Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

The Disaffected Lib: Has Harperland Made Canada a Rogue State

The Tyee’s Crawford Kilian argues that Harper’s Canada has become a rogue state.

Kilian disposes of the arguments of those, including several Liberals, who see a “moral imperative” in our air war against ISIS.

It’s a very selective morality that attacks the Islamic State in Syria while not attacking Boko Haram in Nigeria, or Russia in Ukraine, and attacks no one at all to protect the millions slaughtered and raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia, and other failing states.

The media and academic war pimps have generally fallen into line with Harper, while dutifully and objectively reporting (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Want Canada to Make a Difference? Let’s Back Tunisia.

Face it.  There’s not much hope that we’re really going to achieve anything significant from our air war in Iraq, regardless of whether we get stuck into Syria also.

All ISIS needs to survive is a nation in chaos.  They weren’t in on the ground floor in Syria.  ISIS moved in after the civil war was well underway.  Same thing for Libya.  ISIS moved in once the anti-Gaddafi forces had established a viable resistance.  Iraq, same same.  Yemen, ditto.

ISIS is into turf, acquiring control.  Muslim countries that are destabilized are the organization’s preferred hunting ground.

Our approach to ISIS (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Because You Really Can’t Tell the Players Without a Programme

The Duffy trial is just about a week away.  It seems like forever since the scandal broke plunging Harper’s PMO and the Senate into a fearful rout.

To get you back up to speed on the scandal and all the players, National Post has published a dandy primer on the Who’s Who of the witnesses expected to be called at trial.

There’s a big bag full of names some of which, by the time this trial is over, you’ll probably hope never to hear again.

The Disaffected Lib: Running on Empty – Harper Defence Budget Stretching Military to Breaking Point

It’s the usual story.  The federal government talks a good game but it’s just empty talk. A glaring example is Canada’s military.  Harper came to power promising to build up the Canadian Forces into a war waging, ass kicking powerhouse.  Rick “The Beached Cod” Hillier praised Harper to the rafters for rescuing the forces from their “decade of darkness” under the Liberals.

Today the boast is burst.  Harper has his own stealth programme, quietly defunding the military.  As Liberal senator Colin Kenny has pointed out, Harper won’t downsize the military to meet his budget cuts, unemployed soldiers would be hard (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The "Piss Away" Province

The key to understanding the dilemma is to realize that Tar Sand, bitumen, is just a part of Alberta’s oil history.  The province has also produced a vast amount of conventional crude oil.  It’s actually produced and exported a good deal more conventional crude oil than Norway.  That brings us to the starting point of the conversation. The CBC today features another one of those awkward, cringe-worthy stories about Alberta and Norway and why Albertans are wallowing in another recession while their Norwegian counterparts are sitting on a mountain of wealth.  The easy answer is that Albertans, while deeply Conservative, (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Three Eras of Canada’s Democracy or How We Got to Where We Are Today.

I first voted in the 60s and I’ve watched Canadian democracy evolve, not always in a good way, ever since.

I’ve witnessed three political eras in my lifetime.

There was an era of rights and freedoms, the years of Diefenbaker, Pearson and Trudeau.  Some might not realize it but Diefenbaker was a true champion of human rights.  Pearson brought Canada to the world stage as honest broker and peacekeeper.  Trudeau, of course, patriated the constitution and left us with perhaps the most important legislative enactment in our country’s history, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  That was the zenith of (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Finally, a Mulroney We Can Believe In.

David Mulroney served as a deputy minister in charge of Canada’s Afghanistan task force.  It seems he learned a thing or two from the experience, enough to know that we’re at risk of repeating the same mistakes in our rush to war in Iraq.

“When I recently saw Foreign Minister [Rob] Nicholson musing that we’d apply some of the lessons of Afghanistan to our engagement, I kind of sat bolt upright because I think one of the problems is we haven’t spent much time learning the lessons of Afghanistan,” Mulroney said in an interview to air Saturday at 9 a. (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Yeah, But in Harper’s Eyes, They’re the Canadians That Matter.

Another zinger from the parliamentary budget officer.  The PBO is confirming what other critics have been saying for a long time – Harper’s income splitting initiative will benefit just one in six families and they’re already the well off.

“The FTC [family tax credit] benefits about two million households, or 15 per cent of the Canadian total,” a newly released report by the PBO says.

It goes on to say “middle and middle-high income households benefit most because they are more likely to have a family income and income tax structure conducive to FTC gains.”

Opposition critics have complained (Read more…)

Trashy's World: The NRA folks must be smilin’…

… as Harper seems to be moving toward an American style position on gun ownership rights. Now, not only are Canadians being told that there are terrorists around every corner, but armed criminals are just waiting for us at our country homes and cottages. Scary country, Harper’s Canada! Harper’s comments are being promoted by the […]

The Disaffected Lib: Filipinos Trash Stephen Harper

I couldn’t have said it better myself.“Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is an embarrassment to the civic-minded and environmentally conscious Canadians.” That’s the assessment of Filipino priest and environmentalist, Father Robert Reyes, speaking on behalf of environmental and public health activists protesting 50-cargo containers full of hazardous waste that have been sitting in Manila for the past 600-days. Philippine customs impounded the containers in June, 2013.  They were designated as plastic waste for recycling but were found to contain, instead, hazardous waste. Canada says it can’t force the exporter to re-export the hazardous materials but the Filipinos (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: The Niqab Hijab etc.. real issue.

By now, you know that a Federal Court has ruled against the Government of Canada that wanted veils/face coverings removed for the “ceremonial” part of the citizenship ceremony to become a Canadian citizen. (more specifically, niqabs, and apparently hijabs). You also know that Prime Minister Harper has decided to go on a rant about that, calling it against Canadian values, etc.. and the Conservative Party is fundraising on the issue.

I can go on about how this is attempting to appeal to the base fears and prejudices of Canadian society, and how they’re trying to cynically use this issue to (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Gamble – High Stakes for Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair

The collapse of world oil prices is reverberating through Canada’s petro-provinces; Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador; and the fallout should yet might not be a major issue when Canadians go to the polls for a dominant fragment of eligible voters to decide who will govern our flagging petro-state, Canada.

Watch for Stephen Harper to try to control the election narrative as never before. In previous elections against Dion and Ignatieff, Harper’s pitch was “there’s nobody better to handle the economy and, besides, look at this dork.”  He defeated the Dion Liberals for a Conservative minority and, quite predictably, (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: A Closer Look at Oil and Climate Change.

Stephen Harper will not be pleased.  The Carnegie Endowment is fingering his cherished Tar Sands.

Not all oil is created equal.  Sweet crude, of the Saudi sort, comes out of the ground almost ready to use.  It’s pumped out of the ground easily, free of most contaminants (sulphur, water, sand, natural gas).  The amount of energy required to extract and refine a barrel of oil is modest.  That, then, provides the benchmarks by which other oils from other places can be judged.

A new report from the Carnegie Endowment, “Know Your Oil: Creating a Global Oil-Climate Index,” (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Yeah, But He’s Still a Member In Good Standing in Harper’s Caucus

Oh, what’s another racist more or less when it’s today’s Conservative caucus?

New Brunswick Tory MP John Williams knows a thing or two about messaging. He should given that he previously worked as Steve Harper’s communications director.

MP Williams, in a blatant burst of racism took a swipe at brown people brought to Canada under the Temporary Worker Programme.

New Brunswick MP John Williamson told delegates at a conference in Ottawa that it makes no sense to pay “whities” to stay home while companies bring in “brown people” as temporary foreign workers. Obviously Williams imagined he was safe in the (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Duffy’s Sting

It’s a tale with two scripts.  One is the story presented by Stephen Harper, his PMO, the RCMP and others.  The other is the account presented by disgraced senator Mike Duffy.  At least one side isn’t telling the truth.

Who to believe?  We’ll have to wait until all the evidence is in but I figure the truth has come, quite inadvertently, from senator Duffy.

There is one piece of evidence, the unintended disclosure of which, set this whole business in motion.  It’s an e-mail – candid, descriptive and, most importantly, contemporaneous with the events.  When Duffy circulated the e-mail to (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Aviation Week Pays Homage to the Avro Arrow

Few people today know much about Canada’s legendary foray into aviation high tech – the Avro Arrow that rolled out of the Avro Canada Malton plant in October, 1957.  Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman revisits that bittersweet moment in Canadian aviation that ended when the Arrow was put to the cutting torch by the conservative government of John Diefenbaker just two years later.

When Aviation Week reported on the fighter’s rollout, in October 1957, the magazine called it “a serious contender for the top military aircraft of the next several years”. High praise indeed, for a non-U.S. aircraft, given (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: What’s Going On with the Senate?

It seems there are a good many senators anxious about the already overdue audit reports into their expenses.  Complicating matters is the letter they were cajoled into signing that waives all privilege, both Parliamentary and solicitor-client.

Suddenly we seem to have a Senate packed full of Mike Duffys in waiting. From what I’m hearing they’re bringing in sawdust by the truckload to cover the floor of the Red Chamber.

The trick now is to figure how this is going to play out in Stephen Harper’s election planning.  He’s got that place heavily larded with his own appointees. 52 Conservatives versus (Read more…)

Left Over: Can’t Tolerate Bigotry…

Time to put the brakes on our slide to intolerance: Tim Harper A government which deals with only symptoms and refuses to look at root causes is part of the problem.

By: Tim Harper National Affairs, Published on Sun Mar 01 2015

(with thanks to Montreal Simon’s blog for the reference: montrealsimon.blogspot.ca)

 

What has always bemused me is the fact that a ‘Christian’ like Timothy McVeigh who was an admitted terrorist and murderer, homegrown in the late great USA, was never ever called a Christian terrorist or a Christian fundamentalist, etc. nor was his religious affiliation even (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea

In a decade or so the government of Canada will be in the market for new submarines for the Royal Canadian Navy.

In the 17-years since the Chretien government snapped up four used British boats, supposedly a bargain, we haven’t seen much use out of them.  In fact we’ve about doubled the purchase price in maintenance bills trying to get the damned things seaworthy.

One of them, just one, has actually fired a torpedo.  That’s 68-service years, one torpedo.  But wait, there’s news.  HMCS Victoria took some guest journos aboard, sailed out of Esquimalt, dived and demonstrated a simulated torpedo (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: And Now, For the TFSA Switch!

Following up my blog post of 4 years ago about Harper’s tax break for the wealthy are stories on CBC and elsewhere regarding the TFSA folly. The increase benefits only ~39% of Canadians who’ve managed to open such a savings account.

“Harper pledges to double tax-free savings limits – but not till deficit is beat” And you have to give him credit, he’s going to be right. Because he won’t be in office when the deficit is beat, a Conservative government doesn’t know how to go out of deficit (history shows they only go into them).

“TFSA limit could (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: More Debates, Not Fewer Debaters

The unethical fools at the Broadcast Consortium will probably gladly keep Elizabeth May away from the debates this year too. Especially amusing is the Conservative spokes-tool saying more participants would make it a gong show. Mulcair wanting a debate focused on women, while angling to keep the only female leader out of the room, is special too.

What’s wrong with the Star and Robert Benzie to write an article about debate controversy and not even mention the Consortium considering blocking the Green Party again because they got away with it last election?

Why would it be up to the Conservatives (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Newsweek’s Obituary for the Athabasca Tar Sands

Is it time for the Barons of Bitumen to wave the white flag?  That seems to be the case according to an article from the latest NewsWeek, “Keystone and the Riddle of the Tar Sands.” …some of Alberta’s crude has made its way to market, but so much slower than it could have, or was projected to, that producers, refiners, shippers, banks and other investors in tar sands development are beginning to wonder whether they have backed a good play by investing over $160 billion to turn tar into oil. So the economic stranding process has already begun. (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Newsweek’s Obituary for the Athabasca Tar Sands

The Disaffected Lib: Oh, This Is Rich. Stephen Harper Wants Us to Listen to Scientists.

“get the facts from the …scientific community, and if you’re not a …scientist yourself, listen to the people who are. It’s that simple.” You heard it right, straight from the lips of Stephen Joseph Harper.  Get the facts from the scientific community and, if you’re not a scientist yourself, listen to the people who are.  Who could argue with that sort of logic except, of course, the man who said it, Stephen Harper. Memo to Steve:  There are many, many scientists who would dearly love to give you oodles of facts so why aren’t you listening to them? (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: The Pony Express Government

CSE has undertaken a domestic spy operation that is illegal in Canada, because it’s spying on communication of Canadian citizens. CSE is supposed to only spy on foreigners, and the Commissioner overseeing the signals intelligence agency is supposed to put a stop to any overstepping of that mandate. Something clearly has gone awry in a grave way.

PONY EXPRESS should not exist in Canada nor should every (paper) letter mailed by Canadians be photographed, as the US is doing. Claiming the mandate CSE has to protect government computers overrides its restriction on conducting a mass surveillance operation of Canadians’ (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: C-51 Being Pushed by “Fascist” language

A former Mountie and CSIS operative thinks Harper’s so called anti-terrorism bill is scary and unnecessary.

Mr. Lavigne, 55, left government in 1999, but follows intelligence news closely.

He spent years tracking dangerous radicals without the powers the government wants to give to CSIS.

“I find it a little convenient that in the past few years that these radicalized people are the biggest threat to ever hit us,” he said. “There are more people dying because of drunk drivers or because of gang violence.”

(-link added by me)

Mr. Lavigne said the prime minister’s advisers must tell him that (Read more…)