You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Canada’ tag.

sunnyways    It would be nice if our political class would make the effort to look like they give a damn about breaking their promises to the electorate.  Assigning inexperienced junior ministers to such an important issue, combined with a milquetoast online survey  is setting up the entire process for failure.  And of course, surprise of surprises, the process did not work.

Similarly – here take this ironing board, 3 pennies and a stick of gum – now go make the speedboat of your dreams…   If you aren’t MacGuyver, and clearly the political hacks assigned to this half-dug latrine were not, unspectacular results happen.

“In the lead-up to the 2015 election, Trudeau pledged that a Liberal government would ensure a new electoral system was in place for the next federal vote.

The Liberals regularly repeated that promise through their first 15 months in office, but on Wednesday the government announced electoral reform was no longer a priority.”

See?  The gift of unspecularity is graced on the Canadian electorate.

“In the House, Trudeau said reform might produce “an augmentation of extremist voices in the House,” a potential result that is sometimes associated with proportional representation.

The Liberal cabinet is said to have been overwhelmingly opposed to proportional representation, which aims to allot seats in the legislature in proportion to the national popular vote. Ministers, the source says, believed Canada was better served with broader “big tent” parties.

The source added the ministers were concerned that proportional representation could open the door to smaller regional or fringe parties in the House of Commons, including the alt-right, a loosely defined political movement that includes white nationalists and white supremacists.

The spectre of such a party holding the balance of power in Parliament is said to have been raised.”

This excuse is the offspring of what happens when two lame ducks come together in unctuous union.   The alt-right holding the balance of power in Canada?  It would have been more convincing if you has said that if we had PR the ghost of Brian Mulroney (yes, he’s still alive, but ethereal BM is much more scary) would appear in Canadian’s bedroom closets and read his memoirs to them.  Now that is some chilling shit right there.  *shiver*.

Give us a frack’n break Liberals.  :/

“Beyond the government’s lament that no “consensus” on the issue of electoral reform had been achieved, the prime minister’s comments in the House suggested a concern about the risk of moving forward.

“It would be irresponsible for us to do something that harms Canada’s stability,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

“The fact of the matter is that I am not going to do something that is wrong for Canadians just to tick off a box on an electoral platform,” he later added. “That is not the kind of prime minister I will be.”

During question period on Friday, NDP democratic reform critic Nathan Cullen responded to Liberal concerns about fringe or alt-right parties. 

“In their desperate attempt to justify their betrayal on electoral reform, Liberals are reaching for any excuse, however ridiculous or absurd,” Cullen said.”

I see you have no problem in harming the political future of the Liberal Party in Canada.  JT, you just shat the bed of credibilty with your base, the swing voters, and the ABC crowd.  Those poor bright clear eyed liberal youth just experienced why you shouldn’t trust your political leaders.

Maybe now all you young pups can just back the fuck down a bit and take this bitter pill to heart and start to understand the older generation and their cynicism when it comes to politics.

Nah, probably not, Mr.Sunny-Ways won’t stop the reefer train so he’ll still get your vote.  I hear the Ganja dulls the senses – makes you less likely to hear the tortured screams of our Democracy that just got drug out behind the woodshed for a good beating.

“Donald Trump got elected on first-past-the-post with no problem. A fair voting system is the actual antidote to such campaigns like his…. Proportional representation elects more women, more diverse parliaments and forces parties to work together and bring a country like Canada together.”

Cullen alleged that the Liberals abandoned electoral reform “not because it was a threat to Canadian unity, but because it was a threat to the Liberal party.”

Always good to keep one’s political priorities straight.  :/

 

[Source: CBC]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A book-banning campaign by Gays Against Gentrification (GAG) is demanding the Vancouver Woman’s Library (VWL) remove and ban over twenty feminist books from their collection. These works — written by renowned women authors who have a long history of engaging in critical analysis against the oppression of women as class — focus on female exploitation, male supremacy, violence against women, reproductive freedom, lesbian identity and women’s health. As a matter of principle and in defense of freedom of speech and thought, no library should ever ban any books under any circumstance – especially ones written by and for women at the VWL. As authoritarianism takes deeper root throughout the world, it is more important than ever that any attempt to silence women in their struggle for liberation is resisted by all, at every moment. We urge VWL to keep these books on their shelves.

Source: Petition: Protect Feminist Books at Vancouver Women’s Library

rcmp This is the same RCMP that just got its ass sued for $100 million dollars because of its misogynistic treatment of women.  A quick snip from that story –

“We hurt you. For that, I am truly sorry.”

Those were the words from RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson to every woman who was ever harassed, belittled, demeaned or assaulted in the RCMP, as he announced a stunning $100 million compensation package at a news conference in Ottawa Thursday.

It’s an acknowledgement of the culture that has existed since its inception,” said Catherine Galliford.”

So, one of the most iconic and venerable institutions in  Canada – one that is supposed to uphold the LAWS OF THE LAND and stand on the side of justice – also happens to be rife with patriarchal misogyny (the cosmic background radiation of our society).  And they just admitted it.  This settlement will get its own post, of course, but it helps set the stage for the other story which is the focus of this post.

Let’s mull over this headline and article from the Calgary Sun.

Male Mounties Launched Suicide Pool for Bullied Female co-worker, Lawsuit Claims

“One of the first female members of the RCMP Musical Ride was bullied, hazed and sexually abused by her male colleagues to the point they launched a suicide pool and took bets on when she would kill herself, according to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

It was like a dream come true for Caroline O’Farrell when, at 25 years old, she was accepted to the famed Mountie Musical Ride.

But the dream quickly became a nightmare.

The alleged abuse from 1986 to 1987 included being repeatedly doused with cold water and then dragged face down by the arms and legs through stall shavings which included horse urine and manure. Others would then kick the wood chips, dirt, urine and feces onto O’Farrell’s head and body.

One of the hazings allegedly occurred just before her bachelorette party.

In one humiliating episode, her male colleagues locked her in a tack room and held a mock trial – including costumes, a judge, prosecutor and defence lawyer – and demanded she give them her underwear.

In another incident in 1987, a fellow RCMP officer stuck his finger out of the fly of his pants and stuck it near her ear as she slept while another member filmed it, the lawsuit alleged.”

Shit like this is what patriarchy is for women.  It is systemic attack on their worth as human beings and it happens in nearly every facet of society.  Patriarchy is ubiquitous and sadly remains fundamental to our society.   Did you know what the best part is? Dudes that deny the existence of patriarchy – it’s 2016 for heaven’s sake – we certainly don’t need feminism calling out the grave injustices against women and fighting to change them. (/s …FML)

Let’s look to AuntieWanda for feminist analysis of this situation.

“Oh but women just aren’t suited for law enforcement, that’s why there aren’t that many women in the fiel-” SHUT THE FUCK UP AND READ WHAT WOMEN GO THROUGH IN MALE DOMINATED CAREERS.

Even those who are charged with protecting others will savagely use their power against women in horrific ways. And this was a member of their team. Imagine what sort of abuses these assholes subjected ordinary folks to.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police started a suicide pool because of their abuses and torture of their fellow officer. It is not like they did not know the damaging effects of what they were doing, they made a fucking game out of it.

Beyond that, their conduct only lost O’Farrell her position. She was removed “for her safety”. 

They [the higher ups] were aware of the problem, but instead of actually punishing those responsible, they punished the victim. They remove women from these positions for their own safety, but allow the perpetrators of violence and humiliation to keep their positions. 

What does that say other than “Women don’t belong here”? What does that say other than “You will be hurt and abused by us and the only one punished for it will be you, by losing your job”?

And people wonder why there are still male-dominated fields, people blame women for not being interested, for not being strong enough, for not being able to handle positions of power. People blame women for their own abuses at the hands of the men in these fields, for them losing their jobs, for them leaving of their own volition when the situations are so much more complicated and horrific than any of that implies.

No one who knew of what was happening deserves to still be an officer. Even if they didn’t participate, if they did not fight against what was happening with every ounce of their power, if they didn’t stand up for their fellow officer and denounce the abuses she was facing, if they never spoke up or if they helped cover up it doesn’t matter, they do not deserve their position of power if that is how they will use it.

This is the most frustrating thing. “Well why don’t women just go into those fields then?” This is why. Because men will threaten, harass, and even physically assault us for having the audacity of wanting particular careers. 

   Why aren’t more women in construction, the military, law enforcement etc.? This is fucking why. Men make us fear for our lives.”

Well said Wanda.  Any questions?

patriarchyissues

 

 

 

Canadianflag  Listening the radio, I heard this interview and appreciated the revisiting of colourful part of Canadian political history.  Thankfully the Current on CBC radio one now fully transcribes their episodes, so I can share the highlights of the interview here.

“AMT: Remind us, what did the Liberal sponsorship scandal involve?

DANIEL LEBLANC: Well, it was kind of—officially, it was national unity program to increase the visibility of Canadian symbols, Canadian signs in Quebec. And let’s remember, this is after the 1995 referendum which was a squeaker, the “no” side won by about 50,000 votes. And Jean Chrétien, the prime minister of the day wanted to make Canada relevant to Quebecers. It was a very simple idea to put up flags and you know there was hot air balloons in the form, in the shape of maple leaf for example, and a bunch of cultural events and sporting events were sponsored by this program in exchange for putting up Canada banners at their event sites. But ultimately, it became embroiled in scandal. There was the advertising firms that were the intermediaries between the government and the events, some of them kickbacked money to the Liberal Party. There were some fraud and some of the events as well were quite close to the Liberal Party of the day. So it became known as a slush fund scandal and you know it kind of became bigger and bigger as time wore on. And you know it led ultimately to the Gomery inquiry in 2004, 2005, which created massive problems for the Liberal Party, especially in Quebec where they lost most of their seats after, during the 2004 election. So it’s kind of a scandal that was about you know more than a decade ago, but it did have a huge impact on Canadian politics of the day.

[…]

CHANTAL HÉBERT: Canadians or Quebecers, I think, would take from that sentence the word past rather than the wrestling of chains because so much happened to the Liberal Party over the post-sponsorship decade that Justin Trudeau’s party—in Quebec in particular—certainly bears little resemblance to the party that Jean Chrétien or even Paul Martin led in so many ways. You know when I think about—in hindsight, because now that all these years have gone by—the sponsorship scandal probably was over time a good thing for the Liberal Party. It forced it to renew itself at the time when it desperately needed to do so. Think of it like a brush fire, a really bad one and what grows after the fire is extinguished. That’s literally what just happened to the Liberal party in Quebec and possibly Justin Trudeau’s victory in Quebec—he did win the majority of the seats—would not have happened if the Liberal Party had just gone on and on, on the path that it was set when Jean Chrétien retired.

AMT: Well, tell me a little bit more about that, Chantal. What happened to the Liberal Party insiders in Quebec who then were caught up in this scandal? How did they—what happened after the brush fire?

CHANTAL HÉBERT: Okay. So let’s first go back to that time when Jean Chrétien leaves and Paul Martin comes. The sponsorship has not yet hit the party in the way that it will hit. And at that point, on this week before the sponsorship report from the auditor general comes out, the polls show the Liberals in Quebec at 55 per cent under Paul Martin and the Liberals have been riding very high on Quebec at the tail end of the [unintelligible] era, on the basis of Chrétien’s last decisions and particularly the decision not to sign up for the war in Iraq. But the internal workings of the party were already broken. This is a party that been ongoing a civil war between two factions: Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. And if you want to go back even further, between John Turner and Jean Chrétien as of 1984. By the time Paul Martin becomes prime minister, he sets up the Gomery commission thinking that there is distance between him and the sponsorship stuff because there is really two parties, two warring factions within the party and because it’s two main characters. Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin are from Quebec. Quebec is a battleground where people are gunning for the other faction and the sponsorship affair takes place in the middle of that and that kind of forces everybody off the ice. Within a couple of years, there is no Liberal left that is elected in ridings where the vast majority of voters are Francophones in Quebec. They are pushed back to the west end of Montreal. After the Orange wave, there is not even a seat left in the [unintelligible] region, which is a highly Federalist region. So by the time Justin Trudeau becomes leader, there is no Liberal party.”

Listen to, or read the full transcript at the link below.

[Source: CBC Radio:The Current]

BLM  Some peoples lives are worth more than others.

In the context of American society one of the deciding factors of how much your life is worth is determined by the colour of your skin.  Here in Canada a similar skin tone gradient applies as being First Nations in Canada gets you the special police attention you don’t deserve.  Bonus features of being in First Nations in Canada include (but are not limited to), poverty, limited access to potable water, and an hostile educational system.  Make no mistake, we have much to do in Canada to address the needs of our people.   We have a Canadian Highway of Tears that sullies our escutcheon and is indicative of the racism that still permeates our society.

The inherent racism present in Canada pales before the horrendous shitshow that is running south of the border.  Racial divisions and discrimination represent a clear and present danger to fabric of the civil society of the United States (necessarily so).  The scale of protests against the racial violence of the white establishment is increasing – fuelled by social media that circumvents mainstream media and offers a small gory window into the lives of black people who are being murdered by the security apparatus of the state.

I cannot imagine the horror of witnessing your partner being shot to death in your car, having to be polite to the individual that just inflicted moral wounds on our loved one while having your child witness the entire blood spattered episode from the backseat.

 

Violence breeds violence.

The unidirectional nature of the violence was reversed as an individual who proclaimed his hatred for white police, killed five white police officers in Dallas.  The shooter was a reservist and had seen a tour of duty in Afghanistan.  Lives are being lost because we have tied how much humanity you’re allotted to the colour of your skin.

Madness.    It is sheer madness that we have allowed our societies to be shaped by racism and that the status quo is in fact racist.  Is this series of murders in the US the tipping point?  It certainly seems like people have had enough and are willing to entertain a large spectrum means to achieve their ends.  It should be (like the constant stream of black people being murdered by police hasn’t been) a wake up call to the American congress and its legislative position on systemic racism and gun control.  Henry Giroux paints a darker picture when he says:

“In the increasingly violent landscape of anti-politics, mediation disappears, dissent is squelched, repression operates with impunity, the ethical imagination withers, and the power of representation is on the side of spectacularized state violence. Violence both at the level of the state and in the hands of everyday citizens has become a substitute for genuine forms of agency, citizenship, and mutually informed dialogue and community interaction.”

The response of the law makers will tell the tale though, because the disconnect between public opinion and public representatives is being brought into stark relief.  Congress has been mostly bought and paid for – but they have to at least look like they are serving the needs of the public on occasion, will the murder of five police officers stir the sycophants into action?  I really don’t know, because getting reelected seems to override important qualities of being a decent human being. Qualities like empathy, compassion, and morality seem strangely missing when it comes to societal issues that threaten idea of moving toward a just society.

The cynical side of me contemplates this question: Would the US have gun control if members of Congress were similarly subjected to the murder/assassination program the rest of America is being subject to?

 

Gun Control psa[Source:Counterpunch]

ccb    In the business lexicon I think polite somehow equals naive or stupid.  Neil Macdonald examines some of the hi-jinks our corporate leadership in Canada feels it can get away with.

“A letter arrived last week from TD Bank. “In order to continue to meet your banking needs …” it began.

Try to guess what came next. Hint: I’m a customer at a Canadian bank.

Sure enough, “We sometimes need to adjust our pricing.”

Unsurprisingly, the prices being adjusted were not being adjusted downward.

As of March, the bank’s “non-TD ATM fee” is being raised 33 per cent.

Fees for cancelling an Interac e-transfer and for holding a post-dated cheque at a branch are going from free to $5. And the fee for transferring a tax-free savings account to another bank is going from free to $75.

These are huge increases, far in excess of growth or individual spending power.

Now, it’s important to understand TD’s position. The bank’s profits were $8.02 billion last year, up only slightly from $7.88 billion the year before.”

Our banks do this sorta shit all the time.  Hmm..bottom line looking a bit thin? Let’s put the screw to our customers, they’ll smile and say ‘thank-you’.

“It’s worth noting, though, that in the U.S., where TD is now a serious player, with more branches than in Canada, the bank plans to impose no fee increases on customers come March.

“Totally different environment,” a TD spokeswoman told me.

Translation: There’s a lot more competition there, and if TD tried charging the sorts of fees it imposes on the bank’s supine Canadian flock, some other U.S. bank would be in there siphoning off business before you could say “special offer.”

Up here in Canada, TD’s letter advises customers that if they don’t want to accept the fee hikes, they are free to close their accounts, “without cost or penalty.”

Generous, that.”

It is really as simple as that?  Because we in Canada don’t allow the wild west capitalism that typifies our good neighbours to the south we have to accept the fact that the fox is in charge of the henhouse?

“It’s all part of being Canadian. The equation is simple: Canadian consumers and workers are protected from certain free-market excesses, but that coddled security comes with a price: oligopolies, in which a few firms dominate, and all the behaviour that flows from that.”

If this is the price we have to pay to be able to weather the financial shit-storms that brew in the US, I might be able to accept that – but I think that the cost benefit analysis is still up for debate.

“If you want a really depressing bit of Canadian reading, go look at the Canadian Competition Bureau’s policy on “price maintenance,” something most of us know as “price-fixing.” 

Certain companies, especially in the luxury trade, try to see to it that their products never go on sale. Rolex is one. Canada Goose, the world-famous Canadian parka-maker, is another.

This offends capitalism: in a free market, one of the few responsibilities of government is to monitor and punish efforts to deaden competition”

Looking at you telecoms :/

“In fact, “price maintenance behaviour” was a criminal act in Canada, until Stephen Harper’s Conservatives changed the law in 2009 (though some forms of price-fixing still remain a crime).

The new law reduced price maintenance to a non-criminal offence, and even at that, it now has to be proven that “price maintenance conduct has had, is having or is likely to have an adverse effect on competition in a market.”

In other words, the government has to prove that price fixing results in fixed prices.”

Another gifted poison pill from our beloved former conservative government. It is shit like this that ruins their airs toward being business friendly and being friends of the market and all of the other hooey they exude from their weaselly mouths.  They lay down on market policy that hugely distorts the market – and in the end makes Canadians pay more – and then have the audacity to make ‘sad face’ and shrug their shoulders laying the blame on the ‘free market’.  Conservative economic policy is made of pure unadulterated rannygazoo from top to bottom.

“After trying to make sense of the gibberish on its website, I asked the Competition Bureau how many times it’s gone after companies for what it calls price maintenance since it issued its new “enforcement guidelines” in 2014.

The answer: None. Zero.

“Nevertheless,” said a spokeswoman in an email, Canadians should rest assured the bureau remains vigilant: “The Competition Bureau will not hesitate to take appropriate action where it believes price maintenance has occurred.”

Okay. Good to know.”

*sigh* – WTG Competition Bureau.  :/

[Source: cbc.ca]

- Evi, Alberta, Canada - Crews work to clean up at Rainbow Pipeline's oil spill, the worst Alberta oil spill in 35 years, dumping 28, 000 barrels of oil into a wetland area at Evi, Alberta which is near Little Buffalo, Alberta, Canada.

20110505 – Evi, Alberta, Canada – Crews work to clean up at Rainbow Pipeline’s oil spill, the worst Alberta oil spill in 35 years, dumping 28, 000 barrels of oil into a wetland area at Evi, Alberta which is near Little Buffalo, Alberta, Canada.

Progress in the laying of plans for Canada’s build-your-own-envirnomental-disaster have hit a snag.  The people’s land that we want to endanger are saying no way, and no how.  Pretty rude considering that one of our more outspoken Premier’s comments ,“Let those Eastern bastards freeze in the dark.”  Oh Ralph, how we miss those straight talkn’, shoot from hip’in, shod in political clown shoes days of yesteryear (not at all actually).

Now, it seems, Alberta may need the dreaded Easters help in order to get our tar-sands products to market.  Strangely enough, they seem to be not acquiescing to our requests.   The Mayor of Montreal responds:

“Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced the city’s official opposition to proposed Energy East pipeline project Thursday, saying the potential risks outweigh its possible economic benefits to communities including his.  Coderre was joined by mayors from neighbouring cities including Laval and Longueuil that make up the Montreal Metropolitan Community.

“We are against it because it still represents significant environmental threats and too few economic benefits for greater Montreal,” said Coderre on behalf of the MMC.”

I imagine it would have been easier to make a case for the pipeline if much of Eastern Canada had not been forced to look elsewhere in the market for oil, because apparently the Dreaded National Energy Program (western Canada selling oil to Eastern Canada for a fair price) was to risky a venture for the Western Canadian oil capitalists.   Fast forward to the present and now we in the west are wondering why these bastards are not helping us out.

This state of affairs does not sit will for the political representative of the business sector in the Alberta Legislature.  Cue the stolid Brian Jean to microphone:

“In a statement, Brian Jean, leader of Alberta’s Wildrose Party, called Coderre’s position “disgraceful.”

“While Mr. Coderre dumps a billion litres of raw sewage directly into his waterways and benefits from billions in equalization payments, his opposition to the Energy East pipeline is nothing short of hypocritical,” Jean said.

Jean claimed the project would entail economic benefits of $9.2 billion for Quebec, citing numbers provided by TransCanada.”

Well, your claim is only made much more substantial by using the figures provided by the oil company.  We shan’t tarry to long with sources though, because this was just the opening salvo in the great West VS East energy pipeline showdown.

Coderre replies:

“”First of all, you have to allow me a moment to laugh at a guy like Brian Jean, when he says he relies on science. These are probably the same people who think the Flintstones is a documentary. But that’s another story.”

Ouch.  But our intrepid Wild Rose Leader fires back..

“I had an opportunity to serve with Mr. Coderre in federal politics for many years, and I’m used to watching him float up and down the gutter,” said Jean, who was a Conservative MP for a decade before entering provincial politics in Alberta.”

Oh Brian, politics is hard and nasty eh?  We’ll finish with Mr.Coderre:

“The community of metropolitan Montreal isn’t nothing,” he said. “It’s four million residents, it’s 82 municipalities, it’s 50 per cent of the gross domestic product, population and jobs of Quebec.

“We have committees of engineers, so we are working with credible data. We realized that when you build it, you can say it will bring this or that, and it will create so many jobs. But the economic reality is that it’s only 33 jobs and at most $2 million per year of municipal revenue.”

Two million is far cry from 9.2 billion dollars.  I’m sure the real number lies *somewhere* between those two extremes, but that isn’t the point.  It is Mr.Coderre that we are trying to win over to our side, and calling him a gutter inhabitant is not going to get the pipeline built.  This kind of grandstanding might win you the populist vote from rural Alberta (hurrah for the Sticks!), but it doesn’t play very well on the national stage.

On the upside, Brain Jean and band of merry corporatists are doing a lovely PR job, making the Energy East pipeline much less likely to happen.  Perhaps the Suzuki Foundation will give them an award or something.

 

[Source CBC.ca #1, #2]

 

 

 

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