Showing posts from November 1, 2014

John Ralstan Saul calls for all Canadians to be idle no more

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[Should be a good read! *RON*]
Joe Friesen, The Globe and Mail, 31 October 2014

In the winter of 2012-13, John Ralston Saul watched as the Idle No More movement swept across the country, bringing thousands of aboriginal people into the streets to draw attention to a wide range of issues.

When the round dances stopped and the media moved on, he decided to write something – a pamphlet or manifesto that would help explain to a non-aboriginal audience what had just happened. According to Mr. Saul, when aboriginal leaders speak, many Canadians tend to misinterpret what they are saying.

The result is his new book The Comeback, the story of a movement that has been building from a low point a little more than a century ago to where it’s now poised, he says, to reclaim a central place in Canadian affairs.

The author begins by dismissing sympathy, the lens through with which many Canadians view aboriginal issues. That’s just soft racism, he argues. Sympathy i…

Former PBO Kevin Page: ‘Ottawa is Putinesque’

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[Page calls for U.S.-style election to force Tories to answer for some of their policies. *RON*]
Selena Ross, The Chronicle Herald, 31 October 2014

Former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page slammed Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a speech in Halifax on Thursday, comparing him to Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia.

Page, asked to speak about accountability in Ottawa, said he thinks Canada has changed so much in recent years, it needs a long, drawn-out American-style election to air all the important questions.

“I think what we’ve got in Ottawa right now is Putinesque. It’s control from the top down,” Page said at an annual fundraiser for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

It wasn’t complete disregard for the Tories, however.

“I respect them all,” Page said of Conservative federal leaders.

“In some ways they’re very good people, but they’re quite weak leaders in some ways. This is not leadership.”

Page said he hopes the upcoming elec…

Vancouver's Green Party first civic party to disclose donations

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[Well, all you other parties -- it's not as though it can't be done! *RON*]
Vancouver Observer, Oct 31st, 2014

The Green Party of Vancouver is the first civic party to disclose information regarding donors and donations of $100 or more, including in-kind donations, as well as a total sum of all donations under $100.

Green Party donations along with donations to the campaigns of School Board candidate Mischa Oak and City Councillor Adriane Carr were made available to the public early Friday.

From Jan. 1 to Oct. 29 , the Green Party received $36,489 in monetary contributions and $9,898 in-kind, with a grand total of $46,387. Click here to view the complete list.

All donations to individual candidate campaigns will be posted as soon as they are provided.

The Green Party of Vancouver is the only party currently on City Council that does not accept donations from developers. Donations over $5000, from fossil fuel companies and from outside of Cana…

New Respect Is Bestowed on Fiscal Policy

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[We already know this, but this is a notch above the average explanation. *RON*]

By Anatole Kaletsky, Reuters / New York Times, 30 October  2014

LONDON — With the shadow-boxing between France and Germany about European Union budget rules now over, with the Federal Reserve announcing an end to its bond purchases in the United States and with the Japanese government about to confirm its planned increase in consumption tax next year, macroeconomic policy all over the world is entering a period of unusual predictability.

Rightly or wrongly, the major advanced economies have reached a settled view on their economic policy choices and are very unlikely to change these in the next year or two, whether they succeed or fail. It therefore seems appropriate to consider what we can learn from all the policy experiments conducted around the world since the 2008 crisis.

The main lesson is that government decisions on taxes and public spending have turned out to b…

Vision-CUPE recording shows backroom deals standard fare in B.C.

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[An excellent illustration of the near-complete lack of transparency in election funding at the municipal level. The situation at the city level is far worse than it is at the federal or the provincial levels. Between them, unions and developers account for the vast majority of the money that funds municipal elections. This needs to be changed. *RON*]

Gary Mason, The Globe and Mail, 31 October 2014

On every level, evidence of a Vancouver city councillor making promises to a union ahead of a massive campaign donation is extremely damning.

In a tape recording obtained by freelance journalist Bob Mackin, Vision Vancouver alderman Geoff Meggs is heard making a pitch to a group of CUPE officials gathered in early October to discuss which parties the union should support in the civic election. Mr. Meggs first butters up the officers from Local 1004 by saying he couldn’t imagine the city functioning without the services of its members.

Then Mr. Meggs tells…

B.C. Liberals Masquerading As Harper Tories Destroy Legacy Of Climate Leadership

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[Find your MLA here using the MLA finder and let him or her know that you oppose this legislation! *RON*]

Andrew Weaver, MLA, Huffington Post, 31 October 2014

The week marked when the B.C. Liberals showed their true colours. On Monday, Oct. 20, the party took a page from the Harper Tories playbook and destroyed a legacy of climate leadership in British Columbia.

In what will become known as a defining moment in B.C. history, the B.C. Liberals introduced Bill 2 (Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act).

Bill 2 represents a shameful betrayal of future generations. It dismantles key elements of former premier Gordon Campbell's continent-leading climate policies. And it replaces these policies with a made-in-Alberta, Harper government approach that will instead allow for a dramatic increase in greenhouse gas emissions in B.C.

Back in 2008, I had the honour of working with Campbell, his environment minister Barry Penner and the climate act…

Harper's Silence On Anti-Muslim Backlash Disheartens Muslim Groups

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["The prime minister has not publicly uttered one word of support for Canadian Muslims" following two anti-Mulim hate crimes in the past weeks. Trudeau and Mulcair have both made statements denouncing these acts. *RON*]
By Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 1 November 2014

OTTAWA - Muslim groups are disappointed that Stephen Harper hasn't spoken out against a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes since two separate attacks by jihadist sympathizers left two Canadian soldiers dead last week.

The prime minister has not publicly uttered one word of support for Canadian Muslims following the incidents, which Harper and the RCMP have labelled acts of terrorism.

He's remained silent despite an apparent backlash against Muslims , including the defacing of a mosque in Cold Lake, Alta., racist slurs against Muslim candidates in Toronto's municipal election and threats against the B.C. Muslim Association.

In the latest incident…

Austerity and the law: Justice in a cold climate

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[As cuts take effect, the justice system is struggling to adapt. The effect is the same here in British Columbia, where the Liberals have made steep cuts to Legal Aid. Here too, justice is open to all, "just like the Hotel Vancouver." *RON*]
The Economist, 1 November 2014

SIR JAMES MATHEW, an Irish judge at the turn of the 20th century, is said to have quipped that justice in England is open to all, “like the Ritz Hotel”. Some worry that it is going that way again. Until last year, even those who could not afford lawyers could seek redress in areas such as family law or housing disputes. No longer. Seeking to cut Britain’s budget deficit, the government has slashed legal aid. But in doing so, it has failed to reform the system.

Legal aid costs England and Wales around £2 billion ($3.2 billion) a year. That figure has remained steady for the past decade. It is expensive compared with other European countries, partly because of the system’…