Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: To Inquire, or Not To Inquire, Don’t Ask The Question

The latest Coyne article seems to be self defeating in its thesis.

“It’s not evident what contribution another public inquiry would make,” opines Coyne.

For one thing, we could have an inquiry to demonstrate that for Coyne. Or we could for once listen to what First Nations people want out of the Canadian government, rather than what a mainstream newspaper columnist in Toronto wants for First Nations people. The act of the federal government doing what First Nations want over what white people in Ontario want, would be a step in the right direction to healing some of the rifts (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Teach Your Children Well

They’re already facing some serious challenges coming their way before all that long, let’s teach them the difference between absurdity and reality, the gift of critical thinking.  That’s been heavily drummed out of us these past two or more decades and it shows in the mess we’ve created during that interval.

Dan Arel, in his book “Parenting without God,”  argues that, in a society “ruled by absurd religion and other dogma,” critical thinking is more important than ever.

One important thing to teach our children is how to think critically. It is easy to tell them they (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Double Bind of Climate Change

I’m still hopeful that we will see a workable, international agreement on climate change in 2015 but why does that have to feel like a pensive Charlie Brown with Lucy holding the football?  And why does Lucy remind me of Stephen Harper?

A new research study from Norway’s Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in conjunction with Statistics Norway (a Scandinavian StatsCan), concludes that the chances of getting an effective agreement are slim.  The study concludes that the measures likely to get political agreement would be ineffective while an agreement that could produce results would be “politically unviable. (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: It’s Not That We Disagree, It’s That I Despise Your Ideas

When ever I read another article and view another series of photographs of the carnage Israel has inflicted on the civilian population of Gaza and then think of the Netanyahu apologists, Trudeau and Mulcair, I despise them and any party that would tolerate much less follow their views.  That these two greasy opportunists haven’t been tossed to the street for their blatant pandering tells me all I need to know about the Liberal Party and the New Democrats. 

Our general election is less than a year away, possibly much sooner if Harper sees a window of opportunity in which to (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Could Harper Deploy Troops Against Canadians?

I was taken aback by a post from Geoff Kennedy at Parchment in the Fire entitled, “EU Advisors Advocate use of Military Against Strikes and Protests | Global Research.”

The thrust of this report is that military forces should be employed to defend the interests of the extremely wealthy from unrest among the masses.  The key author was professor Tomas Ries, currently with the Swedish Institute for International Affairs.  Geoff writes:

Ries sees the central threat to “security” in a violent “conflict between unequal socioeconomic classes in global society,” which were “in vertical asymmetric tensions in the global (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Harper’s War on Charities is a War on All of Us

Never underestimate the scope and impact of the Harper regime’s war to gag our charities. Oxford student and 2013 Rhodes Scholar, Joanne Cave writes in today’s Times Colonist that the use of the CRA cudgel to silence charities by Harper & Co.is just the tip of the iceberg.

The recent Canada Revenue Agency crackdown on everyone from Pen Canada to Oxfam — noting, quite appallingly, that “preventing poverty” isn’t an appropriate charitable aim after all — has Canada’s charitable sector wondering: When is enough, enough?And if you think the issues facing charities aren’t relevant to your life, think (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper’s Gambit

With his numbers sinking in the most recent polls, Harper appears to be moving to bring out his rear guard actions to sustain his grip on power.

There are several pieces to this discussion:

(1)  Foreign Affairs

Between fomenting a shooting war with Russia in the Ukraine,  a stance on Israel that’s about as nuanced as an angry rhinoceros, and taking explicit sides in the ongoing collapse of Iraq and Syria, anyone would think that Harper was trying to drag Canada into a war.

Make no mistake about it, that is one of the cards that Harper (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: When Confidence Fails

Few who lived through the Cold War with its constant threat of nuclear annihilation realize the role confidence played in preventing an outbreak of apocalyptic hostilities.  Even at times when we thought the “other side” might be nearing the point of pre-emptive attack, we had a sufficient degree of confidence that they would do no such thing.  The Red Telephone that connected the White House to the Kremlin was specifically intended as an instrument for maintaining confidence.

The Cuban missile crisis demonstrated the leadership needed to maintain confidence – and peace – in stressful circumstances.  Kennedy was being pulled by (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Another Indictment of Neoliberalism, This Time from Monbiot

Neoliberalism, sometimes known as “market fundamentalism”, is the scourge of our age.  It infests our federal politics.  Stephen Harper is a disciple.  Mulcair and Trudeau may be somewhat less neoliberal but it’s a matter of degree and it ain’t much.

Neoliberalism is a path littered with flawed assumptions and empty promises.  It is a cancer that eats away at social cohesion, that drives inequality that itself arises mainly out of privilege and unjust government largesse from tax favouritism to outright gifting of public property.  It is the engine of economic feudalism.

Guardian columnist, George Monbiot, has additional insights into the (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: "Limiting information" on oilsands probe demonstrates Harper government problems with both openness and the environment

This story out of The Star hits at two major problems of the Harper government – an inability to take environmental concerns seriously, and a desire to limit access to critical information by the media and citizens.

“Environment Canada’s enforcement branch asked a spokesman to “limit information” given to reporters about how long it took to launch a federal investigation into a serious Alberta oilsands leak last summer. The comments were included in more than 100 pages of emails obtained by the Star that were generated in response to questions from journalists last summer about the mysterious leak in (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: "Limiting information" on oilsands probe demonstrates Harper government problems with both openness and the environment

drive-by planet: NDP Gaza cop out: Mulcair refuses to denounce ‘murderous assault’ by Israel

A recent post on World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) draws attention to the failure of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) to “denounce the murderous assault being carried out by the Israeli government” in Gaza:

Over the past two weeks, Thomas Mulcair, the head of the NDP and the leader of the Official Opposition in parliament, and Paul Dewar, the NDP foreign affairs critic, have refused to oppose Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s full-throated support for the Israeli onslaught [in Gaza].

The article notes that Mulcair’s stance on the Gaza conflict has drawn kudos from at least one columnist on the (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper Tries To Foment A Crisis

Harper has taken a surprising number of losing cases to the Supreme Court of Canada.  Most, if not all, were obviously places where the government’s position is one that is in direct contradiction with the Constitution of Canada.  Even a relative neophyte in Constitutional law in Canada can spot that, whether it is Harper’s desire to “reform” the Senate or the government’s daft position on prostitution.  

Now we have the CPC caucus starting to trot out the “undemocratic” talking points. Dan Albas, the MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, says that while he respects the courts he also believes an increasing number (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Reference Cases Are Not The Problem

Over at iPolitics, James Matkin and Clive Cocking are busy moaning about how the Supreme Court “kills innovative legislation” in the form of “reference cases”.

The basic thesis of their argument is that we need to take away from the Supreme Court of Canada the ability to hear “reference cases”.  A reference case is fundamentally a hypothetical case – a “what if we wrote legislation like this” test.  For most Canadians, the most recent “Reference Case” was Harper’s “Senate Reform” gambit, which got smacked around for violating various aspects of the division of powers in the Constitution.

Matkin and Cocking (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Secret TPP talks in Ottawa: Harper has “something to hide”

“Most Canadians would be surprised to learn that Canada is hosting the latest round of TPP negotiations this week in Ottawa,” says University of Ottawa Prof Michael Geist

The post Secret TPP talks in Ottawa: Harper has “something to hide” appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: How Harper Wastes Your Tax Dollars

Harper likes to style his government as a “firm, steady hand on the tiller”, especially on matters of the economy.

But the man is so blinded by his hatred for our country’s laws and the foundational principles of the Canadian Constitution and The Charter of Rights And Freedoms that he simply writes legislation that is based solely on his ideology.

The net result:  unjust laws that are in fact illegal under Canada’s Constitution, and millions of dollars spent trying to sustain those laws before the courts of the land. June 2014: Supreme Court upholds privacy rightsApril 2014: Feds (Read more…)

Left Over: Desperation and Distraction, but a Little Satisfaction?

 

http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2014/07/the-increasing-desperation-of-stephen.html

Two things have me momentarily distracted these days, and both are all about the lack of traction that the Cons are getting from attacking both Junior and the NDP..vis a vis the ‘scandal’ that never was re their supposed illegal Parliamentary postal charge avoidance..what happened with that? Sadly (IMHO) the NDP are falling in the polls, yes, but I think that redemption may be at hand, at least in the form of continuing to be the Loyal Opposition after Junior’s team get elected..yes, I fear the writing is on the wall, I (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Harper’s Cold War Becomes Arctic Chill: Why Domestic Politicking Makes For Bad Foreign Relations

Outgoing Russian Ambassador Georgiy Mame, spoke before his departure, lamenting our government’s undiplomatic posturing with his country, including Stephen Harper’s suggestion that Putin was the next Hitler. He accused the Harper government of isolating itself from its allies over Ukraine and hinted broadly that the Conservatives are likely playing to a domestic audience of 1.2 million Ukrainian-Canadians.

“My whole history as a diplomat, during Cold War, after Cold War was: the higher the risk, the more active the discussion,” he said. “The only exception to this rule is the last seven months I spent in Ottawa.”

There (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: Wikipedia’s Entry On Momentum

Political momentum is nothing like the momentum of physics. In the world of Newton and Einstein appearances don’t cause forces, whereas in politics, appearances are forces.

Stephen Harper became Leader of the Conservative Party in 2003, he faced two subsequent general elections before finally winning a minority government in 2006. Up until 2011 his Conservative Party only increased the number of seats it held in Parliament; since then however, the Conservative Party has only seen its numbers decline.

Thomas Mulcair became Leader of the NDP in 2012, under his guidance the New Democrats have faced numerous by-elections and instead of (Read more…)

Left Over: Our Home Is Native Land….

Tsilhqot’in First Nation granted B.C. title claim in Supreme Court ruling Top court’s decision today resolves legal questions following 2012 B.C. Court of Appeal ruling

CBC News Posted: Jun 26, 2014 9:59 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 26, 2014 11:21 AM ET

As I’ve always sung it, and now I can feel a bit more smug about it:

Oh Canada – Our home is native land

Thanks to the Supremes, once again, for their ruling, and for so not being the US Supreme Court, and not politicizing, but instead voting unanimously for the right decision…

Now (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper’s War On The Middle Class

Continues apace.

A shortage of skilled workers is the biggest challenge many Canadian businesses face today, Employment Minister Jason Kenney told a skills summit Wednesday, warning it could also jeopardize Canada’s economic development in the future. 

The problem would continue to grow as the population ages, Kenney told the one-day conference, which brought together stakeholders to discuss the labour market, employee training and those under-represented in the labour force. 

Currently 30 per cent of the skilled trade workers in Canada are baby boomers, Kenney said, adding that they will soon retire. 

“They are going to take with (Read more…)

Left Over: Chretien’s Lesson for the Harper at the Gate(way)

Northern Gateway decision holds no easy political options for Harper On the controversial B.C. pipeline, PM can say yes, no or not yet, but all answers come with a cost

By Max Paris, CBC News Posted: Jun 16, 2014 6:02 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 16, 2014 11:13 PM ET

All this bleating about Harper having such a tough decision is nonsense..and, to cap it off, he will have, in one action, guaranteed himself a chance for re-election by not approving it..just like Christy Clark did by denying support without meeting some tough conditions… Let’s get real (Read more…)

Left Over: Hey MacDougall, Try Google!

OPINION

Commenters snipe from sidelines, but the kids in short pants are all right It’s time to name and shame anonymous commenters who insult people working to improve Canada

By Andrew MacDougall, for CBC News Posted: Jun 13, 2014 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 13, 2014 5:00 AM ET

 

MacDougall, finish eating that big ol’ hunka steamin’ Ontario crow before you whine about anything else…and BTW, although I may use a nom de plume when commenting (don’t tweet, that’s for twits) or blogging, any time you want to find out who I am, just go to one of (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: An All Out Assault

The last couple of weeks of legislative activity in Ottawa have been distressing to say the least.  To call it an all out assault on Canada and Canadians is an understatement.

The Harper Government has been ramming through a series of legislation that comprise the single most overt attack on all that is good and reasoned in Canada.

I’ve already discussed my thoughts regarding Bill C-36, the Conservative response to the Bedford ruling on prostitution.  Unfortunately, what the Harper Government is ramming through is a more overt piece of legislation that makes a mess out of far more than (Read more…)

Left Over: RoboCalls vs SnailMail…..No Traction without Distraction…

NDP mass mailings broke House rules, Speaker confirms House administrators to advise all-party Board of Internal Economy on possible remedies

By Kady O’Malley, CBC News Posted: Jun 03, 2014 9:39 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 03, 2014 9:39 AM ET

Another fascinating chapter in the Con strategy of distracting from the Robo-Call trial going on right now..nothing like tossing a little dirt in the path of the Opposition to distract the voters from what may be a fascinating little bit of questioning of Sona’s pals and colleagues. Who knows, I have yet to see a single Parliamentary mailout that isn’t (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper Describes Himself

One of the more ludicrous things the Harper Government has been pursuing is creating a “monument to the victims of communism”.  A more cold-war propaganda-esque move is almost unimaginable.  

But, in Harper’s speech at a fundraiser yesterday, he opened his mouth and promptly engaged in self-description. In language reminiscent of the height of the Cold War, Harper lambasted communism and oppressive or even murderous ideologies. 

“Evil comes in many forms and seems to reinvent itself time and again,” he said. 

“But whatever it calls itself — Nazism, Marxist-Leninism, today, terrorism — they all have one thing in (Read more…)