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, April 11, 2013

Facebook Paid A Negative 40.4 Percent Tax Rate In 2012: Analysis

Here’s something to “Like" if you're Facebook: getting a tax rebate despite pulling in billions in profits.

The social media giant paid a negative 40.4 percent tax rate in 2012, according to a report released Thursday by the Center for Tax Justice, a left-leaning research group. That’s way less than the estimated $1 billion tax bill of the company’s own CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg. How did Facebook manage to get $429 million back from the government on its more than $1 billion in profits? By writing off the value of the stock options the company gave Zuckerberg as part of his compensation, according to CTJ.

Gay Man Arrested At Missouri Hospital For Refusing To Leave Sick Partner, Not Recognized As Family

A gay man was arrested this week at a Missouri hospital after refusing to the leave bedside of his sick partner.

Roger Gorley went to Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday to visit Allen, his partner of five years. But when he got there, a member of Allen's family asked him to leave, according to Kansas City Fox station WDAF. When Gorley refused, hospital security allegedly handcuffed him and forcefully removed him from the premises. Now he cannot visit Allen at all because of a restraining order filed against him.

Egyptian doctors 'ordered to operate on protesters without anaesthetic'

Senior Egyptian army doctors were ordered to operate without anaesthetic on wounded protesters at a military hospital in Cairo during protests against military rule, according to an investigation commissioned by president Mohamed Morsi. The report into military and police malpractice since 2011 also alleges that doctors, soldiers and medics assaulted protesters inside the hospital.

The findings, which relate to the army's behaviour during the Abbassiya clashes in May 2012, are the latest leak to the Guardian of a suppressed report investigating human rights abuses in Egypt since the start of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Earlier leaks alleged that the military were involved in torture, killings and forced disappearances during the uprising.

What a Conspiracy Theorist Believes

On a four-point scale, from one (strongly disagree) to four (strongly agree), please rate the following statements: “The Apollo moon landings never happened and were staged in a Hollywood film studio”; ”Princess Diana’s death was not an accident but rather an organized assassination by members of the British Royal Family who disliked her”; “The Coca-Cola Company intentionally changed to an inferior formula with the intent of driving up demand for their classic product, later reintroducing it for their financial gain”; and “Carbon dioxide emissions resulting from human activities cause climate change.”

Uruguay Legalizes Gay Marriage

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Uruguayan lawmakers voted Wednesday to legalize gay marriage, making the South American country the third in the Americas to do so.

Supporters of the law, who had filled the public seats in the legislative building, erupted in celebration when the results were announced. The bill received the backing of 71 of the 92 members of the Chamber of Deputies present.

White House Budget Would Fund Drug Punishment Over Treatment

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration budget released Wednesday emphasizes drug abuse punishment and interdiction over treatment and prevention, despite recent rhetoric from the Office of National Drug Control Policy on a "21st century" approach.

The White House budget proposal for fiscal 2014 devotes 58 percent of drug-control spending to punishment and interdiction, compared with 42 percent to treatment and prevention. The drug control spending ratio in this year's budget is even more lopsided, 62 percent to 38 percent.

Shut Up and Pay

BOONE, NC: In early March, 2012, Appalachian State University sociology professor Jammie Price told her class she thought student athletes received special privileges on campus. That same afternoon Price intended to participate in a rally in order to protest the way the university treated victims of sex crimes on campus. One female student left the room in protest.

ExxonMobil Pipeline Rupture 'Substantially Larger' Than Previously Thought

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An ExxonMobil pipeline that ruptured last month and spilled thousands of barrels of oil in central Arkansas has a gash in it that is 22 feet long and 2 inches wide, state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Wednesday.

"The pipeline rupture is substantially larger than many of us initially thought," McDaniel told reporters Wednesday evening.

McDaniel's update on the March 29 oil spill in Mayflower, about 25 miles northwest of Little Rock, comes as lawyers and investigators review more than 12,500 pages of documents his office received from ExxonMobil. McDaniel sent a subpoena to ExxonMobil, seeking inspection records, investigative documents and maintenance records related to its Pegasus pipeline that ruptured in Mayflower.

Al Gore Is Fat, Therefore Global Warming Doesn't Exist

Ever notice that when conservatives want to attack the science of global warming—or the idea that we ought to do something about it—they almost always find a way to rope in Al Gore? Occasionally, they even try to debunk the science by denigrating Gore personally, in a kind of guilt-by-association gambit.

One of the most striking examples came from Ann Coulter, who wrote in a column in early 2007:

    The only place Al Gore conserves energy these days is on the treadmill. I don't want to suggest that Al's getting big, but the last time I saw him on TV I thought, "That reminds me—we have to do something about saving the polar bears."

    Never mind his carbon footprint—have you seen the size of Al Gore's regular footprint lately? It's almost as deep as Janet Reno's.

The Liberal Civil War Over Social Security Cuts

The Social Security cuts in President Barack Obama's new budget are creating dissension in his base.

Many liberals oppose the president's proposal to balance the budget on the backs of the old. But a good chunk of the establishment left is sticking by the president's side, arguing that the cuts aren't so bad, and that any budget compromise with this Republican House will involve swallowing a bitter pill or two.

Suu Kyi Rebuff Of Canadian Invite Caused Diplomatic Scramble

Canadian diplomats seemed caught off-guard late last summer when Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi turned down an invitation to visit Canada.

Newly released documents under access to information show diplomats scrambling in late August 2012 after the office of the opposition leader in Burma, also known as Myanmar, stopped responding to telephone calls and emails from Canadian officials before apologizing, saying Suu Kyi's schedule was "too tight" and they were "unable to plan for this September trip to Canada."

The Canadian government reimbursed Attawapiskat First Nation for third-party manager costs

OTTAWA—The Conservative government reimbursed Attawapiskat First Nation for its controversial decision to appoint a third-party manager to take over the books during the winter housing crisis on the northern Ontario reserve.

The Star obtained documents revealing the federal Aboriginal Affairs department agreed to transfer $136,132 to the Cree community last year to cover the cost of the third-party manager the government appointed in December 2011.

Rae attacks Penashue's 'buy-election' campaign

Interim federal Liberal leader Bob Rae used a byelection campaign stop in Labrador to freshen the party's attack against former Tory MP Peter Penashue, while questions continue to swirl over a mystery project the former cabinet minister boasted he held up in order to help his own constituents.

Rae, who is in the closing days of his stint as Liberal leader, rallied supporters of candidate Yvonne Jones at the official launch Wednesday night of her headquarters in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Wikileaks' new release The Kissinger Cables and Bradley Manning

Wikileaks has released a new trove of documents, more than 1.7 million U.S. State Department cables dating from 1973-1976, which they have dubbed "The Kissinger Cables," after Henry Kissinger, who in those years served as secretary of state and assistant to the president for national security affairs.

One cable includes a transcribed conversation where Kissinger displays remarkable candor: "Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings, 'The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.' [laughter] But since the Freedom of Information Act, I'm afraid to say things like that."

Reining in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Reports of RBC outsourcing jobs to temporary foreign workers to replace existing Canadian employees should prompt a broader debate about the massive expansion of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in recent years. Is this program addressing genuine "labour shortages" or undermining job opportunities and wages in Canada?

The number of temporary foreign workers in Canada has more than doubled since the Harper government took office. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration reports the presence of 338,000 temporary foreign workers at the end of 2012.

Conservative smear machine hits the NDP with old-fashioned red-baiting

When the Conservative smear machine goes into high gear one is tempted to think of Lincoln's famous dictum -- the one about how "you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

Then again, there is P.T. Barnum's equally famous observation to the effect that "there is a sucker born every minute."

 The Party must be banking on Barnum having been right, based on a couple of its most recent wildly-aimed torpedoes.

'Rise up to defend land and water': Oklahoma grandmother takes action against Keystone XL

Oklahoma grandmother Nancy Zorn, 79, locked herself to a piece of heavy machinery Tuesday morning in protest of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline construction, halting work on a construction site of the tar sands harbinger for several hours.

Starting early in the morning, Zorn locked herself to the large 'excavator', latching a bike lock around her neck to the machine.

"Right now our neighbors in Arkansas are feeling the toxic affect of tar sands on their community. Will Oklahoma neighborhoods be next?" Zorn asked, referring to the thousands of barrels of tar sands oil which spilled out of an Arkansas pipeline last week.

Glenda Jackson's attack on ex-Prime Minister's record during Parliament 'tribute' session

Veteran Labour MP Glenda Jackson ripped in to Margaret Thatcher’s record as Prime Minister during today's Commons debate.

She said the former Prime Minister had wrecked vast swathes of the country.

The Oscar-winning actress, loudly jeered by Tory MPs, said: “When I made my maiden speech a little over two decades ago, Margaret Thatcher had been elevated to the other place but Thatcherism was still wreaking, as it had wreaked for the previous decade - the most heinous, social, economic and spiritual damage upon this country, upon my constituency and my constituents.

Morrison Slashes 700 Jobs A Week After Osborne Tells Workers He Is Chancellor Of 'Hardworking' People

Nearly 700 jobs are at risk at Morrisons, the supermarket where last week George Osborne made a speech in defence of cutting benefits, saying he would make sure that the Coalition government was one for "hardworking people like you".

Just days after the Chancellor told employees at a Kent branch that he was bringing in welfare reforms to make sure work always paid, the supermarket giant announced it was rolling out new machines to replace manual cash-counting in its back offices.

Millions Of Britons Could Not Afford Their Housing Costs If They Lost Their Job

Eight million people are estimated to be just one month's salary away from struggling to pay for their home, a charity has warned.

Some 35% of workers, equating to around 8.6 million Britons, do not have enough savings put by to cover their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their job, Shelter found.

Welfare Reforms 'Will Take £19bn A Year Out Of Economy' And Hit Poorest Communities Hardest

The government's welfare reforms will take almost £19 billion a year out of the UK economy and hit the poorest communities in northern England the hardest, researchers have warned.

Residents in the Lancashire resort town of Blackpool will lose out more than anywhere else in Britain when changes to the benefits system kick in, according to academics at Sheffield Hallam University.

Tony Blair Attacks Labour's Fierce Resistance To Austerity

Tony Blair has warned Labour that its fierce resistance to austerity and welfare cuts risked reducing it to a party of protest.

In an apparent dig at Ed Miliband, the former prime minister cautioned that the political centre ground in Britain had not shifted to the Left in the wake of the credit crunch.

He highlighted the danger of returning to the dividing lines of the 1980s, when Labour championed the "status quo" and languished in opposition to Margaret Thatcher's Tories.

Kim Jong Un's Psychology: An Irrational Leader Or Just A Young Man Trying To Prove Himself?

A madman, a lunatic, North Korea’s psychopath… even Eddie Mair felt comfortable speculating if Kim Jong un was "just nuts" on Sunday’s Andrew Marr show. But who, and more importantly what, is behind the actions of the 30-year-old North Korean dictator?

According to a leading psychologist, Kim is most likely none of the above, more a young man trying to prove himself while suffering “an inevitable deep sense of psychological threat that he will be perceived as weak and inadequate” by others within the regime.

Bob Crow Says Margaret Thatcher Can 'Rot In Hell'

Union leader Bob Crow has said Margaret Thatcher can "rot in hell" for what she did to the country during her time as prime minister.

Crow, the general secretary of the RMT union, told BBC Radio London on Wednesday evening that Thatcher
"created an ideological argument to attack working people" during her time in office and that there were "loads of loads of people who lost their houses, jobs and committed suicide because of what she did".

Brixton Riots 1981 Anniversary: Does Margaret Thatcher's Legacy Still Live On?

Thirty-two years ago today, protesters and police clashed violently on the streets of Brixton, South London, in a confrontation that injured 325 people and left 30 buildings gutted by flames.

To the largely Afro-Caribbean demonstrators it was a "show of strength" against police brutality, high unemployment and institutionalised racism.

To Margaret Thatcher this notion was ridiculous. The acts were simply "criminal".

North Korea 'Skating Close To A Dangerous Line,' Says U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

North Korea is "skating very close to a dangerous line" with its heated rhetoric and provocative actions, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters Wednesday.

The United States and its allies hoped Pyongyang would tone down its inflammatory language but the American military was prepared for any possibility, Hagel said.

"North Korea ...with its bellicose rhetoric, its actions, has been skating very close to a dangerous line," the Pentagon chief said.

Mitch McConnell Faces A Real Threat, And It's Not Left-Wing Leaks

WASHINGTON -- As is often the case, we've been burying the lead as we dissect the leaked recording of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's private whack-a-mole strategy session.

Most of the talk, on the recording and in the media, has been about the cold-blooded, ruthless assessment of the alleged weaknesses of Democratic activist-actress Ashley Judd as a reelection challenger. Riveting if revolting stuff. But what caught my eye was the very last paragraph of the colloquy, in which the Kentucky Republican's staffers assure their boss that they are going to vet and figure out how to destroy "potential primary folks."

Joe Barton Cites Great Flood To Disprove Human Role In Climate Change

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) turned to the Bible on Wednesday during a congressional hearing, using the Great Flood to support his claim that climate change isn't man-made, BuzzFeed Politics reported.

During his remarks on H.R. 3, a bill that would grant Congress the authority to circumvent President Barack Obama and approve the Keystone XL pipeline, Barton acknowledged the existence of climate change, but argued that it is steered by natural causes.

IRS Thinks It Doesn't Need A Warrant To Read Your Email

NEW YORK -- IRS documents released Wednesday suggest that the tax collection agency believes it can read American citizens' emails without a warrant.

The files were released to the American Civil Liberties Union under a Freedom of Information Act request. The organization is working to determine just how broadly federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI or the IRS' Criminal Tax Division interpret their authority to snoop through inboxes.

Bipartisan Gun Control Agreement Announced On Background Checks, NRA To Score Vote

WASHINGTON -- Momentum grew for Senate passage of gun legislation when a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday announced agreement on deals to expand background checks and tighten laws against gun trafficking.

The first breakthrough came in a deal on background checks announced by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who agreed on an amendment that would exempt all "personal" transfers of weapons between individuals, but would close the infamous gun show loophole and also require background checks on Internet sales.

Ted Haggard, Mark Sanford and the Politics of Christian Forgiveness

Mark Sanford is back, in case you haven't heard. You know, the South Carolina governor who suddenly disappeared for weeks in June of 2009. He had told his staff, in the formulation that immediately became infamous, that he was off to "hike the Appalachian Trail," then did not answer fifteen cell phone calls from his chief of staff and neglected to contact his family on Father's Day, for he was actually in Argentina with his lover, who is now his fiancée. He then told the Associated Press he could die now, "knowing I had met my soul mate." He also admitted he had "crossed the line" with several other women during his twenty-year marriage. And then, last week, he emerged from the political, um, wilderness to win a sixteen-way primary for the Republican nomination to replace a retiring Congressman in South Carolina's 1st District, an office he held from 1995 to 2001, in a district that went Republican in 1980 and never looked back. Which is to say, contemporary politics' most flamboyant philanderer is almost certainly heading back to Congress—unless Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, Stephen Colbert's sister, scores an upset—sent there as emissary of a party that has made "family values" its calling card for over a generation.

Canada's Skilled Labour Shortage: Some Say Evidence Is Slim

OTTAWA - Is there a skilled labour shortage in Canada? Many employers say there is, but even some business surveys and the government's own research suggests the evidence is at best slim and sporadic.

Amid the brouhaha triggered by a contractor of the Royal Bank to bring in temporary foreign workers to replace the bank's Canadian ones, opposition parties are itching for Parliament's return Monday to hammer the Harper government over the decision last spring to relax rules making it easier to import workers.

Alison Redford In Washington Boasts Canadian Environmentalism

WASHINGTON - Alberta Premier Alison Redford and federal Environment Minister Peter Kent converged on Washington on Wednesday, singing the gospel of Canadian environmentalism as the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline raged on.

But after two days of touting her province's carbon levy on industry as the first in North America, Redford poured cold water on reports that her government already has a dollar amount in mind for increasing it. That's in keeping with a Canadian stance that avoids any talk of a grand gesture to help sell the controversial pipeline from the oilsands to the Gulf Coast.

Penashue campaign won't identify Nfld project then-minister held up

Now, it's entirely possible that I am a wee bit naive when it comes to the rough-and-tumble tradition of politicking on the Rock, but I must confess that the following off the cuff comments by former-and-possibly-future Labrador MP and ex-minister of the crown Peter Penashue, reported by my intrepid CBC NL colleagues, dropped my jaw:

    Meanwhile, Penashue told a room of supporters who helped him celebrate his 49th birthday that he stopped a project in Newfoundland so that more funding could be procured for the Trans-Labrador Highway.

Deliberately lax visa rules encouraged RBC outsourcing

There are three stories involved in the Royal Bank’s controversial decision to replace Canadian high-tech workers with foreigners.

The first is that Canadian companies are sending good jobs abroad where wages are low. The Royal Bank is hardly unique here. It just happened to be the company that got caught.

The second is perhaps more galling for the 45 laid-off Canadian information technology workers. It is that they are being required to train their own replacements. This is where most of furor has focused.

Requiem for a preamble: A lament for a socialist ideal

       The New Democratic Party believes that the social, economic and political progress of Canada can be assured only by the application of democratic socialist principles to government and the administration of public affairs.

        The principles of democratic socialism can be defined briefly as:

        That the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit;

        To modify and control the operations of the monopolistic productive and distributive organizations through economic and social planning. Towards these ends and where necessary the extension of the principle of social ownership;

        The New Democratic Party holds firm to the belief that the dignity and freedom of the individual is a basic right that must be maintained and extended; and

        The New Democratic Party is proud to be associated with the democratic socialist parties of the world and to share the struggle for peace, international co-operation and the abolition of poverty.

Oil Sands 'Money Left on the Table' and More Myths

Andrew Nikiforuk's April 3 article was a full and accurate summary of the major points addressed in my inquiry into the transparency and reliability and of the double discount thesis.

Having read the web postings submitted by readers that followed the article, and a new CIBC piece, I thought it useful to provide additional information, address comments raised, and dispel a few of the myths still swirling about.

CIBC World Markets on April 3 claimed Canada stands to lose $50 billion over three years. "Economist Peter Buchanan forecasts that this 'money left on the table' will be about $20-billion this year, $15.2-billion in 2014 and $16.5-billion a year later," reported The Globe and Mail.

Vancouver Island Soil Dump Proposal 'Seems to Defy Logic'

Residents of Shawnigan Lake and the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) protested Wednesday at the Ministry of Environment office in Victoria against a proposed contaminated soil dump in the Shawnigan watershed.

Shawnigan Creek runs through the site, flowing into Shawnigan Lake, about 50 kilometres north of Victoria. More than 7,000 people in the area get their drinking water from the lake.

The site is also on top of an aquifer, an underground supply of groundwater that can be extracted for drinking water.

Provinces team up to block CBC's hospital data request

Provincial and territorial health department officials held cross-country meetings and agreed to a "national decision" to deny a CBC request for information about individual hospitals, CBC News has learned.

Documents obtained by CBC's the fifth estate via freedom-of-information requests show that health ministries across Canada kept in regular contact with each other over the course of a month to craft similar responses.

RBC iGate scandal: Ottawa urged to publicize Canadian employers using foreign temps

Ottawa must make Canada’s temporary foreign workers program more transparent and accountable by publicizing the names of employers who bring in migrant workers and the jobs they fill, critics say.

Canadian taxpayers have a right to know which employers are benefiting from the $35.5 million a year taxpayers pay to process their applications for a “labour market opinion,” say major labour groups. Potential employers aren’t charged a fee for this service, which is required to justify their claim that they need to bring in foreign workers to fill a need.

North Korea missile launch prospect ‘considerably high,’ South Korea warns

Tensions are rising in the Korean Peninsula after South Korea’s foreign minister warned that North Korea is expected to conduct a missile launch Thursday, a development that has prompted South Korea and the U.S. to increase their military alerts levels.

“Based on intelligence we and the Americans have collected, it’s highly likely that North Korea will launch a missile,” Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday, according to media reports.

Idle No More and the new narrative in native struggles

Idle No More isn’t just for people of near-indigenous heritage or those who have been affected by failed treaties. There has been a longing in this country for justice and natural respect for the land by many more than our numbers. It is certainly a wake-up call for the present First Nations leadership that their acquiescence to domination isn’t a legitimate political position any more.

But don’t be confused; Idle No More means as little to the likes of Stephen Harper and his followers as did Martin Luther King’s letters to George Wallace (governor of Alabama). Harper could probably care less whether Theresa Spence lives or dies. She doesn’t stand in the way of his economic agenda. But Theresa means everything to us. Her life is our life.

Fact-checking Premier Redford’s speech in Washington

Yesterday Alberta Premier Alison Redford was in Washington to lobby for the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. While in Washington, she gave a speech at the Brookings Institute. We decided to fact check some of her comments. Here’s the Premier's top 10 lies, mistruths and deceptions.

Statement 1:
“The truth is that Alberta is home to some of the most environmentally friendly, progressive legislation in the world.”

Alberta has been widely criticized for their wide lack of environmental protection. Corporate Knights, ranked Alberta dead last in it’s recent provincial environmental stewardship report card.

The David Suzuki Foundation also ranked Alberta last when it comes to climate policy.

Finally having legislation is good but if you don’t enforce it, it doesn’t matter much (like with respect to toxic tailings ponds). Adding insult to injury, the guy the Alberta government just put in charge of environmental enforcement is Gerry Protti, founding President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (conflict of interest much?).

Canada is missing the boat on water security

Over twenty years ago, the world first acknowledged a looming water crisis. Today, water security is one of the fastest-growing economic, political, and social challenges, and a quickly unfolding
environmental crisis.

In the future, the demand for water is expected to increase in every sector — including energy, food production, industry, and mineral development, and by 2030, the world is expected to face a 40 per cent global shortfall between forecast demand and available supply.

Brian Mulroney endorses Justin Trudeau

The Conservatives in Ottawa are furious. Brian Mulroney is not supposed to be going around praising Justin Trudeau. After all, Trudeau is Stephen Harper's biggest political adversary.

In an interview on CTV's Power Play political affairs show Monday night,  Mulroney went out of his way to praise Justin Trudeau. And he did it so effusively, better than any Liberal so far.

Doug Ford goes fishing

Just what is Doug Ford up to anyway?

Last week, the mayor’s older brother and councilor for Etobicoke North made it known that he may be leaving City Hall to run for the PCs in the next provincial election. Then he proceeded to dare Premier Kathleen Wynne to call an election.

Right on cue, the Sun held forth with a strange front-page treatment: Doug in black T, neck craned looking like he was about to pummel the Preem. As if.

Ford renews push for Scarborough subway

It’s been one year since council rejected his unfunded underground transit plan, but for Rob Ford, the dream will not die.
At a press conference on Friday afternoon to address the federal budget unveiled in Ottawa the day before, Mayor Ford reaffirmed his support for extending the Sheppard Ave. subway and putting the Finch West LRT underground. 
He suggested the city could use some of the Conservative budget’s $47 billion in municipal infrastructure spending to pay for the projects.

Pushback against Porter begins

Councillors and at least one community group are vowing to fight plans to expand operations at Toronto’s island airport.
At a press conference Wednesday, Porter Airlines announced plans to purchase up to 30 CS100 jet planes, which would allow the company to add more than a dozen destinations to the list of 19 cities it serves. Locations the company is eyeing include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Miami, and Nassau, in the Bahamas.

Stephen Harper’s “omnibus” strategy to overhaul green laws was proposed by oil industry, says records

OTTAWA – Lobbyists from Canada’s oil and gas industry recommended the Harper government’s 2012 strategy to put multiple changes to a series of environmental protection laws into a single piece of legislation, says a newly-released internal federal document.

The briefing scenario, prepared for a senior Environment Canada official attending an industry awards gala, suggested that oil and gas companies didn’t want a series of separate legislative changes, but rather an “omnibus” approach.

BMO Outsourcing? Temporary Foreign Workers Used Only To Fill Short-Term Gaps, CEO Bill Downe Says

SASKATOON - Bank of Montreal CEO Bill Downe says the bank has used the controversial temporary foreign worker program to fill short-term gaps.

However, Downe, who was grilled about the issue of outsourcing Canadian jobs to foreign workers during the bank's annual meeting, said the bank is abiding by the rules set out under the federal program.

Great Lakes Garbage Patch Presents Major Threat To Region's Marine Life, Scientists Say

Take a dip in the Great Lakes these days, and you might get more than you bargained for. That's because, in addition to the water, fish and plant life you might normally expect, the region's waterways are increasingly clogged with plastic debris, according to researchers.

The phenomenon is nothing new. For years, scientists have looked on in alarm as garbage patches, constituted mainly of plastic particles resistant to natural decomposition and consolidated by underwater currents, have grown at alarming rates in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as off the remote coasts of Antarctica. The "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," the most famous example of water pollution run amok, is by some estimates twice the size of Texas.

Districts With Widest Gender Wage Gaps Have Congressmen Who Oppose Fair Pay Laws

Four out of five of the U.S. congressional districts with the widest wage gaps between men and women are represented by congressmen who oppose equal pay laws, according to a new report by the American Association of University Women.

The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that women earned an average 77 cents for every dollar that men earned in 2011. But in Louisiana's 3rd District, represented by Congressman Charles Boustany (R), women who work full-time only brought home about 61 percent of men's annual salaries that year.