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Northern Insight / Perceptivity: The moderating effect of moderation

RossK writes about the Pro-Media Club and its implicit rulebook, which includes a requirement that no one reprove a colleague, even if overstatements and misrepresentations morph into purposeful lies. The blog world doesn’t follow those guidelines so we can point at any load of old codswallop encountered. In coverage of the Metro Vancouver transit plebiscite, there is plenty, particularly from alternative media that claim to publish content less influenced by special interests. Unfortunately, the interests are still special, just different.

Writing in a Vancouver Observer “Special Report”, Paul Hillsdon presents implications of a “NO” vote. These are but a few: (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Harry Smith Has Stephen Harper In His Sights

Harry Smith is a man on a mission, one that should put disengaged Canadians to shame.

The 92-year-old long-time activist, who splits his time between Canada and England, is ashamed of what has happened under the rule of Stephen Harper, and plans to make a difference as soon as he returns from the United Kingdom, where he is currently on an extensive speaking tour for Britain’s Labour Party, which asked him to be a spokesman in the campaign for the May 7 election.

Smith has become a sensation for his opinion pieces and memoir Harry’s Last Stand, in which he (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Herr Harper Is At It Again, But The Media Revolt

H/t Kat McNamara

The Harper-led assault on our rights as Canadians continues, this time under the guise of Bill C-51, the new Anti-Terrorism Act. And finally, the media showed some resistance. Reporters in Ottawa became surly quickly Friday when it was discovered the government lock-up they attended for a briefing on proposed anti-terror legislation was light on information and heavy on restrictions.

The federal government was tabling Bill C-51, Canada’s new ”Anti-Terrorism Act” meant to bolster authorities’ powers to prevent and dismantle terrorist activity.

Forced to agree to an embargo on information until a set time, the reporters were dismayed (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- The Tyee’s recent series on important sources of inequality is well worth a read, as Emily Fister interviews Andrew Longhurst about precarious work and Sylvia Fuller about the role of motherhood.

- David Cole asks just how corrupt U.S. politics have become, while Frances O’Grady observes that U.K workers don’t believe for a second that their employer can’t afford to pay living wages. Robert Reich sees Detroit as a prime example of wealthy individuals shirking their responsibility to pay for the public goods they enjoy. And Joseph Stiglitz notes that gross (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: And This Is A Good Deal Because?

Despite the best efforts of the ever-secretive Harper cabal, details about the CETA deal are finally emerging thanks to leaked portions of the text. And has been long-predicted, those details are not encouraging when it comes to Canadian sovereignty in general, and local sourcing of construction contracts, goods and services in particular.

While government websites, replete with encomiums from business entities, crow about what this deal will accomplish, more critical sources offer much to suggest the need for grave misgivings.

Take, for example, the matter of investor rights. Chapter 11, the investor-dispute mechanism under NAFTA, has resulted in numerous (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Make No Mistake, Academic Freedom and Tenure are Under Attack at the University of Saskatchewan

The fallout over the recent attack over the heavy-handed firing of Saskatchewan University Professor Robert Buckingham is rapidly gathering momentum, especially in the academic and educational circles.

In attempts to bring readers up to date here is Don Maroc’s original post followed by comments from a University of Saskatchewan Senator, an opinion piece from the Tyee’s Crawford Kilian, a career educator and finally a multi party Media Release.

Initially Cowichan Conversations ran this Don Maroc post regarding the shocking firing of University of Saskatchewan Professor Robert Buckingham.

Don Maroc

Taking over as provost of McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, in 2007, Philadelphia born (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Published elsewhere: Five myths to bust about minimum wage hikes

I wrote a piece on the very recent proposal to increase the minimum wage in British Columbia that was published over the weekend in The Tyee:

The B.C. Federation of Labour has just proposed to increase the minimum wage in British Columbia to $13 per hour. In short, it’s about time. With this proposal, B.C. joins the minimum wage debate that has erupted across North America. The debate is much needed: poverty wages have no place in today’s economy.

In the United States, the lowest-paid, most precarious workers stood up and demanded a higher minimum wage at (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Ignorance Is Strength

At least it is so in Harperland.

Recommend this Post

ParliamANT Hill: CanadiAnt Taxpayers Federation Demands Accountability, but Not for Itself

Inspired by this headline:

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Robert Reich discusses how we’d all better off if we acted in the public interest and insisted that our representatives did the same: A society — any society — is defined as a set of mutual benefits and duties embodied most visibly in public institutions: public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.

Public institutions are supported by all taxpayers, and are available to all. If the tax system is progressive, those who are better off (and who, presumably, have benefitted (Read more…)


I have written this piece in an attempt to evaluate the actual contribution to society of a prominent Canadian who espouses extreme right-wing views. I feel it is important, from time to time, to compare actual performance to stated principles. If you find this critique of interest, please send the link to others.   Nick One of the champions of Canada’s right-wing corporate elite is finally calling it quits.

Gwyn Morgan, 66, is stepping down in May as Board Chairman of SNC-Lavalin, the troubled, giant engineering and construction firm trying to survive a series of scandals, a lack of public confidence, and fluctuating share values.

(Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: TransCanada Pipelines Whistleblower Receives National Award

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive A former TransCanada Corporation employee who blew the whistle on the rising pipeline incidents and rule-breaking by Big Oil has been chosen as the recipient of the 2013 Golden Whistle Blower Award. Evan Vokes, a former professional materials engineer at TransCanada Pipelines (TCPL), received the award in Ottawa on Monday. [...]

The post TransCanada Pipelines Whistleblower Receives National Award appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Ranting Canadian: Doug Christie: The Unauthorized Obituary (article in The Tyee)

Doug Christie: The Unauthorized Obituary (article in The Tyee):

Tom Hawthorn of TheTyee reiterates what I wrote in my post about the recently croaked lawyer Doug Christie. Despite his pompous self-declarations, Christie was not a true advocate for free speech; he was merely an advocate for racism, anti-Semitism and other far right views. Christie, in fact, used the court system to try to silence critics, which is the exact opposite of promoting unfettered speech. What a hypocritical, lying piece of shit.


In the late 1990s, Christie represented clients who sued newspaper cartoonist Josh Beutel, the New Brunswick Teachers’

. . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: Doug Christie: The Unauthorized Obituary (article in The Tyee)

Earthgauge Radio: How do you know you live in a petro state?

From Andrew Nikiforuk in today’s Tyee. The full article, called ‘Why can’t Alberta break even?‘, is worth a read.

How do you know when you live in petro state? Here are some key signs:

When your government pays 30 per cent of its road, education, and hospital bills with finite and volatile hydrocarbon revenue.

When your province posts five budget deficits in a row during a so-called “bitumen boom.”

When the billionaire owner of a hockey club (the Oilers) donates $430,000 to extend the 40-year rule of a one party state that ran out of ideas 30

. . . → Read More: Earthgauge Radio: How do you know you live in a petro state?

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Wednesday reading.

- Pat Atkinson highlights what should probably be the story of the year for 2012: the continued degradation of Canadian democracy under a government which views Parliament and the public with an alarming degree of contempt: Harper’s Conservatives see Parliament as a nuisance. Committees meet in secret, and opposition MPs aren’t to reveal what is learned. And it is clear that most of Parliament’s power has been centralized into a prime minister’s office that is determined to control governing party MPs and even its cabinet ministers.

Paul Thomas, professor emeritus of politics at

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Michael Harris asks why Stephen Harper is afraid to look Theresa Spence in the eye: (Harper) believes that the government’s lying about all these things is far less important than the fact that it is the government. Incumbency is a magic potion. Under its influence, people are supposed to swoon. All too often, they do. That’s the way oligarchs think. Richard Nixon put it in a nutshell when he famously said that if the president did it, then it wasn’t a crime.

Stephen Harper has arrived at the exalted position of Tricky Dick.

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Northern Insight: Pro-media: watchdogs or lapdogs?

Katie Hyslop has a worthwhile piece in The Tyee about the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation. Teacher Decries Pension Plan’s ‘Unethical’ Investments, The Tyee, Nov. 13/12 “[Paul] Hutcheson started researching the B.C. Teachers’ Pension … . . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Pro-media: watchdogs or lapdogs?

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, expanding on my previous post as to why we should be wary of Brad Wall’s plans for potash royalties.

For further reading, I’ll again recommend Mitchell Anderson’s Tyee series contrasting how Norway has handled its natural resources with Canada’s laissez-faire system. (And the lesson seems all the more applicable in the case of potash, where the limited alternative sources of production make it even more obvious that we should be able to make sure Saskatchewan’s interests are protected.)

earthgauge: And now a few comments on The Tyee’s new sustainable energy project…

In my post below, I recommended following a new investigative reporting series being produced by The Tyee. I commend this initiative as it is important, timely and deserves our attention. Now for some thoughts on what The Tyee is hoping to achieve with this project.

First, a few words of caution beginning with David Beer’s premise in launching this series on the polarized debate between “Oil sands full bore? Oil sands full stop? Neither is realistic.”

This is not really accurate. I agree that “Oil sands full stop” seems highly improbable for the reasons that David points out, but “Oil

. . . → Read More: earthgauge: And now a few comments on The Tyee’s new sustainable energy project…

NEW MEDIA AND POLITICS CANADA: What A Bitumen Spill In Vancouver Harbour Would Look Like

Mitchell Anderson over at The Tyee  has thoughtfully put together the scenario that would likely unfold in the event of a bitumen spill in Vancouver harbour. Something never mentioned in Canada’s rapidly deteriorating media, but obviously important, is how such a spill would affect the residents of Vancouver:

The public health emergency and potential evacuation of large parts of the city might easily overshadow the more well known consequences of an oil spill as local authorities struggle to move hundreds of thousands of people out of harm’s way.


Sadly, none of this is far-fetched:

Kinder Morgan is (Read more…)

Northern Insight: Let the MSM die, we have alternatives

A news magazine that provides opinion not packaged for Canada’s big business, is The Tyee. David Beers’ publication has nerve, dedication and skill. It daily presents information that frightens managers of Canada’s old style corporate media. Today, another example:

Vancouver Oil Sands Tanker Spill Could Cause Evacuation Nightmare, Mitchell Anderson, The Tyee Jun 4, 2012

“Stinking. Toxic. Explosive…

“Companies operating in the oil sands are increasingly shipping unrefined bitumen because it is more profitable for them to refine it elsewhere. This lack of value-added processing, supported by the Harper government, not only limits the long-term employment and economic benefits

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Let the MSM die, we have alternatives

Northern Insight: Guest post from Farmland Defence League

BC Liberals Pat Pimm and Blair Lekstrom have proposed a delegation agreement for the Peace River Valley, a move that is intended to free them of political responsibility for development of the fertile farmland in a region that represents 1/3 of British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve, and effectively deprives the taxpayers of voters of British Columbia from any say in what happens to the farmland.

Shortly after getting elected, the BC Liberals entered into a delegation agreement with the oil and gas industry that has allowed the industry to engage in natural gas exploration that has effectively poisoned large areas

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Guest post from Farmland Defence League

Northern Insights / Perceptivity: Harper’s anti-science shame

Don’t miss Andrew Nikiforuk’s latest contribution at The Tyee: Understanding Harper’s Evangelical Mission

“…While government and industry PR folk spin fabrications about Canada’s environmental record, Scott Vaughan, Federal Environment Commissioner in the office of the Auditor General, reports that there are only 12 water quality stations for Canada’s 3,000 First Nations communities and just one federal water monitoring station operating downstream from the oil sands. Until last year it was calibrated only to detect pulp mill pollution.

“The data-antagonistic Harper government has so muzzled federal scientists that an editorial in the prestigious Nature magazine demanded that it was “time

. . . → Read More: Northern Insights / Perceptivity: Harper’s anti-science shame

Song of the Watermelon: On Ezra Levant’s Victimhood

I have been blogging for nearly four months now, and am embarrassed to admit that — contrary to firmly established best blogging practices — I have yet to engage in the art of personal attack. Today, I intend to correct this error and make the anonymous overlords of the blogarchy proud. The target of my wrath? None other than the king of personal attacks himself — the Canadian pundit and convicted libelist who never fails to find himself on the wrong side of every issue, from tobacco to Israel-Palestine to climate change — Mr. Ezra Levant.

But first, a little

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: On Ezra Levant’s Victimhood

DeSmogBlog: Ethical Oil: The Puppet Rap

It's time for Friday funnies, and the top hit today is Ethical Oil: the Puppet Rap, which first popped up over at The Tyee.

It's a foul-mouthed, satirical music video remix of Kathryn Marshall's ridiculous PR gymnastics to avoid answering a basic question from CBC's Evan Solomon whether Enbridge funds the Ethical Oil Institute. The second half features "Easy-E" Ezra Levant, the founder of the Ethical Oil Institute and creator of the 'ethical oil' talking point.

Check it out:


The satirical music video was created by Caitlin Dodd, David Henderson-Hean, Kai Nagata, Spencer Powell and Emile Scott.

Head over

. . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: Ethical Oil: The Puppet Rap