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Harper and his mercurial band of autocrats are merrily stomping on the neck of democracy.  Sadly, this isn’t news, but rather par for the course as dissent, reality based or not (I’m looking at you prison bloat omni-bus bill) will be passed hell or high water.  What makes the Wheat Board debacle such a gut-rolling spleen bursting festival of shitacular brazenness is that our government intends to ignore what the courts have to say on the matter as well.  Canada, in theory, still regards the rule of law as important as long as it follows the will of the governing party…  Rule of law be damned. A spirited opposition has risen to the task of fighting Harper’s autocrats:

The Harper government has reneged on its promise and is now breaking the law, and we intend to hold them to it and ensure that farmers’ democratic rights are respected,” board chairman Allan Oberg said Wednesday.

The board will file an application with the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, asking it to rule Bill C-18 invalid. The bill is currently before the Senate and could become law within weeks, so the board is also asking the court for an injunction to suspend the bill until the case is heard.

The government has already suffered one legal setback over Bill C-18. A Federal Court judge ruled last week that the bill violates the Canadian Wheat Board Act, which says the government must consult farmers via a plebiscite before making major changes.

Justice Douglas Campbell made it clear, however, that his ruling was simply a statement on the government’s actions. He did not order the government to halt the bill and said he was not interfering in the legislative process.”

However, once the wheels of injustice are greased, there is little to be done to stop the nefarious deeds -

Five government-appointed directors now in charge of the Canadian Wheat Board decided Friday morning in Winnipeg to drop the board’s bid to block legislation ending its marketing monopoly for Prairie wheat and barley.

Legislation to end the wheat board’s single-desk became law Thursday night, when Gov. Gen. David Johnston gave royal assent to Bill C-18.

With its passage, the eight farmer-elected directors of the board are gone.”

So it is done.  Of course in klassy Conservative style:

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was jubilant Friday morning, telling farmers gathered in Balgonie, Sask., that it’s a great day.

“This feels damn good. It’s been a long time coming,” Ritz said. “Finally you have marketing freedom.”

Farmers in the room with Ritz cheered.”

Woo, now we can enjoy the bountiful harvest of the ‘free’ market!  Soon to be followed with “all hail our new corporate agricultural overlords!!”.  Now it is just a matter of time as the real work of divide and conquer can begin.  Without the protection of the wheat board we can look forward to even more corporate agriculture and all of the ill effects associated with strict monoculture farming practices.

When the small farmers are all gone, we’ll look back and note the passage of the legislation that marked their end.  We’ll also note the cheering, for the sake of irony and the inevitable “I told you so” that is forthcoming.

 

A few of my favourites from the Christian Science Monitor Post titled Copy Editing Tea Party Protest signs.

PROBLEM: 'Competnce.' SOLUTION: If English is not your strong suit, try using smaller words and less grammatically complex sentences. For instance, this sign would have imparted the very same message if it had simply read, 'Obama is bad.'

PROBLEM: Homophone confusion, extraneous hyphen. SOLUTION: To communicate first-person plural possession, use the pronoun 'our' instead of the verb 'are.'

The crowning moment of awesome incoming!

PROBLEM: 'Infromed.' SOLUTION: Whatever the merits of Fox News may be, it is no substitute for a dictionary.

Thank you CSM for the pictures and the snark.  :)

Man, what do I do after denial stops working?

The Canadian occupation of Afghanistan is an international shame.  We are killing innocent people and torturing people.  The Geneva Convention needs to be dusted off and read 100 times by our military leaders and political drones so they get the idea of human rights are not just for “us” but extend to everyone in the world.

The CBC reports:

“A parliamentary committee has heard stunning allegations from a former translator who claims the Canadian military tried to cover up the fatal shooting of an Afghan man in October 2007.

Ahmadshah Malgarai also alleged to MPs in Ottawa that the Canadian military “panicked” and rounded up a half a dozen Afghans between the age of 10 and 90 after the shooting of a man sleeping on the roof of a compound in southern Afghanistan.”

Fantastic, murder someone and then round up possible witnesses for intimidation interrogation.

Apparently though Mr.Malgarai did not actually witness the execution.

“Malgarai testified he was not at the compound during the alleged incident, although he was allowed to see the intelligence report and took part in the interrogation of the detained men. He alleged a member of the military personally described it to him as “murder.”

Of course Conservative MP Laurie Hawn was there sowing confusion.  Best to muddy the waters in defence of  aberrant government policy.

“When Hawn then asked if Malgarai was calling Hillier a liar, Ahmadshad became agitated and accused the Tory MP of trying to put words in his mouth.”

What did happen that night?  Something significant, the ripples are to big just to be a false allegation in my opinion.

Alfred Mccoy was right in his book A Question about Torture:  using torture as official policy has serious corrosive effects on both the victims and the abusers.  The effect is evident already in Afghanistan as the Canadian Armed Forces torture scandal continues to unfold.

The Parkland institute reports:

Just add a few Oil Barons to make this Alberta specific.

EDMONTON— A new fact sheet released this morning by the University of Alberta’s Parkland Institute says that the “flat tax,” introduced by Ralph Klein in 2001, is costing the province in excess of $5 billion a year.  Given the projected deficit of $4.3 billion this year, simply returning to the progressive tax structure that existed in 1999 would be more than enough to move the province from a deficit budget to a surplus budget.

Holy cow, not rocket science.  Progressive taxation is a good thing.

Alberta’s lowest tax bracket, for example, is taxed at a higher rate than that of six other provinces. And an Alberta family earning $75,000 per year in Alberta pays more tax than the same family in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, the Yukon, the NWT, and Nunavut.

The fact sheet also points out that returning to a progressive tax structure in Alberta would also serve an important economic stimulus function.

What?  Tax-breaks for the poor will stimulate the economy?  Enough of this crazy talk, we all know that only cutting taxes on the rich creates economic stimulus (see chicanery).

People are stupid.  We hear the matra over and over again the Alberta has the lowest taxes in Canada.  What utter horse-pucky.  We have the lowest taxes, if and only if, you happen to be rich.  Welcome to Alberta where we cater to the rich and special interests 24/7, 365 days a frakking year.

Thanks for the Canadian Cynic for posting this link on his blog, it is really a neat article in the same realm as Libertarian Island and a proposal for for Libertarians.  Apologies for the US centric nature, but our own home grown conservative drones are just less auspicious in their fail.

Read the goodness here at TPM.

This story will not make very many people happy.  If you happen to believe in left-wing media bias and that Israel is an undeserving oppressed nation (and other farcical notions), please stop reading now.  Things will only get worse for you the farther you read into the article.

The story of the Canadian NGO Rights and Democracy has recently received media attention for the firing of three new appointees to the board of directors.  As the CBC says:

“Three senior managers at the federal government’s human rights agency who were suspended for publicly declaring their lack of confidence in three Conservative appointees to their organization’s board of directors earlier this year have been fired.”

To understand the how and why this is so particularly egregious requires a fair amount of back story.

“Rights & Democracy, created under Brian Mulroney’s Conservative government to encourage democracy and monitor human rights around the world, has been in turmoil since the Harper government appointed new board members [the ones mentioned in the first quote] last year.

The new members challenged grants being made to three human rights organizations known to be critical of Israel’s human rights record.”

One of things that you do NOT do is criticize Israel (despite the country’s atrocious human rights record), especially if you are in a government funded organization.  It appears that these firings stem from this defacto political axiom.   Furthermore, if you do have the temerity to question Israeli policy you may be hounded into an early grave:

“Federal opposition politicians and the family of former president Rémy Beauregard, who died in January, are calling for an independent inquiry into the organization. [...]   Beauregard bore the brunt of the new board members’ outrage over the grants. He died of a heart attack after a stormy board meeting.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Proroguing Master Steven Harper is concerned about the economy.

“Canadians want the government to stay the course on the road to economic recovery but to start planning for deficit reduction, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday.”

Thank you for stating the blindingly obvious.  Although, would it not be better to have a forum to work on the upcoming budget…oh say a little thing called parliament?

“The economic action plan has been working, and we must see it through,” Harper said. “Second, we have been told, start planning now for deficit reduction when the recession ends.”

So we need to shore up our pork barrels and get to work on cutting social services.  Thanks for the update Steve.  It  is working well for you in the polls.

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