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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Ezra Klein comments on the U.S.’ doom loop of oligarchy – as accumulated wealth is spent to buy policy intended to benefit nobody other than those who have already accumulated wealth: On Thursday, the House passed Paul Ryan’s 2015 budget. In order to get near balance, the budget contains $5.1 trillion in spending cuts — roughly two-thirds of which come from programs for poor Americans. Those cuts need to be so deep because Ryan has pledged not to raise even a dollar in taxes.

As a very simple rule, rich (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: What happens now that we know there really is a cancer cluster in Fort Chip? Nothing?

Greenpeace Canada info-graphic showing connections among the far-right Conservative Party of Canada activists behind the so-called Ethical Oil Institute. Below: Dr. James Talbot; Dr. John O’Connor; Ezra Levant.

Alberta’s chief medical officer has now confirmed that statistics released a couple of weeks ago indicate there really is a cancer cluster in Fort Chipewyan, a predominantly native community about 280 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.

Fort Chip, as it is often known, has long been a subject of controversy about the health impacts of bitumen sands development because – possibly coincidentally, and possibly not – it is not far downstream and (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Another Harper Lie Exposed

Despite assurances last year that the TFW (Temporary Foreign Workers) program was being reformed because of a myriad of reported abuses, those assurances, like so many other pronouncements and assertions coming from the Harper regime, appear to be false.

Business continues to abuse the program, with what one can only assume is the tacit permission of Employment Minister Jason Kenney. The latest offenders, as reported by CBC, are three McDonald’s outlets in Victoria, British Columbia, which are currently employing 25 temporary foreign workers.

“The pattern is that the temporary foreign workers are getting more shifts and that the (Read more…)

OpenMedia.ca: Rogers hits senior with an $800 bill for Internet she never used

Rogers hit this B.C. senior with a whopping $800 bill for Internet she never even used. It seems not a week goes by without another story of Big Telecom price-gouging. Tell us yours in the comments below.

Article from CBC News

A senior citizen in Chilliwack, B.C., is angry about an $800 wireless internet access bill from Rogers — a bill she claims she’s not responsible for.

Darlene Davies, 65, usually pays $60 a month for her Rogers internet service, which she accesses with an unsecured Rocket hub Wi-Fi hotspot access point.

When she received a bill (Read more…)

OpenMedia.ca: CBC: Investigation into CSEC finds serious breaches of ethics and misuse of public assets

Spy agency CSEC’s troubles go from bad to worse after an official review finds serious breaches of ethics and misuse of public funds.

An investigation at Canada’s secretive eavesdropping agency has uncovered misuse of public assets and “serious breaches” of the spy outfit’s values and ethics code.

The findings, prompted by confidential information from a whistleblower, led Communications Security Establishment Canada to revise policy, improve training and boost oversight.

read more

Politics and its Discontents: The CBC Ombudsman Makes Her Ruling

As reported by Andrew Mitrovica on iPolitiics, the CBC ombudsman, Esther Enkin, has finally reached her decision on the many conflict of interest complaints lodged against Rex Murphy and Peter Mansbridge.

Briefly, here is what she said:

“Given that Journalistic Standards and Practices spells out a commitment to independence, and the Conflict of Interest guidelines encompass perception of conflict as well, it is inconsistent with policy when CBC news and current affairs staff accept payment from groups that are likely to be in the news.

She has a somewhat timid suggestion for CBC management:

“But since taking money leads (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Allaudin Merali files suit against Fred Horne, Alberta Health Services for breach of contract, defamation

Health Minister Fred Horne: target of defamation, breach of trust, loss of income suit by former Alberta Health Services CFO. Below: Allaudin Merali.

Allaudin Merali filed a statement of claim today in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench against Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne.

“The statement of claim includes claims for a breach of contract, defamation and loss of income,” Mr. Merali said in a carefully worded email sent to media and bloggers.

Since the former Capital Health Region and Alberta Health Services CFO’s expense account became a cause célèbre and a political embarrassment to the (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Nahlah Ayed in Regina for Minifie Lecture at #UofR

She was crunched for time in writing a speech, something she’s not used to doing either, so she wrote a diary of her recent coverage in Ukraine and made it interesting by giving the back story to reporting in a region that could break out into open war. She grew up in Winnipeg. One questioner at the end noted it was nice to be able to see her smile, since her job doesn’t permit it as she’s reporting from tense situations overseas.

She bemoaned the lack of coverage of South America in North America, and dodged the question if there (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: PKP to run for PQ: Why PKP, with SNN and CPC PMO spell SOS for Canada, which could be FUBAR

Impressionable English Canadian youngsters tune in to SNN for sinister ideological conditioning by RWN (right-wing nuts) on the staff of the PMO-favoured network. Below: PKP and his now-ex wife (NXW), grabbed from the Internet; SNN broadcaster Ezra Levant.

Oh, H-E-double-hockey-sticks, PKP wants another D-I-V-O-R-C-E!

This time, having just given his common-law wife of a decade the old heave-ho, it’s from us!

And I don’t know about you, but this smells a bit like C-O-N-S-P-I-R-A-C-Y.

Let me explain…

PKP for those of you who live in the ROC and are therefore wondering WTF is Pierre Karl Péladeau, who until recently (Read more…)

calgaryliberal.com: Liberals triple support in Lethbridge: Liberals at 24%, NDP at 14%, Conservatives at 38%

Something is happening in Lethbridge. According to a group out of Lethbridge College the Liberals under Trudeau have jumped from 8.38% (2011) to 24% for the area of Lethbridge. Provincially, Raj Sherman’s Liberals have jumped from 14.7% (2012) to 18% in Lethbridge-East, a point ahead of the Wildrose and the clear alternative compared to the […]

Politics and its Discontents: CBC’s The Current: The Ethics Of Journalists And Paid Speaking Engagements

While I and others have written about Rex Murphy’s close relationship to the oil industry, a relationship that appears to be in direct conflict with his position at the CBC, Peter Mansbridge has also been embroiled in controversy recently because of a speech he give to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). Indeed, and somewhat parenthetically, The Star’s Heather Mallick has a blistering assessment today of Peter’s moonlighting activities.

So what constitutes proper and improper speechifying? Yesterday on CBC’s The Current, a good debate, guest-hosted by Jeffrey Kaufman, took place. Kaufman, a former Canadian journalist now working in (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: The CBC Responds To My Complaint About Rex Murphy

I received the following email yesterday from Jack Nagler, Director of Journalistic Public Accountability and Engagement at the CBC, regarding my conflict of interest complaint about Rex Murphy. Because the review is ongoing, I am treating this only as an interim response. I therefore present the letter with no commentary on my part, but please feel free, as always, to express your own views here.

Thank you for your Feb. 5th email to the CBC Ombudsman about Rex Murphy. There have been suggestions he is in a conflict of interest because he has given paid speeches to groups supportive of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Stephen Hume writes about the importance of tax revenue in building a functional and compassionate Canada: My taxes provide our mostly peaceful, prosperous and safe society; a health care system that for all its flaws and glitches is pretty darn good compared to the alternatives; a policing and justice system that despite occasional hiccups is fair, merciful and trustworthy; a brave and honourable military.

My taxes provide income support for the unemployed, the indigent, the impaired and the unlucky. My taxes helped create educational facilities of exceptional quality and performance; public infrastructure that (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Future bleak for Brent Rathgeber’s CBC disclosure bill; perhaps less so for Rex Murphy’s commentaries

Your blogger with CBC commentator Rex Murphy, quite possibly on his way to a speaking engagement with the oil industry. Below: the same blogger with Edmonton-St. Albert Member of Parliament Brent Rathgeber, who has a date with history next week; the controversial Press Progress Rex Murphy info-graphic.

ST. ALBERT, Alberta

MP Brent Rathgeber’s private member’s bill, the CBC and Public Service Disclosure and Transparency Act, is scheduled to be back before the denizens of the House of Commons on Wednesday night.

Bill C-461 has no chance of passing in the form the Edmonton-St. Albert Member of Parliament desires for (Read more…)

Trashy's World: If Peter Mansbridge or Jian Ghomeshi…

… were rabid cheerleader against the oil sands or any other conservative darling, you can bet that there asses would be on the line! But Rex Murphy can exult in the virtues of the massive western projects all he wants and with impertinence without fear of reprisal. He can take money from the oil sand […]

Cowichan Conversations: Canada’s Most Disgusting Rex Murphy Fearless Defender of the Overdogs

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger-

We have all come across Rex Murphy on the CBC and although he can sometimes be entertaining he is a shameless bought and paid for buffoon and frontman for PM Steve and the Oil and Gas corporations.

His bullying style on Cross Canada Checkup towards those not singing off his songsheet has been well established and tolerated for far too long.

Now he makes a handsome living as a fearless defender of the over dogs.

He travels around the country pitching for the powerful and ridiculing the rest. I expect that he will soon be appointed to (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Rex Murphy and the Con Broadcasting Corporation

About a week ago I wrote a post demanding to know why the CBC hadn't fired Rex Murphy for being a shill for Big Oil.And I assumed that because so many others had complained, and it was such an obvious conflict of interest, that the CBC would at least take those complaints seriously.But I was wrong. It turns out CBC management doesn't think Murphy is guilty of ANYTHING. Read more »

Montreal Simon: Why the CBC Should Fire Rex Murphy Immediately

I've always known he was a vociferous climate change denier, a wordier Ezra Levant. A shabby little demagogue who lards his windy diatribes with Con talking points.I recently found out that in addition to his gigs at CBC Television, CBC Radio, and the National Post, he also moonlights as a shill for Big Oil.A words-weary audience jumped to its feet with an enthusiastic ovation for broadcaster Rex Murphy after he urged pipeline builders Friday to stop being ashamed of the multibillion-dollar projects they are trying to build.But who knew that being an oily prophet, could be so profitable? Read more »

Politics, Re-Spun: What Does Post-Corporate Media Look Like?

I know you’re wondering. But it’s hard to imagine. Kind of like a fish imagining life without water. We’ve known corporate media for generations. Since the advent of psychology and marketing, the influence/manipulation of corporate media is ubiquitous. And not in a good way.

But let’s take a few moments to imagine the features of post-corporate media, where increasing the audience [by a variety of questionable, sensationalist means, sometimes] to increase ad revenue isn’t the goal.

Let’s start here with this:

The CBC. Mothercorp. Publicly funded, at arms length from the taxpayer funder. It has access to national radio and (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: Riding profile: Cumberland-Prescott from The Best Laid Plans (and some lamenting on an opportunity for breaking down the two solitudes

Note: I’ve never read the book and am judging all this on one episode of the show and some conversations with friends who have read the book, but considering this is a (mostly) tongue and cheek post, it isn’t going to matter much, although as a sneak preview, the portrayal of the riding seems to ignore the actual linguistic background of the people hypothetically living in it.Like many political junkies across the land, I tuned in last night to The Best Laid Plans, CBC’s new comedic political mini-series. I found it…lacking. I like to think we as a (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Shining you on: Alison Redford calls for a little selective sunshine on civil service salaries

The scene in February 2014: CBC investigative journalist Charles Rusnell pores through a list of senior Alberta civil service salaries as horrified deputy ministers and university professors look on. Actual Alberta public employees may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Associate Minister of Accountability, Transparency and Transformation Don Scott, left, with some guy his party would just as soon you forgot about. (Image grabbed from the Internet from country933.com.) I wonder what the yellow gloves are for?

Have the calls Alberta’s Progressive Conservative MLAs are getting from modestly paid unionized civil servants, furious about having their salaries frozen (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: If the deputy premier wants free speech for Ukraine so badly, why is he attacking it in Alberta?

Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk in the Rotunda of the Alberta Legislature. Note, in the background at left, Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith. Below, a recent Twitter message from Mr. Lukaszuk, an inveterate and confrontational Tweeter, who thinks your free speech rights are a matter of LOL and #wink.

Last weekend, Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk was in Edmonton’s Churchill Square enthusiastically demanding free speech and recognition of other fundamental rights for citizens of Ukraine.

Premier Alison Redford’s second in command told his listeners he recalled being in Kiev in 2004, observing the Orange Revolution: “Never again should there (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: The CBC and the End of Don Cherry

It's not a good news hockey story. It's a huge blow to the CBC. For years, HNIC has been a cash cow that helped float many of CBC’s other news and original programming endeavours, with some estimating it was worth $200 million, and up to half of the TV network’s advertising revenue.And of course the CBC can't count on any help from Stephen Harper. The Prime Minister's Office has slammed the door on any bailout for the CBC to make up for lost advertising revenue from hockey broadcasts. "CBC already receives significant taxpayer funds," PMO spokesman Stephen Lecce wrote (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: More CBC Privatization

The private sector is grinning at the stealth privatization of Hockey Night in Canada.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Hockey Night in Canada, privatization version!

Yes, the CBC is now in a privatization scheme called a public-private partnership [see below] to continue its mission to dump the most culturally significant media brand in Canadian history: Hockey Night in Canada.

Selling off the CBC outright would be a politically dangerous venture. So the federal government is simply eroding it, piece by piece. First, it dismantled the CBC orchestra. Then it didn’t bid on renewing the rights to the theme song of (Read more…)

Autonomy For All: The CBC’s Right Wing Personalities Have No Counterparts

For all of the various whining that the CBC is “statist” and left wing biased, I ask, where are the left wing CBC counterparts to these gems: Rex Murphy, seen here writing an absurd polemic attacking Rob Ford’s critics using a series of cliched strawman puerile caricatures of his opposition as just a bunch of downtown elitist snobs.  Ford has been seriously unpopular for years now, having left net popularity in mid to late 2011 and never looked back – even after the Scarborough subway victory. Don Cherry, among his many offensive comments and reactionary views (many completely unrelated (Read more…)