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Canadian Dimension: EU’s military strategy to deepen Mediterranean tragedies

Photo by Kim Hansen

More than 800 migrants died on April 19 this year when their overcrowded boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast. The tragedy sent soaring this year’s Mediterranean death toll which was by then around 1,500 – 10 times the deaths during the same period last year.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), between 23,000 and 24,000 migrants had tried to cross over to Italy since the beginning of the year, while just under 21,000 migrants made the same journey between January and April 2014. While the number of migrants rose to (Read more…)

OpenMedia.ca: Bill C-51 violates Universal Declaration of Human Rights, OSCE finds

When the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization says Bill C-51 violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, you know we’re in trouble. 

Article by ThinkPol

The Harper government’s controversial anti-terrorism bill violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Canada has ratified, according to legal analysis by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization.

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Canadian Dimension: A Nation of Snitches

Graphic created by EFF Senior Designer Hugh D’Andrade.

A totalitarian state is only as strong as its informants. And the United States has a lot of them. They read our emails. They listen to, download and store our phone calls. They photograph us on street corners, on subway platforms, in stores, on highways and in public and private buildings. They track us through our electronic devices. They infiltrate our organizations. They entice and facilitate “acts of terrorism” by Muslims, radical environmentalists, activists and Black Bloc anarchists, framing these hapless dissidents and sending them off to prison for years. They have (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges on How the Private Sector Buys and Sells Your Privacy

Image from Public Domain

As Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer points out to Chris Hedges in this interview for The Real News Network about Scheer’s new book, They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy, the safeguards written into the U.S. Constitution to protect Americans against abuses of their civil liberties don’t exactly apply to violations by the private sector.

What’s more, corporations are able to find out more about citizens from an array of legal methods of data collection—from voluntarily relinquished to disturbingly covert—than the most notorious totalitarian regimes of (Read more…)

Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism: Akaash Maharaj: Addressing the United Nations

Political corruption kills more people than war and famine combined. I addressed the United Nations on how the international community can and must act to bring kleptocrats to justice.

Montreal Simon: Ireland and the Amazing and Historic Struggle for Marriage Equality

A wonderful thing may be about to happen in Ireland in just a few days.Millions of people are preparing to take on the power of the Catholic Church, and some of the nastiest bigots you can imagine.And make that country the first in the world to vote to approve same-sex marriage. Read more »

Canadian Dimension: Welcome Back, Omar Khadr: Demonized No More

Photo by Khadr family

When torture survivor Omar Khadr was granted bail last week, the Harper government actually did something logical: it argued in an emergency hearing that releasing someone who, since the age of 15, has never known life outside of the world’s worst detention facilities, would cause irreparable harm.

Indeed, it already has, but not in the way the government had argued. For Canada’s state security agencies and public safety ministers, the days of easy, unanswered attacks on Khadr’s reputation, along with accusations of the alleged threat he poses to Canadians, are over. Why? Because, for the very (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Omar Khadr and the Grubby Con Hogs

Over the last eight years I have written almost a hundred posts about the case of Omar Khadr, Canada's child soldier.For I consider it one of the greatest cases of injustice in the history of this country, a shameful episode that should haunt us forever.So you can imagine how I felt today when I read that he may finally be free. 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…)

Canadian Dimension: Understanding indigenous struggles against settler colonialism and international law

Photo by Marius Arnesen

On April 17, Palestinian Prisoner’s Day should be seen as a day of global solidarity for all indigenous peoples seeking freedom and self-determination while living under settler colonialism. It reminds us of the predominance of indigenous peoples living in the prison industrial complex and its overarching laws.

Almost one month prior to the 67th remembrance year of the Nakba, or ethnic cleansing of Palestine, Palestinians are remembering the overwhelming incarceration rates they face by the state of Israel today.

Setting aside the complex architecture of violence that Israel has created, indigenous peoples are overwhelmingly represented in (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Theland’s 134km walk for children of missing and murdered indigenous women

Theland Kicknosway, an 11 year old Pottawatami Cree boy, walked-and-ran 134 km from Ottawa to Kitigan Zibi, Quebec, to “bring attention to the children of missing and murdered Indigenous women.”

The post Theland’s 134km walk for children of missing and murdered indigenous women appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Elizabeth May Rejects Harper’s Cosmetic Bill C-51 Amendments

Harper’s Bill C-51 remains “dangerous and undemocratic” and “deeply unconstitutional” despite the Conservatives’ proposed amendments, says MP Elizabeth May.

The post Elizabeth May Rejects Harper’s Cosmetic Bill C-51 Amendments appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: On common ground

The Progress Summit’s panel on First Nations has included plenty of discussion of the need to identify commonalities between First Nation issues and other groups within Canada. And I’d add that there are plenty more opportunities to draw further connections.

The recognition that the federal government tried to eradicate aboriginal culture (and celebration of that fact that it failed) can surely be linked to the latest attempts to intrude on individual beliefs and practices. And the development gap between First Nations and Canada at large is largely paralleled by a similar divide between other rural or isolated communities which are (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: Toronto’s Plan to Push Out the Homeless

Photo by Ivaan Kotulsky

The Mayor’s Office in Toronto is today occupied by a much slicker operation than it was during the years of dysfunctional, bigoted buffoonery that unfolded under Rob Ford. Mayor John Tory has resumed the drive toward a fully fledged neoliberal city but has the basic political skills to frame his twin agendas of austerity and upscale redevelopment in the language of inclusiveness. He has been sufficiently proficient at this to rapidly create what Michael Laxer has termed an “austerity consensus” supported by the overwhelming majority of the Council, including its left wing.

The agenda (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Anti-Abortion, Anti-Gay Crusader Bill Whatcott Flees Canada

Bill Whatcott, a highly controversial anti-abortion and anti-gay crusader, flees Canada, seeks refuge in the Philippines.

The post Anti-Abortion, Anti-Gay Crusader Bill Whatcott Flees Canada appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Bill Longstaff: News flash—Western nation stands up to Saudis

Western nations may proclaim their virtue but when it comes to Saudi Arabia, they behave like whores. They posture their belief in democracy and human rights but genuflect before a kingdom that manifests contempt for both.

The allure of the desert sheiks is twofold: they sell lots of oil and they buy lots of guns. They have the largest reserves of conventional oil in the world and they are the

Accidental Deliberations: On dividing lines

For the most part, Joan Bryden’s report signals that there isn’t much controversy left arising out of Alexandre Boulerice’s comments about niqabs in the civil service. But it’s worth asking whether the trial balloon floated by Boulerice serves any purpose whatsoever: Martin added that he has no problem with Boulerice’s suggestion that a pan-Canadian commission — along the lines of Quebec’s Bouchard-Taylor commission in 2007 — should be created to find a consensus on how far the country should go to accommodate minority cultural and religious practices.

However, Dewar, whose riding is home to many civil servants, said there is (Read more…)

Larry Hubich's Blog: Connie – Anti-Terror Legislation – 22 Minutes

Politics and its Discontents: Human Rights And The Politics Of Fear

When Alex Neve, longtime Secretary General of the Canadian branch of Amnesty International, speaks, people should listen. He and his organization have now weighed in on Bill C-51, the ‘anti-terror’ bill being promoted with such relish by Stephen Harper and his acolytes. It is a bill, Neve and many others contend, that will seriously erode human rights and freedoms in the name of national security. Its powers will far exceed anything necessary.

Neve’s position is best summed up this way: Human rights do not stand in the way of security that is universal, durable and inclusive. Human rights are (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: International Women’s Day 2015: Ontario’s bold anti-sexual violence plan

This powerful anti-sexual violence ad, released just in time for the 2015 International Woman’s Day, is part of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s ambitious $41-million plan to combat sexual violence.

The post International Women’s Day 2015: Ontario’s bold anti-sexual violence plan appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Edward Keenan is the latest to point out that any reasonable political decision-making process needs to include an adult conversation about taxes and why we need them: This week, when asked about the prospect of raising taxes beyond the rate of inflation in coming years, John Tory called the idea “an admission of failure.”

This is distressing to hear. Consider the context: Tory’s current budget turns out to require a lot of dipsy-doodling that edges the city perilously close to its debt ceiling while hiking TTC fares and garbage fees. Meanwhile the (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Canada’s Trans* Rights Bill Now Endorses Bans in Washroom and Gendered Spaces

Canada’s trans* human rights bill C-279 was amended by a Senate committee, in a way that makes it legal to ban trans* people from washrooms and gendered spaces appropriate to their gender identity.

Sen. Donald Plett, Conservative member of the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, added a legal exemption for “any service, facility, accommodation or premises that is restricted to one sex only, such as a correctional facility, crisis counseling facility, shelter for victims of abuse, washroom facility, shower facility or clothing changing room.” The amendment passed with six of the committee members supporting it, four opposed, (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Regina demands missing, murdered aboriginal women inquiry

Regina city council has added its voice to the growing call for a national inquiry into the crisis of 1,200 murdered and missing aboriginal women in Canada.

The post Regina demands missing, murdered aboriginal women inquiry appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Paul S. Graham: Stop Bill C-51 #StopHarper

Introduced into Parliament on Jan. 30, 2015, Bill C-51 is an omnibus bill that will undermine constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of Canadians in the guise of combating terrorism. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s bombastic, saber-rattling YouTube video, published 2 days before the bill was tabled, set the tone. Essentially, Canada is under attack and the government will do whatever it takes to protect Canadians.

Critics of C-51 argue that it will criminalize speech, make it easier to arrest people who police think might commit an offence, share citizen’s private information between government departments without oversight, and allow the Canadian (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: “A little free speech for me, and a little shut-up-and-take-it-like-a-man for you.”

There’s a bit of controversy brewing in the UK press, as a result of a letter from academics and activists (including noted LGB activist Peter Tatchell, as well as some recognized trans-exclusionary reactionaries) published in The Observer (“We cannot allow censorship and silencing of individuals“). In it they call for universities to stand against what they felt was intimidation, specifically pertaining to discussions on trans* issues and sex work.

As a freelance writer and journalist, I could normally understand the concern of what they term no-platforming (alienating speakers like Germaine Greer and Julie Bindel because of past (Read more…)