I had been living in Canada but a few short months when Stephen Harper, as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, formed his first minority government. At the time, this blog hosted an active and lively ongoing discussion about Canadian culture and politics, and my personal acculturation. I did not like Harper or his Conservatives, but I balked at what I saw as hyperbole from certain progressive people: Harper will turn Canada into the United States. I felt the two countries were different enough to make that particular magic trick impossible.
Now, almost ten years later, at least a (Read more…)
Two years ago, almost to the day, US war resister Kimberly Rivera and her family were forced out of Canada by the Harper Government. Kim – peace activist, artist, mother, dreamer – crossed the border and was immediately taken away in handcuffs. She served more than a year in prison, separated from her husband and children. Her crime: refusing to kill innocent civilians in Iraq, and refusing to risk being killed and leaving her own children without a mother. When news of her removal from Canada was announced in Canada’s House of Commons, the Conservative MPs applauded.
Now it is (Read more…)
He is not supposed to call an election until October 19, 2015 according to his own fixed-date election law.But everybody knows that Stephen Harper won't hesitate to hold one if and when it suits him.The question is what excuse will he use to trigger an election?And could it be a clash with the federal public service unions? Read more »
On Labour Day, I happened to see this on Twitter:
I am on my union’s labour-management committee, the group that meets monthly with management to discuss members’ concerns and try to resolve issues. I was intrigued and followed the link that Rank and File had posted.
To my surprise, the original “how to” advice was written by the late Charley Richardson, who passed away in 2013. I knew of Charley, mostly by his outsize reputation, from another part of his life: along with his wife Nancy Lessin, he co-founded Military Families Speak Out.
MFSO is now defunct, but the organization (Read more…)
The conversation was simple enough.
Teenage girl: “Where is the nonfiction?”
Me: “Nonfiction is upstairs, but it’s organized according to subject. There should be some nonfiction books on the Bingo display.”
Teen: “I think they’re all gone.”
Me: “OK, we’ll find you something. What would you like to read about?”
Teen: “So far I’ve read one nonfiction book. It was about a man who left the war in Iraq. It was called The Deserter’s Tale. I loved it.”
Why did this make me so unreasonably happy?
1. War resisters! Teens reading about moral choices! Teens (Read more…)
I’ve been trying to write about Israel’s latest slaughter of Palestinian people ever since the hideous spectacle began, without results. I post little bits of horror and disgust on Facebook, but can’t sustain anything worth posting here. Because… what is there to say?
A mighty military power unleashes deadly force against a civilian population. Some people within that population have dared to use violence to resist their own oppression. Therefore the entire population must be terrorized, hundreds murdered, thousands maimed, lives destroyed.
Another great military power and a second-tier military wannabe* rush to the defense of the military power, (Read more…)
The Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) urges Canada to resettle at least 5,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2014.
The post CJPME Urges Canada to Stop Dithering and Let Syrian Refugees In appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.
by: Obert Madondo | June 9, 2014
A new report released Monday is urging the Harper Government to shelve its plans to purchase F-35 fighter jets to replace Canada’s aging CF-18 fleet.
The report, entitled “One Dead Pilot: Single-Engine F-35s a Bad Choice,” was released by the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The report was written by University of British Columbia political science professor Michael Byers, who recently won the $50,000 Donner Prize for his book International Law and the Arctic.
Reuters recently reported that the Conservatives would soon be purchasing 65 F-35 fighters.
I’m sure many of you have read The Book Thief, Markus Zusak’s youth novel about a German girl and her (non-biological) family during World War II. If you haven’t yet read it, I recommend it.
I had little interest in reading this book. I picked it up for professional reasons: it has been one of the most popular youth novels since its publication in 2005, and I intended to skim it, to get the gist. This book didn’t care what I had in mind. The opening was so intriguing that I kept reading, and before long I was completely (Read more…)
It's scary enough that the wonky nerd Stephen Harper should see himself as a Great Warrior Leader, a strategic genius on a par with Napoleon. Or that he is both an avid student of Stalin AND an ardent believer in The Rapture.Who is presently trying to trigger a superpower confrontation in Ukraine, by among other things comparing Putin to Hitler.And apparently hypnotizing Prince Charles into believing the same thing.
Just to win votes in Canada.But what makes all of this even more deeply disturbing, is that the Orwellian monster Stephen Harper is actually trying to rewrite this country's history. Read more »
. . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Great Warrior Leader Delusion
I’ve recently returned from a lovely trip to Boston, filled with so many of my favourite things: friends, family, books, and baseball.
I love Fenway Park, and I’m always happy to be there. On this trip, we saw three great games, two of them wins, so I was thrilled. The games were marred by only one thing: nearly constant propaganda for the US military. This is not an exaggeration.
Throughout Fenway Park, as in many sports venues, there are monitors showing a TV feed of the action on the field. Right now, between innings, the Fenway Park monitors show (Read more…)
Eleven years ago today, the US invaded Iraq.
This unprovoked invasion of another country that had not threatened the United States was justified by the pretense of finding weapons of mass destruction (which the US knew did not exist), and as payback for 9/11 (which the US knew Iraq had no part in), and by of ridding the world of Saddam Hussein (who was trained and financed by the US). Many such rationales were advanced, including a a Christian crusade against Muslims.
None of the stated rationales for the invasion mentioned the massive profiteering that would reap trillions in profits (Read more…)
by: Obert Madondo
Last week’s “Canadian delegation” to Ukraine wasn’t a Canadian delegation. It was an all-Conservative outfit. The opposition was completely shut out.
The shut out reminds me of how Third World tyrants do politics. How they exploit global crises to score cheap domestic political points. The shut out makes a mockery of our multi-party liberal democracy. And the idea of by-partisanship that comes with it.
But shut-out is mostly part of the Conservatives’ campaign to retain power in 2015. It’s part of the effort to woo the ethnic vote, something the Conservatives would have to do on a (Read more…)
I am posting this article mainly so the commenter called “conservatives are lying scum” can repost his or her comments here. (You can currently read them on this old post: harper’s support for veterans: wear a poppy. do nothing else.) Veterans who were in Ottawa to lobby against the closing of their regional offices left a brief, emotional meeting Tuesday with Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino visibly frustrated and saying they were disrespected.
The federal government has already closed one office in Prince George, B.C., and plans to close eight more on Jan. 31.
In a news (Read more…)
Don’t you love it when everything comes together? It’s Let Them Stay Week 2014, I’m thinking about the US war resisters in Canada, and about war resistance in general. And I’m reading a terrific youth novel, Flight, by Sherman Alexie, both fast-paced and rich with insight and meaning. And I come upon this passage. And if this doesn’t qualify as a Revolutionary Thought of the Day, I don’t know what does. Without stopping, the white soldier reaches down and picks up Bow Boy. Cradles the child in one arm. And the white soldier keeps running. He’s running towards the (Read more…)
Let Them Stay Week 2014 kicked off yesterday with a flutter on social media. Today we get underway in earnest by writing letters to the editors of local newspapers.
Three ideas for letters are here on the War Resisters Support Campaign website.
An excellent list of email address, along with some tips for writing effective letters, is here, thanks to the good folks fighting for our public health care system.
Your letter might reference one of three events: the 10th anniversary of the first Iraq War resister to arrive in Canada, the recent release from prison of war resister (Read more…)
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the arrival in Canada of Jeremy Hinzman, the first US Iraq War resister to seek asylum here after refusing to participate in an illegal and immoral war. Yet 10 years on, Jeremy and his family, and many other U.S. war resisters, are still living in limbo – not certain if they will be forced to return to the US, where they face harsh punishment for their courageous decision.
From January 12 to 19, join Canadians across the country in Let Them Stay Week 2014, to send a message that U.S. (Read more…)
At year’s end, The Tyee reported that a memo – marked “secret” and first reported on OCanada.com - cast grave doubts on the Harper Government’s claim that environmental archives were destroyed only after they had been preserved digitally. In other words, the memo proves what progressive and concerned Canadians have long known and suspected to be true. A federal document marked “secret” obtained by Postmedia News indicates the closure or destruction of more than half a dozen world famous science libraries has little if anything to do with digitizing books as claimed by the Harper government.
In fact, the (Read more…)
Private Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning), who risked her freedom and her life so that people would see the truth about the US occupation of Iraq, is spending another birthday in prison. This is Manning’s fourth birthday behind bars. She was held in solitary confinement (a recognized form of torture) for 10 months, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison for releasing the video now known as Collateral Murder and other information to Wikileaks. Not one person was harmed as a result of the information becoming public.
On the other hand, the men who cooked up the highly profitable (Read more…)
Revolutionary thought of the day: …something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children’s lives to settle its differences.
Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay
At long last, Iraq War resister Kim Rivera is out of prison and reunited with her family. This is great news, the best news. I should be thrilled, but the whole situation makes me so sad that I can’t muster much joy.
Three days ago, Iraq War resister Kimberly Rivera gave birth to a son, Matthew Kaden, in a military hospital in San Diego. As soon as her hospital stay ends (which may have already happened), Kim will be taken back to prison. Her newborn baby will stay with his father and his siblings… but his mother will be forced to finish her prison term. Her release is scheduled for mid-December.
The US Army has rejected all appeals for clemency, and is insisting Kim serve the final weeks of her sentence, even though it means separating a mother and a newborn infant.
Here are two excellent, heartbreaking stories about what happens to those who survive and don’t survive war.
The first, excerpted from Ann Jones’ book They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars — the Untold Story: An older Army officer calls me over and gestures toward the empty seat by his side. He sits ramrod straight, wrapped in his blanket, and speaks through tight lips as if he fears what might come out of his mouth. “I’ve been in the Army twenty-six years,” he says, “and I can tell you it’s a con.”
He has been (Read more…)
Justin Doolittle, writing in Salon, takes down the military lovefest currently enveloping professional sports in North America: “Stop thanking the troops for me: No, they don’t “protect our freedoms!”“
Doolittle makes the point – extremely important and almost always overlooked – that we do not owe our present “freedom” (whatever that word is taken to mean) to “the troops”. (This is a point I recently quoted from Noah Richler‘s book What We Talk About When We Talk About War.) Doolittle writes: Freedom has become one of those politically charged terms that means whatever people (Read more…)
For Canadians who fear and distrust the steadily growing militarism suffusing the culture of our country, two recent books are indispensable: What We Talk About When We Talk About War, by Noah Richler, and Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety by Ian McKay and Jamie Swift.
Richler’s book focuses on the re-writing and re-framing the distant past. And as the title (with its homage to Raymond Carver) suggests, Richler focuses on language. He analyzes how Canada’s image of itself, in relation to war-making and the military, has been radically altered, bit by incremental bit.
The book (Read more…)