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.]

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bill C-60: An attack on CBC's autonomy

The main piece of outstanding government legislation in this session of Parliament is the latest budget omnibus bill, C-60. This one is much shorter than its massive predecessors.

Those omnibus bills completely overhauled the federal environmental oversight process, abolished the venerable Navigable Waters Act, radically changed fisheries protection, and fundamentally reformed Employment Insurance.

Rob Ford and the blue-collar-millionaire myth

As of late, Ford Nation has been having a more challenging time rallying to defend Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, in the wake of increasing scandal. But there is a mantra that they feel safe in falling back on when they wish to deflect from the controversy at hand: he's done good things for the city. He's cleaned up the financial mess the city was in.

Has he? Was the city in such a mess? The millions that it cost Toronto taxpayers to look for Ford's famed "gravy", ended up not really finding any. But it did leave us with a very large bill paid to KPMG.

Harper government brings in new performance review system for public service

OTTAWA - The Harper government is introducing a new performance-review system for the public service, which it says is aimed at boosting productivity and efficiency while weeding out workers who don't make the grade.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement says the new system will include annual performance objectives for all employees, mid-year evaluations and annual written assessments.

Head of Elections Canada confirms witnesses not co-operating in robocalls case

OTTAWA - Canada's chief electoral officer is confirming for the first time that Conservative party workers failed to co-operate with his investigation of fraudulent robocalls.

Marc Mayrand appeared before a House of Commons committee where he asked MPs once again for legal changes that would give the elections watchdog greater power to compel testimony from witnesses.

Rob Ford, Toronto Mayor, 'Can't Comment' On Damaging New Report

TORONTO - The mayor of Toronto says he "can't comment" on a report that suggests two of his closest staffers discussed locating an alleged video that appears to show him smoking crack cocaine.

Rob Ford has said he doesn't use the drug and that the video does not exist.

In a story based on unidentified sources, the Toronto Star reported David Price, the mayor's director of logistics, told Ford's former chief-of-staff that he received a tip from a source who suggested they may know where the alleged video could be found.

Pessimism about Canada’s future puts bite in Senate scandal

It’s a pretty safe bet that whichever historian is the first to write about today’s times will title his or her chapter on the doings in the Senate as “Canada’s Perfect Storm Scandal.”

While grungy and irritating, the scandal itself isn’t that big a deal. It amounts, so far (of course, much more may burst out into the open) to four senators fiddling their expense claims.

Any of these who cheated deliberately to fatten their own wallets or to use public funds to pay for political expenses (flights to party meetings) should resign.

3 Troubling Things To Know About Billionaire Penny Pritzker

Despite her business-friendly history, billionaire heir Penny Pritzker, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Commerce, will likely face standard Republican flak in her Senate confirmation hearings.

Obama Taps Billionaire Fundraiser Penny Pritzker for Commerce Despite Anti-Labor, Subprime Legacy

Billionaire business tycoon and former Obama fundraiser Penny Pritzker appears headed for confirmation as commerce secretary, despite concerns about her business dealings. Pritzker and her family owned Superior Bank, a Chicago-based firm that collapsed after the Pritzkers expanded subprime lending. With net worth of more than $1.5 billion, Pritzker stands to be one of the wealthiest Cabinet secretaries in history. Her family started the Hyatt Hotel chain, which has come under scrutiny for her clashes with labor unions. The AFL-CIO says Hyatt has exhibited a broad pattern of labor abuses, including aggressive outsourcing, low wages and the mistreatment of housekeepers. We’re joined by David Moberg, senior editor of In These Times magazine. His recent article is "3 Troubling Things To Know About Billionaire Penny Pritzker."

Author: --

Attacks From Within: On Janet Malcolm

In 1979, an Army doctor named Jeffrey MacDonald was tried in federal court for the murder, nine years earlier, of his pregnant wife and two daughters. The case attracted national attention, partly because of MacDonald’s sensational defense, which was finely tuned to the American paranoid hangover of the 1970s. MacDonald claimed that his wife and daughters had been killed by a band of marauding, Manson Family–style hippies, and that he, of Princeton University and the United States Army, had been injured while fighting them off.

Walmart Workers Launch First-Ever 'Prolonged Strikes' Today

Walmart employees are on strike in Miami, Massachusetts and the California Bay Area this morning, kicking off what organizers promise will be the first “prolonged strikes” in the retail giant’s history. The union-backed labor group OUR Walmart says that at least a hundred workers have pledged to join the strikes, and that some workers walking off the job today will stay out at least through June 7, when Walmart holds its annual shareholder meeting near Bentonville, Arkansas.

Robocalls Election Fraud Ruling Prompts Calls For Accountability

OTTAWA — The electoral fraud committed by someone with access to the federal Conservative Party’s database of voter information has prompted calls for political parties to be held accountable for any misuse or loss of the thousands of pieces of data they collect about Canadians.

Last Thursday, in a ruling overshadowed by the Senate expense scandal, Federal Court judge Richard Mosley found that electoral fraud had occurred in several ridings during the 2011 election. The judge pointed the finger at the Conservative Party’s database CIMS, the Constituency Information Management System, and said it was the source of information used by somebody to engage in voter suppression tactics, including phone calls to non-Conservative voters telling them their polling station had been moved.

Air Canada Rouge hopes to capture Disney magic

Air Canada’s new discount airline Rouge is calling in the gurus of customer service: Mickey and Minnie.

Rouge has hired the training arm of Walt Disney Co. to teach all of Rouge’s flight attendants the secrets of good customer service, with the hope of bringing some of that famed Disney magic to the skies.

Chicago to Shutter 50 Public Schools: Is Historic Mass Closure an Experiment in Privatization?

As the academic year winds down, a record number of Chicago schools are preparing to close their doors for good in the largest mass school closing ever in one U.S. city. Last week, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 of the city’s public schools in a move that will impact some 30,000 students, around 90 percent of them African American. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pushed for the closures in order to save the city more than $500 billion, half of its deficit. "Rahm Emanuel actually does not have an educational plan, he has an economic development plan," says our guest Diane Ravitch, who served as the assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush. Proponents say the closures will hit schools that are both underperforming and underutilized. But a vocal coalition of parents, teachers and students has fought back, warning that the closures will lead to overcrowded classrooms and endanger those students forced to walk longer distances to their new schools. We go to Chicago to speak with Jesse Sharkey, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, which helped lead the campaign against the school closures. "They are making a very massive, radical and, frankly, irreversible experiment here on other people’s children," Sharkey says.

Author: -

Israel threatens to strike Russia’s shipments of missiles to Syria

JERUSALEM—Israel’s defence minister on Tuesday signalled that his military is prepared to strike shipments of advanced Russian weapons to Syria, in a rare implied threat to Moscow.

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon issued his warning shortly after a top Russian official said his government reserves the right to provide Syria with state-of-the-art S-300 air defence missiles.

Israel has been lobbying Moscow to drop the sale, fearing the missiles would upset the balance of power in the region and could slip into the hands of hostile groups, including the Lebanese militant Hezbollah, a close ally of the Syrian regime.

EU lifts embargo on Syria, raising fears of new Middle East arms race

BRUSSELS—Fears grew Tuesday of a foreign-fed arms race in Syria as European Union countries decided they could provide weapons to the rebels and Russia disclosed it has signed a contract to provide the Syrian government with sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles.

Each development could significantly raise the firepower in a two-year civil war has already killed more than 70,000 people and sent hundreds of thousands fleeing the country. It also comes as the U.S. and Russia are preparing for a major peace conference in Geneva that diplomats have called the best chance yet to end the bloodshed under Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

What happened to family values in immigration?

Turning 50 is a milestone in a person’s life, a time for reflection. I will be reaching that milestone soon. As I look back over the last 50 years, I have much to be thankful for, and much of my success is owed to the country that took in me and my family — Canada.

I am one of hundreds of thousands of Canadians who came to Canada under the family class sponsorship program, a program that has been in place for decades and was, until recently, one of the cornerstones of Canadian immigration policy.

Harper government bullying provinces to accept EU trade deal

The Council of Canadians is demanding to know which other provinces have been bullied into accepting unreasonable conditions in the Canada-European Union trade deal after news that federal funding for a hydro project in Newfoundland and Labrador was tied to the province removing minimum processing rules in the fisheries.

"We always suspected the Harper government would bully the provinces into submission to EU demands in the Canada-EU negotiations and now we have hard proof," says Stuart Trew, trade campaigner for the Council of Canadians. "Minimum processing rules are vital to the Atlantic fisheries and we are glad to hear the Dunderdale government is not willing to sacrifice them. But the public needs to know right now which other provinces have been bullied in this way, for what policy changes, and which ones caved in to federal pressure."

Will Harper suffer Martin’s fate?

The truth about political scandals is that they do not really hurt governments ... until they do. So why do some scandals matter and others don’t? Is the Senate expense scandal that seemingly threatens the Conservative federal government analogous to the scandals of the early Jean Chrétien era, or Adscam, which ultimately removed the Liberals from power?

The Chrétien government was plagued by scandal, from Shawinigate to political interference in commissions of inquiry (and much more), and yet his Liberals were re-elected to majority governments twice. Paul Martin, who inherited the sponsorship scandal (Adscam) after replacing Chrétien as party leader, saw his Liberals reduced to a minority government when he sought a new mandate just four months after auditor general Sheila Fraser released her February 2004 report exposing the government’s handling of sponsorship funds in Quebec. Martin faced another election in 2006 and lost to Stephen Harper’s Conservatives two months after John Gomery released his commission’s initial report into Adscam.

Harper and Newfoundland: a mystery solved

Fascinating story today out of St. John’s, where Newfoundland and Labrador premier Kathy Dunderdale told a business lunch that a deal to announce a federal loan guarantee for Muskrat Falls almost fell apart last November when Harper demanded she deregulate the province’s fish-processing industry in return for the favour. In one of a few versions of the story, she slammed the phone down on Nigel Wright, then Harper’s chief of staff, rather than accede to the demand.

Feds pushed to redact report

OTTAWA — At the request of Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s office, the Public Service Commission removed a paragraph about outside influence in the hiring of Kevin MacAdam from the final version of its investigation into the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Both MacKay and current ACOA minister Gail Shea have frequently cited paragraph 197 of the report. It says no political staff were found to be involved in the inappropriate appointment of MacAdam.

Rob Ford crack scandal: Fears Ford’s aide sought video spark police probe

Concerns that one of Mayor Rob Ford’s staffers was trying to obtain the crack video led to a meeting between police detectives and Ford’s former chief of staff, sources have told the Star.

Shortly after news of the video’s existence broke late on the evening of May 16, top aides began discussing the situation. One of those aides was Ford’s logistics man and former high school football coach, David Price.

The Obamacare Shock

The Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare, goes fully into effect at the beginning of next year, and predictions of disaster are being heard far and wide. There will be an administrative “train wreck,” we’re told; consumers will face a terrible shock. Republicans, one hears, are already counting on the law’s troubles to give them a big electoral advantage.

No doubt there will be problems, as there are with any large new government initiative, and in this case, we have the added complication that many Republican governors and legislators are doing all they can to sabotage reform. Yet important new evidence — especially from California, the law’s most important test case — suggests that the real Obamacare shock will be one of unexpected success.

Tory Bill Targeting Unions Has No Backing From Constitutional Experts

Critics of a controversial bill requiring unions to disclose in-depth financial details are calling on its supporters to produce a constitutional expert to testify the bill can pass legal muster — because they don’t believe that one exists.

As Bill C-377 enters its second week of Senate committee hearings, several constitutional scholars are speaking out against the Conservative private member’s bill that would force labour organizations to disclose to the Canada Revenue Agency how they spend the dues they collect.

Backlash in Bangladesh: Workers Escalate Safety Demands

Violence has erupted in Bangladesh, following the world's worst garment industry disaster last month, as thousands of workers gathered in the country's capital on Monday demanding better pay conditions. Police charged batons and fired rubber bullets and tear gas as angry protesters demonstrated outside the capital's main factory district, blocking the main highway in the Ashulia industrial area, home to the world's largest manufacturing factories such as Walmart.

Up to 20,000 people took part in the protests, with more than 50 people injured by police intervention. Ashulia chief police Badrul Alam defended the action, arguing that workers had attacked police, throwing stones and striking police vehicles.

Why Can't Canada Innovate?

The political world may have been focused last week on crises at the Senate and the Toronto mayor's office, but a new report from the government's Science, Technology and Innovation Council quietly pointed to a serious, emerging economic crisis. The STIC reported that Canada's research and development performance is lagging behind the world's leading economies, continuing a disturbing decade-long decline.

The STIC report is the third produced since 2008, but the first to sound an unmistakable alarm on worrying trends that could have dire long-term consequences for the Canadian economy. Simply put, based on the latest data, Canada cannot be regarded as a serious player when it comes to innovation.

Rob Ford crack scandal: Ford Nation stands by their man — Porter

I went into the heart of Ford Nation with a bull’s-eye painted on my chest.

It was a big white Bristol board sign. On it, in large capital letters that you could read from 100 paces, I had written: “I work at the Toronto Star. Will you speak to me about Rob Ford please?”

The Fordites were nicer than I expected, given all the aggro talk about “boulders” and “maggots” the Ford brothers had spewed over the airwaves this past Sunday. Only two people insulted me while I walked into the Humbertown Mall, and one returned five minutes later to talk.

Liberals fail in attempt to force Stephen Harper to testify about Mike Duffy payment

OTTAWA—A Liberal attempt to force Prime Minister Stephen Harper to testify on what he knew about a $90,172 payment from his office to Sen. Mike Duffy was defeated by the Conservative majority on the Commons ethics committee.

“Once again, the Conservatives want to cover up and deny a public hearing into this very important issue,” said Liberal MP Scott Andrews, who moved the motion to call Harper to give evidence.

Owner of demolished Queen St. E. heritage building insists he had proper permits

Was a three-storey, red brick 1886 heritage building at 267 Queen St. E. demolished without the proper permits?

The City of Toronto says so and it has served property owner, 2235434 Ontario Ltd., and demolition contractor, Stonehaven Specialty Contracting Corp., with a summons to appear in court to face charges under the Ontario Heritage Act. The city says the demolition was done without the consent in writing of the municipality and it claims that a demolition permit under the Building Code Act was not even applied for.

80-year-old patient says he was told to clean own toilet at London, Ont. hospital

Joseph Cummins, an 80-year-old patient at London Health Sciences Centre, says he was told to do the unthinkable — get down on his hands and knees and clean his own hospital toilet.

But the hospital claims the incident never happened.

Cummins, professor emeritus of genetics at Western University, became ill with pneumonia earlier this month after returning from a trip to England. He was first treated in emergency with antibiotics and then given a strong laxative before being shipped to a ward.

The Beaver Lake Cree Judgment: The Most Important Tar Sands Case You’ve Never Heard Of

Sure they’re bad for the environment, for human health, and for wildlife, but we rarely stop to wonder if the Alberta tar sands are in fact unconstitutional.

But the constitutional standing of the tar sands – one of the world’s largest and most carbon-intensive energy projects – is just what’s at stake in a treaty rights claim the Beaver Lake Cree Nation (BLCN) is bringing against the Governments of Alberta and Canada in a case that promises to be one of the most significant legal and constitutional challenges to the megaproject seen in Canada to date.

Get apocalyptic: Why radical is the new normal

Feeling anxious about life in a broken-down society on a stressed-out planet? That's hardly surprising: Life as we know it is almost over. While the dominant culture encourages dysfunctional denial -- pop a pill, go shopping, find your bliss -- there's a more sensible approach: Accept the anxiety, embrace the deeper anguish -- and then get apocalyptic.

We are staring down multiple cascading ecological crises, struggling with political and economic institutions that are unable even to acknowledge, let alone cope with, the threats to the human family and the larger living world. We are intensifying an assault on the ecosystems in which we live, undermining the ability of that living world to sustain a large-scale human presence into the future. When all the world darkens, looking on the bright side is not a virtue but a sign of irrationality.

The real Ford story: Privilege and magical thinking

The Rob Ford story is not really about crack or poor leadership -- it is a story of systemic privilege. Although privilege operates on many levels -- personal, interpersonal and cultural; systemic privilege is perhaps the most dangerous form.

When we grant special benefits to individuals based on their social location (race, class, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation) rather than their competence and character, we not only set these individuals up for personal failure and a lifetime of "magical thinking"; we sign off on our collective demise.

Ottawa to stop regulating in situ oilsands projects

The federal government is quietly removing in situ oilsands operations from the list of projects covered by its environmental assessments branch.

The move is an extension of the overhaul of federal environmental regulation for resource projects that began with last year’s budget bill. The public had until last Monday to consult the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) on its decision to drop in situ projects from its Regulations Designating Physical Projects list, which spells out all projects under its jurisdiction.

Up to one of every three members of new tribunal gave money to Conservatives

OTTAWA - Up to a third of the people who landed cushy patronage jobs on the new Social Security Tribunal gave money to the Conservative party, public records show.

As many as 16 of the 48 people so far appointed to the tribunal donated money to the party, riding associations or candidates, according to Elections Canada records. None of the appointees appear to have given money to any other political party.

The Conservatives want to talk about something else, if you don’t mind

New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair was already in full-fledged admonish-and-shame mode by the time he hit his third question in the House of Commons Monday afternoon. Across the way, Heritage Minister James Moore had just finished accusing Mulcair of not really believing in accountability. If he “really” does, Moore said, “maybe he will tell this House how many more NDP MPs are not paying their taxes.”

Mulcair stood to respond amid the din.

“There we go with the Conservative playbook,” Mulcair shouted. “Plan A is to hide out in South America. Plan B is to blame the opposition. Why do they not try Plan C, which is to start telling the truth?” Here, Mulcair leaned far over his small wooden lectern to drive home his request.

As Senate expenses scandal rages in Commons, opposition MPs slam Harper’s no-show in Monday’s Question Period, call him ‘peekaboo Prime Minister’

PARLIAMENT HILL—Opposition MPs ridiculed Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s absence from the House of Commons question Period on Monday, labelling him a “peekaboo” leader who was hiding from accountability over a $90,172 cheque his former chief of staff gave to Senator Mike Duffy as a scandal over Sen. Duffy’s Senate expenses escalated.

Mr. Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) was notable in his absence as the opposition was girded for its first chance to question him following the announcement on May 19 that he had accepted Nigel Wright’s resignation after learning, apparently a few days earlier, that Mr. Wright gave Sen. Duffy the money last March, allowing the Sen. Duffy to pay off $90,172 worth of questionable expenses since his 2009 appointment and initially helped avoid the same kind of publicity two other Senators faced when the official Senate reports on their expenses were tabled on May 9.

‘Distractions’ finding Harper team on shaky ground

When it rains it pours or so it must feel to Stephen Harper’s Conservatives as the many accumulated clouds on their horizon finally give way to a perfect storm.

By now the Prime Minister probably wants voters to forget that he ever mused about his hope for an Ontario Conservative trifecta made up of Ontario’s Tim Hudak, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and himself.

Bill C-60: CBC Should Remain Free Of Political Interference, Journalists Urge

OTTAWA - A number of journalist groups are asking Canadians to write to their MPs to demand changes to a controversial bill which would give the government a role in negotiating CBC contracts.

Arnold Amber of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression says Bill C-60 poses a grave threat by giving the government leverage that could be used to skew the CBC's news coverage.

Vic Toews Won't Say Why CSIS Held Jeffrey Delisle File From RCMP

OTTAWA - Public Safety Minister Vic Toews won't say why Canada's spy agency stood back and let the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation brief the RCMP about navy spy Jeffrey Delisle.

Toews came under fire in question period about a Canadian Press report that said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had Delisle under surveillance for months in 2011 before the RCMP stepped in to build a criminal case.

GE To Invest Billions Of Dollars In Fracking

PITTSBURGH (AP) — One of America's corporate giants is investing billions of dollars in the new boom of oil and gas drilling, or fracking. General Electric Co. is opening a new laboratory in Oklahoma, buying up related companies, and placing a big bet that cutting-edge science will improve profits for clients and reduce the environmental and health effects of the boom.

Political intelligence firms set up investor meetings at White House

Wall Street investors hungry for advance information on upcoming federal health-care decisions repeatedly held private discussions with Obama administration officials, including a top White House adviser helping to implement the Affordable Care Act.

The private conversations show that the increasingly urgent race to acquire“political intelligence” goes beyond the communications with congressional staffers that have become the focus of heightened scrutiny in recent weeks.

Texas Legislature Passes Measure To Prevent Medicaid Expansion

AUSTIN, Texas, May 26 (Reuters) - The Republican-majority Texas House and Senate on Sunday sent Governor Rick Perry a proposal to prevent the state from expanding its Medicaid program as outlined by President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law.

Perry, a Republican, notified the Obama administration last summer his state would not expand Medicaid, which provides healthcare for low-income people. He repeated his opposition in an April news conference at which he called expansion "foolish."

Obama Memorial Day Speech Honors Fallen Troops

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) -- President Barack Obama said Monday that Americans must honor the sacrifices of their fighting men and women, particularly at a time when the U.S. combat role in Iraq has ended and the country's involvement in Afghanistan is winding down.

Speaking at Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, Obama said he worries that the country's servicemen and women aren't being fully appreciated in an era in which "most Americans are not directly touched by war." He said he couldn't explain that phenomenon but said it might have something to do with the all-volunteer military force and advanced technology that now permits the United States to accomplish some military missions with far fewer personnel.

Bob Schieffer: Obama Press Policy 'Hurting His Credibility And Shortchanging The Public'

CBS News' Bob Schieffer tore into President Obama on Sunday's "Face The Nation," arguing that the administration's stringent communications policy was "hurting [the president's] credibility and shortchanging the public."

In light of two government scandals involving the Department of Justice secretly monitoring the Associated Press and Fox News reporter James Rosen, Schieffer commented on additional ways the Obama administration's communications policy impacted journalism. He said:

    It's reached the point that if I want to interview anyone in the administration on camera, from the lowest-level worker to a top White House official, I have to go through the White House press office.

    If their chosen spokesman turns out to have no direct connection to the story of the moment, as was the case when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was sent out to explain the Benghazi episode, then that's what we (and you, the taxpayer) get. And it usually isn't much.

Schieffer added that he was glad Obama asked Attorney General Eric Holder to review the guidelines for Justice Department investigations that involve journalists. However, the CBS anchor argued against the president's requesting Holder as the person heading the review since the attorney general's department was so "deeply involved."

"That makes no sense to me," Schieffer said.

Original Article
Author: Rebecca Shapiro

Income Inequality Widening, Canadians Say In New Poll

Canadians are more likely than Americans to say that income inequality is growing in their home country, new research suggests.

A study from the Pew Research Center finds that 76 per cent of Canadians believe income inequality is worsening at home, compared to 66 per cent of Americans.

The study found people in almost all developed countries are growing more concerned about rising income inequality and its effects on the economy.

Conservatives load up Social Security Tribunal with allies

The Harper government has filled the seats of a new tribunal created to hear appeals of social-security claims with members of the federal Conservative party and its allies at the provincial level.

The Social Security Tribunal, which began work last month as the body that will hear appeals of employment insurance, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security decisions, has hired 46 full-time members and a chairperson. The government says the tribunal will be “fair, credible, impartial and independent.”

'Fierce Canadian' Fears for Her Country

September 1967. We are holding our breath. We have to get into Canada immediately or Michael, my new husband, will be jailed. At the advice of the Montreal Committee to Aid War Resisters, we have arrived at Dorval Airport after midnight, when mostly sympathetic French-Canadian immigration officers are on duty. Michael has a hastily-offered letter of employment from Montreal Children's Hospital. Twenty minutes later, we are relieved to be welcomed as landed immigrants! We are among the wave of over 200,000 Vietam-era women and men who became an integral part of the Canadian mosaic.

Before our immigration, Michael had been offered a position as a medical officer in the American military but had planned to go to jail rather than serve the Vietnam War in any capacity. Serendipitously, the day he received the commission, I was at a seminar for documentary filmmakers and had just seen the Canadian documentary Mills of the Gods. In it, director Beryl Fox bravely sat filming from the cockpit of a helicopter as it sprayed napalm on a Vietnamese village. We Americans who opposed the war knew about the atrocities, but our U.S. media never exposed them. A Canadian woman did, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation aired her film.

Rob Ford video scandal: Mayor’s two communications aides resign

The crisis around Toronto Mayor Rob Ford deepened Monday with the resignation of both members of his communications staff.

Their departure follows Ford’s firing of his chief of staff, Mark Towhey, on Thursday.

George Christopoulos, Ford’s press secretary, and Isaac Ransom, Ford’s deputy press secretary, both resigned and walked out of city hall Monday, a source with knowledge of their departure told the Star.

Rob Ford hires Don Bosco assistant football coach for mayor’s office

Mayor Rob Ford, who was dismissed as head football coach at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary on Wednesday, has hired one of his assistant coaches and former players to work in the mayor’s office.

Xhejsi Hasko, known as J.C., started on the job on May 13. His title is special assistant.

Hasko is also listed as an assistant coach on Don Bosco’s playoff game rosters from 2012.

Trial opens for police officer charged in alleged G20 assault

A Toronto man testified he was given no warning before he was beaten and arrested by police while taking photographs of mounted officers at Queen’s Park at a G20 demonstration three years ago.

“As I was taking pictures, I was hit with a very significant impact on my right side,” Dorian Barton said Monday at the opening of the assault trial of Toronto police Const. Glenn Weddell — the first criminal trial of any officer charged in controversial policing of the 2010 Toronto G20 summit.