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.]

Thursday, June 28, 2012

U.S. will be allowed to share Canadian border info under new privacy charter

OTTAWA - The United States will be allowed to share information about Canadians with other countries under a sweeping border deal.

The U.S. won't have to explicitly tell Canada about its plan to pass along the personal details in many cases, suggests a newly released binational privacy charter.

Information-sharing about security cases has sometimes been a sore point between the two countries since the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Federal Job Cuts Seen As Gutting Rural Towns

A senior official with the union representing federal government employees who is losing his own position says the latest round of job cuts is hurting rural areas hardest.

"These job losses are real difficult," said Tony White, a vice-president with the Canada, Employment and Immigration Union, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

"They're in rural areas, and when you lose a good-paying quality public service job to a small area, that's a big loss to the local area," White told CBC News Thursday.

Military police report has harsh words for Ottawa’s stonewalling

Canadians now know that Afghan security forces routinely beat Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects senseless with cudgels, pipes, wire cables and rubber hoses. They tortured teenagers. Burned suspects with cigarettes, tore out their nails and hung them from ceilings. A United Nations report last year confirmed the horrors. “Even stones confess here,” one jailer told a suspect.

Yet when a firestorm erupted in Parliament over fears that Canadian troops might be handing over detainees to torturers, threatening his minority government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper shrugged off the concerns, saying “we have no evidence that supports the allegations.” While few detainees handed over by Canada have been shown in fact to be abused, much less tortured, the danger was real. Conservative complacency was indefensible. To this day we don’t know whether Canada should have been transferring prisoners.

Afghan prisoners and Ottawa’s cult of secrecy

The report into Canada’s handling of the abuse of Afghan prisoners doesn’t much deal with Afghan prisoners.

It is, however, a damning indictment of Ottawa’s cult of secrecy.

From the start the Military Police Complaints Commission, which produced Wednesday’s report, was precluded from investigating the broader question of whether higher-ups in the Canadian government knew that captured Afghan prisoners handed over to the country’s secret police were in danger of being tortured.

'Harper Hates Me' buttons spark conflict in public service

Public servants who got in trouble for wearing "Stephen Harper Hates Me" buttons to work are fighting back.

Several employees at the Canada Revenue Agency who were told to remove the buttons by their managers have filed grievances through their union to fight the order.

The buttons were made by members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the largest union representing federal public servants, and have been circulating around the country. Some workers wore them at May Day rallies to mark International Workers Day and they were available at PSAC's national convention in Ottawa at the end of April.

Quebec court rejects emergency injunction against Bill 78. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, legal experts weigh in

Quebec Superior Court Chief Justice François Rolland on Wednesday rejected a motion filed by Quebec's student associations asking for an emergency injunction against certain elements of Quebec's contentious Bill 78.

In a twenty-one page decision released late Wednesday afternoon, Rolland found that the students case had the "appearance of right", but failed to meet the two other criteria for this type of emergency injunction, namely "irreparable prejudice" and "balance of inconvenience."

Board of Rabbis slams Harper government over Bill C-31

It is rather late in the day, but some prominent members of Canada's Jewish community are now vigorously protesting the government's refugee reform bill, C-31 - just as it has passed both the House and the Senate!

On Wednesday, the Toronto Board of Rabbis released a letter it sent to the Prime Minister, in which the Rabbis say they are "deeply concerned about proposed changes to the law that will affect refugees."

The letter enumerates many dangers the Rabbis see in the Bill, but places great emphasis on the safe designated country of origin provision.

G20 oversight dogged by poor communication, says report

Civilian oversight of police actions during the G20 summit in Toronto was significantly hampered by inadequate communication, a top-down approach by the federal government, and the inability of a key oversight agency to assert its role, according to a new report.

The independent report, commissioned by the Toronto Police Services Board, a civilian body that oversees police actions, found that "the board became a mere bystander in a process it was supposed to lead."

Fifty nine cents: An open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

My family came to Canada as refugees. My mother and father arrived in the country at Pier 21 in Halifax with a suitcase, the clothes on their back, and $20 in their pockets. Having access to health care was vitally important to them, not least to my mother when she became pregnant with me. I am a child of Canadian maternal health care.

My parents went on to give back to the country that had treated them generously and compassionately. My father became a physician and contributed a lifetime of work to the Canadian health care system. My mother became a pioneering environmentalist, conservationist, and educator. She is a recipient of both the Order of Canada and Order of New Brunswick in recognition for a lifetime of service to her adopted country.

High turnover at DFO threatens environmental reviews: records

OTTAWA - Heavy workloads and high turnover at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans could jeopardize the federal government's ability to protect Canadians from the dangerous impacts of industrial projects, say internal government records obtained by Postmedia News.

The warnings were made before the federal government started a series of multi-million-dollar budget cuts to scientific research and monitoring programs across several departments.

Federal government slammed for 'gutting' fisheries protection program

OTTAWA — The Harper government has announced major cuts to its fisheries habitat protection program, prompting a retired federal biologist to warn Wednesday of a dramatic increase in the risk of environmental damage.

The cuts coincide with Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield's launch of a public consultation process seeking input on how Canadian fisheries should be managed.

Federal fisheries changes will hurt small owners

Ottawa’s notion of managing the future of the East Coast fishery casts aside the importance of owner-operator fishing businesses, Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair said Wednesday in Dartmouth.

It is a viable industry the federal government should leave alone, Mulcair said.

He was in metro to meet privately with the Eastern Shore Fisherman’s Protective Association about the Harper government’s plan. The federal NDP leader spoke with reporters after the get-together and was quick to denounce his political foes.

“Every time you talk about taking care of a resource, they say, ‘Oh, you’re trying to interfere in the marketplace,’” Mulcair said.

Atlantic fishermen mobilize against plan to ‘modernize’

Nellie Baker Stevens says the 250 Atlantic fishermen she represents fear the Harper government is poised to destroy the fishery as they now know it, even allowing Chinese corporations to own the resource.

“Is this something that we as Canadians want,” she asked. “Is this how we envisage our future?”

On Wednesday, Ms. Baker Stevens and several members of her organization, the Eastern Shore Fisherman’s Protective Association, met at a Dartmouth hotel with NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, who offered no alternatives but lent a sympathetic ear.

Tax evasion auditors hit hard in latest round of public service cutbacks

hereMore than 400 auditors and staff at the Canada Revenue Agency who investigate and track down tax cheats were told Wednesday that their jobs are in jeopardy as another wave of job cut notices washed over Canada’s public service.

By the time the day was done, an estimated 5,225 members of the largest federal public service unions had been told they could soon be out of a job. That brings to more than 24,605 the number of unionized public servants who have received workforce adjustment letters since the government began implementing its strategic and operating review.

Let entrepreneurs tackle tailings ponds

Critics of Alberta’s oil sands development have been saying for years that it should be scaled down, stopped or at the very least highly taxed and heavily regulated to help contain its effects on the environment.

A more recent criticism, popularized by the leader of the NDP, Thomas Mulcair, is that the oil sands are harming the manufacturing sectors of Ontario and Quebec by pushing up the value of the dollar — the so-called Dutch disease.

These critics are wrong on both counts.

Canada can't afford Tory trade deals

Stephen Harper's Conservatives have spent much of their time and effort in government jet-setting around the globe to sign trade agreements. And they've been primarily focused on getting something signed in order to proclaim success, rather than having any particular interest in the terms they end up imposing on Canada.

In softwood lumber negotiations with the U.S., the Conservatives threw away arbitral victories and handed over a billion dollars that rightly belonged to Canadian producers. Another negotiation with the U.S. forfeited provincial and municipal freedom of action indefinitely in exchange for 11 days of access to U.S. stimulus funds.

F-35 fighters part 2 - the Money Pit

As bad as this airplane’s performance has been, the cost overruns have been even worse. Lockheed Martin originally stated the jets would costs between $60-70 million. However, production costs per jet have stabilized at around $160 million for the JSF F-35 air force version that Seoul is targeting and $200 million or more for the navy’s version.

Lockheed Martin argues the airplane’s cost will lower as more countries buy the planes and demand increases. However, Wheeler and Freeman both agree costs are likely to go up.

Seoul wants a guarantee from the U.S. that each of the 60 airplanes it purchases will be no more than $118.3 million.

Lockheed blamed for causing evaluation delay of 2 months

A top procurement official issued an ultimatum to U.S. defense giant Lockheed Martin Thursday over its refusal to allow Korean pilots to conduct test flights of its F-35 fighter jet.

“Seoul may eliminate the F-35 from its fighter jet acquisition competition if Lockheed Martine does not comply with our demands,” Oh Tae-shik, head of the program management agency at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), told The Korea Times.

Bieber, TIFF and a Halifax museum: Why Tories are now friends of the arts

As political announcements go, it wasn’t spectacular: $4,509,763 in funding for 69 Alberta arts, culture and language groups, including 64 who already rely on the same funding program. A poetry festival got $5,000, a theatre got cash for new wiring, and so on.

Altogether, neither a cut nor a major boost. It was just Heritage and Official Languages Minister James Moore doing his thing Wednesday, maintaining the cash flow, joking about his two dogs, saying he “adores” Edmonton and posing for photographs with various stalwarts of its arts community - all of them, of course, eager to take whatever funding they can get.

What Can We Learn From Mennonites' Pee Samples?

For an industrial chemical released into the environment at more than 1 million pounds a year, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that bisphenol A also shows up in humans. Four years ago, researchers discovered that BPA, which is used in plastic manufacturing, was present in nearly 93 percent of the US population's urine.

So it's disturbing that a growing body of scientific literature suggests that BPA disrupts the body's hormones. Exposure to the chemical has been associated with risk for obesity, breast cancer, prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, infertility, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, and neurological problems.

A Supreme Court for the 1 Percent

The Supreme Court has now upheld the Affordable Care Act. But in other recent decisions, the Court’s right-wing majority has also guaranteed that insurance companies and other corporations will continue to have dramatically more say in American politics than citizens. With a pair of decisions on campaign finance, the Court reaffirmed its status as the branch of government most consistently in the service of the 1 percent, at a time when the concentration of income, wealth and political power is reminiscent of the Gilded Age (see Robert Reich, Mitt Romney and the New Gilded Age).

Supreme Court Upholds Mandate, Mixed Ruling on Medicaid Expansion

UPDATE: The entire ACA has been upheld by the Supreme Court, with Chief Justice Roberts joining the majority. According to SCOTUSblog, "the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government's power to terminate states' Medicaid funds is narrowly read." The court decided 5-4, with Kennedy dissenting and Roberts essentially saving the ACA, going against party lines. 

The Nation's David Cole parses the decision:

"The law has long been that congress can enact a tax for any purpose to further the general welfare. Unlike its regulatory powers, congress can point to a specific power that they have for the ACA -- the power to tax. Becasue the only consequence is that a person who doesn't get insurance will be taxed, there's no restriction on what congress can do. The court upholds the mandate as an exercise of the taxing power."

Oil drops to 8-month low, pump prices fall again

NEW YORK — The price of oil hit an eight-month low Thursday as hopes dimmed for a solution to Europe's financial crisis.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost $2.52, or 3.1 percent, to end at $77.69 per barrel in New York. That's the lowest price since Oct. 4. Oil traders also took their cue from U.S. stock markets, which were sharply lower for most of the day.

Syria Turkey Relations: Turkey Deploys Troops, Anti-Aircraft Guns On Syrian Border

ISKENDERUN, Turkey, June 28 (Reuters) - Turkish troops and military vehicles deployed towards the border with Syria on Thursday as a precaution after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan gave orders to react to any Syrian threat approaching the frontier.

Erdogan, who has given shelter in the border area to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, announced the new rules of engagement for Turkish troops on the border after Syrian air defences shot down a Turkish warplane last Friday.

JPMorgan Trading Loss Reportedly May Reach $9 Billion

NEW YORK — JPMorgan Chase stock declined more than 2 percent on Thursday, making it one of the worst-performing banks, after a published report said its loss on a bad trade could be far higher than the bank first estimated.

The New York Times, citing an internal report at the bank, reported that the loss could reach $9 billion. JPMorgan's initial estimate was $2 billion when it disclosed the trade in May, although CEO Jamie Dimon said then that the loss could grow.

Nora Ephron, Thirtysomething

Nora Ephron was a year over her Biblical allotment, but she died young. Of course, if you’re more or less in the same chronological boat, then anything short of four score feels like a cheat. But Nora Ephron’s death is especially bewildering. She is—was—not the sort of person who dies before she’s good and ready.

I knew her—not particularly well, but for a long time. We met sometime in the mid-nineteen-sixties, via our mutual friend George Trow, my college classmate and eventual New Yorker colleague and weekend housemate. The two had become acquainted at Newsweek, where they briefly had low-level summer jobs. George was a connoisseur of women who had what he called “interesting syntax.” Nora was among the first he befriended, a group that eventually included Jamaica Kincaid, Veronica Geng, Alison Rose, Jacqueline Onassis, and Diana Vreeland.

Black Lawmakers To Walk Out On Eric Holder Contempt Vote

WASHINGTON -- The Congressional Black Caucus will walk out of the House chamber during Thursday's vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

Caucus leaders circulated a letter to Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday night urging them to leave the House floor when the vote comes up. The letter, which was obtained by The Huffington Post, was sent to members of the Hispanic Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, the Asian Pacific American Caucus and others.

"We call upon all members of Congress to stand with us during a press conference on the Capitol Building steps during this appalling series of votes to discuss our nation's most significant priority--creating jobs," reads the letter. "At this critically important time in our nation, we must work as colleagues rather than political enemies."

Texas Republican Party Platform Calls For Repeal Of Voting Rights Act Of 1965

The Texas Republican Party has released its official platform for 2012, and the repeal of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 is one of its central planks.

"We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized," the platform reads.

Under a provision of the Voting Rights Act, certain jurisdictions must obtain permission from the federal government -- called "preclearance" -- before they change their voting rules. The rule was put in place in jurisdictions with a history of voter disenfranchisement.

Texas Republican Party Calls For Abstinence Only Sex Ed, Corporal Punishment In Schools

Early this month, Texas Republican delegates met in Fort Worth to approve their 2012 platform, notable parts of which take aim at the state's education system.

In the section titled "Educating Our Children," the document states that "corporal punishment is effective" and recommends teachers be given "more authority" to deal with disciplinary problems.

Nora Ephron Dead: Remembering The Author, Screenwriter As An Advocate And Activist

Nora Ephron may not be the type of activist we think of today -- camping out in Zuccotti Park taking on Wall Street. But through the trailblazing, stalwart qualities of her work, the author and screenwriter has long been an advocate for people and causes in need of a spotlight.

Ephron, who died Tuesday in New York, where she was being treated for myeloid leukemia and pneumonia, may be most remembered for her keen, snappy cultural observations and inspirational witticisms, but she also leaves us with a body of work that created real change, waves of which we feel today.

Rhode Island Homeless Bill Of Rights Praised As U.S. Model

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- While cities across the nation enact laws against panhandling and outdoor sleeping, Rhode Island is being held up as a national model for protecting homeless individuals from discrimination.

Advocates say the state's new homeless bill of rights goes further than any other law in the nation to prevent discrimination against people who lack housing.

Letters to Ryan: Your defence of Bill C-38

Ryan Leef
Member of Parliament for Yukon
Open Letter #15

Dear Ryan,

The subject of the 15th letter is Bill C-38, the ominous budget bill and your response to critics of the bill.

Unfortunately, I missed the advertisement for public consultation by the finance committee in 2011. I was not "actively invited." I hope to be invited in the future.

Harper government stonewalled detainee probe, watchdog concludes

More than half a decade after the Harper government was rocked by bombshell allegations that Canada knowingly transferred prisoners to torture in Afghanistan, a watchdog has concluded a probe of the matter by saying Ottawa thwarted efforts to get to the truth.

The Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) announced in its final report that eight military police officers – the only people whose conduct it oversees – can’t be found responsible for failing to investigate these transfers because they were largely kept in the dark by Canadian Forces brass.

Gutting our parks' ability to conserve nature

Our national parks are part of what makes Canada great. From Banff to Gros Morne, Parks are what Canada is about. Parks Canada has a strong reputation for excellence. Yet the agency is one of the public institutions hardest hit by the current round of cuts.

In this blizzard of government cuts, it is important to understand what is being lost. The government spin is that these are just "finding efficiencies" and there will be "no reduction in service." Such spin is simply nonsense. Parks Canada is being gutted.

Justice Scalia must resign

Justice Antonin Scalia needs to resign from the Supreme Court.

He’d have a lot of things to do. He’s a fine public speaker and teacher. He’d be a heck of a columnist and blogger. But he really seems to aspire to being a politician — and that’s the problem.

So often, Scalia has chosen to ignore the obligation of a Supreme Court justice to be, and appear to be, impartial. He’s turned “judicial restraint” into an oxymoronic phrase. But what he did this week, when the court announced its decision on the Arizona immigration law, should be the end of the line.

Tory MP John Baird Says Canadian Virtues Key To Fighting Terrorism

OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says countering extremism means telling the world that Canada is open, diverse and inclusive.

In a speech to a United Nations forum on terrorism, Baird says trumpeting Canada's respect for principles of freedom and human rights will help conquer extremist propaganda.

He says Canada will work with like-minded countries to stabilize fragile states and limit the conditions that allow violent extremism to breed and spread.

Refugee Health Care Cuts: Dr. Megan Williams Challenges Health Minister At Press Conference

OTTAWA — A family doctor crashed a funding announcement by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq Wednesday as part of an aggressive campaign by some health care providers to protest Ottawa’s planned limits on health services for refugees.

Dr. Megan Williams, a family physician with Ottawa's Somerset West Community Health Centre, challenged the minister during a press conference, accusing her government of putting people’s lives at risk.

“I do think people will become sick and probably some people will die because of this,” she told reporters.

News Corp. Split: Board Approves Breaking Company In Two

NEW YORK — The board of directors at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has approved a plan that calls for splitting the global media conglomerate into two separate companies, one holding its newspaper business and another its entertainment operations, The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday.

The Journal, which is News Corp.'s flagship newspaper, cited a person familiar with the situation saying the board voted unanimously to approve the plan. It said the move is expected to be announced early Thursday.

Canadian Forces to set up shop in Jamaican capital

The Canadian Forces have sealed a deal with Jamaica to set up an operations hub in the country’s capital, Kingston, for future operations in the Caribbean.

The hub – essentially access to facilities at a port, airport and military base – will serve as a staging ground if the Canadian Forces need to mount an operation in the region, either because of threat, for drug-interdiction campaigns, or to provide relief after natural disaster like the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010.

Canada to buy new jet trainer aircraft

OTTAWA, June 27 (UPI) -- Canadian air force officials are examining options to buy a new jet trainer aircraft to replace its aging fleet of BAE Systems-built CT-155 Hawk aircraft.

The official Canadian position on the planned purchase remains unclear but the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is looking at an upgrade with the option to allocate the existing Hawks elsewhere in the Canadian armed forces.

PQ government could be obstacle to Conservatives’ energy-based economic agenda

MONTREAL—The sky will not fall if a sovereigntist government is returned to power in Quebec later this summer, but a Parti Québécois victory could derail some of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s best-laid plans.

The prospect of a possible changing of the guard in Quebec City is already focusing attention on Harper’s Achilles’ heel.

Among his five Quebec MPs, only one has anything resembling a following outside his own riding and it is Maxime Bernier, a minister whose free spirit had wrought embarrassment on the government in the past.

Omnibus II? Opposition warns they're ready to fight another budget megabill

OTTAWA — As the Conservative government's Bill C-38 receives royal assent this week, parliamentarians are already girding for a second budget-implementation bill in the fall that could include pension changes for MPs and federal employees, a potential sell-off of government assets and possibly even changes to equalization.

The legislation could also spark another high-stakes political showdown, with opposition parties vowing to fight it as they did with Bill C-38, should the government look to once again stuff it full of controversial changes.

Del Mastro donors produce cheques that support reimbursement allegations

OTTAWA — Two donors to Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro’s 2008 election campaign have produced copies of cheques they say were reimbursements paid by a small electrical company owned by his cousin.

The cheques show the donors each received $1,050 from Deltro Electric Ltd. of Mississauga, Ont., two days before they made $1,000 donations to Del Mastro’s electoral district association in Peterborough.

Ensuring water access for all

Water has been called "the mother of all symbols." As well as being the most generative of ciphers, it is also the parent of all life forms: it reproduces the planet and thus belongs to everyone. There have been numerous social movements oriented around the right to access water with the most famous being the residents of Cochabamba, Bolivia, who successfully resisted attempts at water privatization in 1999-2000. What the Bolivians demonstrated is that substantial public consultation is needed to guarantee universal access to water. As the epic failure of the Rio+20 summit confirms, universal access to water and sustainable development is being denied by neoliberal economic policies, expert-dominated bureaucracies and mainstream political parties.

Sweet life sours in villages of Italy

Far from tourist crowds savouring Italy’s fabled dolce vita, sipping cappuccinos and chilled Prosecco in big-city piazzas, the walled towns and hilltop villages of Tuscia, in central Italy, are seeing the sweet life disappear.

Tuscia, north of Rome and bordered by Tuscany and Umbria, is picture-postcard Italy, with pastures of sunflowers and poppies, abundant vines and rows of ancient olive trees. Despite the natural beauty, life here, based mainly on farming, has never been easy, but in recent years villages like Celleno, 80 km north of the Italian capital, prospered thanks to the advent of tourism and affluent northern Europeans and Romans buying cheap second homes.

Deborah Coyne on her surprise bid for Liberal leadership

Deborah Coyne, the Toronto-based lawyer and policy consultant, and mother of the late Pierre Trudeau’s only daughter, launched a surprise bid for the federal Liberal leadership today. True to her reputation for not holding back when it comes to discussing policy, Coyne’s website features her positions on everything from the environment to foreign policy.

She told Maclean’s that her connection with Trudeau is inevitably part of her personal story, but that as a political influence she sees his vision of federalism as part of a longer lineage of Canadian leaders going back to Sir John A. Macdonald. At 57, she hasn’t ever won an election, although she ran in 2006 in Toronto-Danforth, losing to the NDP’s Jack Layton.

Conservative-dominated Senate pushes through three contentious bills, PMO says PM will not prorogue Parliament this fall

PARLIAMENT HILL—The majority-governing Conservatives are planning to push three of their most controversial major bills through the Senate by Friday, fuelling speculation that Prime Minister Stephen Harper intends to prorogue Parliament this fall to set out an ambitious new agenda for the period leading up to the next federal election in the fall of 2015.

The three bills, C-38, the hotly-contested omnibus Budget Implementation Bill; Bill C-31, the immigration and refugee legislation that has inspired angry criticism over stiff new restrictions on refugee claimants; and Bill C-11, long-sought changes to copyright law that will increase download fees and make internet service providers also responsible for copyright violations, will likely receive royal assent late afternoon Friday.

Tories call for changes to union, labour laws

Ontario Opposition Leader Tim Hudak says Ontario must reform labour laws and union practices that are rooted in the past in order to encourage job growth and put itself on a path toward greater economic prosperity.

"The world has changed and our economy and economies around the world have changed as well," Hudak said during a news conference at Queen’s Park on Wednesday.

"And the reality of our marketplace is it’s changing with the times. But the rules that are governing the workplace, they haven’t changed."

For justice and civilians, don’t rule out regime change

Civilian casualties in Syria shock our consciences, but there is also a frustrating acknowledgment that military intervention there might do more harm than good. The best option to protect Syrians is peace; ending the conflict should also end the massacres. But is the reverse true? Would an initiative aimed solely at protecting civilians resolve the conflict? Not necessarily.

Responsibility to protect – the emerging principle that states can intervene in other states to prevent mass atrocities, invoked in the case of Libya – suffers from the same uncomfortable relationship with peace that justice does. In both cases, the desired objective – protecting civilians or bringing criminals to justice – falls short of, or is often even at odds with, the objective of peace. Humanitarian or judicial objectives address only the manner in which the conflict unfolds, not its ultimate resolution.