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, December 06, 2012

Uncomfortable truths: Dr. Marie Wilson on the history of residential schools in Canada

"The indigenous capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation is almost beyond belief."

Few Canadians can speak with a genuine understanding of that capacity. Dr. Marie Wilson, who sits on Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), is one of them.

Commissioner Marie Wilson communicated this powerful message while in Montreal last week to deliver the annual Jeanne Sauvé Address. There she spoke to the incredible leadership being shown by survivors of Canada's Indian Residential Schools as thousands have courageously come forward to tell the country their stories.

Canadian immigration changes force women to stay with sponsoring spouse for two years

Ask just about any woman in this country if she or a woman she knows has experienced violence, and the answer will be “yes.”

And yet, for the most part, the policies and public discourse of this country imply violence against women in Canada is no big deal.

But violence against women is a big deal, traumatizing thousands of women in this country and profoundly impacting their lives. Every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner, and every day more than 3,000 women are living in emergency shelters to escape domestic violence. Twelve per cent of all violent crime in Canada or 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence each year, although only 22 per cent of all domestic violence incidents are reported to the police.

The Heiress - The rise of Elisabeth Murdoch

On Saturday, July 2, 2011, a high-society traffic jam descended on the cobblestoned town square of Burford, a village sixty-eight miles northwest of London, not far from the market town of Chipping Norton. Hundreds of chauffeured cars approached a gated stone wall, which opened to a long, circular driveway and the sprawling country house of Elisabeth Murdoch, a prominent television entrepreneur and the daughter of Rupert Murdoch, and her husband, Matthew Freud, who runs what may be the most powerful public-relations firm in Great Britain. In addition to their professional accomplishments, the couple have gained renown for their lavish “Chipping Norton set” parties, which are often attended by their friend Prime Minister David Cameron, government ministers, financiers, C.E.O.s, celebrities, and newspaper editors. “You’re never likely to be bored,” the former Prime Minister Tony Blair, an occasional guest, told me. The CNN host Piers Morgan, a former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s the News of the World, once told the Daily Mail, “I’ve never seen so many people who hate each other together in one room.”

A Worthwhile Tax and Spending Proposal

With the fiscal-cliff standoff between President Obama and Speaker Boehner continuing—the pair haven’t spoken in a week—two questions arise: How will the stalemate be broken? And what should an agreement look like?

The most likely answer to the first question is still some sort of last-minute deal that raises tax rates, but not all the way back to the levels of the Clinton era, cuts spending a bit, and defers the really tough issue of how to prevent Medicare from swallowing the federal budget over the next thirty years. As I pointed out a few days ago, before the latest round of mutual recriminations, the Republicans have hardly any leverage: eventually, they will have to cave. With the White House also keen to avoid going into the New Year without an agreement, at which point the Bush tax cuts would expire and the automatic spending cuts would kick in, a compromise is the logical outcome.

Jan Brewer 'Slugged' Reporter Who Asked Climate Change Question: Photographer

Days before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) slipped out of her state on an unannounced weeklong work trip -- reportedly to Afghanistan -- she punched a reporter for asking a question about climate change, one news photographer claimed in an email to Jim Romenesko.

The photographer wrote on Wednesday that the incident came after Brewer's rather awkward response to an unexpected question on climate change from 3TV's Dennis Welch.

Egypt Protests: Clashes Between Supporters, Opponents Of President Mohammed Morsi Kill 5 In Cairo

CAIRO — The Egyptian army sealed off the presidential palace with tanks and barbed wire Thursday, a day after fierce clashes between supporters and opponents of the Islamist leader over a disputed constitution killed at least six people.

Compounding President Mohammed Morsi's woes, another member of his 17-person advisory panel resigned in protest of his handling of the crisis, bringing the total to seven in the past two weeks. Rafik Habib, the only Coptic Christian adviser, was the latest to resign.

Top Two Percent To GOP: Tax Us

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans' opposition to any tax rate hike on the top two percent of earners shows few signs of letting up as the debate wears on. But the beneficiaries of that opposition, the nation's wealthiest executives, have themselves begun opening up to the possibility of a rate hike.

On Tuesday, FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith, an adviser to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, said that the notion that tax hikes on the richest Americans would kill jobs was simply "mythology."

What If the Fiscal Cliff Is the Wrong Cliff?

One premise of the people who built the "fiscal cliff"--who committed Congress to either make big inroads on the deficit or have big inroads made automatically, meat-cleaver style--is that government debt is central to our economic problems. What if they're wrong?

I don't mean "What if public debt isn't a problem?"--because it is, and I don't doubt that addressing it in some measure is a good idea. I mean: What if public debt is such a small part of the problem that we're setting ourselves up for pain followed by disappointment? What if we'll make lots of budget cuts, dampening economic activity in the short term, only to find that the long-term benefits, while real, are dinky in the scheme of things, and there's a much bigger problem that's been left unaddressed?

Will Obama Beat Back a "Nuclear" Attack by the Big Banks?

Wild bets by taxpayer-insured banks helped put the US economy in the toilet four years ago. With financial regulators scrambling post-election to finalize long overdue rules for Wall Street, banks have intensified their war on regulation. In particular, the financial industry is lobbying like mad to add key loopholes to the Volcker rule, a provision of the sweeping 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act that is supposed to restrict high-risk speculation by commercial banks.

During the campaign, Mitt Romney vowed to repeal Dodd-Frank, and regulatory agencies were waiting to finish crafting the details of the Volcker rule. Whether that rule will emerge as Congress intended, or as a watered-down half-measure, is what's at stake in the current battle between reformers and industry.

Gen Y In Canada: Taxes, Tolerance And Voting Top List Of What Makes A Good Citizen

The vast majority of millennials consider themselves to be good citizens, but there is not nearly as much consensus on what that means — a disagreement often influenced by age, education and country of origin.

Abacus Data polled 1,004 Canadians of the Millennial Generation —aged 18 to 30 — on a variety of issues between Oct. 23 and 25. Overwhelmingly, respondents to the poll, carried out for The Huffington Post Canada, believed they were good citizens.

French-Canadians see threat to language, but anglophones ‘still don’t get it

A high percentage of francophones believe the future of their language in Canada is threatened. But in a sign of the persistence of the country’s two solitudes, relatively few anglophones agree, a Department of Canadian Heritage survey shows.

The survey of 1,504 Canadians, conducted by the department’s official languages support programs branch, found that eight in 10 francophones continue to believe the future of French in Canada is threatened, including more than two-thirds who strongly agree. Just 12 per cent disagree.

Breaking the silence and taking action on violence against women

Violence against women is a priority for women's groups and the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada. Across Canada and internationally, women are mobilizing to fight back. November 25 is marked each year as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Its origin dates back to 1960 in the Dominican Republic, when the Mirabal sisters were murdered because they were fighting for their rights.

Statistics compiled by the United Nations show that abuse and brutality inflicted on women and children are real and increasing at an alarming rate, and these numbers don't take into account victims who remain silent for fear of reprisals.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois' sentence is a threat to free speech

During the student strike of this past year, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was a spokesperson for the CLASSE, the student association representing roughly 70 per cent of striking students. In this capacity his role was not to set policy or give direction to striking students, but to explain the decisions and positions taken democratically by students themselves in general assemblies and CLASSE congresses to the media and public.

TDSB’s $143 school pencil sharpener just the beginning

The high cost to perform tens of thousands of small jobs — hanging pictures, mounting bulletin boards and yes, more pencil sharpener installations — are costing the Toronto District School Board a small fortune, according to data obtained by the Star.

At one school, Emery Collegiate Institute in North York, a work crew was summoned to hang three pictures one day in March 2011, a job that took seven hours and cost $266. Eight days later, workers were once again called to the same school to “hang three pictures on the wall.” That time, workers billed for 24 hours at a cost to taxpayers of $857.

TD Bank Q4 Profit Hits $1.6 Billion, Buys U.S.-Based Epoch Investment Management Business

TORONTO - TD Bank Financial Group (TSX:TD) reported a fourth-quarter profit of $1.6 billion Thursday as it announced a deal to buy U.S.-based money manager Epoch Holding Corp. for US$668 million in cash.

"We've been looking for an opportunity to acquire a U.S. asset manager to build our North American Wealth business, which is a key growth area for TD," said Mike Pedersen, who runs TD's wealth management and insurance business.

Forcing students to sing O Canada a cappella violates their human rights, Toronto man claims

A battle over whether Toronto students can be forced to sing O Canada a cappella has escalated to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Complainant Kevin Morrison, who is running in a trustee byelection next week, says the Toronto Catholic District School Board’s decision to remove music from the morning anthem is “prejudicial and discriminatory.” He wants the months-old policy scrapped, urging trustees to eschew such “frivolous issues” for the more serious business of running a school board.

Northwest Territories government banging the oil drum in Houston

The Northwest Territories is sitting on a potentially huge shale oil field in the Mackenzie Valley and government officials are in Houston this week meeting with the firms that intend to tap it.

While there are also massive natural gas deposits under the Beaufort Sea, developing the riches of the Mackenzie Valley seems to be closer at hand. There is already a small, underutilized oil pipeline between Norman Wells and Zama Lake in northern Alberta, which connects into the provincial oil pipeline system.

RCMP concerned as Conservatives consider loosening firearms restrictions

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives are considering sweeping recommendations from an influential government firearms advisory committee to loosen Canada’s gun control laws, the Star has learned.

The proposed changes would touch on many of the remaining restrictions on firearms and critics say would pose a risk to public safety.

Citigroup Investors Cheer Massive Layoffs, Hope For More

If you're one of the lucky 11,000 employees whose holidays just got ruined by Citigroup, here's some cold comfort: You'll have company soon enough.

Citigroup, once upon a time the biggest bank in the U.S., but shrinking steadily, on Wednesday announced it was laying off 11,000 workers around the world, or about 4 percent of its 260,000-human work force.

Ontario Liberal leadership: Austerity for the foreseeable future, warns Wynne

Austerity measures must continue for years after the Ontario government balances the books in 2017, warns one of the front-runners to succeed Premier Dalton McGuinty.

MPP Kathleen Wynne (Don Valley West) said Wednesday that she would restrict overall spending increases to one percentage point below gross domestic product growth until things improve to pre-recessionary levels.

Free Toronto

Just a few months ago it would’ve been hard to imagine that we could have a new mayor, not to mention a different provincial government, by the beginning of summer.

Change is in the wind, but Toronto needs more than a switch-up in political leadership. While the mayoral emergency has gotten all the attention in the last few weeks, two recent defeats for local empowerment show that the city is badly in need of alterations to its mandate.

Covergate: NOW’s publisher speaks on "controversy"

Over the weekend, NOW took some flak – mostly via Twitter – regarding this week’s cover, which depicts Rob Ford with a red X over his face, X being a universal symbol for disliking or disapproving of things or of something being finished, kaput, over. Some savvy users with internet connections noticed the apparent similarity between this cover and a series of Time magazine covers with Xs over the faces of various maligned figures including, most famously, a Hitler from 67 whole years ago.

How Dr. Oz Got It Wrong on Organics

"There's nothing like a block of frozen spinach to make you feel bad about your family dinner," observes heart surgeon, TV personality, and health pundit Dr. Mehmet Oz in the latest Time. The advice in Oz's piece is mostly on point—foodie trends shouldn't keep people from eating unglamorous, wholesome foods like frozen veggies or canned beans, especially if that's all they can afford.

Alberta Health Queue Jumping Inquiry: Doctor Tells How ER Staff Ordered To Treat 'VIPs' Faster

EDMONTON - An Alberta emergency room doctor says medical staff in a busy ER were once pressured to provide care for a "VIP" ahead of a waiting room full of very sick people.

Dr. Paul Parks told a public inquiry Wednesday that the order came from an executive at the University of Alberta hospital in Edmonton in the fall of 2007.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois Sentenced To Community Service For Contempt Of Court

QUEBEC - A prominent figure in Quebec's student protest movement has been sentenced to 120 hours of community service for a contempt of court conviction following the rowdy events of the so-called Maple Spring.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who was the spokesman for the militant CLASSE organization during protests against proposed tuition increases, was punished for urging supporters to defy a court order.

Canada Climate Change Policy Ranks Worst In Wealthy World: Climate Action Network

Canada has the worst climate change policy of all wealthy nations, and the fourth-worst among all nations, says a survey from environmental umbrella group Climate Action Network.

The Great White North “still shows no intentions to move forward on climate policy and thereby leave its place as the worst performer of all western countries,” reads the preamble to the Climate Change Performance Index 2013.

Peter Van Loan Confronts Nathan Cullen In Near-Brawl Over Budget Move

OTTAWA - A verbal dust-up in the House of Commons almost wound up in a bench-clearing brawl.

Peter Van Loan, the government's House leader, appeared to set off the incident when he stormed across the floor of the Commons to confront his NDP counterpart, Nathan Cullen.

Microphones were shut off but video tape shows Van Loan waving his finger at Cullen and speaking in a heated manner.

The Commons: Rona Ambrose slips on a fifth generation banana peel

The Scene. The NDP’s Matthew Kellway, blessed of the deadest of pans, seemed typically unimpressed.

“Reset and refresh are the new spin words, Mr. Speaker, but not so long ago the Minister of National Defence was unwavering,” Mr. Kellway recalled. “He stated, ‘This is the right plane, this is the right number, this is the right aircraft for our Canadian forces and Canada.’ Now he has lost that loving feeling.”

The New Democrats chuckled.

Electoral reform not the greatest challenge facing Canadian politics

MONTREAL—First the easy part: there is little doubt that an injection of electoral reform could improve the health of Canada’s federal politics.

Under a more proportional voting system, Canada’s federal parties and its future governments would not be national in name only and every vote, regardless of where it is cast, would count for something.

Tory senators Duffy, Demers, and Smith offering services as speakers-for-hire

Three Conservative senators are offering their services as speakers-for-hire through agencies that book public figures to speak at conventions and conferences.

Senators Larry Smith, Jacques Demers and Mike Duffy are all listed with the Speakers’ Spotlight agency and have online profiles that reference their positions in the Senate. The agency’s website does not provide exact amounts the senators charge but lists their profiles among speakers with fees between $5,000 and $10,000 per event.

Jason Kenney stages a little theatre just days before announcing 'safe countries'

Just as things were getting a little uncomfortable for Jason Kenney on the refugee file -- because of his own statements that a country he plans to designate "safe" is hardly, in fact, safe for Jews and Roma -- the Minister of Immigration (with an assist from the Minister of Public Safety) pulls a rabbit out of a hat.

This morning, with scant advance notice, reporters received a news release from the Immigration Department saying Kenney would be holding a news conference at the border crossing at Stanstead, Quebec. There were no other details.

Feds have had independent F-35 review report for a week but have yet to table it in House

PARLIAMENT HILL—The Conservative government has been studying a final report from an independent review of F-35 stealth fighter jet cost forecasts for a week, but has not yet tabled the information in the House of Commons as Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose and other ministers promised last June.

The Public Works department confirmed to The Hill Times this week that a final report from a detailed audit of National Defence department future cost estimates for the troubled-plagued Lockheed Martin warplane was received at least as early as last Tuesday, leaving the government ample opportunity to table it as Ms. Ambrose (Edmonton-Spruce Grove, Alta.) promised as part of the government’s response to a scathing report on the F-35 acquisition from Auditor General Michael Ferguson last April.

Near-brawl erupts in Commons between Tory Peter Van Loan and NDP’s Nathan Cullen

OTTAWA—A verbal dust-up in the House of Commons almost wound up in a bench-clearing brawl.

Peter Van Loan, the government’s House leader, appeared to set off the incident when he stormed across the floor of the Commons to confront his NDP counterpart, Nathan Cullen.

Microphones were shut off but video tape shows Van Loan waving his finger at Cullen and speaking in a heated manner.

Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota Governor, Rejects Obamacare Medicaid Expansion

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) opposes providing health benefits to more than 40,000 "able-bodied" poor people by expanding the state's Medicaid program under President Barack Obama's health care reform law, he told legislators Tuesday.

Obama's health care law seeks to provide health care coverage to as many as 17 million uninsured people who earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $14,856 for a single person this year, by 2022. But when the Supreme Court upheld the law in June, it allowed states to opt out of expanding Medicaid. Including South Dakota, nine states with Republican governors have announced they wouldn't offer health benefits to poor people who would qualify.

Environment Minister Peter Kent touts Harper government’s climate record at summit

Environment Minister Peter Kent touted the federal government’s progress in tackling greenhouse gas emissions Wednesday as he addressed an international climate change summit in Doha, Qatar. He also suggested that the private sector must play a “critical” role in the future.

Figures released by his department in August estimated that Canada’s annual heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions would be about 20 per cent above the target pledged by Prime Minister Stephen Harper under the 2009 Copenhagen agreement.

Conservative government counting on public indifference as it rams through Bill C-45

As of 9p.m. EST Tuesday, MPs were into their sixth hour voting on amendments to the government's omnibus Bill C-45.

C-45 carries on from this past spring's first omnibus Bill, especially in its attack on the basic federal role in environmental regulation.

Why immigration 'reform' is so central to the Conservatives' agenda

There is a fair bit happening in Ottawa right now, a lot of it wrapped up in a second piece of budget omnibus legislation, Bill C-45, on which the House started voting on Tuesday afternoon.

In light of that, why devote so much real estate in this space to Canada's refugee policy, especially as it pertains to one group of people, the Roma of Europe?

Well, for one thing, immigration policy, broadly, is very important to the Harper government.

The human cost of Jason Kenney's refugee health cuts

Fleeing the genocidal war in Sri Lanka, 492 Tamils arrived in Canada aboard the MV Sun Sea in August 2010. The response of public safety minister Vic Toews was not to deplore the perpetrators of the massacre against the Tamils, but rather to imprison the traumatized victims to "ensure our refugee system is not hijacked by criminals or terrorists."

Canada's $476.3-million trade relations with Sri Lanka were never questioned, despite an estimated 40,000 dead in 2009. On the contrary, the  government declares that "Canada and Sri Lanka have strong bilateral relations based upon shared participation in the Commonwealth, and development assistance through the Colombo Plan."

Tory MP Mark Warawa’s motion targets sex selection of fetus

OTTAWA—Another Conservative MP is stirring the debate over abortion rights with a motion that doesn’t actually mention abortion at all.

Mark Warawa’s private member’s motion would ask the House of Commons to condemn the practice of sex selection before birth.

Time to rethink the Toronto megacity

Two cultures warring in the bosom of a single city – that’s the best way to understand the current mess in Toronto. The two cultures that were unwillingly yoked together in a megacity by Ontario premier Mike Harris in 1998 have given us the Rob Ford saga.

Ed Haislmaier, Heritage Foundation Scholar, Accosts Protester At Fix The Debt Panel

WASHINGTON -- A conservative scholar at the Heritage Foundation, Edmund F. Haislmaier, attacked a nonprofit employee Tuesday morning in a hotel where both men were attending an event sponsored by the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

The incident, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel downtown, occurred after Burke Stansbury, of the Seattle-based nonprofit Campaign for Community Change, and about 20 other progressive activists interrupted a speech by Republican Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) to encourage the senator to protect Social Security and Medicare in fiscal cliff negotiations.

Students Occupying Cooper Union Insist on Founder's Vision

The clock tower of the Foundation Building of Cooper Union on 3rd Avenue and 7th Street in Manhattan stopped at 12:40 pm on December 3 signifying the start to the occupation of the Peter Cooper suite, a studio room behind the clock where twelve students barricaded themselves yesterday. The students mounted the protest to urge the school not to begin charging tuition to undergraduates.

The taking of the 8th floor was followed by the quick arrival of security staff and administrators who tried to literally saw their way through the bolted door. These attempts were put on hold out of fear of injuring the students that were physically defending the space with their bodies pressed against the barricades.

Nevada Led the Country in Expanding the Vote. Now, It's Eyeing Voter ID

Nevada boasted the nation’s highest turnout increase on Election Day, thanks to its innovative efforts to make voting more accessible. But less than a month later, Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat, is now suggesting the use of voter ID—which could reverse his own efforts to expand democracy and mean a lower turnout in subsequent elections.

Why Isn't the FDA Stopping the Epidemic of Foodborne Illness?

All of his life, Paul Schwarz had been active and healthy. When his family imagined the various ways the decorated veteran of World War II might eventually die, they never imagined that the cause would be a piece of cantaloupe.

On Tuesday, September 13, 2011, Schwarz complained to his daughter Janice of abdominal pains and a slight fever. She took him to his doctor, who said it was likely a case of stomach flu. By Thursday the symptoms had worsened, and Schwarz had developed diarrhea. Janice took him to the emergency room. Once again flu was the diagnosis, and he was sent home. For a time, his condition improved. He called his son, also named Paul, that Sunday and cheerfully assured him that he'd eaten a big breakfast and felt a lot better.

Carbon dioxide emissions worldwide up again

WASHINGTON -- The amount of heat-trapping pollution the world spewed rose again last year by 3 per cent. So scientists say it's now unlikely that global warming can be limited to a couple of degrees, which is an international goal.

The overwhelming majority of the increase was from China, the world's biggest carbon dioxide polluter. Of the planet's top 10 polluters, the United States and Germany were the only countries that reduced their carbon dioxide emissions.

Feds want House to pass deportation bill by Dec. 14

The Conservative government wants the House of Commons to pass a bill before Christmas that would allow the immigration minister to bar someone from visiting Canada for up to three years for “public policy” reasons.

Bill C-43, which the government calls the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, passed through the immigration committee on Nov. 28, after more than a month of study, with two changes the government proposed. None of the opposition NDP’s nine amendments or the Liberals’ 13 were agreed to.

Spending on 1812 anniversary odd in an era of cuts

I learned about Tecumseh in elementary school, then promptly forgot about him for half a century.

Stephen Harper wants me to brush up on my War of 1812 facts, to celebrate anew the likes of the native American leader of the Shawnee who took our side in the dispute with the Yanks.

In a curious spending decision, the Harper government announced a while back it was allocating $28 million in funds for 1812 commemoration - to be spent by next March on everything from coins and stamps to museum exhibits.

The fate of our resources is in the hands of our most disadvantaged citizens

It was the most exciting thing to happen in the foyer of the House of Commons, since the late Reg Alcock nearly provoked fisticuffs when he called Peter MacKay “a scumbag.”

A group of native chiefs protesting new government legislation jostled with security guards outside the chamber of the House Tuesday, as they tried to push their way inside. It was over in an instant, without so much as a torn hangnail.

Docs call health minister liar, liar, scrubs on fire, but their ad fails to persuade

The Alberta Medical Association, the province's most powerful trade union, has gone back to the familiar ground of buying newspaper advertisements to call Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne and the Progressive Conservative government led by Premier Alison Redford a bunch of liars.

The provincial physicians' association and bargaining agent used slightly more moderate language in their advert -- which showed up in several Alberta daily newspapers yesterday -- but what else can they really mean when they say, "on April 23, 2012, the government of Alberta misled Alberta’s 11,000 physicians, medical residents and medical students"?

Biggest property tax increases expected in Davenport, Willowdale neighbourhoods

Homeowners in the Davenport and Willowdale neighbourhoods will likely end up paying more property tax next year, based on recent assessments.

But they’re also the neighbourhoods with the highest increases in property values.

“Our values are consistent with the trends and patterns in the real estate market,” said Joe Regina, with the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. which assesses properties across the province. “These are generally in high demand (and) it’s outpacing their supply.”

Are we trading away our rights and environment?

Global trade has advantages. For starters, it allows those of us who live through winter to eat fresh produce year-round. And it provides economic benefits to farmers who grow that food. That could change as oil, the world’s main transport fuel, becomes increasingly scarce, hard to obtain and costly, but we’ll be trading with other nations for the foreseeable future.

Because countries often have differing political and economic systems, agreements are needed to protect those invested in trade. Canada has signed numerous deals, from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to several Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (FIPA), and is subject to the rules of global trade bodies, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Oil And Gas Lobbying In Canada Overshadows All Other Pressure Groups: Polaris Study

OTTAWA - Heavy lobbying by the oil and gas industry has far outstripped any other interest group seeking to influence the Harper government over the last four years, according to a new study that examined the lobbyist registry.

The left-leaning Polaris Institute contends that the more than 2,700 meetings between oil and gas lobbyists and federal office holders since 2008 have helped turn Canada into a "petro state."

Moral compass fails Tory MPs

The case of cancer-suffering refugee claimant Saleen Akhtar isn't the first that doesn't fit neatly into the narrative of the federal Conservatives.

But the sudden silence is more than a little hypocritical from a government that's filled with MPs - especially in Saskatchewan - who too often are eager to latch on to moral/religious causes.

Stephen Harper’s lightning quick foreign policy overhaul

OTTAWA—John Baird is a man who fills a room, his volume usually cranked to 11 when he has a point to make.

The foreign affairs minister was certainly in his element last week, bellowing about standing with Israel, then flying to New York to loudly decry a United Nations vote to confer non-member observer status on the Palestinian Authority.

This week, a man seemingly never at a loss for words proved his silence could be even louder.

Egypt Protests: Thousands March To Presidential Palace

CAIRO (AP) -- Tens of thousands of Egyptians massed in Cairo Tuesday for a march to the presidential palace to protest the assumption by the nation's Islamist president of nearly unrestricted powers and a draft constitution hurriedly adopted by his allies.

In the coastal city of Alexandria, some 10,000 opponents of President Mohammed Morsi gathered in the center of the country's second largest metropolis. They chanted slogans against the Egyptian leader and his Muslim Brotherhood.

'Collaboration Agreement' with uranium giants sparks opposition in northern Saskatchewan

Revelations last week that the northern Saskatchewan community of Pinehouse is set to sign a so-called "collaboration agreement" with uranium giants Cameco and Areva have sparked outrage in the community due to terms of the agreement that residents say is a blatant attempt to silence opposition to the expansion of uranium mining in the area.

A summary of the agreement, obtained by the Committee for Future Generations, contains a number of alarming terms, including that "Under the Collaboration Agreement, Pinehouse is expected to fully support Cameco/Areva's mining," including existing operations, proposed projects, and, incredibly, even future operations.