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Blast Furnace Canada Blog: No notwithstanding clause on assisted suicide

In the three months since the Supreme Court of Canada handed down its decision on assisted suicide in Carter v. Attorney General of Canada, there has been a lot of thumb twisting about what to do. The Court gave Parliament a year to come up with something new before the law is officially taken off the books. Given a fall election, it’s hard to imagine our legislators will come up with a new law

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: You don’t have to take income splitting. At least one guy hasn’t …

The income splitting option is not mandatory for those who qualify for it. Like any other tax credit, it’s optional. Tax software will flag credits to make sure you get every loophole you’re entitled to – problematic if you still do it manually. One guy in the 15%, a labour leader, was given the option by his software to opt out. And he did. Even though it cost him 1500 bucks. His reason: Health,

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: The Senate and transgenders

To my knowledge, I have never met a transgendered person in my life. That does not mean I don’t have respect or compassion for those who live the sex opposite of the one they are by birth, or for those who decide to take it to its logical conclusion and have sex reassignment surgery.

Our society has generally become accepting of gays, lesbians and bisexuals, which is a mark in this country’s

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Terrorism comes home

It’s been thirty years or so since there was a coordinated terrorist attack in Canada – the bombing of the Litton plant in Toronto that was making guidance systems for American cruise missiles. Since then, and especially since 9/11, we’ve kind of hoped and prayed that it wouldn’t happen again. Well, it has.

Two days after a soldier was shot and killed and another maimed at Saint Jean sur

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Kick Russia out of the Helsinki Accords

Is the Helsinki Accord of 1975 a worthless scrap of paper? Because Vladimir Putin sure seems to think it’s a joke.

I was not even three years old when the declaration was signed but my father, an emigré from Croatia, understood its meaning. As a younger it was impressed on me the importance of a document that, among its provisions, was a statement of several important principles:


The Canadian Progressive: NDP Youth Reject Leaders’ Support of Israel’s Gaza Atrocities

The New Democratic Youth of Canada rejects party leaders’ uncritical support of Israel’s ongoing war crimes in Gaza, demands that Israel “be held accountable for its actions.”

The post NDP Youth Reject Leaders’ Support of Israel’s Gaza Atrocities appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Oil spills, oil schmills

So the Cons have announced they’re raising the penalty for offshore oil spills – from $161 million to $2 billion ($400 million for the actual offence, the rest for environmental damage). It’s not just they’re not kidding anyone. It’s that they made the announcement on the East Coast where the risk is way less than a spill on the West Coast — where tar sands oil would be headed, the higher

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s Attack on Supreme Court Chief Justice McLachlin Unacceptable

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s attack on Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin is an attack on Canadians and Canadian democracy. It’s unacceptable.

by: Obert Madondo | May 4, 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is so desperate for political capital he’s willing to publicly smear the Supreme Court of Canada and its Chief Justice, Beverley McLachlin.

Speaking to reporters in London, Ont., on Friday, Harper accused McLachlin of acting inappropriately last July when she advised his office concerning his appointment of Marc Nadon as the Quebec representative on the Supreme Court.

To be clear, there was communication between the chief justice’s office (Read more…)

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Federalism wins with Senate decision

When Stephen Harper tried to go about his ideas about Senate reform, his belief was that one could have Senate elections and fixed terms without the consent of the provinces. Today, the Supreme Court of Canada reaffirmed that Canada is a federation, not a unitary state like France and not a devolved state like Spain. The Senate is such an important part of the Confederation bargain, it said, that

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: With the new Québec government, the provinces should push back

Monday’s landslide win by Phillipe Couillard and his Québec Liberal Party is a great sign that the idea of sovereignty may have been set aside for a long time. But I think it should lead to something more. It should lead to the federation our Founders wanted but has often wavered from this principle, especially under Stephen Harper.

At the outset, I have to say that with the win, the new

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: RIP Spousal privilege

One of the oldest principles in law is the spousal privilege. Considered even more sacred than the privilege between a lawyer and client, physician and patient, or cleric and penitent, it has at its core one basic principle: Unless there was abuse involved or a couple conspired together, any communications between spouses is privileged unless the “witness spouse” (i.e. that whom is not accused)

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: What in the world is Eve Adams?

When I was a kid, I was known for throwing hissy fits on just about anything that didn’t go my way. Now a lot of us adults probably were like that in our younger days, too, but we smartened up. In that vein, though, I have to wonder if Eve Adams was like that as a child, because lately she’s been at the edge of losing it – and her party’s respect too.

Adams started out as a bright light in an

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Another rebuke against PMS

0 and 4 so far for Stephen Harper.

First, he lost the InSite decision, which now allows safe injection sites.

Then he lost the prostitution decision, which all but legalizes the sex trade.

Yesterday, he lost a decision which in effect restores accelerated parole for those who have served just 1/6 of their prison sentence.

Today, he got a really big slap in the face, when the Supreme Court of

The Canadian Progressive: Ukraine Crisis: The Harper Conservatives Are NOT Canada

by: Obert Madondo

Last week’s “Canadian delegation” to Ukraine wasn’t a Canadian delegation. It was an all-Conservative outfit. The opposition was completely shut out.

The shut out reminds me of how Third World tyrants do politics. How they exploit global crises to score cheap domestic political points. The shut out makes a mockery of our multi-party liberal democracy. And the idea of by-partisanship that comes with it.

But shut-out is mostly part of the Conservatives’ campaign to retain power in 2015. It’s part of the effort to woo the ethnic vote, something the Conservatives would have to do on a (Read more…)

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Doing right by sex trade workers

Due to multiple technical issues I haven’t been able until now to comment on the Supreme Court’s decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford on December 20th but all I can say is it was absolutely the right decision. What surprised me was that it lined up 9-0, I was expecting 5-4. Given that five of the justices were appointed by PMS and one by Mulroney, one might expect conservative

The Canadian Progressive: New Conservative Ad Reveals Stephen Harper’s Fear of Justin Trudeau [VIDEO]

The possibility of “waking up in 2015 to Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister” of Canada unnerves Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

The post New Conservative Ad Reveals Stephen Harper’s Fear of Justin Trudeau [VIDEO] appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: "I’ve got more than enough to eat at home," Ford says

You couldn’t get the best scriptwriters in Hollywood or Broadway to come up with this line. Rob Ford, responding this morning to numerous allegations that he hired a call girl to visit his office in Toronto (among other allegations of downing mickeys in one shot and DUI), said they were untrue. But then Ford went after one of his former assistants who talked to the police, a woman who claims

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Take a time out already, Rob!

So Rob Ford has actually admitted it. He’s bought illegal drugs during the last two years. Notwithstanding that concession, 30 of 44 councillors on Toronto City Council voted to ask him to take a leave of absence. Naturally, Ford refused. He also said he still has a “coat hanger” in the closet. I’ve heard of double entendres but not that one. (Any guesses what he means? Because unless

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: As always, it’s the coverup (if that’s what it is)

At this point, I really don’t give a damn if Toronto Mayor Rob Ford did drugs. If he did it certainly hasn’t impaired his performance as a politician. What I do care about are the following:

Ford obviously has major issues. Be they mental or substance, or both, he needs to deal with them before someone really gets hurt. His city has an excellent benefits package that includes

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: See, we told you so (Senate reform edition) — and what I’d like to see

Finally someone has told the Prime Minister he can stuff it on his brand of changes to the Senate of Canada. It comes courtesy of the Québec Court of Appeal which has unanimously ruled Bill C-7, if passed, would be unconstitutional and therefore a form of “dead letter clause”.

(The official ruling, in English is here — courtesy The Montréal Gazette)

Stephen Harper has been so determined to “

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Senate or Star Chamber?

Barring a last minute change of minds, it looks like Senators Brazeau, Duffy and Wallin will be effectively impeached from the Senate.

I think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. I will recognize that I have written all three have a lot to answer for.

But I also believe in the principle of presumed innocent until proven guilty. Something that Stephen Harper, the

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Where’s the draft text?

Today, Harper and EU President Jose Manuel Barroso initialled a trade and labour agreement between Canada and the world’s most powerful trading bloc. Like I said in my last post, I think open trade with the EU will be overall good for Canada.

But don’t you find it odd that there isn’t even a draft text available for public consumption? The final agreement may be two years off, but wouldn’t it

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Harper picks CETA over H of C

I couldn’t believe it when I heard it on the radio this morning. On the first day of the debate regarding the Reply to the Speech from the Throne, Stephen Harper doesn’t face off against Tom Mulcair — by tradition it’s the Opposition Leader that starts the debate. Nope. Harper hightails it to Brussels to sign the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union.


Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Here he comes, the PM in the big white sportscar …

The second session of Canada’s 41st Parliament opens today. And early word about the Speech from the Throne is that PMS (Prime Minister Steve) will make a move towards consumer rights.


He was against pick-and-pay cable and satellite, before he was for it.

He was for long term cell phone contracts before he was against it.

He was against cell phone company mergers — now in the next

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: My thoughts on "death with dignity"

The recent passing of Dr. Donald Low, who guided Toronto through the SARS crisis in 2003, unexpectedly sparked a revival of the difficult issue of assisted suicide when his widow, CBC alumna and medical expert Maureen Taylor, released Low’s final home video where he asked Canadians to consider what it would be like to live in his body — rapidly degenerating — for twenty-four hours.

At the