Showing posts from May 9, 2015

Harper Vows No 'Permanent Underclass' Of Temporary Foreign Workers While He's PM

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[Just a temporary underclass. "Since I have, obviously, already been caught, simply, doing exactly this and, clearly, there is an election coming." *RON*]
By Mike Blanchfield, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 8 May 2015

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday he doesn't want to create a permanent underclass in Canada because of problems with the temporary foreign worker program.

Harper made the comment as he hosted Philippines President Benigno Aquino, on the second day of his Canadian visit.

Harper touted the Philippines as a great source of immigration to Canada and he expects those levels to grow. "This is a pro-immigration government," he said.

But Filipinos are among the many communities in Canada affected by changes to the temporary foreign worker program.

With a federal election in the offing this fall and with 700,000 Canadians of Filipino descent making up one of the country's larger diaspora comm…

Russia seeks extradition of alleged Nazi war criminal living in Quebec

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[A nicely-played bit of realpolitik by Putin because it plays into his, certainly partly truthful, narrative about how the West supports fascist elements in Ukraine, and Harper does little to help his case by squirmingly changing the subject. Putin is also well aware of the fact that Harper normally counts on the pro-Israel Jewish vote. *RON*]

Steven Chase, The Globe and Mail, 8 May 2015

Russian authorities are asking Canada to extradite an alleged war criminal of Ukrainian ancestry who’s lived here for more than 60 years, a request that appears designed to embarrass Ottawa while relations with Moscow remain frosty over President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, a law enforcement body that reports only to Mr. Putin, on Friday called on Canada to deliver Vladimir Katriuk, a Quebec beekeeper now in his 90s, to Moscow so he can be tried for alleged war crimes.

Jewish groups have long urged …

The Alamo and Walmart

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[On "freedom," guns, and the funny ways in which right wing nuttery divides against itself. This piece is on the branch of American politics which states that guns are always good, as long as they are wielded by private citizens without government interference or control, but otherwise they are clear evidence that Big Government via "the military is going to stage a takeover via the tunnels under Walmart." *RON*]

Gail Collins, New York Times, 8 May 2015

Have you noticed that Utah doesn’t seem to be worried about a military takeover?

This was not a sentence I had ever envisioned writing. Yet here we are. A military training exercise is in the works for the Southwest this summer, and conspiracy theories are abloom. It’s hard not to be enthralled when Walmart denies that tunnels are being built under its stores to ferry troops into Texas where they will tear up the Constitution and confiscate everybody’s guns.

Hey, no laughing matte…

Stop-Go Austerity and Self-Defeating Recoveries

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[" guess is that we’re looking at an era of stop-go austerity, in which politicians who refuse to learn the right lessons from history doom their citizens to repeat it." *RON*]
Paul Krugman, New York Times, 8 May 2015

Sometimes good things happen to bad ideas. Actually, it happens all the time. Britain’s election results came as a surprise, but they were consistent with the general proposition that elections hinge not on an incumbent’s overall record but on whether things are improving in the six months or so before the vote. Cameron and company imposed austerity for a couple of years, then paused, and the economy picked up enough during the lull to give them a chance to make the same mistakes all over again.

They’ll probably seize that chance. And given the continuing weakness of British fundamentals – high household debt, a soaring trade deficit, etc. – there’s a good chance that the resumption of austerity will usher in another e…

A telling 24 hours in Stephen Harper’s world

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["If one were to draw up an indictment of this government’s approach to politics and the public purpose, one might mention its wholesale contempt for Parliament, its disdain for the Charter of Rights and the courts’ role in upholding it, its penchant for secrecy, its chronic deceitfulness, its deepening ethical problems, its insistence on taking, at all times, the lowest, crudest path to its ends, its relentless politicization of everything. But you’d think you would need to look back over its record over several years to find examples. You wouldn’t think to see them all spread before you in the course of a single day." See also: A bad news week for the Prime Minister. *RON*]

Andrew Coyne, National Post, 8 May 2015

Thursday was a busy day for the Harper government. Consider just some of what went on:

There was the continuing fallout over the revelation that officials in the Prime Minister’s Office had posted two videos online, taken duri…

Author Q&A: Journalist Andrew MacLeod charts B.C.’s growing income inequality

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[It would be interesting to go listen to him talk on Tuesday. I've put in a request with my library to buy this book. *RON*]

Vancouver Sun, 8 May 2015

A Better Place on Earth: The Search for Fairness in Super Unequal British Columbia

by Andrew MacLeod

Harbour Publishing

Victoria journalist Andrew MacLeod’s A Better Place on Earth provides an in-depth analysis of income inequality in B.C. MacLeod says British Columbia has the highest rate of inequality in Canada and that the top 10 per cent in B.C. holds more than half the wealth. While fortunes of the rich grow exponentially, the rest of the population’s income is stagnant or even declining, he says.

Q: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind writing A Better Place on Earth?

A: I’ve been interested in economic justice for a long time. I remember as a child in the 1970s, having lived a fairly sheltered life, wondering why there were people begging when most the people I knew had nice hom…