Showing posts from September 25, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Burnaby wins ruling against Kinder Morgan

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[City of Burnaby wins key ruling with National Energy Board against Kinder Morgan and its proposed $5.4 billion oil sands pipeline. *RON*]
Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, 25 September 2014

In what's considered a huge win for the City of Burnaby's legal battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the National Energy Board struck down the company's application to forbid Burnaby city staff from blocking the pipeline company's test drilling on Burnaby Mountain.

“Kinder Morgan is this arrogant company who assumed they could just go in and take direct action [to remove trees], based on their legal interpretation," said Burnaby's lawyer, Gregory McDade, Q.C. Thursday evening.

"They thumbed their nose at the law."

"It turns out they were wrong," added the lawyer.

The NEB's federal decision made public Thursday afternoon means Kinder Morgan can not legally proceed with its pipeli…

Federal government media monitoring keeps tabs on political opponents

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[Harper's spending priorities for the public good: "The government has spent more than $20 million on media monitoring contracts since December 2012, despite maintaining more than 3,300 communications staff across government." *RON*]

 Jason Fekete, Ottawa Citizen, 23 September 2014
The Conservative government is being accused of using some of its multi-million-dollar media monitoring contracts for political purposes to keep an eye on opponents and potential scandals that could derail the party’s electoral hopes.

The government has spent more than $20 million on media monitoring contracts since December 2012, despite maintaining more than 3,300 communications staff across government.

Included within the government’s media monitoring contracts are more than 1,100 pages of search terms (half English, half French) that show the government keeping an eye on what reporters, critics and its own spokespersons are saying. The media monitoring …

Why 'corporate social responsibility' is a crock

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[The federal government has given up $400 billion in corporate tax revenues over 30 years; corporations have 'replaced' this with possibly $40 billion in noblesse oblige that goes to whomever corporations feel are deserving, not the public. *RON*]

By Larry Haiven,, 24 September 2014

Back when I was in the MBA program at the University of Alberta in 1984, a wily professor put the cat among the pigeons. He asked us students to consider whether corporations should forget about charity and good works and simply… pay their taxes.

Businesses, he argued, were good at making money, not social welfare. The difficult decisions on which groups of needy citizens, domestic and foreign, to help out should best be left to elected officials (who could be turfed at the next election if we didn't like their actions.) And, in the field of making life better for those in great need, governments employ people who actually know what they are doing…

Stone rejects fare rollback at BC Ferries

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[Not a word here about the public good, only 'affordability' and, of course, the 'irresponsibility' of pointing it out when they do harm. *RON*]
by Jeff Nagel - BC Local News, Tri-City News, 24 September 2014

Transportation Minister Todd Stone quickly ruled out a demand Wednesday from municipal politicians to unwind recent BC Ferries fare hikes and service cuts.

Speaking outside the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, after delegates unanimously endorsed the resolution, Stone said affordability is the number one issue and fares cannot continue to rise at four per cent or more a year.

But he said he won't overrule the independent ferry commissioner and force a reduction in fares.

"That's not going to happen," Stone said, adding he also firmly rejected a call from coastal communities to raise taxes to increase ferry subsidies.

Instead, he said, fare restraint must come from innovation and efficiencies that will de…

Canadian Red Cross Finds Immigration Detainees Held In Inadequate Conditions

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[This story, like several I read today, only saw the light of day because reporters used the Freedom of Information Act to access reports that ought to be freely available to the public in the first place. Then they get this kind of run-around: "Agency spokesman Pierre Deveau said a number of steps have been taken to address the Red Cross's concerns. However, he did not provide details and refused to make anyone available to discuss the report." *RON*]
By Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 25 September 2014

OTTAWA - A confidential Red Cross investigation found numerous shortcomings at Canadian facilities for immigrant detainees including triple-bunked cells, lack of support for detained children and inadequate mental-health care.

In addition, because there are no dedicated immigration cells in many parts of the country, newcomers are often held in provincial jails or police facilities alongside suspected gang membe…

Human trafficking research reveals Canada's role in violence against Aboriginal women

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[Oh yes, Mister Harper, let us not by any means turn this into a sociological phenomenon. *RON*]
By Sarah Hunt, Julie Kaye,, 24 September 2014

Canada's response to the safety concerns of Indigenous women and girls has garnered significant attention in recent months. Alongside high-profile debates about Canadian sex work laws and the experiences of Aboriginal women and girls in sex industries, significant attention has focused on Canada's response, or lack of response, to the nearly 1,200 murdered and missing Aboriginal women and girls.

Similarly, recent discussions of human trafficking have foregrounded the vulnerability of Indigenous girls and women. In 2012, both an RCMP report and the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking specifically label Aboriginal women and girls as having heightened risk of becoming victims of human trafficking.

In this context, Public Safety Canada issued a call in August 2013 for proposals to …

Canada's Sanctions On Russia Tough, But Not For Oil Industry

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[ Moore thinks everything's hunky-dory if he hasn't heard any complaints. Zero moral compass. "Calgary-based Trican Well Service Ltd. said in its latest quarterly report that Russian operations accounted for the majority of its international earnings.... Another Calgary company touts its work for three of Russia's biggest oil and gas companies." *RON*]
By Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press. Huffington Post, 24 September 2014

NEW YORK -- For all its much-touted toughness in imposing economic sanctions against Russia, Canada has been significantly more timid against one particular target: the oil industry.

A database of sanctions compiled by The Canadian Press suggests Canada has been almost three times less likely to penalize Russian oil companies than the United States.

The Harper government has imposed economic penalties against five Russian oil companies, compared to 13 firms targeted in that same sector by the U.S.


Is this how Maryland’s 3rd Congressional district is supposed to look?

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["Common Cause Maryland activists spent their weekend running a 225-mile relay around the state's 3rd District -- one of the most gerrymandered in the nation -- to demand a fair and open redistricting process." Not even remotely contiguous. Why isn't the Secretary of State all over this? *RON*]

By Jenna Johnson September 21 

The anti-gerrymandering activists spent a year plotting their route through Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District, which meanders through narrow stretches of four counties and was once described by a federal judge as“reminiscent of a broken-winged pterodactyl, lying prostrate across the center of the state.”

This weekend, the activists and their adventure-seeking friends ran, biked and boated for 225 miles, from the city of Baltimore to Baltimore County, to Howard, Montgomery and Anne Arundel, to make this point: Representative government isn’t supposed to look this way.

“There’s no logic to it,” said Barbara …