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.]

Monday, February 25, 2013

Atlantic Canada's perilous future in the face of a hostile federal government

Budget time is approaching in Nova Scotia, as elsewhere. Not just any budget time, but that special variety that precedes an election (this fall, I'd guess). You can usually tell by the tension in the media/political complex. The government is preparing for the buckets of vitriol that will fall on its head when it announces that it can't balance the budget this year as promised, and there's a howl over a $27-million accounting error in last year's budget.

Here's something different we should do this time: look past the little politics and contemplate the bigger hazards looking us in the face. First, almost everybody else, notably Alberta and Ontario, is in trouble (not to mention the federal goverment and the rest of the world), and the not-particularly friendly chatter is that, in Canada, the Maritimes are in the biggest trouble of all.

High time we put Conservative economic ‘stewardship’ myth to rest

Conservative economic “stewardship”—it’s high time we put that myth to rest.

For too long, the Conservatives’ reputation for economic stewardship and commitment to innovation has gone unchallenged.

The stark reality, however, is that Canadian productivity has plummeted under the Harper government’s Conservatives, costing the Canadian economy billions of dollars. To make matters worse, Conservative cuts to research and development will discourage private-sector investment, which Canada needs to create jobs and prosperity. While the government touts the importance of a qualified workforce for our economy, the Conservatives’ lack of a science and innovation strategy will actually rob our labour force of workers with advanced degrees.

At Least We're Not Measles: Rationalizing Drone Attacks Hits New Low

Read an absolutely amazing article today. Entitled  "Droning on about Drones," it was published in the online version of Dawn, Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper, and written by one Michael Kugelman, identified as the Senior Program Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Keystone XL: Line in the sand?

There is a lot of confusion these days over just what the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline is all about. Why would 35,000 people journey to Washington to chant slogans in the freezing cold? I know a bit about being out in the cold, both literally and metaphorically. Neither is pleasant. So there must be something more to this than meets the eye, right? After all, isn't North America already crisscrossed with thousands of miles of pipeline transporting oil and natural gas? None of those pipelines sparked international attention during their construction. Having been at the climate forefront for more than two decades, I see the development of this issue all too clearly.

Never before has the environmental movement been required to change governments to get action. Since Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, governments have grudgingly accepted responsibility to act in protection of public health and the environment. Never rapidly -- and always based on science -- governments eventually acted on toxic chemicals, acid rain, car emissions and dozens of other issues. They all followed the same pattern: researchers raised the alarm, victims called for action, government accepted the science and regulated and industry went along (after first resisting, of course). It's the history of rational government -- some would argue more rational than the history of economic or social policy riddled with theoretical and ideological experiments.

Stacking the Deck: The Phony 'Fix the Debt' Campaign

The least controversial lines in President Obama’s State of the Union address should have been his assertions that “deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan” and that “we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.” Common sense, right? Wrong—if you’re getting your economic analysis from the GOP, more than a few Democrats and much of the media. Even Obama, in the same speech, paid homage to the safety-net-shredding strategies of the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction commission. As Paul Krugman reminds us, “Inside the Beltway Simpson and Bowles have become sacred figures. But the people doing that elevation are the same people who told us that Paul Ryan was the answer to our fiscal prayers.”

Fix the Debt's Fuzzy Math

Believers in arithmetic are in full retreat in the national budget debate, thanks in large part to Pete Peterson’s Fix the Debt gang. The range of acceptable debate goes from yelling that the sky is falling because of the deficit to the more moderate perspective shown by President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders in favor of a gradual and balanced approach to deficit reduction. But stating the simple and obvious truth—that we have a large deficit because the economy collapsed—makes one an extremely nonserious person in Washington.

12 Ways the Sequester Will Screw the Poor

When Congress agreed on automatic slash-and-burn spending cuts in 2011—if no big bipartisan deficit reduction package could be achieved—the cuts were designed to be so unpalatable that Republicans and Democrats would feel compelled to concoct a better deal to replace them. President Barack Obama says avoiding the deep cuts, called sequestration in DC-speak, should be a "no-brainer." But Republicans are increasingly saying the sequester won't be so bad. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Thursday that the $85 billion in cuts "would really help a long way and get us on a sustainable fiscal path."

Experts have warned of ‘bitumen bubble’ for years

EDMONTON - The Alberta government blames the “bitumen bubble” for the province’s current fiscal woes, but oil industry players have been warning about the phenomenon for more than a decade.

A review of historical markets shows the gap between what Alberta oil sells for and the benchmark price for West Texas Intermediate has repeatedly hit $35 in the past two years.

Bias within religious freedom office?

Regardless of whether it's good policy or good politics, this week's opening of Canada's new Office of Religious Freedom is taking the lid off a Pandora's box.

The Conservative government is following the lead of the U.S. and establishing a $5 million office, run by a Roman Catholic academic, to speak out for religious freedom around the world. There is no doubt religious repression is rising in a number of places.

But will the new office be fair to all, including atheists?

Stephen Harper — world’s worst talent scout

Sooner or later, the country is going to realize that there is something terribly wrong with Stephen Harper’s judgment.

And sooner or later, the Conservative party is going to realize one-man bands are great until the tuba player runs out of breath.

At the moment, judged only by his record in Senate appointments, Harper’s eye for talent appears to be made of glass.

Renting seniors' beds is a formula for failure -- and it's time for Alberta to stop

Do you remember that promise by the Alberta government to build 3,000 seniors' beds? It turns out they only planned to rent them!

The problem with renting beds from private companies, of course, is the same as with any form of privatized medicare: it ends up costing a heck of a lot more than we were promised, and delivering much less.

It also turns out the Alberta government's bad bargain with private care operators means the fragile seniors who end up occupying the beds are subject to eviction!

If Senator Mike Duffy lives in Kanata, how can he be a PEI 'resident'?

By his own account, Senator Mike Duffy is easily confused.

 He told a Prince Edward Island television interviewer that he finds the Senate's "Declaration of Primary and Secondary Residences" form to be confusing.

"I wish I had it with me," he said during the recently broadcast interview.

Then, one assumes, the Senator and the interviewer would both be happily confused together.

Libya's Nightmarish Winter

The West's hypocrisy and oil greed are coming home to roost with a vengeance in Libya as the Arab Spring in that country turns into a nightmarish winter characterized by armed gangs, economic collapse, a decline in services by an incompetent government and increasing political domination by radical Islamists.

Whether or not the Libyan people think this is better than living under the autocratic and bizarre Muammar Gaddafi is obviously for them to decide. But the notion that getting rid of Gaddafi was somehow going to bring liberal democracy to this oil-rich country was never believed by the Western powers, including Canada, who brought about his downfall. We will never know if a civil war in that country without the West's intervention on one side would have seen Gaddafi ousted. It seems unlikely. Gaddafi would also still be alive without U.S. intelligence provided to the rebels on his attempted escape.

Feds using ‘smoke and mirrors’ to report GHG reductions, say opposition MPs

Opposition MPs say the government is being “fraudulent” in a report and statements to Parliament suggesting Canada is half way to meeting an international commitment for substantial cuts to greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, when the government’s own figures predict a steady climb in emissions with Alberta’s oilsands industry responsible for the lion’s share.

The criticism stems from a report Environment Minister Peter Kent (Thornhill, Ont.) tabled in the House of Commons the day Parliament adjourned for a week-long recess on Friday, Feb. 15.

Jason Kenney says bill to strip Canadian citizenship largely ‘symbolic’

What does it mean to be Canadian? What is a terrorist? Two simple enough questions, but they have sparked great debate since Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney suggested that Canadians convicted of terrorism offences should lose their citizenship.

The proposed amendment to a private member’s bill, previously introduced by Calgary’s Conservative MP Devinder Shory, would apply only to those who hold dual citizenship.

Pamela Wallin, Conservative senator, holds Ontario health card

OTTAWA—Sen. Pamela Wallin holds an Ontario health card, the Star has learned, which raises fresh questions about her claims that Saskatchewan is her home.

A source confirmed Wallin, who represents the prairie province in the Senate, has a valid Ontario health card.

One of the conditions of having a health card is that Ontario must be the “primary place of residence,” according to the provincial health ministry.

Censorship is alive and well in Canada – just ask government scientists

Freedom to Read Week begins on Feb. 24, bringing with it the perfect opportunity to kick the tires of democracy and make sure the old jalopy’s still running as she should.

What’s that you say? The bumper fell off when you touched it? The engine won’t turn over? That’s not so good. Better look under the hood.

Angry teachers take to social media to blast union over extracurricular activities

OTTAWA — Angry Ontario teachers took to social media Saturday to sound off about a surprise late evening statement on Friday from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, recommending its members suspend their political action and resume providing extracurricular activities.

But student trustees, gathered in Ottawa for the groups’s annual board conferences, called the recommendation by the teachers group a welcome sign that relations between the government and teacher unions are heading in a positive direction.

Federal government sent mixed messages to industry, First Nations about environmental reforms

OTTAWA – Environment Canada recommended one set of messages for First Nations groups and another for industry stakeholders a few months before the Harper government adopted sweeping changes to Canada’s environmental laws in 2012, says newly-released internal briefing notes obtained by Postmedia News.

The reforms, which reduced federal oversight on industrial development and weakened some environmental legislation, including laws protecting species at risk and water, have prompted a national protest movement in recent weeks that adopted the “Idle No More” slogan to defend the rights of Aboriginal Canadians.

Conservatives’ handling of Kevin Page suggests they could succumb to the disease of power

After serving five years as official goad and perpetual thorn in the Conservative government’s side, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page is preparing to hand over his abacus and magnifying glass to a successor – or he would be, if he had a successor. So far, though only a month remains in Page’s term, none has been appointed.

It’s almost as though the Harper government doesn’t much care who replaces the doggedly independent-minded Page, or if he’s replaced at all. “In due course following a thorough process,” says Treasury Board President Tony Clement. Senior ministers have long made no secret of their disdain for Page and his analyses: Last year the finance minister himself dismissed one of the PBO’s more controversial reports, on the sustainability of Canada’s old age income security system, as “unbelievable, unreliable and incredible.”

Feds look to bolster business innovation

Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear says that new investments in small and mid-size business innovation are part of a wider strategy to bolster innovation and commercialization in Canada, but critics say the federal government’s approach still falls short nearly a year and a half after the release of the Jenkins report on federal support for research and development.

Minister of State Goodyear (Cambridge, Ont.) and Industry Minister Christian Paradis (Mégantic-L’Érable, Que.) were both in Toronto last week to make funding announcements aimed at supporting small and medium sized business (SMB) to cash in on made-Canada innovations.

Harper government ‘cobbling together’ climate change plan to save Keystone: Suzuki

Environmental activist David Suzuki says the Harper government is scrambling to put together a climate change plan in an effort to win U.S. approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, after a year of promoting resource development and demonizing environmentalists.

Mr. Suzuki said that little has changed despite the government’s renewed focus on green issues, following a year in which Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver (Eglinton-Lawrence, Ont.) accused opponents of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline of being aligned with radical groups, Environment Minister Peter Kent (Thornhill, Ont.) accused environmental charities of laundering foreign money, and restrictions on political activities by registered charities were tightened.

How the Harper Conservatives changed the political game

OAKVILLE, ONT.—“We believe that the Conservative Party will be to the 21st century what the Liberal Party was to the twentieth: the perpetual dominant party, the natural governing party.”

 That sentence, which may alarm Liberals, New Democrats and the Council of Canadians, is taken from an insightful, perceptive and likely controversial new book called The Big Shift.

 Written by Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson and by Ipsos Global Public Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker, The Big Shift makes a persuasive, yet provocative argument that a new political alignment has emerged in Canada, an alignment that has propelled the Conservatives to power and which will dramatically and permanently change the Canadian narrative.

Mulcair bill to strengthen budget watchdog

As members of parliament return to Ottawa after a week of working in their ridings, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair will introduce a private member's bill designed to strengthen the mandate of the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, CBC News has learned.

The Opposition leader will squeak in the bill in the hours ahead of a Monday evening deadline to get his PMB to the Order Paper.

EU supermarkets blamed for Kenya food waste

Nairobi, Kenya - On a farm a few hundred kilometres from the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, Samson Kibaki* is engaging in a strange ritual: chopping large chunks off his green beans. Every green bean grown on his farm is cut down by around a third before it goes to market, and the remainder tossed on a heap. The reason? Beans are bendy and the cellophane packets in UK supermarkets are short and straight.

China: The Orient Excess

Three decades of economic liberalisation have radically changed the face of China. With the number of Chinese billionaires increasing rapidly (it now has almost as many as the US and is closing in on the top spot), the communist ideals of the past seem to have faded beyond recognition.

"You can never have enough money. Money helps me fulfill my dreams", says Li Chao, for whom expensive hobbies like motor racing are no longer out of reach. He thinks nothing of splashing out hundreds of thousands of dollars on glamorous supercars and is unapologetic about his growing wealth. After all, he says, he has earned it.

The female factor

Women make up half of Syria's population, yet they are often invisible in the political and media discussions taking place since the conflict began two years ago.

Now, mothers, wives and daughters are increasingly becoming weapons of war on the frontline of the battle between government forces and the opposition.

Although Syrian women have always been able to join the armed forces, recently there has been an influx of women joining the National Defence Force, which is similar to a reserve army.

Secret services

As an archaeologist, I’ve excavated hundreds of skeletons and observed first-hand the effects of poor dental care. In many cases, tooth problems were likely the cause of death, not to mention chronic pain.

In our own era, it was revealed by Public Health Ontario’s Report On Access To Dental Care And Oral Health Inequalities last year that 50 per cent of us had experienced “pain or discomfort” associated with dental problems, and 20 per cent of those who’d had these difficulties cited cost as the reason they didn’t seek professional help.

FEMEN Protest Berlusconi: Topless Activists Strip During Italian Elections At Polls

Three topless feminists lunged at Italy's Silvio Berlusconi as he arrived at a polling station in Milan to vote in a general election on Sunday, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

The young women had the slogan "Basta Berlusconi" ("Enough With Berlusconi") scrawled on their backs.

They were quickly detained by police and dragged away screaming in a chaotic scene as ordinary people also queued to vote at the school.

Police struggled to put their jackets and handcuffs on the women as they writhed in the snow.

The feminists broke through a line of journalists outside the polling station and jumped over some tables toward Berlusconi but did not reach him.

The scandal-tainted Berlusconi is leading a centre-right coalition in the election and polls indicate he will come second to the centre-left.

Original Article
Author: Agence France Presse

Afghanistan's Karzai Says U.S. Special Forces Must Leave Wardak Province Over Torture Allegations

KABUL, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai has given U.S. special forces two weeks to leave a key battleground province after some U.S. soldiers there were found to have tortured or even killed innocent people, the president's spokesman said on Sunday.

The decision by Karzai could further complicate negotiations between the United States and Afghanistan over the presence of Americans troops in the country once most NATO forces leave by the end of 2014.

Bernie Madoff: 'The Banks Had To Know What I Was Doing'

Big banks had to know Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, according to Bernie Madoff.

In an email penned from jail, one of the biggest Ponzi schemers in history told Fox Business Network that those responsible for recouping his victims’ money should keep going after the banks where he had accounts.

This Week in Poverty: How Obama Can Fight Hunger Now

In his State of the Union address, President Obama offered the kind of concrete proposals that anti-poverty advocates have long been waiting for: raising the minimum wage, expanding high-quality early childhood education and creating new “ladders of opportunity” in twenty of the poorest communities in the country.

All of these policies would help reverse the spread of hunger, which now affects more than 50 million Americans, including more than one in five children—an increase of 37 percent in childhood hunger since 1999. However, these promising proposals aren’t nearly enough, especially since the country is poised to move in the wrong direction in the fight against hunger.

Thousands rally against federal government's EI reform

Thousands of protesters across the province of Quebec, in Ottawa and in Tracadie, N.B., took part in demonstrations denouncing the government's employment insurance reform Saturday.

The government's changes to the EI program compel laid-off seasonal workers to go farther afield to look for work and to accept jobs that pay as little as 70 per cent of their previous hourly wage — providing that is not below the province's minimum wage rate.

Ottawa changed admission criteria for EI programs last January. People looking for work will be urged to accept work located within a 100-kilometre radius from their home.

Feds dispute Canada's poor global ranking in freedom of information

OTTAWA - The Harper government is dismissing a report that ranks it 55th in the world for upholding freedom of information, saying it has a sterling record for openness.

But a four-page document outlining the federal rebuttal took five months to release after a request under the Access to Information Act — underscoring the very delay problem that contributed to Canada's dismal ranking.

A human-rights group based in Halifax has issued three report cards since 2011 on Canada's anemic standing in the world with regard to so-called right-to-know legislation.

Neskonlith opposition, a reasonable response to Imperial Metals' Ruddock Creek project

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Secwepemc territory in south-central BC. I was invited the Neskonlith Band to speak with them about the Ruddock Creek project, a proposed lead and zinc mine in the headwaters of the Adams River. The proponent, Imperial Metals and MiningWatch have a certain history as we successfully took the federal government to court over the lack of an adequate environmental assessment of Imperial’s controversial Red Chris project.

One single Alberta government bargaining agency is likely to end badly for Redford PCs

Chances are good the Alberta government's announcement it will consolidate all bargaining with all unionized provincial public employees into the hands of a single lead negotiator will end badly for Premier Alison Redford's Progressive Conservative Party.

This is a government that has never understood the meaning of the phrase "unintended consequences" and that has a fatal attraction to the idea of grand unified schemes that are supposed to solve all its problems forever -- and never do.

South leg of Keystone XL from Oklahoma to Texas hits halfway mark, company says

OKLAHOMA CITY — While the debate continues over whether the United States will approve a proposed oil conduit from Canada to the Gulf Coast, the segment from Cushing, Okla., to the Texas Gulf Coast is halfway toward completion and could be transporting oil by the end of the year.

President Barack Obama travelled to Oklahoma nearly a year ago to tout construction of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline from the Cushing oil hub to Houston-area refineries. A decision on whether to allow the longer pipeline awaits the results of a U.S. State Department review that is necessary because the oil would be carried across an international border.

Skepticism greets religious freedom office

In last year’s federal budget, the Department of Foreign Affairs saw its spending cut by $170 million. But Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird made sure his cherished Office of Religious Freedom went unscathed.

With its official launch last week, you can also be sure that it will generate some controversy in Ottawa and beyond, as well as inside the government.

China Admits Existence Of 'Cancer Villages' In Report, As Pollution Concerns Mount

As public discontent mounts in China over the country's worsening pollution problem and the government's lack of transparency about environmental concerns, Chinese authorities have acknowledged the existence of so-called "cancer villages" in a new report this week, according to multiple media outlets.

Agence France-Presse writes that the country's environment ministry made the admission in a report about pollution in which authorities acknowledged the dangers posed to human health by the harmful chemicals -- many of which are banned in developed nations -- that are produced and consumed in large quantities in the country.

Italian Elections: Nation Goes To Polls In Vote Seen As Crucial For Economic Future

ROME — Will Italy stay the course with painful economic reform? Or fall back into the old habit of profligacy and inertia? These are the stakes as Italians vote in a watershed parliamentary election Sunday and Monday that could shape the future of one of Europe's biggest economies.

Fellow European Union countries and investors are watching closely, as the decisions that Italy makes over the next several months promise to have a profound impact on whether Europe can decisively put out the flames of its financial crisis. Greece's troubles in recent years were enough to spark a series of market panics. With an economy almost 10 times the size of Greece's, Italy is simply too big a country for Europe, and the world, to see fail.

Rarely Seen Film "King: A Filmed Record" Traces MLK’s Struggle from Montgomery to Memphis

In a Black History Month special, we air excerpts of a rarely seen Oscar-nominated documentary about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the rise of the civil rights movement. Produced by Ely Landau, "King: A Filmed Record...Montgomery to Memphis" is made from original newsreel footage and other original video footage shot of marches, rallies and church services. "King" was originally screened for one night only in 1970 in more than 600 theaters across the United States, but has rarely been seen since. We air extensive footage of the film, featuring a historic look at the eight-year period that led up to the 1963 March on Washington, D.C.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: -

Zero Conscience in “Zero Dark Thirty”

At the same time that the European Court of Human Rights has issued a historic ruling condemning the C.I.A.’s treatment of a terror suspect during the Bush years as “torture,” a Hollywood movie about the agency’s hunt for Osama bin Laden, “Zero Dark Thirty”—whose creators say that they didn’t want to “judge” the interrogation program—appears headed for Oscar nominations. Can torture really be turned into morally neutral entertainment?

Ted Cruz Responds—And Still Sees Red at Harvard Law

Senator Ted Cruz has responded to The New Yorker’s report that he accused Harvard Law School of having had “twelve” Communists who “believed in the overthrow of the U.S. Government” on its faculty when he attended in the early nineties. Cruz doesn’t deny that he said this; instead, through his spokesman, he says he was right: Harvard Law was full of Communists.

Hanford Nuclear Reservation Tanks Leaking Radioactive Waste Underground, Governor Inslee Says

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) -- Six underground tanks that hold a brew of radioactive and toxic waste at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site are leaking, federal and state officials said Friday, prompting calls for an investigation from a key senator.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the leaking material poses no immediate risk to public safety or the environment because it would take a while -- perhaps years -- to reach groundwater.

But the leaking tanks raise new concerns about delays for emptying them and strike another blow to federal efforts to clean up south-central Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation, where successes often are overshadowed by delays, budget overruns and technological challenges.

Cape Wind: Regulation, Litigation And The Struggle To Develop Offshore Wind Power In The U.S.

In 2001, Jim Gordon, a well-heeled developer of natural gas plants in New England, took up a long-discussed but never-pursued idea that advocates said would usher in a new era of clean energy in America: an ocean-based wind farm off the shores of Cape Cod.

The advantages of the site seemed plain: Relentless, hard-driving winds, shallow shoals several miles offshore on which to anchor large turbines, and, perhaps most importantly, a left-leaning population inclined to support what was already viewed at the time as an overdue migration away from dirtier sources of electricity.

Redford says province has ‘a spending problem’

Premier Alison Redford acknowledged Friday that Alberta has a spending problem, but says she is working to curb it.

"Do we have a spending problem?" the premier asked herself in a Calgary radio interview. "I think we do have a spending problem and that's one of the reasons we've undertaken the results-based budgeting process, which I think will actually have both short-term and long-term impacts."

Robocalls Election Challengers Win Bid To Admit Key Evidence

A group of voters challenging the election of six Conservative MPs scored a small victory Friday when the judge in the case decided to allow a key piece of evidence to be considered.

The voters wanted Judge Richard Mosley to consider court records that support their contention of a widespread campaign of harassing and misleading live phone messages and robocalls. They allege the calls deterred people from casting ballots in the last federal election, and that the Conservative MPs benefited from it.

Stephen Harper's New Plane Design Will Cost $50,000

The new paint job on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plane won’t be cost neutral after all.

Repainting the grey Polaris CC-150 military aircraft, red, white and blue, will cost taxpayers an additional $50,000, The Huffington Post Canada has learned.

Harper's 'lurch' strategy failing

Canada's energy strategy is failing on all fronts. In effect, Canada's energy policy or strategy is a Stephen Harper construct, focusing on specific projects of short-term political expedience, and largely ignoring environmental issues.

It makes no effort to acknowledge or reflect the priorities and requirements of each region of Canada. Ad hoc and sporadic, it is doing Canada a disservice politically and economically, causing loss of respect as a global citizen.

Robocalls probe remains top priority, Elections Canada head says

One year after Canadians first learned Elections Canada was investigating misleading robocalls made during the 2011 federal election, the Commissioner of Canada Elections says the probe is making “significant progress” and remains his No. 1 priority.

In a rare public statement, released to Postmedia News this week, Yves Côté called the investigation “very complex” and seemed to suggest that the current legal framework is making the job harder.

“I have highly competent and motivated people assigned to the file, and while we are limited in the tools at our disposal to gather all of the evidence, we have been making significant progress,” he said.

“This continues to be the top priority for my office.”

Government budgets nothing more than phoney forecasts designed to conceal and confuse

We do not ask for much, really, we Canadians. When it comes to our governments, our expectations are almost pathetically low. We know that we are not quite a democracy — that our representatives don’t really represent us, that our legislatures are not really where important public matters are debated, that the executive, the people who govern us, are not accountable to them in any meaningful way.

Rather, having lied, bribed and slandered their way to the approval of perhaps a quarter of the eligible voters — converted, through the fun-house mathematics of the first past the post electoral system, into a majority of the seats — they are then entitled to govern more or less unencumbered for the next four or five years.

Half of GTA and Hamilton workers in ‘precarious’ jobs

Barely half of working adults in the GTA and Hamilton have full-time jobs with benefits and expect to be working for their current employer a year from now, according to a groundbreaking report on precarious work and household well-being.

The other half are working either full- or part-time with no benefits or no job security, or in temporary, contract or casual positions, says the report by McMaster University and United Way Toronto being released Saturday.

Can England be saved? Country feeling pain of PM David Cameron’s austerity cuts

LONDON—Clasford Stirling lumbers like a giant through the gym, barking orders in his deep baritone as young boys run soccer drills around him.

“Is that the best you’ve got?” he yells to a group moving slowly.

They pick it up instantly while the parents nod in approval from the sidelines.

Oilsands Health Survey Of Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay Collapses

There are currently more than 170 square kilometres of tailings  ponds in Alberta.
EDMONTON - A long-awaited study on the health of aboriginals in Alberta's oilsands region is being questioned before it's even begun over concerns about how it would deal with cancer rates.

The chief and council for the Mikisew Cree have told Alberta Health that they won't take part in a long-promised, government-funded survey that would assess the health of people living in Fort Chipewyan and Fort McKay.

"They felt it would be too much control by Alberta or Canada, that at the end of the day we would not be satisfied," said spokesman George Poitras.