Showing posts from April 25, 2014

Fair Elections Act: Pierre Poilievre Backtracks On Contentious Issues

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[Poilievre blinks at last. If he follows the CP playbook he'll wait until the next budget then re-submit the bits he was forced to cut under a different title, buried in an omnibus bill. *RON*]
Althia Raj, Huffington Post, April 25, 2014

OTTAWA — The Conservative government is flip-flopping on some of the most contentious issues of its electoral reform bill, the Fair Elections Act.

Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre announced Friday that the government will compromise on the issue of vouching by allowing individuals who have ID but no proof of address to be vouched for by another individual.

It is also backing away from a plan that would have allowed a riding's incumbent MP to appoint the central poll supervisor at election time. The poll supervisor oversees the poll and decides critical issues on election day. The position is currently non-partisan.

Fast Food Companies Pay CEOs 1,200 Times What They Pay Workers (And You’re Helping Them Do It)

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[Among fast food companies CEO average pay since 2000 more than quadrupled, while workers’ incomes rose just 0.3 percent. CEOs at the 20 largest companies received $662 million in performance pay in 2012 and 2013. This is tax deductible, so those 20 companies reduced their taxes by $232 million. The public also subsidizes low fast food wages through government assistance programs that workers rely on because they are paid so poorly for their labour. *RON*]

By Alan Pyke, Think Progress, April 24, 2014

Fast food CEOs now earn about 1,200 times more than their workers and taxpayers are helping to make that possible, according to a pair of new reports on the industry’s pay practices.

Earnings for fast food executives have increased by more than 300 percent since 2000 while their workers’ wages have increased by 0.3 percent over the same period, Demos reports. The think tank’s work shows that food and lodgings services “is the most unequal sector in th…

The Canadian Government's 'Secure' Phones Come Straight from the NSA

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[If it will help keep his speech secret Harper has $50 million of your dollars to spare. Also, of course, there is no way the NSA would ever have the capacity to spy on its own equipment, right? *RON*]

Written by Justin Ling, Motherboard, April 25, 2014

World leaders may be fretting over whether the NSA bugged their phones, but Canadian government officials aren't particularly worried—they bought theirs directly from the agency. A survey of procurement records kept on public government websites reveals that Canada has spent over $50 million purchasing a bevy of secure communications equipment from the largest branch of the American intelligence community.

There are at least 100 different contracts listed, the earliest of which date back to 2004. They include procurements of telephones, fax machines, and cryptographic cards for encrypting calls, all bought from the NSA.

McDonald's Canada CEO John Betts Calls TFW Controversy ‘Bulls**t,' Then Aims At CBC

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[The video is amazing to listen to. *RON*]

Huffington Post Canada, 04/25/2014

McDonald’s Canada went on an all-out attack against the CBC Friday, accusing the broadcaster of playing loose with the facts after it aired audio of McDonald's CEO John Betts calling the temporary foreign worker program controversy “bullshit.”

In a recording of a conference call with franchisees, obtained by the CBC, Betts calls the heated debate over temporary foreign workers “an attack on our brand. This has been an attack on our system. This is an attack on our people. It’s bullshit, OK!”

Betts went on to praise Employment Minister Jason Kenney, saying the minister “really knows his stuff. And I’ll say he knows his stuff from a business person’s perspective."

Elections Canada report no whitewash -- it's far, far worse than that

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[No reason to be surprised at this outcome. The Harper government consistently stonewalled Elections Canada. Why not? It carefully controlled the pertinent legislation so that EC had no power to compel them to do or say anything at all. The inevitable result is a the finding of "insufficient evidence" - which is what Harper wanted and engineered. Democracy is the only fatality. *RON*]
By John Baglow,, April 25, 2014

Elections Canada Commissioner Yves Côté's report yesterday is not a whitewash. It's worse than that. It's a re-write of history, and the scribbling Pharisees are already wanking furiously. "It's over! There was no fraud! There was no conspiracy! Take that, you leftist goofs! Blar-har-har!"

Is this the time for the rest of us to duck and cover? Hardly.

The bottom line of the report is that Elections Canada didn't have enough evidence to proceed. Why? Well, potentially valuable witnesses wo…

Supreme Court shoots down Stephen Harper's Senate reform plans

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By Joan Bryden, CP / Huffington Post, 04/25/2014

OTTAWA - Stephen Harper's hopes of a quick fix for the scandal-plagued Senate were blown to pieces Friday by the Supreme Court of Canada.

In a historic, unanimous decision, the top court advised that the prime minister's proposals to impose term limits on senators and create a "consultative election" process to choose nominees cannot be done by the federal government alone.

Rather, the court said such reforms would require constitutional amendments, approved by at least seven provinces representing 50 per cent of the population — a route fraught with political landmines which Harper had hoped to avoid.

Moreover, the court set the bar even higher for abolishing the Senate, something Harper has threatened to do if his reform agenda is stymied. Getting rid of the chamber altogether would require the unanimous consent of all 10 provinces, the eight justices said.

Temporary Foreign Workers Program Moratorium Issued, Food Services Sector's Access Suspended

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[As CD Howe points out, this is another instance in which the Harper government's aversion to collecting data makes it nearly impossible to determine whether the program is even needed or if it is doing harm or providing a benefit. On CBC, McDonald's Foreign Workers have referred to their experience as 'slavery.' *RON*]

By Lee-Anne Goodman, CP / Huffington Post, 04/24/2014

OTTAWA - Amid a roar of criticism, Employment Minister Jason Kenney took action Thursday against the government's scandal-ridden temporary foreign worker program by banning restaurants from accessing it.

Kenney issued the surprise moratorium hours after the C.D. Howe Institute released a damning study into the program that concluded it had spurred joblessness in B.C. and Alberta, two treasured Tory strongholds.

The smackdown to Canadian restaurants came despite Kenney's insistence in recent weeks that only a small number of companies were abusing the progra…

Fair Elections Act Petition Reels In Nearly 50,000 Names In 24 Hours

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[Sorry, I couldn't resist "tinkering" with the photo! :-) See also An open letter on the Fair Elections Act inked by more than 200 professors, and Fair Elections Act: An Exercise in False Marketing. But then again, see What Fair Elections Act? Few following heated debate, poll finds. Sigh. *RON*]

By The Canadian Press, 04/23/2014

OTTAWA - Thousands of Canadians have signed an online petition urging Conservative senators to put the boots to the government's Fair Elections Act.

More than 46,000 people have signed the petition on Avaaz, a global online activist network, calling on Conservative senators to amend the act.

Signing the petition, which needed just 24 hours to near its goal of 50,000 signatures, provides links to email addresses and phone numbers so participants can express themselves to senators directly.

The petition calls the Fair Elections Act an outrageous effort by the Harper government to fix the next election by…