Showing posts from October 31, 2014

Kinder Morgan slaps Burnaby residents with multi-million-dollar lawsuit

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[“I feel outraged politically that this could happen in a democracy – that a foreign massive company can accuse you of trespassing on a park" - SFU professor Stephen Collis. *RON*]
Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, 31 October 2014

Texas-based Kinder Morgan has hit several Burnaby residents and two SFU professors, who have spoken out against the company’s pipeline test work on Burnaby Mountain, with a multi-million-dollar lawsuit according to the defendants' lawyer.

SFU professor Stephen Collis received the 1000-page stack of legal papers at his university office, just before he went out to teach his literature class late Thursday.

“Personally, you feel pretty freaked out – when they start saying $5.6 million in damages, and all this jazz.”

“I feel outraged politically that this could happen in a democracy – that a massive foreign company can accuse you of trespassing on a park. That they can use the courts and their money and influenc…

Tar Sands Resistance Blowing Huge Hole in Oil Industry's Bottom Line: Report

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["Business as usual for Big Oil—particularly in the tar sands—is over.... tar sands production revenues were down about $30.9 billion from 2010 through 2013." *RON*]

by Lauren McCauleyCommon Dreams, 29 October 2014
The growing tide of tar sands resistance—seen in blockades, tree sits, petitions, education efforts and calls to divest—is having a measurable negative impact on the bottom line of the tar sands industry, according to a new report, prompting researchers to declare that "business as usual for tar sands is over."

Published Wednesday by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and Oil Change International, the report, Material Risks: How Public Accountability Is Slowing Tar Sands Development, finds that tar sands production revenues were down about $30.9 billion from 2010 through 2013. And according to the report, more than half of that lost revenue, roughly $17 billion, can be attributed to the fier…

Sweden recognises state of Palestine

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[Sweden: still ahead of the curve. Israel recalls its ambassador following move Swedish foreign minister hopes "will show the way for others". See also: Israel recalls envoy to Sweden and note how this story is only being carried, thus far, in the Arabic press. *RON*]

Al Jazeera, 30 Oct 2014

Sweden has officially recognised the state of Palestine, Stockholm's foreign minister has said, less than a month after the government announced its intention to make the unprecedented move.

The Palestinians cheered Thursday's move, while Israel recalled its ambassador to Sweden for consultations.

Israel also summoned Sweden's ambassador to protest and express disappointment.

Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, told Al Jazeera that recognising Palestine, and the leadership of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, would put each party on a level playing field and help move peace talks forward.

"It is important to support thos…

No link between tough penalties and drug use - report

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[Right-wing governance by ideology. I sure hope Stephen Harper never sees this article; information about reality confuses him so, and make him all righteously indignant. The operant phrase for both Harper and Cameron is "does not believe in": "Prime Minister David Cameron said the research did not offer 'specific conclusions' and said he did not 'believe in' decriminalising drugs." *RON*]
BBC News, 30 October 2014

There is "no obvious" link between tough laws and levels of illegal drug use, a government report has found.

Liberal Democrat Home Office minister Norman Baker said the report, comparing the UK with other countries, should end "mindless rhetoric" on drugs policy.

He accused the Conservatives of "suppressing" the findings for months.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the research did not offer "specific conclusions" and said he did not "believe in" de…

Iraq: ISIS Executed Hundreds of Prison Inmates

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[The ISIS horrors continue: about 600 Shias killed in desert during the capture of Mosul. Iraqi prison guards prove to be as brave and noble as the Iraqi army. *RON*]

Human Rights Watch, 20 October 2014

Iraq: Forced Marriage, Conversion for Yezidis, 11 October 2014
For Iraq’s Sunnis, Sectarian Militias Pose an Extra Threat, 24 October 2014

(Erbil) – Gunmen from the Sunni extremist group Islamic State systematically executed some 600 male inmates from a prison outside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on June 10, 2014, according to survivors’ accounts. The vast majority of those killed were Shia.

After seizing Badoush Prison near Mosul, the gunmen from Islamic State, also known as ISIS, separated the Sunni from the Shia inmates, then forced the Shia men to kneel along the edge of a nearby ravine and shot them with assault rifles and automatic weapons, 15 Shia prisoners who survived the massacre told Human Rights Watch. The gunmen a…

Canada's Privacy Commissioner Got No Useful Information About RCMP's Warrantless Data Collection

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["It was an oversight! We simply forgot to build any kind of accountability whatsoever into our systems!" *RON*]
By Sunny Freeman, Huffington Post, 30 October 2014

Canada’s privacy watchdog says it wasn’t able to determine whether the RCMP’s warrantless access requests for subscriber data from telecoms were legal because the police service isn’t keeping proper records.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner issued a report Thursday warning government bodies to keep proper records of requests for private information after a review of the RCMP’s actions under the Privacy Act.

“We were disappointed to find that limitations in the RCMP’s information management systems meant we were unable to assess [if appropriate] controls were in place,” said Commissioner Daniel Therrien.

“It was not possible to determine how often the RCMP collected subscriber data without a warrant. Nor could we assess whether such requests were justified.”

The investigation…

Why Is Zehaf-Bibeau a Terrorist But Not Justin Bourque?

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[Points well taken. See also Prevent Future Shootings by Focusing on Mental Illness, Not Tighter Security. *RON*]
Christopher Stuart Taylor, Professor of Black and Canadian History, Race, Gender, and Immigration, Huffington Post, 29 October 2014

Over the past week our sense of security as Canadians has been tested.

Not only has it been tested, but it has forever altered how we see ourselves as "peacekeeping" Canadians.

No longer can we see say that terrorism is something that happens "over‎ there": in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, the United Kingdom, the United States. We are now a part of that unfortunate list.

Barack Obama, David Cameron, and other world leaders came out and admonished the terrorism on Canadian soil. As of Wednesday October 22, 2014, they stood behind us in our fight against terrorism on home soil. The same way that we stood behind them on 9/11 and 7/7.

Our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, came out uneq…

Climate Poll: 62% Of Canadians Say Climate More Important Than Energy Prices

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[In today's Canadian democracy a strong majority gets to decide precisely nothing. *RON*]
By Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post, 29 October 2014

A slim majority of Canadians are in favour of a carbon tax that would be charged on businesses, according to a new poll that suggests the Harper government is offside with most Canadians on climate policy.

Fifty-three per cent of respondents in the Nanos Research poll said the government should impose a tax on businesses based on carbon consumption, while only 11 per cent chose instead a carbon tax aimed at consumer goods such as gasoline and heating oil.

Twenty-nine per cent backed the Harper government’s position and said there should be no carbon tax of any kind.

On attitudes towards the environment, nearly two-thirds — 62 per cent — said the environment was more important than energy prices. Twenty-eight per cent said energy prices were more important.

Regionally, Quebecers were most likely to say the env…

Incentives to oil, gas sector hit $1.25 billion: B.C. auditor general

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[Somehow we can cobble together the money for wars, bank bail-outs, tax cuts for the rich and subsidies for giant oil companies but when it comes to feeding hungry children we are suddenly broke. *RON*]

Canadian Press / Vancouver Sun, 30 October 2014

VICTORIA — British Columbia's auditor general says doing business with the oil-and-gas industry has cost the province's coffers about $1.25 billion in royalties even before most of the product has been pulled from the ground.

The incentives to be paid to the industry were just some of the items highlighted Thursday by auditor general Carol Bellringer in her 2013-2014 summary of B.C.'s financial statements.

Bellringer also noted how much money the government made from selling its assets, how much it paid in interest on debt accumulated through public-private partnerships, and she even took issue with government accounting methods.

"The bottom line is certainly an important element of loo…