Showing posts from January 28, 2015

Grizzly bear population at risk as B.C. Liberal government aligns with trophy hunters

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[We will need all those grizzly pelts to mop up the oil spills. The photo of Christy ("Will it buy me a vote?") Clark in the bad-guy black cowboy hat is priceless. Winner of the understatement award winner for 2015: "We make our decisions based on data and science and sometimes with the government’s policies it doesn't necessarily feel like those things are lining up." *RON*]

Third in a series investigating B.C.'s trophy hunt. Read part one and two for the whole story.

Claire Hume, Vancouver Observer, 27 January 2015

Dressed in a black cowboy hat, B.C. Premier Christy Clark beams at the camera as she accepts the President's Award from the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. The year is 2012, and the outfitters are gathered for their annual convention in Kelowna. Clark has just announced new regulatory changes to benefit the hunting guides to cheers and applause.

"So awesome to have Premier Clark in attendanc…

Tory Tax Relief Gives Least To Middle Earners, Documents Show

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[Wonderful photo selection! :-) Surprise, surprise - Harper's election promises amount to yet a further wealth transfer from the 99% to the 1%. Notice that these statistics had to be pried from Harper's hands using the Access to Information Act which, also unsurprisingly, received some of the biggest budget cuts across the whole of government. *RON*]
By Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 28 January 2015

OTTAWA -- Of all the families eligible for the Conservative government's controversial family tax-and-benefit measures this year, those earning between $30,000 and $60,000 will see by far the smallest windfall, internal Finance Department numbers show.

The government's own breakdown shows families within that income bracket in 2015 will receive average relief of $660, just slightly more than half the overall average of $1,140 for all eligible families -- those with children under 18.

By comparison, the figures sho…

Spain's Andalusia region to call early polls in test for Socialists

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[This is pretty much a direct response to the victory of Syriza in Greece - the worm slowly continues turning. *RON*]

By Reuters, Daily Mail Online, 26 January 2015

MADRID, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Spain's southern Andalusia region has called early elections for March 22, in a key vote for the opposition Socialist Party which runs the area and is struggling to win support as a general election looms.

The head of Andalusia's government, local Socialist leader Susana Diaz, announced the decision to bring forward the polls by a year, complaining that her leftist coalition was unstable.

The regional ballot will add to an already charged political calendar for Spain, with a new central government to be elected by year-end, municipal polls across the country in May and polls in northeastern Catalonia in September.

It will also pit the Socialists in a traditional regional stronghold against the one-year-old, anti-establishment party Podemos (We Can), whic…

Income inequality in dollars, sense

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[A response to an opinion piece on CEO compensation by the Fraser Institute. "The average worker would have to put in 330 years of work to match [RBC CEO] Nixon's one! Views about income inequality are exaggerated?" The point on 'available statistics' is excellent. *RON*]

Mark Dineen, Hamilton Spectator, 28 January 2015

Take a second look at gap in pay scale (Opinion, Jan. 24)

So the Fraser Institute — funded for years by the multibillionaire Koch brothers who've given tens of millions of dollars to projects that help fight taxes and trade unions — tells us that corporate CEOs are being unfairly maligned for making too much money.

Charles Lammam and Hugh MacIntyre — whose Aug. 28, 2014, report asserted that the more heavily the labour relations field is tilted in favour of corporate employers, the more "balanced" it is, because strong unions, fair minimum wages and plenty of public sector jobs undermine growth and…

Thanks a lot, austerity! We could have had 2014's economic recovery in 2011.

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[Notice, among other things, the monetarist argument that "high-spending fiscal policy won't boost the economy, since any increase in demand will be tamped down by the central bank." This is only true if you happen to be following neoliberal economic policies to begin with, and drive interest rates up the instant you smell anything remotely resembling inflation (and, to neoliberals, everything smells like inflation, which they fear more than the devil himself). And yet, "Only in mid-2014 do we get [government spending] back to positive territory — and hey presto! At just that time both the job market and GDP posted the best numbers in years." *RON*]

Ryan Cooper,, 28 January 2015

Last year boasted the strongest job numbers since 1999, and as a result, many commentators have concluded that left-wing critics of austerity were wrong all along. The basic case — advanced byJeff Sachs, Scott Sumner, and others — is th…

New Tory anti-terror bill will walk fine line distinguishing between free expression and inciting terrorism: Jason Kenney

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[See also - actually, see first - On Terrorism, Harper is all Talk and No Walk. In terms of whether our spy agencies already have power aplenty, see today's CSE Tracks Millions Of Downloads Daily: Snowden Documents. When Kenney himself describes it this way (and why is the Employment Minister speaking to this?), you know the trampling of rights must be egregious. Notice also how the video interview evidence will most likely not be released by the RCMP - raising the suspicion that hearing Zehaf Bibeau in person may contradict the Prime Minister's messaging on these events. *RON*]

Canadian Press in the National Post, 28 January 2015

OTTAWA — There’s a fine line between legitimate religious expression and inciting terrorism, says Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney.

It’s that line the government will be walking — carefully — in its new anti-terrorism bill, expected to be unveiled Friday.

The bill is the government’s long-awaited legis…

Fresh details of 'savage' Tiananmen massacre emerge in embassy cables

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[The cone of silence will never be raised until all who could be held accountable are long gone. In confidential embassy memos Canadian diplomats describe China's rulers as "a group of vicious elderly generals" who tried to sneak money out of the country. Via my friend Harry. *RON*]
By Tom Phillips, The Telegraph, 27 January 2015
As the 1989 Tiananmen protests shook Beijing, top Communist Party leaders approached Swiss diplomats about sending "very significant amounts of money" to bank accounts in their country, it has been claimed.

The claim appears in a trove of confidential diplomatic cables from the Canadian embassy in Beijing that has been published nearly 26 years after the deadly crackdown on protesters on June 4 1989.

The messages were obtained from Canada's national archives by Tom Korski, a former Beijing correspondent for the South China Morning Post newspaper.

One of the most explosive allegations in "tho…