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The Disaffected Lib: Canada Advances to Top Tier Warmongering. Congratulations All.

Did you hear the news?  Pakistan has inked a deal to buy eight modern Chinese submarines.  Pakistan, yeah.  And the Pakistan navy is looking at developing nuclear warheads for the torpedoes and cruise missiles those subs carry.  What do you think of that?  Does it evoke any sort of visceral reaction in you? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Those familiar with this blog know that I devote some time monitoring arms races underway in many corners of the world but especially in the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia and, of course, Russia and Eastern Europe.  They’re all little beehives (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Budget 2015: A tale of austerity past, present and future

I’ve been banging the drum of “slow-motion austerity” for a while and little in the 2015 federal budget suggests any change from the pattern of death by a thousand cuts. This budget is another is a series of unspectacular austerity budgets. Taken together, however, the cuts rapidly add up and budgets become more remarkable for the tenacity with they’ve made us pay to get to the present.

A long-term view focused on austerity is very different from much of the mainstream coverage of the budget with a tawdry focus on “goodies” for this group or that. While the media should be (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON on 2015 budget: Conservatives making a mockery of working Canadians

CONSERVATIVES MAKING A MOCKERY OF WORKING CANADIANS

Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University

Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

 

Today, with great fanfare, Minister of Finance, Joe Oliver, tabled his much-delayed budget in the House of Commons. Despite the government’s best effort to confuse Canadians with tales of terrorism, the economy and job creation remains by far the single most important issue facing hard-working Canadians. Unfortunately, this budget, full of accounting tricks, will do very little to revive Canada’s moribund economy, and it contains far less in terms of good news for working Canadians.

In fact, Mr. Oliver, (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: The Arctic—the U.S. conserves, Canada exploits

Federal cabinet minister Leona Aglukkaq wears a number of hats. She is Minister of the Environment as well as Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. Being a member of a Harper cabinet, the latter is of course the top hat. She illustrated this in her recent two-year term as chair of the Arctic Council, the organization that brings together eight northern countries to

Dead Wild Roses: The Anti-Vaccination Position – Chickens be comin’ home to roost all over this…

Vaccination is one of those medical topics in which people tend to lose their shit. As it happens, you can also risk losing your children if you decide to embrace the foolishness that is the anti-vax movement. Here is a story of a mother’s close encounter with easily preventable childhood diseases.

Learning the Hard Way: My Journey from #AntiVaxx to Science

“I’m writing this from quarantine, the irony of which isn’t lost on me. Emotionally I’m a bit raw. Mentally a bit taxed. Physically I’m fine. All seven of my unvaccinated children have whooping cough, and the kicker (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Indiana put the lie to “religious freedom.” But Canadian Evangelicals hope you didn’t notice.

Everyone’s familiar with the old adage, “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”

Which is why the Evangelical leaders who held a press conference on Parliament Hill calling for greater religious freedom laws and schmoozing with Conservative politicians last month might do well to remember Indiana.

“Unfortunately, Christians in this country find themselves under attack. This is a violation, and we are calling on the Canadian government to stop this type of violation across this country…” — Charles McVety

Because almost to the day that the collection of Canadian religious leaders held a (Read more…)

Terahertz: 10 reasons the Saguenay ruling establishes Canada as a secular country

It’s been only 5 days since the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that the prayers said by the City of Saguenay discriminated against atheists, and already cities across Canada are reviewing their own practices. But I suspect (although caveated with the standard, I am not a lawyer) this ruling will have wide reaching consequences as there are very few Supreme Court precedents on cases of religious freedom in Canada.

Reading the ruling, I think secularists should feel confident. Here’s my interpretation of my 10 favourite parts of the ruling (in the order they appear).

1. Canadian society supports (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: The Conservatives’ balanced budget legislation: Silly economics, smart politics

I wrote up the Conservatives’ new balanced budget law for Ricochet. In short, the law is really silly in terms of economics, but simply pointing out its economic stupidity is not enough, because the whole point is to shift the political consensus. Politically, it’s not that dumb. So rather than play games about who cut better and balanced budgets faster as many are doing, we need to look at the balance of economic power that drives these moves. The full piece is below:

The Conservative government’s balanced budget legislation is a classic attempt to shift the boundaries of acceptable public (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Opposed to Coalition?

Yesterday’s news:

.@davidcommon Odd report by @ElliottLouise about @JustinTrudeau & @ThomasMulcair #coalition didn't mention @ElizabethMay & @CanadianGreens.

— Saskboy K. (@saskboy) April 15, 2015

Today’s news: Most Canadians are opposed to a coalition government. Presently the only party with the word “coalition” in its founding documents is the Conservative Party of Canada, and yes it’s true as Trudeau said today, that most Canadians are opposed to the Conservative government.

The problem is, if you have a real conversation with Canadians, you’ll learn they aren’t really opposed to a coalition government, they are just afraid of political instability they’ve associated with (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Harper, BC Tory MPs have oil on their hands from English Bay spill

A cleanup crew works on Third Beach following the recent English Bay oil spill

I say three cheers for Premier Christy Clark and Mayor Gregor Robertson of Vancouver.

The verbal assault by the Premier on the federal government was more than justified by recent events and just happens to be a move that is always popular amongst many British Columbians, frankly including me, whenever Ottawa behaves like Ottawa – which is most of the time.

The recent oil spill in English Bay is, as has been said by so many, a wake up call. In fact, however, there are many people (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Disaster Tourism at the English Bay Oil Spill

By Emily Griffiths

In the wake of the oil spill a few days ago, I set out this morning with my partner to see the aftermath first hand. I really didn’t want to go, because I don’t enjoy feeling depressed or enraged, but denial isn’t a healthy choice, either.

We arrive at English Bay around noon. It’s almost as if nothing has happened. It’s like any Saturday, folks are just out here, doing their thing; people jog, walk, or cycle along the seawall, a mass of tankers blocks the horizon. We know something’s up, though, as a helicopter hovers by (Read more…)

Joe Fantauzzi: Reflections on David Harvey: Neoliberalism and The State

For three decades, neoliberalism has dominated the political and economic landscape. Following David Harvey, I contend that neoliberalism depends on the manufacturing of consent to a neoliberal agenda and the use of coercion to enforce that agenda. I further argue that neoliberalism is a corrupted form of democracy which easily lends itself to a rule […]

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON on the upcoming federal budget (April 2015)

THE FEDERAL BUDGET AND CANADA’S ANNUS HORRIBILIS

See Original post here for the CBC.

Canada’s Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced a new – and long overdue – federal budget for April 21. With the Canadian economy doing so badly, this budget will be crucial.

Will the minister do the right thing and give Canadians a budget that will stimulate the economy? Or will he continue with the government’s obsession of balancing the budget and further doom the Canadian economy to a recession?

The facts about the Canadian economy are not encouraging: increasing unemployment (a real unemployment rate of nine per (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Canada Can be Fossil Fuel Free

Canada has an international reputation as being a dullard when it comes to the environment. That’s not shocking given that the present “conservative” government has sabotaged international climate meetings, has climate change deniers as leaders, and openly supports the world-destroying tar sands.

All of this can change though.

A group of over 60 scientists in the country have proven that Canada can be powered by 100% renewable, sustainable, energy by the year 2035!

The authors of the report want to place a realistic plan on the table for political and public discussion. And they want this plan discussed before the (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Canadian Colonial Legacies – The Inconvenient Indian

We here in Canada often like to think of ourselves as the ‘good guys’. Our history somehow a few degrees shinier, more pristine than the the bloodstained record our American neighbours seem to bandy about with pride.

Like any colonial narrative though certain distortions are present and sometimes the distortions are encouraged. Let’s take a look at one incident in our history through the lens of Thomas King in his work The Inconvenient Indian – specifically about a land grant in 1717 by the French Crown of a parcel of land by the Ottawa River to the (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: David Suzuki: Water is life; we can’t afford to waste it

Water is life, and its management and conservation is about global social justice, argues renowned environmentalist David Suzuki.

The post David Suzuki: Water is life; we can’t afford to waste it appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Dead Wild Roses: Oh, to a Wild Rose – The Sweet Smell of Schadenfreude

Why isn’t unabashed self interest paying of for meeeeee?

The politics in Alberta usually annoy the hell out of me. How can the people of this province continue to elect a party that is puts the interests of Big Oil first in every fiscal decision. For the latest example please see the latest Alberta budget, after we all have been looking in the mirror, where everyone except corporations got a tax hike. Because jobs. Keep voting PC Alberta blue zombies, keep voting blue. Alberta voter idiocy aside; we’re actually here to look at the slow (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Where Have All the Forests Gone?

The biggest source of lost forests is in Russia and Canada.  It’s not forest lost to deforestation, logging or clearing land for agriculture, but boreal forest consumed by wildfires.  A climate change feedback?  Probably.

Some 43,000 square kilometres of northern boreal forest were ravaged in Russia, due mainly to fires, in 2013, while Canada shed another 24,500 square kilometres — amounting to a “very significant” loss in tree cover, according to Dr. Nigel Sizer of GFW, an interactive, online forest-monitoring and alert system based in Washington.

The data comes from GFW, the University of Maryland and Google.

Both Canada and (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Transfers, taxes and who pays for austerity

The question of who pays for austerity and how is an enormous one. Promoters of austerity often claim that cuts to universal services are fine if they’re offset by transfers to those who can’t pay for newly-marketized services. The same goes for expanding services – why give everyone childcare if you could just give those at the bottom the money to pay for it the same as those who can afford it?

There are many arguments for why services should be public and universal that do not simply rely on whether everyone is able to pay for them privately. However, (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Canada’s Economy: Not Exactly Healthy

If you are a worker, you already know that Canada’s economy is a mess.  The only people who don’t seem to know it are at the top.

Press Progress published a very detailed analysis of how messed up our economy is today.  A few of the highlights: First, the good news: Corporate Canada’s profits have hit a 27-year high, according to a new report by CIBC World Markets. Bay Street has never been happier, right? 

Well, there’s just one little catch: new Statistics Canada data shows the Canadian economy shrank in January. All those layoffs and store closures you’ve (Read more…)

Terahertz: Lunney unleashed

Citing media “intolerance and bigotry”, anti-science Canadian MP James Lunney has quit the government caucus to sit as an independent. Among Lunney’s claim to the crown as Canada’s least scientifically literate MP are:

He doesn’t believe in evolution He’s a chiropractor He’s claimed there’s a link between vaccines and autism He doesn’t believe the climate is changing

In his surreal press release (dated March 31, not April 1), he states that he will address his religious beliefs in Parliament at his next opportunity, which sounds like it will be a hoot. Lunney claims that Christians are being persecuted in Canada, (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Baird Gold

It's probably nothing: Foreign Minister John Baird lobbied by Barrick Gold Corp. pic.twitter.com/drIUEvtQKB

— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) March 30, 2015

It’s not easy for a long-time politician to leave public life, even if they have a golden parachute.

The Disaffected Lib: That Burnt Smell, That Hissing Sound? That’s the Fuze.

Well, if nothing else, Stephen Harper might just have earned Canada a ringside seat to the outbreak of a Middle East regional war.  The way the International Crisis Group sees it, the Saudi air war on Shiite Yemeni rebels might just be the burning fuze that explodes the Sunni-Shia powder keg.

Obama and the Euros are trying to calm the situation, urging a negotiated peace between Yemen’s Sunni government and the Houthi rebels but, according to the ICG, the mixed up gaggle of players aren’t in the mood for talking.

No major party seems truly to want to halt what (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: “Bill C-51 is reckless and dangerous,” says OpenMedia’s Steve Anderson

Testifying before the House of Commons public safety committee on Monday, OpenMedia’s Steve Anderson said Harper’s anti-terror Bill C-51 is dangerous, reckless and ineffective.

The post “Bill C-51 is reckless and dangerous,” says OpenMedia’s Steve Anderson appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Things Are Good: Alternatives Journal Spells Out Canada’s Map to Sustainability

Canada has a horrible international reputation when it comes to the environment. The federal government even has climate change deniers and actively supports the shameful tar sands. At Alternatives Journal they have worked with some of the smartest people in Canada to show Canadians there’s no reason to continue down the self-destructive path we are on.

Within the issue they look at many aspects of Canadian life from cities to mining.

THIS IS THE most important issue that A\J has ever published. It will land in the hands and mailboxes of more Canadians than any issue in A\J’s 44-year existence. (Read more…)