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Showing posts from May 14, 2014

Lac-Mégantic Residents Decry Charging of Low-Level Employees Over Deadly Disaster

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[I agree with the writer that "The big boss — he should be first." But so should the government that passed the toothless laws and regulations that the corporation and its employees were operating under. *RON*]
Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, May 14, 2014

Three employees of the rail company behind the infamous Lac-Mégantic train derailment and fireball explosion faced charges Tuesday of criminal negligence for the deaths of the 47 people killed. But for the residents of the small Quebec town, the fact that no executives were charged 10 months after the tragedy brought little sense of justice.
The three Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. employees charged were Thomas Harding, the train conductor; Jean Demaître, manager of train operations; and Richard Labrie, traffic controller.

Harding, whose lawyer, Thomas Walsh, had said would voluntarily appear in court, was arrested on Monday by a SWAT team that came to his house.

Walsh told

B.C. government gets 166,000-signature petition against parks' law

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[166,000 people protest their legislation and all the Liberals do is argue against the people for complaining. *RON*]

By The Canadian Press, 05/14/2014

VICTORIA - B.C.'s environment minister disagrees with the claims of environmental groups that a new law threatens the future of provincial parks by allowing oil and gas and logging companies to conduct industrial development.

The groups delivered a petition Wednesday to the B.C. government calling for the repeal of the legislation, which was introduced in March.

Petition host Angus Wong of the Vancouver-based group Sum of Us said 166,000 people signed the petition, suggesting there is a level of anger against the province, which is being accused of selling parks to interests such as oil and gas companies.

The legislation permits the removal of park land for exploratory research and allows for commercial filming in parks.

Nine environmental groups behind the petition say the government rammed throug…

Government muzzles expert witnesses on major citizenship bill

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[More Harper mock-tocracy at work. *RON*]

Matthew Millar, Vancouver Observer, May 13th, 2014

“Do they think citizenship legislation is a joke?” said Melynda Jarrett, who was flown in to speak about Bill C-24, only to be shut out at the last minute. “I’ve always felt this was a transparent process of democracy in being invited to speak as an expert. Now, I feel insulted and it’s brought out the worst of how people perceive politicians in Ottawa."
Citizenship advocates Don Chapman and Melynda Jarrett are fuming after seeing what they call a flagrant violation of the democratic process in Parliament unfold before their eyes.

Just moments before they were set to testify before the Citizen and Immigration committee on Monday, Conservative caucus member Ted Opitz motioned to close the meeting to the public, preventing them from speaking on bill C-24, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Chapma…

How Milton Friedman Fomented the Barmy “Corporations Exist to Maximize Shareholder Value” Myth

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[Incoherent Chicago School thinking works conveniently to line CEOs pockets. "...even the most practical man of affairs is usually in the thrall of the ideas of some long-dead economist" John Maynard Keynes. *RON*]
By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, May 5, 2014

One of my pet peeves is the degree to which the notion that corporations exist only to serve the interests of shareholders is accepted as dogma and recited uncritically by the business press. I’m old enough to remember when that was idea would have been considered extreme and reckless. Corporations are a legal structure and are subject to a number of government and contractual obligations and financial claims. Equity holders are the lowest level of financial claim. It’s one thing to make sure they are not cheated, misled, or abused, but quite another to take the position that the last should be first.

As we wrote last year:
If you review any of the numerous guides prepared for dir…

Oilsands study confirms tailings found in groundwater, river

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[Alberta government avers, I deny your reality and replace it with my own. "The industry has maintained that toxic chemicals are contained safely in tailing ponds, but new research shows this isn’t the case.... The Alberta government says the research is of interest, but doesn't confirm anything." *RON*]
CBC News, Feb 20, 2014 New federal research confirms that Alberta’s oilsands are polluting ground water and seeping into the Athabasca River.

The industry has maintained that toxic chemicals are contained safely in tailing ponds, but new research shows this isn’t the case.

“Well, it looks like what they’ve seen is that in fact the tailings ponds are leaking,” said Bill Donahue, environmental scientist with the oilsands advisory committee.

“They found also not only are those tailings ponds leaking, but it looks like it is flowing pretty much from those tailings ponds, through the ground and into the Athabasca River.”

“So, there goes … th…

Fair Elections Act: Conservatives Use Majority To Push Through Controversial Bill

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[Canadian de-mock-cracy. *RON*]
By Joan Bryden, CP / Huffington Post, 05/13/2014


OTTAWA - The Conservatives used their majority muscle in the House of Commons to pass a controversial bill that makes sweeping changes to election laws.

Bill C-23, dubbed the Fair Elections Act, passed Tuesday by a vote of 146 to 123.

The bill was virtually universally panned by electoral experts when it was first introduced.

The Harper government eventually modified or removed some of the most contentious provisions — including backing down on plans to eliminate vouching, muzzle the chief electoral officer and create a loophole that would allow rich, established parties to spend untold millions more during election campaigns.

"We introduced a common sense bill, we listened carefully to all the witness testimony and accepted the amendments that were worthy of passage," Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre said moments after Tuesday's vote.

"And I t…

bell hooks will save us all from the long, slow death that is popular feminism

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[Good, thoughtful discussion of some current controversies in feminism. *RON*]
By Meghan Murphy, rabble.ca, May 9, 2014


On Tuesday, The New School hosted a conversation between bell hooks, Marci Blackman, Shola Lynch, and Janet Mock, titled “Are You Still a Slave? Liberating the Black Female Body.” The conversation explored representations and images of women of colour in the media.

bell hooks was one of my earliest influences. Every time a woman — young or old — asks me for a solid place to start, I recommend hooks. I’m just so grateful for her. The whole conversation is very insightful and I recommend you watch it in its entirety.

In the early part of the conversation, hooks talks a lot about Twelve Years a Slave, which she said, on the Melissa Harris-Perry show, was “sentimental claptrap.” I haven’t actually seen the film, so I can’t speak to it directly, but hooks apparently experienced a lot of backlash over her critiques because so many people…

NSA Gave Canada Money For Surveillance Program

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[CSEC opens "covert sites at the request" of the NSA and shares its "unique geographic access to areas unavailable to the U.S." CSEC has already admitted that it sometimes "incidentally" monitors citizens; the new documents raise questions about how much data intercepted in Canada is being shared with the NSA. Canada is characterized as taking part in "comprehensive cooperation" with the NSA. *RON*]
By Michael Bolen, Huffington Post Canada, 05/13/2014


The National Security Agency paid Canada to help develop its surveillance capabilities, according to documents published by Glenn Greenwald in a new book.

In "No Place To Hide", Greenwald, the journalist who has been the conduit for the Edward Snowden leaks, reveals that Canada was the fourth largest recipient of money in 2012 from an NSA program aimed at helping partner nations cover "R&D and technology costs." Only Pakistan, Jordan and …

Critics blast 'insensitive' rules for Aboriginal oral evidence at Kinder Morgan hearings

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[Aboriginal culture is an oral culture. The NEB has announced new rules on what constitutes oral testimony for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion hearings that greatly restrict how Aboriginal voices can be heard and what they are allowed to say. *RON*]
By Liam Scanlon, Vancouver Observer, May 13th, 2014
"It's a totally flawed process," said Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Manager Carleen Thomas on the National Energy Board (NEB)'s regulations on what constitutes Aboriginal oral testimony. "This is just another aspect that makes it more difficult for First Nations to participate fully".

The NEB recently announced a call for First Nations' oral evidence for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Because the regulatory board recognizes that some evidence cannot be provided by writing alone, the NEB accepts "stories and knowledge" as evidence.

But the NEB has created rules on what con…

Cyberbullying Bill Goes Too Far, Says Mother Of Amanda Todd

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[Carol Todd is correct. With horrifying cynicism, Harper is using the deaths of Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons as his big chance to "bully" through legislation which allows him to achieve his true goal - consolidating the surveillance state by spying on Canadians without a court order. *RON*]

By Terry Pedwell, CP / Huffington Post, 05/13/2014


OTTAWA - The mother of a B.C. teen who took her own life after she was sexually exploited online says a proposed crackdown on cyberbullying goes too far.

Carol Todd, whose daughter Amanda died by suicide in 2012, said Tuesday that she believes portions of Bill C-13 that could trample privacy rights should be removed from the legislation.

"We should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety," Todd told a House of Commons committee that's studying the legislation.

"We should not have to sacrifice our children's privacy rights to make them safe from cyberbullying, …