our penance for all those months spent making fun of Mitt Romney, who, just by happenstance, visited the White House on Thursday as hopes of an early fiscal deal, stoked by President Obama earlier this week, were evaporating.

Fracking Our Food Supply

In a Brooklyn winery on a sultry July evening, an elegant crowd sips rosé and nibbles trout plucked from the gin-clear streams of upstate New York. The diners are here, with their checkbooks, to support a group called Chefs for the Marcellus, which works to protect the foodshed upon which hundreds of regional farm-to-fork restaurants depend. The foodshed is coincident with the Marcellus Shale, a geologic formation that arcs northeast from West Virginia through Pennsylvania and into New York State. As everyone invited here knows, the region is both agriculturally and energy rich, with vast quantities of natural gas sequestered deep below its fertile fields and forests.

What the CEOs Lobbying on the Fiscal Cliff Really Want

A merry band of corporate executives is zig-zagging Washington today, meeting with almost every principal player in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. The CEOs are meeting with administration officials at the White House, with House Speaker John Boehner, and with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

According to most press accounts, these business titans are “pressing for a solution to the so-called fiscal cliff” (Bloomberg), while “touting the virtue of bipartisanship and shared sacrifice” (The Washington Post).

DOJ Mysteriously Quits Monsanto Antitrust Investigation

There's an age-old tradition in Washington of making unpopular announcements when no one's listening—like, you know, the days leading up to Thanksgiving. That's when the Obama administration sneaked a tasty dish to the genetically modified seed/pesticide industry.

This treat involves the unceremonious end of the Department of Justice's antitrust investigation into possible anticompetitive practices in the US seed market, which it had begun in January 2010. It's not hard to see why DOJ would take a look. For the the crops that cover the bulk of US farmland like corn, soy, and cotton, the seed trade is essentially dominated by five companies: Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, and Dow. And a single company, Monsanto, supplies nearly all genetically modified traits now so commonly used in those crops, which it licenses to its rivals for sale in their own seeds.

F-35 Is Not Only Jet That Meets Stealth Needs, Lawson Says

Canada's new chief of defence staff has contradicted Defence Minister Peter MacKay by suggesting that other fighter jets do offer some of the stealth capabilities the military needs.

Tom Lawson said during testimony Thursday before the Commons defence committee about the planned $25-billion purchase that most fighter jets offer some degree of stealth capability, including Canada's aging fleet of CF-18s.

ER Waiting Time: Canadians Wait More Than Four Hours On Average, Report Finds

TORONTO - A report says Canadians spend more than four hours on average in hospital emergency rooms waiting for treatment, and one in 10 wait eight hours or more.

The report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information also found more than half of Canadians surveyed said they can't get an appointment with their family doctor on the same or next day.

Canada And Israel: Diplomats Recalled Over UN Vote On Palestine

OTTAWA - The federal government will not cut diplomatic relations with the Palestinians in response to their newly won recognition from the United Nations, but future aid funding could be on the chopping block.

Canada's $300 million in aid spending to the Palestinians is under review, as Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird readies himself for meetings in Ottawa next week with his senior diplomats from Israel, the West Bank and the UN missions in New York and Geneva.

3 Dead After Attack At Casper College In Wyoming

CASPER, Wyo. — A man wielding a sharp-edged weapon killed one person in a Casper neighborhood Friday before killing a male teacher and himself in front of students in a community college classroom, causing a campus-wide lockdown as authorities tried to piece together what happened.

Police found the suspect and teacher dead at a science building on the Casper College campus, which was locked down for about two hours, school and police officials said. The other victim, a woman, was found in a street about two miles away.

Robocall Complaints Were Nationwide, Documents Reveal

OTTAWA - Rude calls, calls in the middle of the night, swearing and even a mysterious message from North Dakota are among the robocall stories collected from 56 ridings by Elections Canada investigators.

The details of the calls were included in documents filed in Federal Court this week as part of a continuing investigation into misleading calls made during the 2011 federal election.

No barber, lack of sunlight: Band of violent prisoners suing over ‘uncomfortable’ conditions at Saskatchewan penitentiary

A band of prisoners responsible for enormous carnage — murders, rapes, vicious home invasions, kidnappings, beatings, bank robberies and the stabbing of a prison guard — is suing the Queen over their “awkward” and “uncomfortable” detention in prison.

They complain that barber services are not provided, library resources are inadequate, access to sunlight is insufficient and they suffer from sleep deprivation.

The inmates seek money for negligence and breaches of their Charter rights causing “extreme stress and nervous shock.”

Redford dismisses talk of conflict; Wildrose vows to file ethics complaint

CALGARY — Premier Alison Redford dismissed the deepening political battle over a major tobacco suit awarded to her ex-husband’s law firm, insisting Friday his position was never a consideration — and reiterating she didn’t award the high-profile contact.

Speaking at Mount Royal University, the premier rejected opposition accusations that as justice minister in 2010, she personally chose the International Tobacco Recovery Lawyers consortium to represent Alberta in a $10-billion lawsuit against tobacco manufacturers.

Why it makes sense for Ontario teachers to go on strike

That Ontario elementary school teachers are threatening strike action is no surprise. The only surprise is that the decision took this long.

The reasons are straightforward. On the one hand, there is no incentive for teachers to avoid a strike.

On the other, there is a real incentive for teachers’ unions concerned about the long-run implications of this dispute to dig in their heels.

Canadian military expands biometric data collection capacity anticipating civilian use

The Canadian Forces is expanding its ability to collect biometric data, such as DNA and scans of people’s irises, in case other federal government departments need to have access to such information and technology, according to documents obtained by the Citizen.

The military has collected hundreds of samples of such biometric information in Afghanistan, mainly from those detained by troops or from individuals who have acted suspiciously.

Baird may cut aid to Palestinians

OTTAWA -- The federal government will not cut diplomatic relations with the Palestinians in response to their newly won recognition from the United Nations, but future aid funding could be cut.

Canada's $300 million in aid spending to the Palestinians is under review, as Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird readies himself for meetings in Ottawa next week with his senior diplomats from Israel, the West Bank and the UN missions in New York and Geneva.

Postie union bristles at Canada Post conference funding refusal

OTTAWA - The postal union will deliver a grievance to Canada Post if it refuses to pay for a delegation to attend a conference critics have slammed as anti-Israel.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has sent a five-person delegation to Porto Alegre, Brazil, for the World Social Forum's "Free Palestine" conference.

Hydro deal foes call federal aid ‘crazy farce’

It was announced with plenty of fanfare in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Friday afternoon, but opponents of the Muskrat Falls project were underwhelmed by the multibillion-dollar federal loan guarantee term sheet.

New Democrat Leader Lorraine Michael wrote it off as a “crazy farce,” talking to reporters at Confederation Building shortly after the announcement.

Environment minister’s office kept scientist from speaking, documents reveal

Environment Minister Peter Kent has repeatedly said the government does not muzzle its scientists. But Kent’s office stopped David Tarasick, an Environment Canada researcher, from talking to journalists about a report on last year’s unprecedented Arctic ozone hole, according to documents obtained by Postmedia News under the Access to Information Act.

It’s the latest case uncovered by Postmedia News where ministers’ offices or the Privy Council Office have prevented federal scientists from talking to the media about their science.

Defence officials dodged PBO requests to meet on F-35, then launched all-out critique: emails

OTTAWA — In the lead-up to last year’s federal election, Defence Department officials intentionally dodged repeated requests from Parliament’s budgetary watchdog to sit down and discuss the true cost of the F-35 stealth fighter program.

Newly released internal emails show that’s because they were awaiting approval from the top echelons of government to meet with Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page and his staff — approval that never materialized.

Conservatives set to snatch defeat from jaws of victory over Trudeau

Here they go again. The Conservatives are about to turn a positive news story into a negative one. The bright lights on the Conservative side havedecided to call Justin Trudeau and David McGuinty before the House of Commons Natural Resources committee to explain their controversial comments about Alberta.

Comments that both McGuinty and Trudeau have already apologized for and which in addition led to McGuinty resigning from his critic’s portfolio.

Implementing Budget 2012: No rest for women

The current government's economic policies, being rolled out in a series of omnibus bills and 'administrative changes,' come at a high price to women. These policies do not create jobs in industries where women work; these policies increase the tax burden on working women while decreasing their access to pension and income supports; they continue to undermine basic equality rights; and they do so in a manner that allows for little public debate or scrutiny.

Set to "fuel the next wave of job creation," the government's budget continues to depend on infrastructure projects to fill the tank. Infrastructure projects have been successful in creating jobs, but they do so in the very industries in which women are least likely to find work. An equal investment in industries such as health care, child care and education would yield a double benefit. It would create more jobs in sectors in which women are likely to be employed and would decrease the burden of unpaid work for both men and women by strengthening Canada's social infrastructure.

The 13th anniversary of the Battle in Seattle

Several days of powerful social movement protests against the WTO began 13 years ago today in Seattle.

This is a photo of me marching with Jo Dufay (the Council of Canadians co-ordinator of campaigns then), Tony Clarke just behind us, and many others. About a week before the WTO ministerial, I said in a Toronto Eye Weekly news article, “It’s profoundly anti-democratic. It’s about shifting power and public control away from governments and into the hands of corporations, CEOs and their shareholders, and the basic drive for profits. There is every indication from the WTO that they don’t care what civil society or the general public has to say.”

Canadian financial stability requires Canadian rules

Canada's financial system emerged from the global crisis in better shape than in many other countries. Canadian banks avoided the all-out panic that struck some jurisdictions. It's a myth that Canadian banks stood on their own two feet right through the crisis; they received important and timely liquidity assistance from government agencies during the worst months of the meltdown (through a C$200-billion "Extraordinary Financing Framework"). But no bank failed or was taken over by the state. This relative (imperfect) stability has been important to Canada's partial economic recovery since the crisis.

Human rights museum staff leave amid interference allegations

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg has not yet opened, but there has already been an exodus of employees, amid allegations of indecision and political interference on the part of management and the board of trustees, CBC News has learned.

Of the 38 employees who have left the museum since it began hiring.

    Twenty-four have either quit or been fired.
    Contracts for another 14 have expired.
    In just the past four weeks, the museum has lost its director of finance, director of facilities, and manager of marketing and sales.

Toronto councillors hurl threats, insults at heated council meeting

With a potential byelection looming, city councillors erupted into insults and threats Thursday night unprecedented for even this fractured, polarized council.

At one point, Councillor Doug Ford yelled “I’ll whoop both your asses,” — apparently at councillors Adam Vaughan and Gord Perks — during the final hours of what could be his brother Rob Ford’s final council meeting as mayor.

Louie Gohmert On Debt Ceiling: 'That's Our Leverage'

NEW YORK CITY -- One of the only new proposals that President Obama introduced in his opening bid to resolve the impasse over the so-called fiscal cliff concerns a political showdown set to take place weeks, if not months, after the fiscal cliff has expired.

Canada temporarily recalls Palestinian, UN envoys, but says it isn't breaking off relations

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is ruling out closing the Palestinian delegation in Ottawa in retaliation for their move to obtain “observer state” status at the UN.

And he suggested in a television interview that the Harper government’s reaction will stop short of completely cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Don’t feel sorry for Rob Ford

That’s it, then. Rob Ford is done. Fini. Kaput. Guilty of conflict of interest and ordered to vacate his seat within 14 days on Monday, November 26. An ignominious end brought down like a sledgehammer by Justice Charles Hackland on a mayoralty both out of touch and out of control.

There are still enough legal permutations left for Ford to hang onto his seat briefly. But it’s unlikely an appeal court will overturn Hackland’s decision.

Accused WikiLeaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning Testifies He Thought He Would "Die in Custody"

Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, has testified for the first time since he was arrested in May 2010. Speaking Thursday at a pretrial proceeding, Manning revealed the emotional tumult he experienced while imprisoned in Kuwait after his arrest in 2010, saying, "I remember thinking, ’I’m going to die.’ I thought I was going to die in a cage." As part of his testimony, Manning stepped inside a life-sized chalk outline representing the six-by-eight-foot cell he was later held in at the Quantico base in Virginia, and recounted how he would tilt his head to see the reflection of a skylight through a tiny space in his cell door. Manning could face life in prison if convicted of the most serious of 22 counts against him. His trial is expected to begin in February. He has offered to plead guilty to a subset of charges that could potentially carry a maximum prison term of 16 years. "What’s remarkable is that he still has this incredible dignity after going through this," says Michael Ratner, who was in the courtroom during Manning’s appearance. "But I think all these prison conditions were — sure, they were angry at Bradley Manning, but in the face of that psychiatric statement, that this guy shouldn’t be kept on suicide risk or POI, they’re still keeping him in inhuman conditions, you can only ask yourself — they’re trying to break him for some reason. The lawyer, David Coombs, has said it’s so that he can give evidence against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks." Ratner is president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a lawyer for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

U.N. Approval of Palestine as "Non-Member State" Shows Isolation of U.S., Israel Stance on Statehood

The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted recognize the sovereign state of Palestine, upgrading its observer status from "entity" to "non-member state." The move is viewed as a victory for Palestinians, but a diplomatic setback for the United States and Israel, who were joined by only a handful of countries in opposing the decision. With more than 190 members in the General Assembly, there were 138 votes in favor, nine against and 41 abstentions. Three countries did not take part. The vote came on the 65th anniversary of the adoption of U.N. Resolution 181 that partitioned Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. "This was a referendum on the United States’s mediation of the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians," says Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, the Palestine Center. "The vast majority of the world, I think, said yesterday that that has failed, and it’s time for a different approach."

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

Hundreds of Fast-Food Workers Strike for Living Wage, Inspired by Wal-Mart Strike

Fast-food workers walked off the job in New York City Thursday to hold a series of rallies and picket lines in what has been called the largest series of worker actions ever to hit the country’s fast-food industry. Hundreds of workers at dozens of restaurants owned by McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell and others went on strike and rallied in a bid for fair pay and union recognition. Organizers with the Fast Food Forward campaign are seeking an increased pay rate of $15 an hour, about double what the minimum-wage workers are making. Workers and their allies demanded a wage that would let them support their families. Democracy Now! co-host Juan González spoke to many of the striking workers for his latest New York Daily News column, "One-day strike by fast-food workers at McDonald’s, Burger King and other restaurants is just the beginning."

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

A three-way coalition of the left? Don’t hold your breath

With the by-elections behind us, we’re hearing renewed calls for a joint front between the Liberals, NDP and Greens. Not hard to see the reason: Calgary Centre was a horse race, where the sum of the Liberal, Green and NDP vote was far superior to that of their Conservative rival Joan Crockatt — who won anyway.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May has for a long time supported the idea of joint nominations for the three ‘progressive’ parties. Liberal leadership contender and BC MP Joyce Murray has done so as well, following in the footsteps of her fellow British Columbian Nathan Cullen, who rode the issue to an impressive third-place finish in the NDP leadership race.

York University students allege racial profiling

Following yet another string of assaults at York University, attempts to quell concerns over campus security have backfired, with some students alleging racial profiling at the hands of Toronto police.

The allegations stem from the increased presence of uniformed officers at York’s Keele campus in response to four crimes on university property in less than two weeks, including one sex assault, two armed robberies and an assault with a metal pipe.

Downsview Park taken over by federal land management agency

The future of Downsview Park has been thrown up in the air now that the urban park has been moved under the umbrella of the Crown property management corporation.

Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose announced Thursday that the massive park at Keele St. and Sheppard Ave. W. and the Old Port of Montreal are being placed under stewardship of the Canada Lands Co.

Calgary Centre a wake-up call for the left, Liberal MP says

Liberal MP Joyce Murray says the split in the progressive vote in the Calgary-Centre by-election confirms a key proposal in her bid to lead the federal Liberals: It’s time for progressive parties to unite and run one non-Conservative candidate in some ridings.

“It certainly illustrates the problem we face,” the Vancouver-Quadra MP, who helped with the campaign in Calgary, said on Tuesday. “Calgary was an illustration of splitting the vote.”

Fighting power in the age of YouTube

A year and a half ago, at 21, she was the talk of the town. Now she’s blown town.

Last Saturday, Brigette DePape — the puckish Senate page who rocked Stephen Harper’s world with a strategically displayed sign she had tucked into the skirt of her uniform under her blazer — moved out of the city where her fame was born. She left for her new home in British Columbia. Except for a house party with close friends, and a brief email to yours truly, Brigette’s 5:30 PM flight to Vancouver passed without notice.

A Tribute to Blacklisted Lyricist Yip Harburg: The Man Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz

His name might not be familiar to many, but his songs are sung by millions around the world. Today, we take a journey through the life and work of Yip Harburg, the Broadway lyricist who wrote such hits as "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" and who put the music into The Wizard of Oz. Born into poverty on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Harburg always included a strong social and political component to his work, fighting racism and poverty. A lifelong socialist, Harburg was blacklisted and hounded throughout much of his life. We speak with Harburg’s son, Ernie Harburg, about the music and politics of his father. Then we take an in-depth look at The Wizard of Oz, and hear a medley of Harburg’s Broadway songs and the politics of the times in which they were created.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

Gaza’s Ghosts Posted

Gaza was always there. In the nineteen-fifties, it was the region of simmering animosity from which fedayeen terrorists came to blow up homes and murder farmers in the remote villages of southern Israel. In the sixties, it was the hub of Palestinian refugees who lived a miserable life in the wretched camps in which Arab nations let them rot after Israel drove them out of their old homes in Palestine. In the seventies, it was the occupied strip of coastal land which the Israeli Army and the Israeli secret service kept under tight control following General Ariel Sharon’s brutal crackdown on the local resistance movement. In the eighties, it was the cradle of the Palestinian popular uprising, the Intifada, that led tens of thousands of desperate, rock-throwing youngsters to revolt against Israel’s occupation. In the nineties, it was the launching pad of Palestinian suicide bombers who undermined the Oslo peace process by killing Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv as they were killing themselves. In 2005 it was the decolonized territory in which twenty-four Jewish settlements were demolished and from which eight thousand settlers were uprooted so the Palestinians would have—for the first time in history—a (tiny) piece of land that was not occupied by an oppressive alien power.

Angela Jones, Los Angeles Woman, Suffers Cardiac Arrest After Being Shocked With Taser By Police

Angela Jones, a Los Angeles woman, suffered cardiac arrest after being shocked with a Taser gun by police during a traffic stop in June. The incident, which was caught on video by a California Highway Patrol dashboard camera, has once again raised questions about the safety of the weapon.

As seen in video obtained by CBS Los Angeles, police approach Jones' car after they discover it illegally parked on an Encino, Calif., road. The officers conduct a field sobriety test on Jones and question her for about 15 minutes.

Fracking's Toxic Secrets: Lack Of Transparency Over Natural Gas Drilling Endangers Public Health, Advocates Say

Some frustrated residents and anti-fracking activists are finding new names to call the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) -- "Don't Expect Protection," "Department of Energy Production" -- according to Dana Dolney of ShaleTest, a nonprofit that provides free air and water quality testing for low-income residents near natural gas wells.

Walmart Strikes: Lone Worker Walks Out, Receives Trespass Warning Ahead Of Black Friday

There was an employee walkout at a Walmart Supercenter in St. Cloud, Fla., on Wednesday morning, but even if you were shopping there when it happened you probably would have missed it.

The walkout included just one worker -- Vanessa Ferreira, age 59. Ferreira informed her manager publicly Wednesday morning that she was going on strike. The other employees watched her walk out of the store, then went back to doing their jobs.

Target, Walmart, and Other Big-Box Stores Abolish Thanksgiving

People who work in America's big-box stores don't have much to be thankful for, so maybe it's for the best that many of them can no longer celebrate Thanksgiving.

At Walmart, Target, and numerous other large retailers, Black Friday has become Black Thursday—a day that's much darker because it puts corporate profits ahead of, well, pretty much everything else that our country is supposed to care about.

F-35 Report: Auditor-General Indictment 'Whitewashed' By Tories, NDP Charges

OTTAWA - The NDP accused the Conservatives of using a House of Commons committee to whitewash the auditor general's scathing indictment of the government's mammoth F-35 jet fighter procurement.

The NDP levelled the charge in a dissenting opinion to the public accounts committee's report, tabled Wednesday.

Computer glitch gives rejected immigrants a golden ticket to Canada

OTTAWA — About 150 newcomers got lucky Wednesday after the government decided to grant them permanent residency even though their immigration applications were unceremoniously tossed thanks to the recent budget.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced he was using his ministerial powers to allow them to stay because a computer glitch issued them visas by mistake.

Harper slammed for avoiding premiers

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being assailed by opposition parties for running a federation on "autopilot" because he's refusing to meet this week with premiers gathering in Halifax.

Harper faced attacks in and out of the House of Commons on Wednesday for declining the months-old invitation to meet with provincial and territorial leaders on Thursday and Friday to find solutions on how to spur the sluggish Canadian economy.

Protesters call for Toronto mayor to step down

With two years remaining in his first term as mayor, outraged citizens rallied at Toronto City Hall on Tuesday to show their enmity towards Rob Ford and demand his resignation.

“I don’t hate him,” said rally organizer Nick Van der Graaf.

“I love the city but it’s facing serious problems. And there is a vacuum of leadership at the top. He’s neglecting his duties. He’s either too busy in court or doing his football practice. Half the time, he doesn’t show up for council meetings. And we deserve better.”

We've come to this: Parliamentary Budget Officer takes Harper government to Court

Finance, including public finance, can be a pretty dry and abstract subject.

But, for any enterprise, its financial picture is a very real, tangible and vitally important matter.

While the phrase "bottom line" has become a tough-talking colloquialism, devoid of precise meaning, in the world of accounting it refers, literally, to the tell-all bottom line of a balance sheet that indicates profit, loss or break-even.

Elections Canada to take unprecedented steps to publicly consult on robocalls

Elections Canada is undertaking an unprecedented level of public consultation as part of Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand’s efforts to produce a report to Parliament in March on the misuse of communications technology during the 2011 federal election which resulted in the robocalls and voter suppression scandal.

“Although we have done surveys and recommendations and those kinds of things before, it’s the first time we’ve done this kind of consultation,” said Elections Canada spokesperson John Enright, referring to the Nov. 7 discussion paper, Issues Arising from Improper Telecommunications with Electors.

Tory Public Accounts Committee members studying F-35 purchase avoid criticizing senior officials, opposition MPs deliver own reports

PARLIAMENT HILL—The Conservative majority on the Public Accounts Committee studying F-35 fighter jet mismanagement and breach of procurement policy has avoided criticizing senior officials at the head of the project in a new report, and has given the Department of National Defence until next February to provide the committee with a “workplan” for estimating billions of dollars in future operating cost.

Gazans begin cleanup amid fragile ceasefire

Gaza residents cleared rubble and claimed victory on Thursday, just hours after an Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers ended the worst cross-border fighting in four years.

The ceasefire announcement had set off frenzied late night street celebrations in the coastal strip, and raised hopes of a new era in relations between Israel and Hamas. The two sides are now to negotiate a deal that would open the borders of the blockaded Palestinian territory.