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Showing posts from February 6, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada strikes down ban on doctor-assisted suicide

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[Announced six minutes ago. Let's see if Harper will try to fight this during an election year. He has made it his habit in several areas to try to force his particular religious sect's views on the rest of Canada though he is enough of a political realist that he has largely avoided bringing the abortion debate into parliament. *RON*]

National Post Staff and Canadian Press, 6 February 2015

The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously struck down the ban on doctor-assisted suicide, opening the door for consenting, terminally ill adults to control the method, timing and circumstances of their death.

The historic and groundbreaking decision from the country’s top court sweeps away the existing law and gives Parliament a year to draft new legislation that recognizes the right of clearly consenting adults who are enduring intolerable suffering to seek medical help ending their lives.

The judgment, which is unsigned to reflect the unanimous ins…

Oil companies put Arctic projects into deep freeze

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[At least the slump in oil prices provides a little good news in the form of a reprieve for the Arctic. This also stems, in part, from the sanctions against Russia. *RON*]

Richard Milne, Christopher Adams and Ed Crooks, Financial Times, 5 February 2015



Within weeks a giant oil platform made in South Korea will begin its journey round the tip of Africa to a Norwegian fiord deep in the Arctic Circle.

The platform will then be towed 60km off the northern coast of Norway to play its role in the first oil production from the Norwegian Arctic. The Goliat field, operated by Italy’s Eni, will be the northernmost offshore oil production site in the world.

At about the same time, a drilling rig will leave Singapore for the remote Chukchi Sea, northwest of Alaska. One of two contracted by Royal Dutch Shell, the pair will wait for winter sea ice to clear before starting a summer drilling campaign in the US Arctic.

In spite of objections from environmental campai…

Chomsky and Kissinger: Don't Increase US Military Involvement in Ukraine

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[The Ukraine/Russia crisis has made for some strange bed fellows! Both men argue U.S. military involvement there would be a "historic tragedy." *RON*]

By Kevin Zeese / AlterNet, 5 February 2015

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering sending more weapons to Ukraine — $3 billion worth. The Times reports: “Secretary of State John Kerry, who plans to visit Kiev on Thursday [Feb. 5], is open to new discussions about providing lethal assistance, as is Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, officials said.”

This follows Defense News reporting that this spring the United States will be sending troops to train the Ukrainian National Guard and commence the shipping of U.S.-funded armored vehicles. The funding for this is coming from the congressionally-authorized Global Security Contingency Fund, which was requested by the Obama administration in the fiscal year 2015 budget to …

B.C. Open Government Went From 'Key Priority' To 'What's That?'

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[In 2011, the Liberal government's 3 priorities were: 1) open government, 2) job creation, 3) putting families first. What has happened to any of them? *RON*]
Dermod Travis, Executive Director, IntegrityBC / Huffington Post, 5 February 2015


A little more than four years ago, a candidate for the leadership of the B.C. Liberal party -- Christy Clark -- set out her plan to regain public trust through a series of open government initiatives that she committed to following through on if chosen by party members.

Four years later -- despite her pledge -- British Columbians are routinely greeted with reports of government secrecy: Mount Polley inquiry: 150 pages withheld by the B.C. government; Marcia McNeil report on health firings: parts of Appendix C and all of Appendix D withheld; key information about new Okanagan jail locked away.

This wasn't the public's expectation when Clark said that she was going to lead the most open and transparent…

SIRC's mixed record in watching Canada's spies — remember Air India?

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["CSIS oversight by the Security Intelligence Review Commitee has included disturbing gaps in vigilance." Oversight was terrible back when CSIS talked to SIRC. Now they simply lie to them. Once again, the only group looking out for Canadian interests is the Supreme Court, see CSIS Overseas Spying To Be Reviewed By Supreme Court*RON*]

By Terry Milewski, CBC News, 5 February 2015

External Links

Federal Court: 2013 ruling on security warrant
SIRC annual report, 2013-14

(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

Oversight, oversight. Now that we've seen the sweeping new powers in the government's anti-terrorism bill, everybody wants oversight.

But we already have it, says the government. Don't worry, the prime minister tells the House of Commons, SIRC is there and SIRC will do the job just fine. It "provides robust oversight," he says.

Of course, if you asked a hundred Canad…

Chevron pulls back on BC LNG work amid slumping energy prices

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[One egg, one basket; it falls apart. See also BC Liberals sponsored by Woodfibre LNG at swanky fundraiser: "That treads very close to that thin line between legitimate fundraising and influence peddling," said a Howe Sound resident, concerned with Woodfibre LNG. *RON*]

by Common Sense Canadian, 4 February 2015

Read this Jan. 30 story from Bloomberg on Chevron, the latest would-be LNG investor in BC to get cold feet amid slumping oil and Asian LNG prices.
(Bloomberg) — Chevron Corp. is significantly slowing spending on the Kitimat liquefied natural gas project in Canada amid a crash in crude prices and global competition. The San Ramon, California-based producer’s move follows Petroliam Nasional Bhd.’s December delay of a final investment decision on its C$36 billion ($28 billion) Canadian LNG project and BG Group Plc’s pause of development at its Pacific Coast proposal in the country in October. “People are pretty cautious right now i…

Harpernomics 101: Oil, debt and fantasy math

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[Desconstructing the myth of the Conservatives as expert fiscal stewards. *RON*]
By Elizabeth May, M.P., iPolitics, 4 February 2015

Stephen Harper’s fiscal strategy is being undermined by an economic nightmare. This one isn’t coming out of the eurozone or the United States. No, this time it’s the prime minister’s own policies that are the nightmare.

True, Canada rode out the 2008 financial meltdown better than most. Our prime minister was quick to take credit for that, but the credit should have gone to the previous administration for rejecting the banking industry’s demands for deregulation. Ironically, had Harper’s party succeeded in persuading the government of the day to accede in the banks’ demands, he would have had a much rougher ride.

He was lucky — lucky that our banks were regulated and unable to join in the high-risk global derivatives market, lucky that he had inherited large surpluses. Even before the financial crisis hit, Harper shifte…