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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Trish Hennessy’s latest numbers focus on the skills gap myth in Canada. And PressProgress documents a few of the Cons’ damaging public service cuts which kicked in yesterday, while Theresa Boyle reports on the end of Canada’s health care accords (featuring the observations of Roy Romanow on the end of meaningful federal participation in our health care system).

- Scott Stelmaschuk’s latest post fits nicely with the theme of yesterday’s comment on the importance of seeing politics first and foremost as a means of improving the world around us – rather than a (Read more…)

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: Green Buildings Bring Vertical Forests to the City

Visually stunning and environmentally progressive condo buildings and office towers are appearing in Europe and Asia in recent years, including the Bosco Verticale in Milan, Hearst Tower in New York, and Urban Cactus in Rotterdam. Corporations and condo developers take note … whoever construct the first of this type of building in Canada can really make a statement. I talk to Andrew McAllan of Oxford Properties to see when that might happen.

The next generation of consumers increasingly demand sustainable practices. Combining environmental initiatives with stunning design, builders worldwide are thinking outside the box. In Milan, the Bosco Verticale is (Read more…) Toronto Star: Check out what this leading privacy expert has to say on MacKay’s Online Spying Bill

The government’s online spying legislation will encourage Internet providers to hand over your private information to authorities without any oversight. That’s according to this must-read piece in today’s Toronto Star from our Privacy Coalition partners at the @Canadian Constitution Foundation.

Learn more about how our Coalition is working to protect our privacy at:

Article by Derek James From for The Star

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. Perhaps that’s the federal government’s motto regarding Bill C-13 — the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act. It represents yet another attempt by this government to pass (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Majority of Canadians Oppose Harper’s “Unfair Elections Act”: POLL

by: Council of Canadians | Press Release

A new poll released today shows that a majority of Canadians oppose central features of the so-called “Fair” Elections Act, known as Bill C-23.

The provisions in the Unfair Elections Act that would eliminate the voucher system, prevent Elections Canada from publicly reporting on election fraud, and cancel Elections Canada’s research and public education programs received the most significant opposition. The poll was jointly commissioned by the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students, and

Seventy per cent of respondents said that the act’s elimination of Elections Canada’s ability to (Read more…)

LeDaro: Mike Duffy: The Rise and Fall – CBC Fifth Estate

                     Fitting caricature given his ego                     

It was a comedy, for real. Mike Duffy, the ultimate Ottawa insider, a cartoonish character who has become the leading symbol of Senate corruption, claiming living expenses for a cottage in Prince Edward Island he hardly occupied. The ultimate oversized sense of entitlement. He is a schmoozer who likes access to power, and has a giant ego to boot. A highschool dropout who made it big.

The documentary showed how Mike Duffy had been (Read more…)

The Moncton Times@Transcript - Good and Bad: March : apologies

I have been feeling very rough for a week – with today especially awful. I am extremely weak, tired,, wheezy, high temperature, coughing, dreadfully runny nose. Medical experts are divided between a  very bad cold, and a multiple pregnancy.

Fortunately, there’s very little in the paper to talk about. The banner headline on p.1. the big news of the day, is that the provinicial liquor board has a new boss. And he has big plans.

Big plans.

I mean big.

He’s going to do the right things. And, not stopping there, he’s going to do them the right way…..

(Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Cult of Living Large

2015, we’re told, is the year the developed world (that’s us) and the emerging economies (China, India, etc., etc., etc.) will close ranks to formulate an effective plan of action to fight climate change.  It’s going to be Kyoto on steroids, a true hallelujah moment, a meeting of minds, a global joining of hands, a flexing of collective muscle and sinew.

Yeah, right.

2015 is probably our final chance to reach some sort of meaningful, global consensus.  In case you haven’t noticed we’re already being overtaken by climate change impacts, and this is the ‘early (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Five Years of Frustration

Five years ago this week I started Democracy Under Fire due to concern of the way in which the new Conservative Government was ignoring democratic and parliamentary conventions. This was just after their reelection as a result of the lowest voter turnout in Canadian electoral history, with only 22% of eligible Canadian voters casting a vote and prior to their most glaring abuse, which being the proroguing of parliament to avoid a vote of non confidence in Sept of 2009. During the the first few months I took the time to examine and more fully understand our system as it (Read more…)

Bene Diction Blogs On: Bill Gothard placed on leave by his board after abuse allegations

Since 2011, the people behind the website Recovering Grace have been “ helping people whose lives have been impacted by the teachings of Bill Gothard, the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), and the Advanced Training Institute (ATI). ”

Recently Recovering Grace has been publishing stories of young women who worked directly for Gothard; giving them room to detail the sexual harassment, and the emotional spiritual manipulation they experienced. As well the inability of people to expose and stop him in the past has been made public by the website team. Recovering Grace initially looked at the harm created by Gothards (Read more…) Digital Journal: What will it take for CSEC spying to spark more outrage?

In this hard-hitting op-ed, George Arthur asks what it will take for Canadians to get answers about out-of-control spy agency CSEC.

Article by George Arthur for the Digital Journal

This is the question I am left with as I consider what it will take for Canadians to demand answers about the true operations of the spy agency that is set to move into the most expensive governmental building in the nation’s history.

According to the careers page for Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), “2014 promises to be an exciting year.” The organization is scheduled to move into “a newly (Read more…)

Geoff Campbell: CASE District 1 Conference Scholarship

In November I applied for and was awarded a New to the Profession Scholarship to the CASE District 1 Conference in Boston. It was a terrific conference and I was able to learn a lot from experts from large universities and meet other professionals from across the eastern United States and Atlantic Canada. What I took away from speakers from large institutions alike was that it’s okay to take risks (like Suffolk’s #FlatRammy experiment at connecting with students before they arrived on campus) and that even institutions with more communications resources make decisions that end in failure but try every (Read more…)

Geoff Campbell: Newhouse Mobile Magazine Contest

Working in such an immersive environment with so many ongoing projects it can be easy to lose track of what’s happening outside of the bubble. The exact same thing happened at Mount Allison but I think that’s part of what made it such a special place.

However, the other day I was reminded of my time at the Newhouse School in upstate New York (which I left nearly nine months ago for the University of Virginia where I completed my degree with an internship in the office of Community Relations) when I got an email asking my permission to (Read more…)

Geoff Campbell: Design Work at Hebron

Hebron’s 210-year anniversary Facebook banner.

Hi again. It’s been far too long since I’ve updated this site with what I’ve been doing at Hebron but I’ve been keeping busy. Over the last six months at Hebron I’ve learned quite a bit. My on-the-job learning has taken the form of both a two-day intensive InDesign CS6 course taught by Adobe Certified Instructor Kirsten Rourke and working on a variety of projects. As my title (Digital Communications Coordinator) implies, my work is concerned primarily with promoting the school online.

I’ve made most of the Facebook banners (like the one pictured above) since I began (Read more…)

DeSmogBlog: Earthquakes Rattle Texas Towns in the Barnett Shale

Daniel Hogan thought he heard a sonic boom when a magnitude 3.6 earthquake hit Azle, Texas, last November. His home sustained damage — broken windows, cracked walls, damaged plumbing and foundation — but he did not have earthquake insurance to cover the repairs. He never imagined he’d need such protection in Texas.

Daniel Hogan in front of cracked window at his house in Azle ©2014 Julie Dermansky

Daniel Hogan reads a song he wrote about the earthquakes:

Since November, Azle, Reno and Springtown, three small cities 50 miles west of Dallas, have been at the epicenter of more than (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: Earthquakes Rattle Texas Towns in the Barnett Shale

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: Creative Funding for Green Startups

You are an entrepreneur with a fantastic idea for a green startup. You go to the bank for funding but they turn you down. What do you do? Fear not, green warriors! We will show you five non-traditional funding sources for social and environmental startups, including crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending, and go through some of these funding platforms and success stories from the U.S. and Canada.

While consumers are beginning to embrace environmentally sustainable products and services, many banks remain skeptical, viewing them as either a fad or too risky due to the perceived niche nature of their (Read more…)

Warren Kinsella: John Tory: leadership means…

Back when he was Ontario’s Conservative Party leader, John Tory had a slogan about how “leadership matters,” or something like that. I literally forget how it ended. (Doesn’t matter: John ended, soon enough.)

Anyway, as assorted Right-wing lobbyists breathlessly await John’s arrival – which I, and Nick Kouvalis, pray for, but for different reasons – I thought I would show you a little video we Liberals did in 2007 about the peekaboo nature of John’s politics: he’s in, he’s out, he’s here, he’s not. Plus ca change, etc.

Someone may ask: Is a crowded field on (Read more…)

Warren Kinsella: Baseless by-election blathering

So, the good people of Thornhill and Niagara vote today. Here are my predictions, and I expect all of you to mock me if (when) I am shown to be wrong.

Thornhill: Seriously? Harper was in Israel when this by-election was called. Canadian Jews are conservative. Hudak will keep it, Wynne will be second (but not close) and the NDP will only be kept alive by endangered species protection laws. Niagara Falls: This one’s the big one. It was an Ontario Liberal seat for a long, long time. The Wynne Liberals are going to finish in a distant third place, (Read more…)

Warren Kinsella: Karen Stintz, defender of all things Conservative

Check this out:

I find that fascinating.

What interests me most is Stintz’s decision to (a) attack someone who clearly has her worried (b) her bizarro swing at the NDP and (c) her naked shilling for the Harper/Flaherty Conservatives.

Now, given that Karen is a lifelong, hardcore Conservative, one who worked to privatize healthcare – and whose partner worked for the aforementioned Flaherty – I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised. But, honestly: if you are running for mayor of Toronto, is it a good idea to be seen doing Harper’s dirty work?

Anyway, keep at it, Karen. At this (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: California rejects green label for BC’s private “run of river”

Construction of a private power project on the Ashlu River (Photo: Range Life)

Read this January 21st story by Megan Hooker in on the California Energy Commission’s rejection of BC’s green label of its private river diversion projects has profound ramifications for the province’s power export industry.

On January 15th, 2014, the California Energy Commission adopted a final report that reaffirms the integrity of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) regarding imported hydropower. After 5 years of hard work, American Whitewater and our partners in the California Hydropower Reform Coalition (CHRC) and river advocates in British Columbia are celebrating this (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Last chance to apply for Kinder Morgan oil pipeline hearings

The window for the public to apply to participate in the upcoming National Energy Board hearings into the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to Vancouver closes Wednesday at 11 AM (PST).

The project would see close to a tripling of Alberta bitumen piped to the company’s Burnaby terminal and a dramatic increase to approximately 400 tankers a year passing through Burrard Inlet and BC’s south coast – up from just a dozen or two prior to Kinder Morgan’s purchase of the old Trans Mountain pipeline in 2005.

The public can register online prior to 11 AM (PST) Wednesday, February 12.

(Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Still hoping for a ‘deal’ with AUPE, Alberta Deputy Premier Dave Hancock has a Seinfeld moment

Deputy Premier Dave Hancock holds forth in the Legislature this morning as a few bored reporters half-heartedly listen. Below: Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who could have written Mr. Hancock’s script; former Reform Party and now former SIRC chair Chuck Strahl.

With nothing to report in “negotiations” between the government of Alberta and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and the prospect of a self-imposed deadline to bring down the Bill-46 hammer next Friday, Deputy Premier Dave Hancock held a media availability in the Legislature yesterday morning.

Actually, it was a Seinfeld availability – you know, an availability about nothing.

Mr. Hancock (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian:             The unholy trinity of the Alberta tarsands industry,…

The unholy trinity of the Alberta tarsands industry, the Conservative Party and the right-wing media has gone all-out in its attacks on Neil Young for his stance against their destructive policies and actions. One thing that these corporate wolves and subservient sheep overlook is that, of course, Neil Young is right.

The main arguments by the Conservative tarsands mob are that:

1) Young hasn’t lived in Canada for a long time, so he has no right to talk about anything that happens in Canada.

2) He’s a rich rock star, so he has no right to talk (Read more…)

Cathie from Canada: String ‘em up

They wore aprons and sneaked behind Harper to hold up little paper signs.The horror! The horror!Now esteemed senator Bob Runciman thinks lèse-majesté is the crime of the century when Harper is the target. Former Ontario solicitor general Bob Runciman is questioning why two activists who got to within an arm’s-length of the prime minister this week were allowed to “walk away scot-free and smiling” — and he says he’ll use his Senate seat to bring in new laws to deter similar future protests.“People who sneak into these kinds of events, using phony ID, impersonate others, or conspire (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: They Just Don’t Give A Damn: 2007 Adult Autism Care and Treatment In New Brunswick Was Abysmal – 2014 Nothing Has Changed, Still Abysmal

Following this comment is a re-posting of a comment I posted on this site 7 years ago in 2007 about the abysmal state of autism youth and adult residential care and treatment in New Brunswick, Canada. 7 years later and nothing has changed. Well, one thing has changed, a very important part of my life has changed.

My son with severe autism and intellectual disability is now 7 years older…. and his Mom and Dad are also 7 years older.

Time marches on. Our autistic children are becoming autistic adults. Our political and government leaders have sat on the sidelines (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: The Traditional Christmas Blog

The Soapbox family, like your family, does not live in a Norman Rockwell painting.

Our Christmas traditions run the gamut from Dolly Parton Christmas carols (don’t ask) to an amazing Christmas dinner prepared to perfection by his nibs, Mr Soapbox.

We thought we had all our traditions down pat…and then we discovered Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe.

On Christmas Eve, we had our traditional dinner of pizza & wings, watched “Mini” rearrange the tiles on the Rummykub table to the point where none of us could remember where they went, and then popped The Vinyl Cafe into the CD player.

It (Read more…)