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.]

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Twitter CEO Attacks Professor For Pointing Out Board Has No Women

What was Dick Costolo thinking?

On Sunday, Twitter's CEO pushed back against criticism of the company's apparent lack of female higher-ups with an ad hominem attack against one of its critics.

This Supreme Court Case Could Usher In a "System of Legalized Corruption"

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a case that's been dubbed "the next Citizens United." The plaintiff, GOP donor Shaun McCutcheon, and his conservative allies say the case is about getting rid of restrictions on political spending that stifle free speech. Campaign finance watchdogs, meanwhile, fear the case could eviscerate an important piece of what's left of the federal laws governing money in politics. McCutcheon, says Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, will decide "whether we return to the system of legalized corruption we have had in the past and that has led to some of the worst Washington corruption scandals in the nation's history."

Distractions galore for Stephen Harper and Tory throne speech

MONTREAL—If Prime Minister Stephen Harper had wanted his upcoming throne speech to get lost in the heavy traffic of a critically busy political season his timing would be impeccable.

A national Conservative convention scheduled for the end of the month was always going to divert attention quickly from the just re-opened parliamentary theatre.

With the ink on next week’s throne speech barely dry, Harper and his ministers will head to Calgary on Oct. 31 for the party’s bi-annual gathering. Until it is over, much of the political energy of the government will be focused on ensuring that the convention showcases its strengths and not the ethics-related cracks that have appeared in its caucus as a result of the Senate expense scandal or the pre-leadership manoeuvring of some ambitious ministers.

Harper concerned over Brazil spy claims

BALI, Indonesia - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he's "very concerned" about reports that Canada's top-secret electronic spy agency is conducting industrial espionage in Brazil.

Harper said Canadian officials are "reaching out very proactively" to their counterparts in Brazil.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is accusing the Ottawa-based Communications Security Establishment Canada of mounting a sophisticated spy operation against her country's Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Indie ISPs fight back after Big Telecom block Canadians from accessing affordable services

TekSavvy CEO Marc Gaudrault is speaking out and calling for regulators to prevent Big Telecom giants from blocking our access to affordable independent services. Gaudrault’s call comes after many of his company’s users recently experienced prolonged service delays -- delays that appear to be rightly blamed on Big Telecom conglomerates that are acting like gatekeepers to the Internet.

Big telecom companies like Rogers, Bell, and Telus control access to digital infrastructure that indie ISPs like Teksavvy, Distributel, and Acanac require to deliver service. The indie ISPs are mandated to pay for the cost of managing the infrastructure plus a markup. In other words they have to pay for the cost of the networks plus a guaranteed profit for Big Telecom. This is even more galling when we consider that Big Telecom enjoys government support such as being exempt from paying rent on public land used for the infrastructure.

Aboriginal sovereignty doesn't need a 'Royal' proclamation

Today is a day which will challenge Indigenous peoples and Canadians in the ongoing and very uncomfortable decolonization process. Will people celebrate October 7, 2013 as the 250th year since the issuance of The Royal Proclamation of 1763? Or will Canadians and Indigenous peoples see beyond the government hype and propaganda that comes with celebrating the War of 1812 or the Royal Proclamation? Will most Canadians even know what the Royal Proclamation is or that it is a constitutionally protected document? What is it that Idle No More activists all over the country are calling for -- a celebration of the Royal Proclamation or something else?

In summary, the Royal Proclamation was issued in 1763 by King George III after the British Crown acquired lands claimed by the French in North America. It was intended to encourage settlement of North America by the British, even over lands formerly claimed as French. It was also intended to transition Indigenous peoples from French allegiances to British sovereignty. It further purported to establish reserved lands for Indigenous peoples in which they could  to hunt and fish. Yet, these "protected" lands were still to be made available for settlement, so long as it was done according to the rules set out in the Proclamation.

The big surprise: Harper in Asia

During his visit to Malaysia, on his way to the Asia-Pacific summit in Bali, the prime minister unveiled his agenda for Canada's future. No surprise, his three subjects of conversation remain the same: taxes, security and energy.

Harper chose to outline his moves while abroad. Not a new approach, he picked Davos, Switzerland to announce he was going to cut access to the Old Age Pension, for instance.

Mr. Free Market Economics and No State Interference, Stephen Harper welcomed the largest ($36 billion) foreign ownership initiative in Canadian history.

'The Oil Man and the Sea'

Of the 60 or so grizzlies who dine on the Koeye River's salmon each fall, Ilja shot six. He shot them all in the space of three hours, two days after the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel left Heiltsuk territory.

We pulled out of Bella Bella the morning after they did, motoring south down Lama Passage, into the lake of Fitz Hugh Channel, through the current-laden junction with Burke Channel, on past the ghost town of Namu and its 10,000-year-old middens. Calvert Island came into sight off our starboard bow. Between Calvert's northern tip and the island chain above it there was a narrow gap through which you could see Hecate Strait. That gap was Hakai Pass, and it was the chink in the armour of outer islands through which an oil tanker's spill could easily flow if the tide was rising and the current flooding in. Directly in the current's path, open as a warm embrace, was the Koeye rivermouth.

New Health Minister Ambrose seen as a ‘fixer’ 

Rona Ambrose has a reputation as a fixer within Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Cabinet and the medical community is hoping she’ll continue to play that role now that she’s been appointed federal Health minister.

Ms. Ambrose (Edmonton-Spruce Grove) has made only a few public appearances and announcements as Minister of Health since being appointed to the file in Mr. Harper’s (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) July Cabinet shuffle. Last week she met with her provincial and territorial counterparts in Toronto for the annual Health ministers conference, where she announced an end to the use of illicit drugs in treating drug addictions under Health Canada’s Special Access Program.

Canada spying in Brazil: more to come, Greenwald promises

Canada hasn't seen the last of stories alleging spying activity in Brazil, journalist Glenn Greenwald told CBC News on Monday.

Greenwald collaborated with the news agency that first reported the latest details, working from records leaked to him by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, he said in an interview with Carol Off, host of CBC Radio's As It Happens.

And there may be more to come.

Executive at Monsanto Wins Global Food Honor

When it comes to agriculture, the World Food Prize is the equivalent of the Oscars.

This year, the prestigious award went the mastermind behind Monsanto’s big move into genetically modified crops. In foodie terms, that is like a commercial blockbuster winning best picture rather than an independent, artsy film.

Started in 1987, the prize aims to recognize people who improve the “quality, quantity or availability” of food in the world. The founder of the award, Norman E. Borlaug, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 as the father of the Green Revolution, which vastly increased grain output.

Feds reject $520M sale of MTS Allstream

WINNIPEG - Manitoba Telecom Services (TSX:MTS) says the federal government has rejected a deal for it to sell its business unit Allstream to Egyptian investment group Accelero Capital Holdings due to "unspecified national security concerns."

The Winnipeg company said late Monday it is "extremely surprised and disappointed" by the decision to not approve the deal, which was announced last May. At the time, the company valued the sale at $520 million.

Alberta Cold Heavy Oil Production: Ecojustice Says Some Albertans Want Better Rules

PEACE RIVER, Alta. - An environmental group says some Albertans want tougher rules for oilsands producers that operate close to where people live.

Ecojustice says some people in northwest Alberta have moved away from their homes because of health concerns about an extraction process called cold heavy oil production.

No Country for Young Women: America’s War on Girls’ Bodies

There’s no easy answer as to why some judges in the United States would rather force a teenager to have a baby than allow her to have an abortion. It’s clearly not about logic—a girl deemed too immature to have a minutes-long medical procedure surely can’t be adult enough to raise a child for eighteen years. It’s not about the best interest of the state, or what’s best for the girl herself. Yet over and again abortion policies dictate that we ignore common sense—not to mention basic decency—and mandate that girls carry pregnancies they don’t want. (Women, too, of course—but for now let’s focus on the young among us.)

Far-Right Republicans Could Hit A Tipping Point As Support Falters

Tension is brewing in the Republican Party as the federal government shutdown enters its seventh day and far-right members of the GOP show no sign of letting up.

The shutdown -- which has already affected hundreds of thousands of federal employees and hit critical government programs -- is bringing the Republican Party to a boiling point, angering GOP fundraisers and throwing a wrench in the works for the upcoming 2014 elections.

“People are totally annoyed,” one GOP fundraiser told the Washington Post.

Michele Bachmann: Obama 'Funding' Terrorists Is Proof That We're Living In The End Times

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) believes that we're living in the End Times -- and she claims to have proof.

In an interview Saturday with Jan Markell on the Christian radio program "Understanding the Times," Bachmann accused President Barack Obama of giving aid to terrorists. This, she says, is solid evidence that we have entered the Last Days.

“President Obama waived a ban on arming terrorists in order to allow weapons to go to the Syrian opposition,” Bachmann said. “Your listeners, U.S. taxpayers, are now paying to give arms to terrorists including al Qaeda.”

Arizona To Ban Residents From Voting If They Lack Proof Of Citizenship

PHOENIX -- PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona officials will seek to ban residents from voting in statewide races if they can't prove citizenship — a move that critics called vindictive in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said the state couldn't require such documentation to cast ballots for federal offices.

The change was announced Monday by Attorney General Tom Horne and Secretary of State Ken Bennett, both Republicans.

How Cold War Game Theory Can Resolve the Shutdown

In late October, 1969, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger ordered a squadron of B-52 Stratofortresses, fully loaded with nuclear weapons, to race toward the Soviet Union’s border. For three days, they zagged along the edge of Soviet airspace, taunting Moscow. The operation, which remained secret for thirty-five years, was part of a deliberate White House strategy to convince the U.S.S.R. that Nixon and Kissinger were just a little mad. In many negotiations, the prevailing side is the one most willing to take the fatal step. A union gains leverage if it’s really willing to strike; management gains leverage if it might actually shut down the plant. If you’re playing chicken with another driver who you know has had a lot to drink—or who has torn off his steering wheel—you’ll likely swerve first. If the Soviets believed that Nixon and Kissinger were capable of unleashing Armageddon, perhaps they’d be more likely to concede in talks over, say, Berlin.

Neo-Nazis Are Attacking Anti-Racist Activists in Calgary

“We're being attacked,” Bonnie Devine thought as a brick shattered her living room window, only inches above the couch where she slept.

It was just past 5 AM on September 29th, and luckily the brick-throwing vandals didn't break through the second of two window panes, which would have sent deadly glass shards cascading upon her.

The mother of four calmly checked on her four boys before inspecting the damage. A brick lay broken in half on the lawn outside. Three of her car tires were slashed (the next day, the fourth blew out while driving with her boys).

Concern for health of Greenpeace activists detained in Russia

Some of the 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists being detained in Russia while awaiting piracy charges are being kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, while others are held in "extremely cold" cells, according to the head of Greenpeace.

Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International's executive director, told the Guardian that the crew had been split up into several prisons across the port city of Murmansk in north-west Russia, which is in the Arctic Circle. Three of the group have been sent to a prison 150km away.

Canadian Auto Manufacturing Faces Collapse, Even As Industry Booms

Canadian domestic car sales are on track to hit a record high this year. The U.S. auto market has recovered to pre-crisis levels and overall car production in North America is up four per cent in 2013.

So it's sunny skies for Canadian auto manufacturers, right? Wrong.

Despite the industry's global rebound, vehicle production in Canada is down nine per cent so far this year.

John Baird Made 'Inappropriate, Derogatory Remarks,' Maldives President Claims

OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is in hot water with the Maldives.

Maldives President Mohamed Waheed wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to complain about Baird's conduct during recent Commonwealth meetings in New York.

In a statement posted on the Maldives president's website, Waheed alleges Baird made "inappropriate and derogatory remarks" and "posed several harshly worded questions" to his acting foreign minister.

Canada Spying On Brazil? President Dilma Rousseff Tells Harper Government To Explain Itself

OTTAWA - Brazil demanded answers Monday following allegations Canada's electronic eavesdropping agency mounted a sophisticated spy operation against the South American country's ministry of mines and energy.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff accused the Ottawa-based Communications Security Establishment Canada of engaging in industrial espionage.

The Business End of Obamacare

Of the countless reasons that congressional Republicans hate the Affordable Care Act enough to shut down the government, the most politically potent is the claim that it will do untold damage to the economy and cripple small companies. Orrin Hatch has said that Obamacare will be “devastating to small business.” Ted Cruz argues that it is already “the No. 1 job killer.” And the vice-president of the National Federation of Independent Businesses called it simply “terrible.” So it comes as some surprise to learn that Obamacare may well be the best thing Washington has done for American small business in decades.

The G.O.P.’s case hinges on the employer mandate, which requires companies with fifty or more full-time employees to provide health insurance. It also regulates the kind of insurance that companies can offer: insurance has to cover at least sixty per cent of costs, and premiums can’t be more than 9.5 per cent of employees’ income. Companies that don’t offer insurance will pay a penalty. Republicans argue that this will hurt companies’ profits, forcing them to stop hiring and to cut workers’ hours, in order to stay below the fifty-employee threshold.

Next Oil Sands Threat: Cracking Caprock

A recent blow-out at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.'s Primrose facility in northern Alberta sheds light on a serious but little discussed topic in the oil sands industry: caprock integrity.

The blow-out allowed more than 10,000 barrels of steamed bitumen to seep into the boreal forest through ground fissures as long as 159 metres, putting groundwater at risk.

While highly technical, the issue is a critical one, with high stakes for investors and the province alike.

Harper’s Greatest Hits: the science of fundraising

Stephen Harper’s Greatest Hits now includes a new single – and who knows, the Conservatives may even make a few bucks off it.

Canadian scientist Diane Orihel has joined a list of enemies of the state that includes, if you believe the regime, subversives like Linda Keen, Kevin Page, Munir Sheikh, Richard Colvin, Theresa Spence, and everyone who has ever led a union.

Orihel’s crime is that she co-authored a piece in the Toronto Star critical of the appointment of Greg Rickford as Canada’s new Minister of State for Science and Technology. Her co-authors, Britt Hall, Carol Kelly, and John Rudd are all accomplished scientists.

Edmonton Institution Inmates File Lawsuit Against Warden, Guards, Federal Government

Five inmates at the Edmonton Institution, a maximum security federal prison, are suing guards, the warden and the federal government. They allege they were subject to beatings, abuse and forced by guards to fight with each other.

In one case, an inmate died after he and another man, a member of a rival gang, where sent to showers together, even though guards knew they were incompatible. An inquest into the stabbing death of Mason Montgrand, who died in the prison on August 16, 2011 is pending.

August Building Permits Down 21.2 Per Cent, Statistics Canada Says

OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says municipalities issued $6.3 billion worth of building permits in August, down 21.2 per cent from July.

The agency says the decline, which followed a 21.4 per cent increase in July, was the result of lower construction intentions in both non-residential and residential sectors.

It says with this decline, the trend in the value of building permits has become relatively flat since the beginning of 2013.

With the exception of British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, every province registered declines in August with Ontario, Alberta and Quebec posting the largest drops.

In the non-residential sector, the total value of building permits fell 37.9 per cent to $2.4 billion in August, its lowest level since February 2013.

The value of permits in the residential sector decreased 5.4 per cent to $3.9 billion in August.

Original Article
Author: CP

Royal Canadian Legion: Tory Position In Veterans Lawsuit 'Reprehensible'

OTTAWA - The Conservative government is facing a revolt among veterans groups for claiming it is not bound by the promises of previous governments in the care of wounded soldiers.

The Royal Canadian Legion is describing the government's position as "reprehensible."

The government, which intends to defend against a class-action lawsuit by veterans of the war in Afghanistan, says it's unfair to bind current and future governments to promises that date back to the First World War.

Who Created the Global Warming "Pause"?

In a major report released late last month, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world's leading authority on climate science, told us it was more certain than ever that humans are causing global warming. It also upgraded its projections for sea level rise by the end of the century, and even broached the subject of climate change's irreversibility: We may already have done so much harm to the Earth that some of it can't be undone in our lifetimes, or even in the lifetimes of future generations as far out as most of us can imagine.

Our House Is On Fire: The Reality of Our Changing Climate

Late last week, in the lobby of a particularly unglamorous downtown San Francisco building, a group of passionate but polite activists met with a bureaucrat who stepped forward to hear what they had to say about the fate of the Earth. The activists wanted to save the world. The particular part of it that might be under their control involved getting the San Francisco Retirement board to divest its half a billion dollars in fossil fuel holdings, one piece of the international divestment movement that arose a year ago.

Sometimes the fate of the Earth boils down to getting one person with modest powers to budge.

Cabinet was told nothing about GCHQ spying programmes, says Chris Huhne

Cabinet ministers and members of the national security council were told nothing about the existence and scale of the vast data-gathering programmes run by British and American intelligence agencies, a former member of the government has revealed.

Chris Huhne, who was in the cabinet for two years until 2012, said ministers were in "utter ignorance" of the two biggest covert operations, Prism and Tempora. The former Liberal Democrat MP admitted he was shocked and mystified by the surveillance capabilities disclosed by the Guardian from files leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

James Anaya, UN Fact-Finder, Arrives In Canada To Survey Concerns Of Aboriginal Peoples

OTTAWA - A United Nations fact-finder is set to take stock of the plight of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

The UN has dispatched law professor James Anaya to speak to First Nations representatives and government officials as he drafts a report for the world body.

Tom Mulcair Says No To Wealth Tax, Expects Linda McQuaig To Be Team Player

OTTAWA - NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is throwing cold water on the idea of his party raising taxes on the wealthy if it forms government even though a star candidate in Toronto supports such a tax hike.

The NDP leader re-affirmed his position on the tax issue at a party event in Ottawa on Sunday that served as a unofficial launch to the next federal election campaign, although that is two years off.

LDS Church Membership Hits 15 Million As Mormon Women Question Gender Inequality

SALT LAKE CITY -- SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — On a day when the Mormon church announced its membership has hit 15 million — a three-fold increase from three decades ago — the ongoing debate about the role of women within the faith raged on.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' president Thomas S. Monson kicked off the two-day conference that brings 100,000 members to Salt Lake City by announcing the latest membership milestone from one of the fastest-growing churches in the world.

Netanyahu Mocked Over Iran Jeans Comment

DUBAI, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have sought to win over Iranians in an interview with British Persian-language television, but a casual assertion that they were banned from wearing jeans won only gentle ridicule from some of his audience on Sunday.

Netanyahu has watched with some concern a diplomatic drive by new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to build warmer ties with the United States and other Western powers and achieve an easing of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme.

After Citizens United, Campaign Finance Reformers Look For A Bold New Approach

COLUMBIA, Md. -- The 2014 election is over a year away, but even so Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) found himself standing in late July in the recessed living room of two supporters, Mary and David Marker, addressing a room full of potential donors to his reelection campaign. In this day and age of astronomical political spending, it's never too soon for a lawmaker to gear up for the next campaign. And yet this was no ordinary fundraiser, and Sarbanes was making no ordinary pitch.

"I want to thank you all for coming," Sarbanes said. "I want to thank you for being interested. I want to thank you in advance for becoming a grassroots donor tonight. Remember, $5 is enough to state your commitment."

Egypt Clashes Leave At Least 44 Dead

CAIRO -- CAIRO (AP) — Clashes erupted on Sunday across much of Egypt between security forces and supporters of the ousted president, leaving 44 killed, as rival crowds of supporters of the military and backers of the Islamist Mohammed Morsi it deposed poured into streets around the country to mark a major holiday.

The capital, Cairo, saw multiple scenes of mayhem as street battles raged for hours in some neighborhoods, with Morsi supporters firing birdshot and throwing firebombs at police who responded with gunshots and tear gas.

Taking on Capitalism, U.S. Torture & Dictatorships, Costa-Gavras on Decades of Political Filmmaking

Costa-Gavras joins us for the hour to discuss a nearly 50-year career that has earned him the reputation as one of the world’s greatest living political filmmakers. Born in Greece in 1933, the 80-year-old has won two Academy Awards for his films “Z” and “Missing.” Other acclaimed films include, “State of Siege,” “Amen,” “Music Box,” “The Confession,” “Hanna K.” and “Betrayed.” For nearly five decades, Costa-Gavras has tackled some of the key political issues of the day. “Z” was a drama loosely based on the 1963 assassination of a Greek left-wing activist. “Missing,” his 1982 film starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek, told the story of American journalist Charles Horman, who was abducted and killed after General Augusto Pinochet came to power in Chile in a U.S.-backed coup. In his film “State of Siege,” Costa-Gavras looked at the controversial role of the U.S. Agency for International Development in Latin America. The film was based on the kidnapping and murder of a U.S. official named Dan Mitrione who taught torture to Uruguayan officers. His latest film, “Capital,” tells the story of a CEO of a large bank who lays off many of the employees and brokers a corrupt deal with the head of an American hedge fund.

Author: -

Why the French are Fighting Over Work Hours

It’s telling that in France, where several stores are fighting an order requiring them to close on Sundays, retail employees showed up at work last month wearing T-shirts that read, “YES WEEK END.” It was a play on Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan, and a symbol of the fact that some in France—where shops have been barred from opening on Sundays, with some exceptions, since 1906—have lately been eyeing a more American approach to work.

In September, a French tribunal de commerce said that two big home-improvement stores, Castorama and Leroy Merlin, would face daily fines of a hundred and twenty thousand euros per store (about a hundred and fifty thousand dollars) if they continue to operate on Sunday. The retailers have said they will open despite the fines, the result of a lawsuit. People in France like to work on home improvement on Sundays, which makes it one of the busiest days for do-it-yourself stores, accounting for between fifteen and twenty per cent of their sales. Closing on Sunday could jeopardize the jobs of some twelve hundred employees, according to the Fédération des Magasins de Bricolage, which translates, roughly, as the Federation of Do-It-Yourself Stores.

Russia to monitor 'all communications' at Winter Olympics in Sochi

Athletes and spectators attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February will face some of the most invasive and systematic spying and surveillance in the history of the Games, documents shared with the Guardian show.

Russia's powerful FSB security service plans to ensure that no communication by competitors or spectators goes unmonitored during the event, according to a dossier compiled by a team of Russian investigative journalists looking into preparations for the 2014 Games.

Dennis Ross, GOP Rep: 'Pride' Is Why Republicans Won't Budge On Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON -- With the government shutdown in its fifth day, many Republicans have conceded the fight is no longer about Obamacare. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) added his name to the list on Saturday, saying the matter now boils down to "pride."

“Republicans have to realize how many significant gains we’ve made over the last three years, and we have, not only in cutting spending but in really turning the tide on other things," Ross told The New York Times. "We can’t lose all that when there’s no connection now between the shutdown and the funding of Obamacare."

"I think now it’s a lot about pride," he added.

A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning

WASHINGTON — Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.

Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.

Redford signals more public-private partnerships on horizon for province

EDMONTON - Premier Alison Redford opened the door Saturday to major changes in the Heritage Savings Trust Fund to fuel economic investment opportunities for the province.

At an economic summit Saturday at the University of Alberta, Redford told delegates she wants to “be innovative” and move away from the savings-fund model adopted by the Klein government in the 1990s.

Canada, U.S. to share personal information of immigrant applicants

Ottawa and Washington are further aligning their border security by sharing personal information of immigration and refugee applicants to both countries.

The plan, to be fully implemented next fall, is raising privacy concerns over the disclosure and retention of information, such as an applicant’s date of birth, travel document number and fingerprints. The information-sharing wouldn’t apply to Canadian and American citizens or permanent residents.

Secret Supreme Court hearing focuses on security certificate

The Supreme Court of Canada has a well-earned reputation for being an open, public and transparent court.

Its hearings are televised and its rulings often reinforce the notion that courts function best when they are transparent. It once famously warned of "the mischief that flows from a presumption of secrecy."