Showing posts from January 29, 2015

Bill for Stephen Harper’s annual Arctic trips tops $3.4M

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[Canadians paid millions, excluding apparently top secret RCMP costs, to send Stephen Harper on his annual northern sojourns, where he could wave his magical phallic turd over the land. It's all about resource extraction and the militarization of the North in order to trumpet sovereignty over said resources. Hungry Northeners who will have to bear the brunt of the inevitable environmental degradation do not enter into Harper's equations. *RON*]
By: Alex Boutilier Staff Reporter, Published on Tue Jan 27 2015

OTTAWA—The Canadian public paid more than $2.6 million — excluding security costs — to send Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his annual northern trips between 2006 and 2013.

Federal departments and agencies reported $2,650,442 in costs for the August Arctic trip, which Harper has made every year since taking power in 2006.

The total cost of the trips to taxpayers is likely much higher, however. The RCMP, which adds hundreds of thousands …

Government rejects formal request to make public cost of Iraq mission

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[I wonder where this money-maker for The Friends of the Conservative Party will be buried in the upcoming fudge-it budget? We can't afford our federal information watchdog, or spend money to ensure the safety of oil and gas transport by rail or tanker, or guarantee clean drinking water for Aboriginal people, or health services for refugees, or guarantee benefits to veterans, or erase our shameful record on child poverty. Yet somehow we cobble together the money for wars with unspecified mandates, bank bail-outs, tax cuts for the rich, subsidies for giant oil companies, and Chinese pandas. But ignore all that because we have a surplus (really, we do!), and we're smiling, so vote for us because we're financially responsible. *RON*]
Lee Berthiaume, Ottawa Citizen, 27 January 2015

The Conservative government has doubled down on its refusal to reveal the price of fighting the Islamic State in Iraq, meaning Canadians may not know the war’s …

Government Paid $180,000 To Run Empty Mining Ombudsman Office

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[You can just hear the closed-door conversation: "Uhm, Stephen, actually, human rights and environmental violation is our business model!" A corporatocratic fairy tale: "The counsellor was supposed to investigate Canadian mining companies alleged to have abused human rights or inflicted environmental damage while operating abroad. But McKay says it's a 'toothless, Potemkin office' that can only look into allegations of human rights violations if the company involved agrees to an investigation." *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 28 January 2015

OTTAWA - The Harper government spent more than $180,000 last year to run the office of a corporate social responsibility counsellor for the Canadian mining industry — even though there was no counsellor.

The government says it cost $181,600 to operate the office from October 2013 to October 2014.

However, the position of counsellor was vacant all that time and rem…

'Whose body is this?': The right to die with dignity revisited

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[Dying With Dignity Canada is one of the civil society groups that Harper has had stripped of their charitable tax status. Sorry, of course I mean to say that Canada Revenue, that bastion of arms-length independent thought, stripped this group, which coincidentally holds views abhorred by the Ayatollah Stephen Harper and his church, of its charitable tax status. *RON*]
By Pro Bono, Llauren Blumas,, 29 January 2015

Over the holiday season a story out of Winnipeg grabbed the attention of the Canadian public. The story went something like this: an elderly woman fell in the home she shared with her middle‑aged son. She was injured in the fall and left unable to get up under her own power. Her son, apparently carrying out the wishes of his mother, did not call for emergency assistance and did not move her to bed. Instead, the 62‑year-old covered his mother with a blanket where she lay and provided her with food and water until she passed awa…

Alexis Tsipras begins rolling back Greek austerity policies

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["We won’t get into a mutually destructive clash, but we will not continue a policy of subjection," said Tsipras. New prime minister says there is no time to waste, as privatisation programme demanded by EU and IMF is put on hold. See also Bank of England governor attacks eurozone austerity. A predictable response in the Wall Street Journal: "confrontation course... debt-ridden... The eurozone is unlikely to back a cut to Greek debt... investors will remain nervous." It will now be interesting to see what happens with the socialist party in the upcoming election in Andalucia. *RON*]

Helena Smith, The Guardian, 28 January 2015
In a dramatic start to his tenure in office, Greece’s new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has begun unpicking the deeply unpopular austerity policies underpinning the debt-stricken country’s bailout programme.

After storming to power on Sunday, the leftwinger said there was no time to waste. “We will cont…