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Peace, order and good government, eh?: The Wildrose Alliance: An Example Of Alberta Centrism

In 2012, it seemed as though Alberta’s long-running Progressive Conservative dynasty was finished. The Wildrose Alliance party, led by Danielle Smith, was set to form government.

Hence it was all the more shocking that the Wildrose lost the election.

In the aftermath of the election, Danielle Smith said that her party needed to do some “soul-searching” in regards to policies that were rejected by Albertans. Over the next two years, the Wildrose would begin moderating its political positions. It came out in support of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and denouncing intolerance against gays, even as it dumped other ideas such (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The Globe and Mail joins the chorus calling for Canada to welcome more citizens, rather than exploiting cheap and disposable workers. But Bill Curry reports on yet another corporate lobby group demanding that the Cons actually expand the flow of temporary labour to secure profits at the expense of workers.

- Andy Radia discusses the laughable attempt of the Cons to rebrand themselves as anything other then enemies of the environment after eight years of constant attacks on regulations and advocates alike. And Daniel James Wright points out that the organization chosen (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: What Is This? The 1950s???

I have no idea who the parties are behind Airdrie’s Footprints For Learning Academy, but someone needs to give them a shake and educate them about a few things regarding gender and sexuality.

Their dress code is something out of the 1950s, with rigid gender roles assumed, and strict rules about who can wear what: 7.  Only one set of conservative earrings (pierced or otherwise) may be worn (by girls only) with one earring for each ear lobe.  They must be subtle and non-distracting.  No other visible piercings are allowed.  All other earrings are to be left out (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: The Shocking Dr. Levin

The long, twisty and sordid legal saga of Aubrey Levin has finally come to an end. Originally found guilty on three counts of sexual assault in January 2013, Levin’s five year prison sentence was upheld by the Alberta Court of Appeal, Wednesday.

The case has garnered international attention, due to the Calgary psychiatrist’s past as a military psychiatrist in apartheid-era South Africa. It is often alleged that during this time, he was affiliated with or led a project aimed at “curing” soldiers of being gay, by subjecting them to electroshock therapy or worse — allegations he continues to deny.

(Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: The Shocking Dr. Levin

The long, twisty and sordid legal saga of Aubrey Levin has finally come to an end. Originally found guilty on three counts of sexual assault in January 2013, Levin’s five year prison sentence was upheld by the Alberta Court of Appeal, Wednesday.

The case has garnered international attention, due to the Calgary psychiatrist’s past as a military psychiatrist in apartheid-era South Africa. It is often alleged that during this time, he was affiliated with or led a project aimed at “curing” soldiers of being gay, by subjecting them to electroshock therapy or worse — allegations he continues to deny.

(Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Let’s Play Cowboys and Indians

Why not?

It seems to be working in Washington, DC.

And you know what? They’ve got our backs.

When ranchers are farmers and tribal communities realize that the tarsands and their toxic pipelines threaten us all, it’s pretty easy to figure out how working together gets things done.

They’re even occupying the Mall in DC. With teepees. See? Look:

#Sacred Indigenous Activists return to the #RejectAndProtect encampment on #NationalMall @WaveOfAction #WaveofAction pic.twitter.com/FISKVCQjNG

— NYCCamp (@NYCCamp) April 24, 2014

You can watch a simple summary of the Reject and Protect campaign to encourage the White House to stop delaying (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: The Temporary Foreign Workers Program and labour market discipline

While it is a truism that migrant labour built Canada, this same migrant labour has long been used to discipline domestic workers. Both facts are imprinted into the history of Canada. Today is no different and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is at the centre of debates about migrant labour. Often missing from the debate are the deep links between labour policy, (im)migration policy and the ways these interact to undermine the power and solidarity of workers.

The TFWP has become a lightning rod of criticism as details emerge of the private sector hiring temporary foreign workers (TFWs) for (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Ducks: A Story About the Tar Sands

Kate Beaton of Hark a Vagrant fame once worked in the Alberta tar sands. She recently made a short comic about her time working there (which she did to pay off student debt) and it provides a wonderful human side to the tar sands narrative.

Read the comic here.

Dead Wild Roses: Hey Alberta, Look What Norway Did. WTF?

It sucks when your government is an entity so devoid of anything resembling a spine. The Alberta government is so deeply in bed with big oil its shite and piss are black. So, rather than looking at an example of how to fuck your citizens over, take a look at a country that got it, and continues to get it right; Norway. It makes me spitting mad that we couldn’t even get a fractional raise in revenue for the people of Alberta (The Royalty Review), all the while Norway has 165,000 thousand dollars socked away (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Meet two ambassadors from Canada’s indigenous tar sands resistance

by Kristin Moe | First published by YES! Magazine on March 5, 2014

In 1885, a revolutionary leader wrote, “My people will sleep for one hundred years” and then wake up. In the “genocidal” wilderness of Canada’s tar sands, that renaissance has begun.

The debate over the tar sands has heated up once again in the United States, with nearly 400 students arrested in a protest at the White House last weekend. The arrestees were demanding that the Keystone XL pipeline be stopped.

But First Nations groups in the heart of Alberta, the Canadian province where the tar sands are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Linda McQuaig responds to the CCCE’s tax spin by pointing out what’s likely motivating the false attempt to be seen to contribute to society at large: Seemingly out of the blue this week, the head honchos of Canada’s biggest companies, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, put out a media release insisting that their taxes are not too low.

This defensive posture — who mentioned murder? — reveals they fear others may be slowly catching on to the massive transfer of wealth to the richest Canadians that’s been going on for the past (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: Success Defeated Alison Redford

Alison Redford was defeated because her party is too successful. And there’s proof.

In politics there wouldn’t be many opportunities to test such a theory; to really know if it was the success of Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives that caused Redford to resign. Luckily for this experiment there just happens to be a control group next door, it even comes with its own Alison Redford.

BC’s Christy Clark has a lot in common with Redford. Both were seen as outsiders. Both ran for leadership with little caucus support, each having only one other MLA supporting them. Both became leader of a (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: From Canada’s Five Female Premiers To Three

At the start of this year Canada had five female Premiers, but now because of a few old white men the country only has three.

Alberta’s Alison Redford joins Newfoundland’s Kathy Dunderdale on the list of female Premiers forced out not because voters rejected them, but because their respective caucuses did. Caucuses who coincidentally happen to be mostly made up of old white men.

Last year when Ontario’s Kathleen Wynn became Canada’s fifth sitting female first minister, many observers marveled at the gender equality among our province’s top offices. With Dunderdale, Redford and BC’s Christy Clark winning strong popular mandates (Read more…)

Terahertz: I get email – Human rights and Climate change

Recently, I wrote about a ruling against APEGA, Alberta’s professional association for engineers, by the province’s Human Rights Tribunal.

Low and behold, the defendant in the case, Ladislav Mihaly, emailed me with a follow up request for help.

My name is Ladislav Mihaly, and I am the Engineer who won the case Ladislav Mihaly vs. APEGA.

I do not intend to publish my opinion regarding the Tribunal decision and fighting APEGA over the Internet as they do with me. I am writing you this E-mail, because you probably could help me to start a discussion or challenging AL GORE, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- David Atkins emphasizes the need for progressive parties and activists to discuss big ideas rather than settling for the path of least short-term resistance: Both the poor and the middle class feel threatened and increasingly pessimistic. Opinions of elite institutions across the board are at an all time low. Whether on the right or left, few believe anymore that anyone in government, business, or politics is actually looking out for their interests. In a world like this, the move to ensure that every single individual in society has an equal, infinitesimal chance to (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: The Alberta tar sands’ criminal assault on water, Athabasca River

by: Obert Madondo

A new study by Environment Canada confirms what First Nations and environmentalists have been telling us all along: the Alberta tar sands are increasingly becoming a threat to our water sources.

The Toronto Star reports: “New federal research has confirmed that water from vast oilsands tailings ponds is leaching into groundwater and seeping into the Athabasca River. Previous studies using models have estimated the leakage at 6.5 million litres a day from a single pond.

“But the Environment Canada study used new technology to actually fingerprint the mix of groundwater chemicals in the area. It (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: #Tarsands Polluting Groundwater and Rivers

As scientists have demonstrated in the past, the strip mining and tailing ponds employed on a Mordorific scale in northern Alberta are polluting ground and river waters.

Sorry #tarsand shills, but turns out you’ve been lying all along when you’ve said that areas surrounding the tarsands are not being polluted. You may have to be honest with yourselves before you can be honest with others. If you can’t be honest with yourselves, it’s time to stop lying to others and bow out of the conversation.

@andrew_leach @codyincalgary Norway allows 30mg/L oil in water discharged to the sea. 9500 (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Michael McBane highlights one of the less-discussed changes in the Cons’ 2014 budget – as it officially eliminates the federal distribution of health care funding based on provincial need in favour of handing extra money to Alberta: The Harper government is eliminating the equalization portion of the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) and replacing it with an equal per capita transfer. This means that less populous provinces with relatively larger and more isolated populations will have more and more difficulty delivering more expensive universal health services.

Likewise, provinces with relatively larger proportion of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Rick Smith hopes that the Cons’ backtracking on income splitting means that they won’t go quite as far out of their way to exacerbate income inequality in the future: (T)he unfortunate reality is that we are still becoming ever more unequal, a trend due in large measure to political choices. Many countries have found ways to mitigate the growth of income inequality, while in Canada the policy response has tended to reinforce rather than offset the trend.

We know that since the mid-1990s, the social role of government has been dramatically cut back (Read more…)

Terahertz: Discriminatory engineers?

One of my undergraduate classmates linked to an article on a recent Alberta Human Rights Commission tribunal finding that Alberta’s professional association for engineers (APEGA, formerly APEGGA – which it’s referred to in the decision) discriminated against an international applicant. APEGA is already planning to appeal the decision.

The 67 page decision is available on the APEGA website.

So what happened?

Ladislav Mihaly was trained in (then) Czechoslovakia  and earned two Masters degrees in engineering. He applied to APEGGA to register as a professional engineer in 1999. APEGGA required Mihaly to pass a standardized engineering ethics exam (NPPE) complete three (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: From the Wildrose, an interesting idea

Alberta’s Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith has offered what on the surface sounds like a good idea. Her party is proposing the province transfer 10 per cent of all its taxes—personal and corporate income taxes, education tax, tobacco tax and fuel tax—and 10 per cent of any budget surplus, to municipalities to spend as they see fit. In the 2015-16 budget year, Smith says, municipalities

ParliamANT Hill: AlbertAnt country singer, seeks ConservAntive nod

Inspired by this headline:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/george-canyon-alberta-country-singer-seeks-conservative-nod-1.2509176

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…)

Bill Longstaff: The tar sands—our climate change nemesis

While Neil Young very publicly feuds with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and its ally the Canadian government, tar sands production continues to systematically advance Alberta’s position as the country’s pollution province. Already producing more greenhouse gasses than Ontario, despite having less than 30 per cent of its population, tar sands expansion will have it producing

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Part 1 #OilConVoid – Neil Young Hints At Unspeakable Canadian Civil War

I’m starting a short series of 3 blog posts today deliberately with the top climate change story in Canada. There are huge stories also in the RoboCon election fraud scandal, and the PMO-Senate scandals, but it’s climate change that will have the longest lasting impact in Canada and the world.

Canadians have been fortunate for a long time, in that few of us consider the possibility of living through a war on our own soil. Most Canadians are people, however. All people on Earth are at risk of experiencing war, and Canada is even involved in one today, but not (Read more…)