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General

Alberta Diary: The Amazing Race, Alberta Political Edition: can the Tories find their missing mojo?

Posted September 30, 2014 by David Climenhaga

Opposition party members prepare to run against the Progressive Conservative candidates, uncertain why they are being made to race with sacks on their feet while the Tories aren’t. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. New faces below: The NDP’s Jennifer Burgess; the Tories’ Mike Ellis.

Premier Jim Prentice called a news conference yesterday morning in Calgary and announced, as widely expected, that he and his two likewise-unelected cabinet ministers will run in by-elections to be held within the shortest time frame legally possible.

Unexpected was that Mr. Prentice himself would run for the Progressive Conservative Party in (Read more…)

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Art

Dispatches from the Yacht War of 2035

Posted September 29, 2014 by Annalee Newitz

You could make a lot of cash if you were a yacht captain with military training and a death wish. Defending the perimeter of a coastal estate wasn’t the cushy job it was back in the twenties. But there was a certain thrill in launching a missile from …

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Canadian Politics

Sun Media apologizes to Justin Trudeau for Ezra Levant’s on-air wedding photo rant

Posted September 29, 2014 by The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Sun Media apologized on Monday for an on-air rant by its outspoken provocateur, Ezra Levant, about Justin Trudeau and the Liberal leader’s famous parents. The apology aired at the beginning of Levant’s Sun News Network show. It was read […]

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Capitalism

Bill Longstaff: Will capitalists save us from global warming?

Posted September 29, 2014 by Bill Longstaff

In her latest book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Naomi Klein argues that if we are to defeat climate change we must defeat capitalism. At this week’s UN climate summit in New York, a number of corporate leaders seemed determined to prove her wrong.

For example, a group of investment institutions that included pension funds and corporate asset managers promised to “

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General

cartoon life: Speaker of the House, Andrew Scheer

Posted September 29, 2014 by dougrogers

Filed under: caricature, comment, photo Tagged: politics

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General

“How Did This Turn Into A Flirty Thing?” Amy Acker Talks Root And Shaw

Posted September 29, 2014 by Charlie Jane Anders

The new season of Person of Interest plunged us into a dystopian A.I.-monitored world. And all of a sudden, Root is the linchpin of everything, as she helps the undercover Machine Gang. We talked to Amy Acker about Root’s new role, her flirtation with…

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General

Law enforcement, media urged to avoid using terms linking Islam with terrorism

Posted September 29, 2014 by Douglas Quan

Canada’s law enforcement and intelligence communities should resist conflating religion with radicalization and avoid using terms such as “Islamist terrorism,” “Islamic extremism” and “jihad,” says a new handbook released Monday by a group of national Islamic associations aimed at countering […]

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General

ParliamANT Hill: ConservAntives attempt to dodge vote on NDP bid to boost Speaker’s powers

Posted September 29, 2014 by Jim Sadlemyer

Inspired by these headlines: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/conservatives-attempt-to-dodge-vote-on-ndp-bid-to-boost-speaker-s-powers-1.2781264

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/paul-calandra-apologizes-for-non-answers-as-sources-pin-blame-on-pmo-1.2779046

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General

QP Live: As the House wonders about relevancy

Posted September 29, 2014 by Nick Taylor-Vaisey

Your daily dose of political theatre

The post QP Live: As the House wonders about relevancy appeared first on Macleans.ca.

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Feminism

Are you a feminist? (Not a trick question)

Posted September 29, 2014 by Amanda Shendruk

Q. How many men feel comfortable calling themselves feminist? A. Define feminist.

The post Are you a feminist? (Not a trick question) appeared first on Macleans.ca.

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General

The week everyone was worried about Parliament

Posted September 28, 2014 by Aaron Wherry

Will next week be any different?

The post The week everyone was worried about Parliament appeared first on Macleans.ca.

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Canadian Politics

Andrew Coyne: The real problem with Parliament is its shared culture of cynicism and gall

Posted September 26, 2014 by Andrew Coyne

It may have suited the government to humiliate Paul Calandra today. But nothing else has changed, and on past form nothing will

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General

So people know…

Posted September 26, 2014 by Anonymous

I  read this story first thing this morning. I thought: “Should I post this so people know?” and decided not to. Too sick. A little later,  my 18 year old daughter talked to me about her job, which she loves. She serves at a deli counter. She talked about crazy customers, rude and aggressive. Then she […]

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General

Government MP gives rare tearful apology in House of Commons for failing to answer questions

Posted September 26, 2014 by David Akin

Paul Calandra, the Conservative MP who is also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, gave a tearful apology today in the House of Commons for the way he failed to answer questions put to him during Question Period earlier this week from Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair.   I accept @PaulCalandra’s apology. I hope he […]

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Crime

Houston, we have a problem: Small numbers of voters in municipal elections a big problem for many cities- Surrey included

Posted September 25, 2014 by Laila

I tweeted out some stark reminders of Surrey’s last election today: Population of Surrey: approx. 472,000, estimated to grow by about a 1000 every month Number of registered voters : 279,051 as per the last election in 2011 Number of … Continue reading

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General

Under Construction

Posted September 25, 2014 by Faye Sonier

We are undergoing some site maintenance that will be impacting the general look, feel, and functionality of the website. Thanks for your patience! This should only take a few days.
 

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Canadian Politics

Christie Blatchford: If Tuesday’s mayoral debate is what counts as serious in Toronto, God help us all

Posted September 24, 2014 by Christie Blatchford

How on Earth do you counter someone like Mr. Ford, whose extravagant claims are a complete stranger to the facts?

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General

The NDP ask a lot of Canada’s PM: Be in two places at once

Posted September 23, 2014 by David Akin

Moments after speaking in the House of Commons Tuesday (above), NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair told reporters in the House of Commons foyer (my emphasis): You know, as far as we’re concerned, when you ask a question that corresponds to all the rules on a very important subject of national concern like Canada’s involvement in a […]

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General

At the UN, Conservative Christian Agenda Cloaked in Human Rights Language

Posted September 23, 2014 by Austin Dacey

U.S. conservatives join forces with authoritarian regimes at the UN to resist LGBTQ rights

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General

New gendercide petition

Posted September 23, 2014 by Faye Sonier

Read more here.

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General

No, conception is not accidental

Posted September 22, 2014 by Faye Sonier

During two of my son’s naps today,  I read some academic pro-choice philosophy. I came across some discussion by professors Laurie Shrage and Elizabeth Brake on “forced fatherhood.” They are addressing the pro-choice tension where mothers are free to abort their children, but if children are born, fathers are not free to walk away from […]

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General

Blast from the past

Posted September 22, 2014 by Andrea Mrozek

This article is from January 2014. How civilized: As horrifying as the killing of newborns seems to modern people, in ancient Rome, babies weren’t considered fully human upon birth, Mays said. Instead, they gained humanity over time, first with their naming a few days after birth, and later when they cut teeth and could eat […]

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Capitalism

Vancouver’s little “People’s March” against climate change

Posted September 21, 2014 by JR

Purely by accident (I swear) I saw the noisy, Big Green sponsored mob go by on W Georgia St.  Appropriately, it began at the CBC building.

The turnout was small.

Veronica Alice (pictured) expressed an opinion to the Vancouver Sun:
“It’s the system that got us in the mess,” said Alice. “It’s the system that needs to change. …”

A sentiment straight out of the “Occupy” protest.  Mess? What mess?  These highly privileged ingrates protest the system that brought them (and billions more around the world) whatever wealth, freedom and and life expectancy they enjoy.  It is the best it has been in the history of mankind, and getting better.  They should be celebrating that system, not protesting it and advocating its demise.  If these foolish dupes and useful idiots have their way, their (and our) children’s futures will be very, very bleak indeed.

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General

Abortion: Not merely private and personal

Posted September 21, 2014 by Andrea Mrozek

This article is not about abortion. It’s about India, and why her booms have been busts. But this part interests: The dystopic details don’t end there. The use of new technology to abort fetuses selectively has led to a rapidly declining female-to-male birth ratio, with a nationwide average of 914 girls per 1,000 boys in […]

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General

The Hitler Parody Video the New Brunswick Liberals Don’t Want You To See!

Posted September 20, 2014 by David Akin

New Brunswickers vote Monday in their 38th general election. They will decided either to keep incumbent Premier David Alward and his Progressive Conservative government or choose Liberal Brian Gallant as their new premier. Only PCs and Liberals had seats in the legislature at dissolution but the NDP, led by Dominic Cardy, believe they have a […]

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Abortion

Take Action for Reproductive Justice in the Maritimes & Across Canada

Posted September 20, 2014 by Anonymous

In April, when New Brunswick’s Morgentaler Clinic announced it would be forced to close, the barriers to accessing abortion in the Maritimes came to national attention. Now, with the New Brunswick election on September 23 and the federal election coming in 2015, reproductive justice activists across Canada are hoping to keep the momentum going for […]

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General

Managers justify generous treatment of managers

Posted September 20, 2014 by Norm Farrell

In 2013, the consulting firm Ernst & Young was hired to review trends in compensation across the BC Public Sector. It is now available through the Legislature’s public documents.

Reports of this kind are almost worthless documents of political propaganda. The only important question asked of the executives who commissioned it was the one aimed at determining what the report should say. Inevitably, consultants who hope for more assignments, pander to the interests of the senior managers who hire them. That leads to recommendations like this:

“Based on the market reviews, it is possible that some of the lower levels (e.g. administrative positions) may be above market and could require “adjustment down” over time. This is an assumption not based on analysis of BC data but on a literature review of typical public/ private benchmarking in Canada, and comments from stakeholders in BC…

“It is believed that the Strategic Leadership group and other key management roles are compensated at a lower level than Canadian and Federal peers, and it is therefore anticipated that bands would need to be adjusted up…”

I will translate the bureaucratese:

“Most public service workers are paid too much and deserve less. We can’t demonstrate that to be true but it is regularly stated by groups like the Fraser Institute, Business Council of BC (BCBC), Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA), the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), the BC Chamber of Commerce, the Coalition of BC Businesses and other “stakeholders” that we admire.

“BC’s top managers, the people who arranged for this report, are paid too little for their loyal and dedicated service and deserve significantly more money. We can’t demonstrate that to be true either but it feels right and they sign our cheques.”

The report echoes assertions of the rabid Fraser Institute (6 mentions), BCBC (6), ICBA (4), CFIB (17) and CTF (8). It is based largely on the opinions and one-sided research of deconstructionist organizations who might believe that equality and democratic government are failed experiments but certainly hold that fair wages and organized labour are the bane of any economy. Here is a sample:

“The vast majority of Regional and Local Government workers are part of large and sophisticated unions. Even local Government unions, for example, are local chapters of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which is a member of the Canadian Labour Congress. CUPE provides even small local unions with sophisticated assistance for bargaining and contract negotiations. (See Appendix C-15).

“Without a coordinated response to organized labour, there is a real risk, that unions can divide and conquer…”

Yes, that ought to appeal to the BC Liberal base. A union worker is the bogeyman, backed by the wealth of fellow members who unfairly pool resources by kicking two or three hours of wages each month into union coffers. From that, they’ve been known to coordinate with others who share objectives and fund research staffs and create advertising and economic research that treats the labour movement fairly. (It’s OK though if business groups make efforts for themselves and use funding from billionaires in China.)

Not that government would ever try sophisticated efforts to manipulate opinion, except for the almost 300 “communications” people working for the BC Liberal government, the numerous PR agencies with budgets of millions, reports of consultants like Ernst & Young, the army of “social influencers” and the captured corporate media that has come to rely on preferential treatment and handouts of packaged stories, leaks, hospitality and financial rewards. Nor would the well funded astroturfers and big business groups aim to divide and conquer the proponents of equal opportunity and protection of the environment.

Northern Insight has previously spotlighted the generous treatment of senior public servants. For example, the top five executives at BC Investment Management Corporation went from $1.9 million in 2007 to $5.8 million in 2014, an increase of 310% for people already earning in the high 6-figures. Compare that to a “greedy” school teacher earning in the mid 5-figures who, after three years of 0%, gains 0% in the first year of a six-year agreement that totals 7.25%, certainly less than the rate of inflation.

While the thrust of this report from Ernst & Young is more for the big guys and less for the little guys, they did note the potential for political embarrassment when word spreads about overly rich compensation in government agencies that thumb their noses at restraint in executive suites. They note one that Northern Insight revealed,

“In 2013, it was made public that BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan made more than the top three Washington State Ferries executives combined.”

By the way, Corrigan made about double the combined earnings of the three highest paid WSF executives. Apparently, there is no possible solution to that situation because, as the consultants report,

“Under its legislation, BC Ferry Authority is only required to align executive compensation in BC Ferries to peers in Canada which thereby excludes Washington state ferries.”

Addendum:
A Pulitzer Prize winning article by the Wall Street Journal in 2002 demonstrates that runaway compensation for executives has been a fact of life for many years. Fuzzy disclosure rules and incomplete public information enable business leaders to focus their best creative energy on their own pay packages.

Other good reads:

Fatter Cats: Executive Pay and American Inequality

Top 10 highest paid hedge fund managers

Ten Highest Paid CEOs

Executive compensation: Canada’s 100 top-paid CEOs

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General

Is this pro-choice? Really?

Posted September 19, 2014 by Andrea Mrozek

Seriously, I’m asking. I am certainly pro-life. I acknowledge that, and I see things through that lense, that worldview. But can anyone, pro-choice or pro-life watch this girl recite her poem and not feel a sinking sense of pain? That is what I felt. She spent way too much time describing how she would have […]

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General

Speak now, or forever suffer FIPA

Posted September 19, 2014 by Erich Jacoby-Hawkins
If you want to hide a story from the public, release it late on a Friday afternoon, with no fanfare.

This past Friday, the government quietly announced they had ratified the FIPA trade pact with China. Negotiated secretly and signed by Prime Minister Harper in Vladivostok, Russia, 2 years ago, ratification had been delayed under protest from many sectors about its flaws.

Franke James‘ nightmare is now our reality
And what flaws they are! Essentially, this treaty allows Chinese companies, including state-owned enterprises, to sue Canada for any new law or regulation they feel threatens their profits. So laws to protect our environment, health, resources, jobs, culture, or values are now subject to Chinese approval! But in keeping with the secrecy under which this accord was negotiated and signed, those lawsuits will be secret until an award is issued by the unelected tribunal; if a settlement is reached, it might never be made public at all, even if it involves paying huge sums of our tax money to Chinese companies!
And unlike NAFTA, which has similar (although much weaker) investor-state provisions but can be cancelled with only six months’ notice, this trade deal locks us in for at least 31 years. Yes, that means the next 7 governments, regardless of who we elect, are bound by it.

At least we had a good debate on this first, right? Wrong. There were no public hearings or consultations, no vote in Parliament, and only a single hour of discussion in committee. If, as proponents argue, this deal is such an amazing advance for Canadian interests, why were all of us supposed beneficiaries kept in the dark? Government should be eager to trumpet good new trade initiatives.

Outstanding court challenges should have prevented ratification, especially a rather solid one from the tiny Hupacasath First Nation. Caring greatly about our future, they have been on the forefront, trying to protect all of our constitutional rights. They know what it’s like to have your rights stolen away, and this deal will overrule not only indigenous rights but also those of our provinces, municipalities, and federal government. And even though their ruling has yet to be reviewed, the Harper government has gone ahead and ratified, also apparently not caring that this pact probably violates the Canadian constitution.

Who benefits? The main winners look to be huge Chinese enterprises, including state-owned ones, looking to buy up more of our resources and expand tar sands extraction, for example. This deal seems like nothing more than a sacrifice of most of our values for the sake of some big investment money to dig up more dirty bitumen to ship to China, at the cost of our air, water, and forests.

Can we stop being locked into this horrible deal? We’re told we live in a democracy, so let’s try. Greens, NDP, and to an extent Liberal MPs have gone on the record against this, even some Conservative supporters and Cabinet members have expressed reservations, so we’re not starting from square one. Sign this or similar petitions hosted by other groups. Write letters to the editor to show your outrage. Contact your MP and demand your concerns be raised in the House. Make your voice heard, or for the next 31 years hold your peace!

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as “China deal all but hidden from  public
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
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General

Feminism: Bewitched by Abortion

Posted September 19, 2014 by Faye Sonier

Just came across this quote while doing some research. Thoughts? When arguing for their own equality, feminists condemn the unethical use of power by which men have usurped the rights of women. The price of men’s privilege, they conclude, has been paid by women, and the price is too high. Feminists believe that rights must […]

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General

Deciding what a woman does with her body, long gone?

Posted September 19, 2014 by Andrea Mrozek

…But deciding what a woman must think–now that is totally kosher. Really ridiculous for Justin Trudeau to tweet this, that the days “when old men get to decide what a woman does with her body are long gone.” Apparently the days of dictating thought are here to stay? I hope people realize what is happening […]

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Feminism

Star Trek’s Official Facebook Page Needs to Tackle Sexist, Racist and Homophobic Comments

Posted September 18, 2014 by Anonymous

I grew up watching and loving Star Trek, and just over a year ago I started a side blog called Trekkie Feminist. It wasn’t long after that my attention was drawn to a post filled with some pretty grossly sexist replies on the official Star Trek Facebook page, which is run by StarTrek.com, under CBS. Since then I’ve […]

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General

The 2014 Summertime “Ottawa Spends” Winners

Posted September 18, 2014 by David Akin

From a tuna sport fishing derby to golf tournaments to brain research, Conservative MPs rang up a whopping $1.4 billion bill handing out cheques on the summertime spending circuit. The annual summer spending spree began on June 21 when the House of Commons shut down for the summer recess and it ends Monday when the […]

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General

On Scottish independence

Posted September 18, 2014 by MGK

A few people over the past few weeks have asked me what I think about the Scottish independence vote and honestly, I think it’s a little facile for me to even have an opinion. I mean: I’m not Scottish. I’m not even Scottish by descent. I have basically no stake in this whatsoever, and it […]

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Canadian Politics

Andrew Coyne: Just because McGuinty hasn’t broken laws by lobbying does not make it right in any way

Posted September 17, 2014 by Andrew Coyne

The premise — after 11 months he might be improperly exploiting his connections, but after 12 months everyone would have forgotten who he was — is absurd

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General

How to Use Science Against Stephen Harper

Posted September 17, 2014 by Simon

Well now that I know that Stephen Harper is planning to stay on and lead his Cons into the next election.

Unless the Duffy trial starts sooner than he is hoping.

And now that I know that despite what he said about Michael Ignatieff…

He’s not here for us either, and the next election will be all about HIM.
Read more »

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CBC

An unprecedented disaster of an interview for the Liberal leading in New Brunswick

Posted September 17, 2014 by David Akin

With just five full days of campaigning to go until New Brunswickers vote on Monday, Liberal Leader Brian Gallant will be struggling to recover from the worst media interview a politician ever gave in mid-campaign since Stéphane Dion got confused in the 2008 federal election. But while Gallant’s mix-up, like Dion’s, involved a re-do, Gallant […]

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General

Why Stephen Harper is Terrified of Mike Duffy

Posted September 16, 2014 by Simon

It’s taken a long time, but Mike Duffy’s trial process has finally begun, and you can be sure that Stephen Harper must  be absolutely terrified.

Especially after Duffy’s lawyer said Harper could be called to testify. 

Suspended senator Mike Duffy’s lawyer will not rule out calling Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a witness, as his client’s fraud case goes to trial.

After petitioning the court Tuesday morning to set the earliest possible trial date for his client, Donald Bayne said the defence is “considering any potential witness. It’s too early to rule anything out.” 

And Ol’ Duff is doing what he can to try to make sure the trial could have a BIG impact on the next election.
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