Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Waterloo universities face boycott over CIGI

The Canadian professors’ association has warned two Waterloo universities to loosen ties with BlackBerry co-founder Jim Balsillie’s think tank or it will launch a boycott against them in November.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) had originally threatened an official “censure” of three universities –—York, the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University — for partnerships it felt gave the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) too much say over academic matters.

While York’s proposed deal fell through over that very issue, CAUT remained concerned about Balsillie’s influence in the joint Balsillie School of International Affairs his think tank runs with both universities.

The association has given Laurier and Waterloo six months to remove what it sees as threats to academic freedom or it will impose “censure” in November, which would discourage academics from working or meeting on either campus.

On Friday, CAUT passed a motion that states: “Unless Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo amend the governance structure for the Balsillie School of International Affairs so that academic integrity is ensured, censure will be imposed on the administrations of those two universities at the next meeting of council,” although it offered little detail as to how that should happen.

Two-tiered wage system announced by Tories

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has always vehemently denied bringing cheap foreign labour into Canada. Employers had to pay foreign temporary workers “the prevailing wage,” he pointed out.

That indeed is what the rules said – until Wednesday, when Human Resources Minister Diane Finley quietly changed them. Employers will now be allowed to pay foreign temp workers 15 per cent less than the average wage.

“We are taking action to ensure that the temporary foreign worker program support our economic recovery and effectively responds to local labour market demands,” she said at a manufacturing plant in Nisku, Alta.

Kenney chimed in from Ottawa. “Going forward our government will consider additional measures to strengthen and improve the program,” he promised.

Business leaders, eager to recruit low-cost workers abroad, were delighted. Immigrant support groups, already fighting to protect temporary foreign workers from exploitation, were heartsick. And labour leaders warned that the wage cut would bring down the pay scale for all workers and make it harder for Canadians to compete for jobs in their own country.

Nothing has changed in Israel since 1948

After we are done being appropriately and understandably shocked by the Ulpana neighborhood affair, by the cabinet's scandalous conduct, the absolute impotence of its attorney general and the unthinkable position of the State Attorney's Office, which volunteered its services in support of breaking the law; after we have finished reeling from the depiction of land swindlers as "normative people" and from the undermining of the High Court of Justice, we must ask: How is this anything other than business as usual in the State of Israel?

The generation of 1948 is disappearing, but its spirit has never diminished. In 1948, new immigrants were brought straight from the ships into abandoned Palestinian homes with pots of food still simmering in the kitchen, and no one asked too many questions. In 2012, the Israeli government is trying to whitewash the theft of Palestinian lands, all the while scorning the law. A single straight line - a single, perpetual mode of conduct - runs from 1948 to 2012: Palestinian property is ownerless, always abandoned property, even when this is demonstrably not the case, and Israeli Jews are free to do whatever they want with it. It was catch-as-catch-can with regard to Palestinian property in 1948, and it's catch-as-catch-can in 2012, in a never-ending game. Now, as then, the arrogation is authorized and sanctioned. Now, as then, a crime is a crime.

Predator drones have yet to prove their worth on border

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The drug runners call it "el mosco," the mosquito, and one recent evening on the southern tip of Texas, a Predator B drone armed with cameras buzzed softly over the beach on South Padre Island and headed inland.

"We're going to get some bad guys tonight, I've got a feeling," said Scott Peterson, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisory air interdiction agent. He watched the drone's live video feed in the Predator Ops room at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, about 50 miles away.

As the unmanned plane flew up the winding Rio Grande, which forms the border with Mexico, Peterson fielded excited phone calls. One agent had seen known scouts for a Mexican cartel at a Dairy Queen, suggesting a load of drugs was coming through. Another called in the precise spot where the shipment would land.

Soon the drone's infrared camera picked up a man hauling bales of marijuana from an inflatable rubber boat into a minivan on the Texas side of the river. Then it spotted a second boat. Agents readied for a major bust.

Alex Castellanos Denies Women Make Less Than Men

A GOP strategist on Sunday denied that women make less money in the workplace than their male counterparts.

Responding to Rachel Maddow's comment that "women in this country still make 77 cents on the dollar for what men make," Alex Castellanos said on 'Meet The Press'. "Not exactly ... actually, if you start looking at the numbers Rachel, there are lots of reasons for that."

"Don't tell me the reasons, do women make less than men for doing the same work?" Maddow shot back.

"Actually, because for example, men work an average of 44 hours a week, women work 41 hours a week," he said. "Men go into professions like engineering, science and math that earn more. Women want more flexibility."

The GOP adviser and former Romney consultant added that if that were the case, "every greedy businessman in America would hire only women, save 25% and be hugely profitable."

Despite Castellanos' claims, new research shows that women make considerably less than men in the workplace. A study published by American Association of University Women, based on U.S. census data, found that on average--as Maddow said--women make 23 cents less than men.

In some industries, the gap is even worse. A recent Bloomberg study found that women on Wall Street make between 55 and 62 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make.

Republicans have come under fire of late for their criticism and failure to show support for the Lilly Ledbetter Act, a law signed by President Obama that helps women receive equal pay. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was heavily criticized for quietly repealing his state's equal pay law.

Original Article
Source: Huff
Author: Alana Horowitz 

Sudan-South Sudan Conflict: Sudan Declares State Of Emergency In Border Areas

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan declared a state of emergency Sunday in areas bordering South Sudan, giving authorities wide powers of arrest a day after they detained three foreigners in a flashpoint town along the frontier.

The detentions and state of emergency heightened tensions even further along border between the old rivals, who in the past month came to the brink of an all-out war because of renewed fighting in disputed areas.

Sudanese officials have accused South Sudan of using foreigner fighters during its assault on the oil-rich Heglig region, which Sudan claims. Southern Sudanese troops briefly captured the area, amid rising international concerns of an escalation in the fighting between the two countries.

Sudanese army spokesman Col. Sawarmy Khaled claimed on state television late Saturday that four people arrested in the Heglig region, including a Briton, a Norwegian, a South African and a South Sudanese, had military backgrounds. He alleged they were carrying out military activities in Heglig, but did not elaborate. Khaled said the arrests prove its government claims that South Sudan uses foreign fighters.

But a representative for one of the three said Sunday that they were on a humanitarian mine-clearing mission.

TransCanada Pipeline To Eastern Canada? CEO Mulling Plan That Could Lower Oil Prices In Canada

CALGARY -- The CEO of TransCanada Corp. confirmed Friday that the company is in the early stages of weighing a plan to ship Western Canadian crude to eastern refineries that currently rely on expensive imports from overseas.

"We have a lot of work to do technically. We have a lot of work to do in conversations with our shippers. But at the 30,000-foot level, it seems to make sense to people,'' Russ Girling told reporters following the pipeline and utility company's annual general meeting.

"So we're going to actively pursue it and see if we can turn it into an opportunity for both the oil and gas industry and for TransCanada.''

Eastern Canadian refiners have asked TransCanada whether it's feasible to send Western Canadian crude their way so that they don't have to buy a raw product based on higher international prices.

Girling said it was premature to discuss the specifics of what such a plan would entail, but that one option could be to convert part of its natural gas-carrying Mainline to oil service.

There are "integrity issues'' that come from switching a natural gas pipe to an oil pipe, but it's something TransCanada has experience doing in building its base Keystone system, which currently delivers Alberta crude to refineries in Illinois and a big storage hub in Cushing, Okla.

Canada's Poor Have Just Become Poorer

The shock of the 2012 federal budget is just setting in, but the repercussions will be felt for years to come. Although deemed "moderate," this budget has cut thousands of jobs and left a scar on our social welfare system. A particularly unsettling decision was to dismantle the National Council of Welfare (NCW), a renowned organization that offers in-depth information on poverty and also represents the needs of the poor in government.

Established in 1969 as an advisory group to the Minister of National Health and Welfare, the National Council of Welfare has played a crucial role in measuring the depth and breadth of poverty in Canada, linking citizens concerns about welfare and poverty with parliament. Specifically mandated to report to the minister, the NCW was unique in its research collection and reporting providing accurate pan-Canadian data that was used by various organizations, including Canada Without Poverty and Campaign 2000.

In contrast to a statement made by MP Kellie Leitch, the National Council of Welfare does not duplicate the activities of any other organization in the non-profit sector. As both Canada Without Poverty and Campaign 2000 have stated in a recent press release, the federal government's termination of funding for this poverty advisory group, with unprecedented statutory powers, actually undermines national efforts to combat poverty. Without the informed voice of committed citizens to complement the important data, how will a minister know that his/her decisions are responding to real needs? The loss of NCW is a blow to social policy work.

Student groups likely to reject new offer from Charest government

MONTREAL - The social unrest over tuition hikes in Quebec showed no signs of abating Saturday, with protests scheduled throughout the day and student leaders saying they expect their members to reject an offer from the Charest government.

For the fifth day in a row, protesters planned a late night to march through Montreal's downtown core, while three other demonstrations were scheduled throughout the day around the city and several more across the province.

The latest round of demonstrations came as Quebec's three student groups were meeting this weekend to decide whether to accept a new proposal from Premier Jean Charest .

After weeks of deadlock, the Charest government offered Friday to spread the tuition hikes over seven years instead of five and increase the province's bursary program.

The immediate reaction from students was negative.

Several thousand people marched in a boisterous student protest in Montreal Friday night. More protests were planned across the province Saturday, including four in Montreal.

The changes proposed by Charest would mean that, instead of annual increases of $325 for five years, tuition would rise by $254 for seven straight years.

China’s big banks face cash squeeze

HONG KONG—China’s banks are among the biggest and most profitable financial institutions in the world.

But the state-backed banks are also starved for capital, after an aggressive lending spree that was encouraged by the government.

In the last year, seven of the biggest Chinese banks tapped the markets for 323.8 billion renminbi ($51.4 billion U.S.) in new money, according to Citigroup estimates. Several financial firms are expected to raise another $17.7 billion (U.S.) in the next few months, with China’s fifth-biggest lender, the Bank of Communications, accounting for $9 billion.

Banks around the world have been tapping investors for money as they struggle with slumping share prices and waning profits. But Chinese firms have maintained that their profit growth is strong and their balance sheets are solid, raising red flags among some analysts about the banks’ persistent capital needs.

The concerns were heightened after rare and blunt criticism by the prime minister, Wen Jiabao. In early April, he accused banks of reaping easy profits and called for breaking up the monopoly held by the country’s biggest lenders.

U.S. military’s war with drugs: Drugs issued by military led to assaults, murders, doctors say

SEATTLE—U.S. Air Force pilot Patrick Burke’s day started in the cockpit of a B-1 bomber near the Persian Gulf and proceeded across nine time zones as he ferried the aircraft home to South Dakota.

Every four hours during the 19-hour flight, Burke swallowed a tablet of Dexedrine, the prescribed amphetamine known as “go pills.” After landing, he went out for dinner and drinks with a fellow crewman. They were driving back to Ellsworth Air Force Base when Burke began striking his friend about the head.

“Jack Bauer told me this was going to happen! You guys are trying to kidnap me!” he yelled, as if he were a character in the TV drama 24.

When the woman giving them a lift pulled the car over, Burke leapt on her and wrestled her to the ground.

“Me and my platoon are looking for terrorists,” he told her before grabbing her keys, driving away and crashing into a guardrail.

2012 Olympics: Surface-to-air missiles? On apartment rooftops?

LONDON—Surface-to-air missiles could be stationed on the rooftops of an apartment block in east London as part of Britain’s air defences for the Olympics, the country’s military confirmed Sunday.

Around 700 people living at the building in Bow — about 2 miles (3.2km) from London’s Olympic Stadium — have been contacted and warned that the weapons and about 10 troops are likely to be based at the site for around two months.

In a leaflet sent to residents, the ministry said the venue offered an uncluttered “view of the surrounding areas and the entire sky above the Olympic park.”

Troops plan to conduct tests next week at the building, an upmarket gated apartment complex, to determine if the high velocity surface-to-air missiles will be stationed on a water tower attached to the site’s roof.

Britain has previously confirmed that up to 13,500 troops are being deployed on land, at sea and in the air to help protect the Olympics alongside police and security guards. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said Typhoon fighter jets, helicopters, two warships and bomb disposal experts will also be on duty as part of the security operation.

Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.

It’s not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

Yuval Diskin, Israel Former Intel Chief, Slams Netanyahu's Iran Stance

JERUSALEM — The former head of Israel's Shin Bet security agency has accused the country's political leaders of exaggerating the effectiveness of a possible military attack on Iran, in a striking indication of Israel's turmoil over how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program.

Yuval Diskin said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak – who have been saber-rattling for months – have their judgment clouded by "messianic feelings" and should not be trusted to lead policy on Iran. Diskin, who headed Shin Bet until last year, said a strike might actually accelerate the Iranian program.

Shin Bet addresses security in Israel and the Palestinian Territories only and is not involved in international affairs.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Israel, like the West, believes that Tehran is developing weapons technology, but there is intense debate over whether international economic sanctions accompanying the current round of negotiations might prevent Iran from developing a bomb, or whether at some point a military strike should be launched.

Diskin's comments deepened the sense that a rift is growing between the hawkish Netanyahu government and the security establishment over the question of a strike – and Netanyahu allies quickly rushed to his defense.

John Boehner: Americans 'Do Not Want To Vote For A Loser'

WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney's privileged background and personal wealth will not prevent Americans from voting for him in November's presidential election, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Sunday morning.

"The American people do not want to vote for a loser," Boehner told CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley." "They don't want to vote for someone who hasn't been successful. I think Mitt Romney has a chance to show the American people that they, too, can succeed."

The House speaker's own background offers a sharp contrast with that of the former Massachusetts governor. Boehner "grew up mopping floors and waiting tables at his family tavern" and "worked several jobs to pay his way" through Xavier University, according to the official biography on his website. Romney holds law and business degrees from Harvard and made a fortune with Bain Capital before turning to politics, and his father, George Romney, was a wealthy auto executive who went on to become Michigan's governor and later served in the Nixon administration.

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have traded barbs over who is more "out of touch" with ordinary Americans. The speaker did not enter that argument, instead choosing to laud the presumptive GOP nominee's character and career and to emphasize the two Republicans' shared goals of improving the economy.

David Cameron: there was no grand deal with Rupert Murdoch over BSkyB

David Cameron has insisted there was "no grand deal" with Rupert Murdoch over the BSkyB bid in exchange for support for his party.

"The idea there was some grand bargain between me and Rupert Murdoch – that is just not true," he said on the BBC1 Andrew Marr programme.

The prime minister indicated he regretted attending a Christmas party at the Oxfordshire home of the then News International chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, in December 2010, and admitted discussing matters with James Murdoch, but insisted he did not have "inappropriate conversations with anyone about this".

The Sunday Times reported that Brooks, who is under investigation by Scotland Yard for her alleged role in the phone-hacking affair, was ready to disclose text messages and emails between herself and Cameron. The move could be embarrassing for the prime minister, who is believed to have been in regular contact with Brooks by text when she was NI chief.

Cameron delivered a robust defence of his government's actions following the publication at the Leveson inquiry of 163 pages of emails, which detailed the close relationship between the Murdochs and their staff and the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and his special adviser Adam Smith over the BSkyB bid.

Britain destroyed records of colonial crimes

Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments, an official review has concluded.

Those papers that survived the purge were flown discreetly to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain.

The archive came to light last year when a group of Kenyans detained and allegedly tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion won the right to sue the British government. The Foreign Office promised to release the 8,800 files from 37 former colonies held at the highly-secure government communications centre at Hanslope Park in Buckinghamshire.

The historian appointed to oversee the review and transfer, Tony Badger, master of Clare College, Cambridge, says the discovery of the archive put the Foreign Office in an "embarrassing, scandalous" position. "These documents should have been in the public archives in the 1980s," he said. "It's long overdue." The first of them are made available to the public on Wednesday at the National Archive at Kew, Surrey.

NATO’s lies on Afghanistan continue

NATO cannot win in Afghanistan. It could have, should have, some years ago. But now it cannot, certainly not before its scheduled troop withdrawal in 2014. So why does Stephen Harper want to “examine all options,” including extending the Canadian involvement?

Perhaps his militaristic ideology is at work. Or he just wants Canada to be a loyal foot soldier for NATO, principally the United States, on whom we also depend for our prosperity. That was Paul Martin’s rationale in 2005 in committing Canada to the dangerous combat role in Kandahar. That was more or less Harper’s as well in extending our mission in 2006, 2008 and 2010 — with Liberal support.

Having used that logic for so long, it’s not easy to abandon it, even if Afghanistan is lurching from crisis to crisis — increasing attacks even in Kabul, on parliament, government offices, embassies, etc.; increasing anger at Americans for incidents like urinating on dead Afghans or burning Qur’ans — and the NATO mission has become incoherent.

The declared aim of “defeating” the Taliban was abandoned long ago. After several downgrades, the current goal is only to ensure they don’t take over Kabul and the north. NATO concedes the south to them — or at least concedes its failure to stop them from keeping the nation’s most populated region unstable.

Redford’s debt to Alberta’s left

hereHow did the Alberta PCs win a majority in Monday’s election when every poll for a month showed them behind the upstart Wildrose Party?

Simple: They united the left and scared the middle.

The Wildrose won 34% in the election — almost all of it from the carcass of the PCs. Those voters were the C in the PC party — the true conservatives.

But instead of trying to win those voters back, PC leader Alison Redford invited new voters into her party — the P’s in PC. Progressives. Or, as they’re usually called, Liberals.

In the last Alberta election, the Liberals received a hearty 26.4%. (By contrast, Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals got less than 19% nationwide.)

Redford spoke to those 26.4% with a compelling argument: You’ll never elect a Liberal government in Alberta. So why not vote for a party that believes in the same things, but just calls itself PC?

Redford said she would consider a coalition government with the Liberals or NDP, but not with the Wildrose. She couldn’t have been plainer — she wanted Liberals to vote for her, and those frightening Albertans considering the Wildrose? Well, good riddance to them.

Honour long time coming

A long battle to honour Nova Scotia-born 19th-century war hero William Hall at the Valiants Memorial in Ottawa may soon be over.

Hall earned his place in the history books in 1857 for his courage under fire at Lucknow, India, becoming the first black man to be awarded the Victoria Cross, the British Empire’s highest award for bravery. An able seaman in the Royal Navy, he was the first Nova Scotian and first member of the navy to receive the honour.

It was reported last week that Veterans Affairs Canada would work “to explore new and innovative ways to enhance the Valiants Memorial and the National War Memorial site to recognize Canadians of diverse backgrounds, such as Wil-liam Hall and others.”

That Hall deserves a place among the nine busts and five statues of key military figures of pre-Confederation Canada through to the Second World War is long overdue, say people familiar with the story of the man who grew up in Kings County, not far from Hantsport.

“There’s absolutely no reason this can’t happen,” said NDP MP Peter Stoffer, pointing to a unanimous recommendation in 2011 by the House of Commons Veterans Affairs Committee that erecting a bust would be a fitting tribute, not only to Hall but to the military contributions of all African-Canadians.

Ministerial bling

PRIME MINISTER Stephen Harper should fire Bev Oda, his minister of bling and international development.

One luxury Canada can do without in budget-trimming times is a foreign aid minister who goes in for conspicuous consumption at the public’s expense.

Ms. Oda showed appallingly bad judgment last June in having her staff move her to one of London’s swankiest hotels, the famous Savoy, when she attended an international conference on immunizing children in poor countries.

She then left taxpayers to foot the bill for this self-indulgent whim for 10 months before reimbursing them $1,353.81 last Monday, a few hours after The Canadian Press broke the story.

As a crowning insult, Ms. Oda had an aide explain she broke no spending rules, but didn’t want taxpayers to pick up the tab. It took another day for her to manage an apology.

What a feeble pack of excuses. Ministers should set a personal example for their departments on responsible travel spending.

F-35 purchase had 2 sets of books, Page says

Canada's budget watchdog says it appears the Conservative government kept two sets of books when it came to the costs of replacing Canada's aging fleet of CF-18s with 65 F-35 stealth fighter jets.

In an interview airing on CBC Radio's The House on Saturday, parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page spoke out on the issue for the first time since Auditor General Michael Ferguson delivered a report earlier this month lambasting the government and Department of National Defence officials over estimated costs of replacing Canada's fighter jets.

Page told host Evan Solomon what bothered his office was that one set of books was available inside DND, while another "for communication purposes" was presented publicly, in which he said the government was "low-balling" the numbers.

"You do get the sense there were different books being kept," he told Solomon.

In his report, Ferguson found that the costs of acquiring 65 F-35s over 20 years was closer to $25-billion, and not the $15-billion the public had been told.

Ferguson's findings supported Page's estimates of $29-billion over 30 years tabled by the spending watchdog in March 2011, a figure for which Page was heavily criticised at the time.

'Thousands' stand to be 'affected' by 3rd wave notices

Union bosses are warning that "thousands" of public service sector employees will be receiving notices advising them that their jobs will be "affected" as a result of the government's spending cuts this week, just as members of one of Canada's largest unions meet for a national convention in Ottawa beginning Sunday.

Speaking to CBC News from the Ottawa Convention Centre, Larry Rousseau, the Public Service Alliance of Canada's regional executive vice president representing the National Capital Region, said the union was advised that "thousands" of work force adjustment (WFA) notices would be going out to public service employees beginning Monday.

The impact of those notices will be "considerable," according to the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE), which represents approximately 14,000 economists, statisticians, analysts, research assistants, translators, interpreters, terminologists and social science services workers.

In an interview from Quebec City with CBC News on Sunday, CAPE president Claude Poirier said he is bracing for "anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 employees" to receive WFA notices at Statistics Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada alone.

Charest right not to backtrack on tuition hikes

Premier Jean Charest is right to hold firm on the increase of university tuition fees in Quebec, especially in the face of the rioting in Montreal this week by some of the students who are protesting this change. The higher fees will be moderate, reasonable and still lower than in most of Canada.

Mr. Charest’s offer to phase in the proposed $1,625 tuition hike over seven years, rather than five, is now before students -- and they would be wise to accept it.

One of the student organizations, la Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, has given an unmistakable degree of countenance to the vandalism by some protesters, inflicted on business premises and automobiles (not to mention a police station). Line Beauchamp, the Minister of Education, was quite right to condemn those “who use violence almost as a method of blackmail.”

Harper government most secretive, journalists say

Stephen Harper's Conservative government has won this year's Code of Silence Award from the Canadian Association of Journalists.

The annual award recognizing Canada's most secretive government or publicly funded agency was handed out in Toronto Saturday evening.

The federal government was named for keeping information out of public hands on files such as the F-35 program, avoiding questions at media events and for restricting both public and media access to contentious information.

Association president Hugo Rodrigues said the Harper government was the overwhelming choice of the CAJ's 600 members across the country.

“The death grip on information has long frustrated journalists in this country, but it may now be reaching a point where the public at large is not only empathetic, but shares it,” he said.

The CAJ said federal government departments now deal with media almost exclusively by e-mails

Original Article
Source: Globe
Author: editorial

Police who lie: For hollering at police, a man was beaten and Tasered

“Hey, baby!”

Several Niagara Regional Police officers stood roadside, watching as a man allegedly leaned out the passenger window of a passing SUV and hollered the taunt at one of them, Officer Todd Priddle.

The cops did not like it, this sass from Michael Parsons, a local man with a history of police run-ins.

What happened next became the focus of a civil trial in 2009. The police said they properly stopped the Jeep to investigate why Parsons was halfway out the window when he shouted. They said they subdued Parsons, who was aggressive that night and known to police for his history of violence, guns and drugs. Parsons said he was beaten and Tasered for no reason.

Justice C.R. Harris said portions of the officers testimony were “not forthright,” “evasive for self-serving reasons,” and finally: “Their testimony was . . . in some instances pure fiction.”

A Toronto Star investigation has found police officers nationwide have been accused by judges of outright lying, misleading the court or fabricating evidence. The dishonesty comes with little consequence to the officer, particularly in provinces such as Ontario where there is no law or policy requiring a prosecutor or police force to investigate.

Climate change denial should be a deal breaker

My brother, Jerry, is a genius. He will, I’m sure, be upset that I have publicly described him as such. But, brother, it’s true. He showed the world that ancient oceans once existed on Mars. Don’t ask me how, but he, and the group of scientists that work for and with him, did it.

He has made a lot of other important discoveries during his long scientific career. My brother has won many prestigious awards for his work. But true to his nature, he doesn’t put them on display or talk much about them. He’s a humble genius.

My brother is a world-renowned geophysicist at Harvard University. He studies the internal dynamics of the Earth. In recent years, he has examined the impact of climate change on sea levels. My brother takes his painstaking work seriously. He doesn’t cut corners. He’s certainly not motivated by ideology. Other scientists rigorously challenge his work before it is published in top-flight scientific publications like Nature and Science.

This is all to say that when my brother assures me, my children and the rest of world that the vast preponderance of scientific evidence supports the finding that climate change is real and a man-made phenomenon, I believe him. I believe him not because he is my brother, but because I know first-hand how hard he and his colleagues around the globe have worked to reach that evidence-backed conclusion.