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.]

Monday, December 08, 2014

Iran Uranium Partner Could Get Gift From Lame-Duck Congress

WASHINGTON -- Congress may use must-pass legislation in the next two weeks to slip through a controversial land deal that would help a company that jointly owns a uranium mine with Iran, sources told HuffPost.

The company, the international mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, has been trying for nearly a decade to acquire 2,400 acres of the federally protected Tonto National Forest in southeast Arizona -- land that sits atop a massive copper deposit.

Government Under Fire Over Trade In Endangered Whale Meat

The Conservative government is facing tough questions about why it is allowing meat from endangered whales to be shipped across Canada.

In February, it emerged that the federal government allowed an Icelandic company to transport meat from endangered fin whales across Canada on its way to market in Japan. Twelve shipping containers of the meat arrived in Halifax and, according to Greenpeace, were transported by train to ports in British Columbia.

At the time, Environment Canada told the Vancouver Sun that Canada was obligated to allow the transport of the meat despite the fact that fin whales have been given the highest level of protection under the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which Canada has signed. Atlantic Fin whales are also of "special concern" under Canada's Species at Risk Act.

Pat Martin Asks Agriculture Minister: Have You Lost Your Freaking Mind?

Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin returned to his raucous ways during question period on Tuesday, asking Conservative minister Gerry Ritz if he had “lost his freaking mind.”

The colourful outburst was related to an exchange about the government’s rejection of an ownership bid back in October by Saskatoon-based Farmers of North America (FNA) to acquire the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB).

Federal government moves to strip power from top public health scientist

Buried in the current omnibus budget bill being studied by Parliament this week is a plan to demote the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. He will no longer hold a deputy minister rank, he will have no direct line to the federal minister of health, he will be subservient to a bureaucratic agency president and he will have no secure public funding.

The new Chief Public Health Officer has said he is in favour of this plan, as shrugging off managerial oversight for the Public Health Agency will free him to provide scientific advice. That may be so, but will anybody be listening? Will he even be allowed to speak?

Veterans Affairs shed staff despite increased mental-health risks

The department of beleaguered Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino shed nearly a quarter of its work force over the past five years even as bureaucrats warned that the changes could put the delivery of services to veterans and their families at risk.

The downsizing occurred at a time when soldiers were returning home from Afghanistan with a myriad of physical and psychological injuries, and as growing numbers of veterans were butting heads with a Conservative government they accused of being indifferent to their needs.

Harper stands up for embattled Veterans Affairs Minister Fantino

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to the defence of his embattled veterans affairs minister Tuesday as calls continued for Julian Fantino to resign and for the government to apologize for misleading veterans.

The decision to make a senior member of Harper's media team Fantino's new chief of staff makes it clear the minister has lost control of the veterans file, Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair declared during question period.

Egyptian Court Convicts 188 To Death In Preliminary Verdict

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court sentenced 188 people to death Tuesday pending the opinion of the country's top religious authority, the latest mass death sentence handed down by the country's judicial system despite widespread international criticism.

The 188 were charged over the killing of 11 policemen last year in Kerdasa, a restive town west of Cairo considered a militant stronghold. The attack, which saw the policemen's bodies mutilated, is considered one of the country's grisliest assaults on security forces.

Canada Bailed Out GM And Chrysler Without Really Knowing Where $13.7 Billion Went

The Auditor General of Canada recently issued a report that makes at least one thing clear: it doesn't know how effective Canadian government loans given to both General Motors and Chrysler in 2009 were in ensuring the viability of both companies. That year, our Canadian government (and the province of Ontario) dished out $10.8 billion to GM and $2.9 billion to Chrysler, but hadn't yet sorted out precisely how the funds were to be used before disbursing them.

This happened in spite of the fact that, according to a piece in Bloomberg, the loans weren't meant to be handed out until authorities were clear on the manufacturers' plans for reorganization. In fact, federal officials hadn't finished establishing the concessions made by all the involved parties, the pension liabilities, nor the long-term soundness of the automakers' financial positions. On top of that, apparently it didn't keep close tabs on the money after loaning it: the report says that $1B should have been applied to GM Canada pension plans but was instead given to GM to use.

RCMP Doctored Flight Logs, Flew Overweight: Integrity Watchdog

OTTAWA - RCMP pilots doctored flight manifests in order to fly over-loaded aircraft, the federal integrity commissioner said Tuesday as he dismissed several other serious allegations from a whistleblower for lack of evidence.

Commissioner Mario Dion says he could not establish whether the RCMP flights in 2012 posed a danger to the life, health or safety of anyone because the true weight of the aircraft is not known.

"The records were, not being accurate, it's impossible to determine actually what was the total weight of the plane on any given flight and therefore impossible to determine whether it did constitute a risk to health and safety," Dion said in conference call.

As oil prices plunge, wide-ranging effects for consumers and the global economy

Tumbling oil prices are draining hundreds of billions of dollars from the coffers of oil-rich exporters and oil companies and injecting a much-needed boost for ailing economies in Europe and Japan — and for American consumers at the start of the peak shopping season.

The result could be one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history, potentially reshaping everything from talks over Iran’s nuclear program to the Federal Reserve’s policies to further rejuvenate the U.S. economy.

Obama resists demands to curtail police militarisation calling instead for improved officer training

Barack Obama has resisted calls to cancel or significantly curtail federal programs that transfer billions of dollars of military equipment to local police forces on Monday, choosing instead to focus on improving the training of officers given access to high-powered weapons and armoured vehicles previously used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The president’s decision to reform rather than terminate the controversial programs, which critics said had led to the militarisation of local law enforcement, was included among a number of proposed measures the White House released in the wake of protests across the country over the police shooting of an unarmed black man in Ferguson.

Some federal bodies balking at Harper government’s unified comms site

A federal website with the aim of publishing news releases from every government-funded entity is only getting partial uptake from arm’s-length bodies., which disseminates not actual news but public relations content, is a slickly-designed one-stop media shop tailored for an easy user experience that will one day funnel the missives of over a 100 different federal departments, agencies and offices.

The effort at consolidating Ottawa’s image and public relations through the site is so expansive that some willing departments have stopped publishing news releases, media notices and background documents on their own websites.

First Nations: NEB Kinder Morgan process unconstitutional

Constitutional challenges seem likely if the federal government approves Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline.

On Friday, Squamish Chief Ian Campbell presented a letter to the Harper government outlining the process’ defects. That letter, signed by twelve First Nation leaders, stated they are “wholly dissatisfied” with the Crown’s approach to consultation and called on the Crown to develop a meaningful consultation process.

The allegations of unconstitutionality include: failure to consult about the NEB process; use of written information requests rather than live cross examination of witnesses; insufficient capacity funding; and no guidance regarding how consultation will occur following the NEB’s recommendation.

Brenda Gaertner, counsel for the Tsawout First Nation (part of the Saanich First Nation), which testified on Friday, told the NEB panel that consultation must occur on a government to government basis and not through a technical regulatory process. In addition, she said, consent is required by Section 35 of the constitution, the Douglas Treaty and international law.

Original Article
Author: Carrie Saxifrage

National Energy Board panel’s assurances to Tsawout First Nation ring false

Tsawout First Nation elders testified to the NEB panel that tanker traffic from the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline will violate their right to “fish as formerly” under by the Douglas Treaty. It would also violate Section 35 of the constitution, and international law and destroy the First Nation’s ongoing project to revitalize traditional fishing methods.

The Tsawout were known as “the salt water people,” in part due to their unique practice of reef net fishing. They set up nets anchored to the bottom and fixed to canoes in special sites that had the right combination of underwater topography, tidal currents and salmon runs. The method of fishing was taught to them by a young man, a salmon incarnate, who married a Tsawout princess and lived in their village until the couple returned to the sea. Nick Claxton, who holds a Master’s degree in Indigenous Governance, is working a doctoral dissertation on revitalizing reef net fishing at University of Victoria.  All of the traditional reef net sites are adjacent to the tanker route.

Is John Tory keeping his 'One Toronto' promise?

In the lead up to the October election, Mayor John Tory campaigned heavily on the notion of 'One Toronto'. The idea, Tory said, was to unite the seemingly disparate enclaves of the city into a single, functioning municipality free of the fractiousness that marked the last several years at City Hall.

A key tenet of that strategy was to include representatives from across the city and across the political spectrum in Toronto's top offices, particularly on the executive committee.

Lost Canadians file petition challenging federal government's interpretation of citizenship history

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May filed a petition today on behalf of the Lost Canadians, a citizenship advocacy group, challenging the federal government’s version of the history of Canadian citizenship. The government must respond to the petition within 60 days.

Lost Canadians are a group of legitimate Canadians who have been denied citizenship due to obscure provisions of previous laws, which discriminate based on age, gender, ethnicity and marital status.

Last month, a spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada suggested the legal concept of Canadian citizenship has existed only since January 1, 1947 -- the date that Canada's Citizenship Act came into effect.

Mitch McConnell Rider Could Roll Back Campaign Finance Laws

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is trying to use a massive appropriations bill to loosen campaign finance rules.

The Republican leader’s office is attempting to attach a policy rider to the omnibus bill that would effectively end limits imposed on coordinated spending by federal candidates and political party committees.

Currently, coordinated spending by candidates and political parties is limited based on a series of formulas for different offices. For example, the total amount presidential candidates may coordinate with political parties is calculated as the national voting-age population multiplied by two cents -- a figure that is adjusted for the cost of living each election cycle.

Green energy sector jobs surpass total oil sands employment

Canada’s green energy sector has grown so quickly and has become such an important part of the economy that it now employs more people than the oil sands.

About $25-billion has been invested in Canada’s clean-energy sector in the past five years, and employment is up 37 per cent, according to a new report from climate think tank Clean Energy Canada to be released Tuesday. That means the 23,700 people who work in green energy organizations outnumber the 22,340 whose work relates to the oil sands, the report says.

What Canada's 'Open Government' Hides

Treasury Board president Tony Clement unveiled the latest version of his "Open Government Action Plan" earlier this month, continuing a process that has seen some important initiatives to make government data such as statistical information and mapping data publicly available in open formats free from restrictive licenses.

Given the promise of "greater transparency and accountability, increased citizen engagement, and driving innovation and economic opportunity," few would criticize the aspirational goals of Canada’s open government efforts, which have centred on three pillars: open data, open information, and open dialogue. Yet scratch the below the surface of new open data sets and public consultations, and it becomes apparent that there is much that open government hides.

Canada's facepalm moment at COP20: Carbon capture just doesn't work

Today, the COP 20 UN Climate Negotiations in Lima begin. As part of the lead-up to a global climate agreement next year in Paris, governments around the world will be discussing their commitments for emissions reduction targets. These commitments are slated to come in the form of intended nationally-determined contributions (INDCs) and are due in March 2015 -- three short months from now. Canada's most recent ADP submission, a key document that will help shape our INDCs,  avoids any mention of the tar sands and our increasing inability to meet emissions targets, and outlines only a handful of inadequate "solutions." Here are the highlights, or should we say lowlights, from the dismal proposal. Spoiler alert: brace yourselves for some serious face palms.

Harper's Secret Budget Cuts Undermine Canada's Democracy

The Harper government has made no secret of its intention to tighten Canada's fiscal belt over the last several years.

Since 2010, the prime minister has been working to downsize the budgets of most federal agencies by between 5 and 10 per cent as part of his Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP). In some cases, such as with the RCMP, the cuts have been as severe as 15 percent.

Why Is Stephen Harper Sending Domestic Workers Back to 1973?

"We scrub the floors, we cook the meals, we raise the children -- why aren't we good enough to stay?" asked Eulene Boyce, a West Indian domestic worker.

"We are here ... united in our stand ... calling for an end to the system of indentured servitude which, since 1973, has denied over 60,000 domestic workers the right to landed status in Canada," added a spokesperson for INTERCEDE (International Coalition to End Domestics' Exploitation)

Julian Fantino, Veterans Affairs Minister, Must Resign: NDP, Grits

OTTAWA - Julian Fantino was greeted Monday in the House of Commons by opposition demands that he step down — but how much of a political liability the veterans affairs minister may be for the Conservative government remains to be seen.

Smelling blood in the water, the third-party Liberals have launched slick online ads to capitalize on the outrage that followed the auditor general's critical assessment of how Veterans Affairs has been treating mentally ill ex-soldiers.

Ontario Affordable Housing Fight No Place For The Courts, Court Rules

TORONTO - An argument over whether people have a constitutional right to adequate housing that governments are violating is not up to judges to decide, Ontario's top court ruled Monday in a split decision.

In its ruling, the Court of Appeal sided with a lower court that tossed the case without even hearing arguments on its merits.

"The appellants assert that (the charter) confers a general free-standing right to adequate housing," the Appeal Court said. "This is a doubtful proposition."

'End of medicare': Maude Barlow raises alarm on health spending

The head of a national non-profit group is warning that Newfoundland and Labrador could lose millions in federal health care dollars.

Maude Barlow, who chairs the Council of Canadians, says the Harper government will quietly reduce federal health care funding starting 2016.

Barlow estimates that Newfoundland and Labrador will lose $500-million a year, or roughly $1,000 per person.

What are Premier Jim Prentice and his three 'agents of change' planning for Alberta's public service?

Premier Jim Prentice says he intends to "reform" Alberta’s public service, fix its low morale, reverse its "shocking" turnover and deal with its other "very significant problems."

He's appointed a former senior federal civil servant and well-connected business professor to be his "agent of change," along with a couple of right-hand persons to assist with this change agentry. Their work will start immediately.

Hanging Out With the Tech Have-Nots at a Silicon Valley Shantytown

In the heart of Silicon Valley, a stone's throw from Apple's headquarters, is a 68-acre homeless camp that's widely believed to be the largest in the country. The Jungle, as it's known, is more accurately described as a shantytown: a collection of shacks, adobe dugouts, and treehouses inhabited by some 300 people, many of whom have lived here for years. In a land of million-dollar bungalows, it's a last place of refuge for many locals who've missed out on the booming tech economy.

French Lawmakers Recognize Palestine As State In Symbolic Vote

PARIS, Dec 2 (Reuters) - French lawmakers on Tuesday urged their government to recognize Palestine, a symbolic move that will not immediately affect France's diplomatic stance but demonstrates growing European impatience with a stalled peace process.

While most developing countries recognize Palestine as a state, most Western European countries do not, supporting the Israeli and U.S. position that an independent Palestinian state should emerge from negotiations with Israel.

Leona Aglukkaq Reads Newspaper During Northern Food Crisis Debate

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq was caught reading a newspaper in question period on Monday after evading questions about exorbitant food prices affecting people in her own riding.

Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair and NDP MP Romeo Saganash pressed Aglukkaq for answers after an APTN investigation into Nunavut food prices aired footage of a Nunavut elder rummaging through a dump for food to resell.

'Canadians Will Feel The Pain' If Pipelines Not Approved: Alberta Premier

VANCOUVER - Alberta's premier is urging the country to get behind several controversial pipeline projects linked to the province's oilsands, warning that all Canadians will "feel the pain" if they aren't approved and built soon.

Premier Jim Prentice told a business audience in Vancouver that energy development such as Alberta pipelines, B.C. liquefied natural gas terminals and Quebec hydroelectric developments will be at the heart of Canada's economic future.

In particular, Prentice said the country's existing pipelines will be full by the end of the decade. Without increased capacity, producers would be forced to sell Canadian oil at deep discounts, he said, which in turn would eat into government royalties and taxes.

'You're the bomb!' Are you at risk from the anti-terrorism algorithms?

Should our future robot overlords decide to write a history of how they overcame their human masters, late 2014 will be a key date in the timeline. Last week, an official report from the parliamentary intelligence and security committee handed over responsibility for the UK’s fight against terrorism, or at least part of it, to Facebook’s algorithms – the automated scripts that (among other things) look at your posts and your networks to suggest content you will like, people you might know and things you might buy.

Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Children’s AIDS Fund Still Raking In Taxpayer Money

In July, I reported that, despite promises President Obama made on the campaign trail, the federal government was still providing millions of dollars in grants for HIV-prevention programming to anti-gay, anti-choice evangelical groups at home and abroad, particularly in Africa. Newly filed 2013 tax documents and a grant tracking website at the Department of Health and Human Services have revealed that one controversial evangelical organization I profiled, the Children’s AIDS Fund (CAF), has again been awarded federal funding. In June 2014, CAF Uganda received $1.5 million as part of a multiyear HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention program. That brings the total CAF Uganda has received since the start of Obama’s second term to at least $6.6 million.

National Energy Board hears First Nations testimony on Kinder Morgan pipeline

On Friday, the NEB concluded its 21 days of First Nation intervener hearings on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline. Before the oral history of the Tsawout First Nation was heard, constitutional issues were addressed, both on the steps in front of the Fairmont Empress Conference Center and in the hearing room.

Squamish Chief Ian Campbell told the gathered crowd that leaders of twelve First Nations had sent a letter to Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources, stating the Crown has failed to fulfil its constitutional duties by relying on the NEB proceedings, for the following reasons: 1) First Nations were not consulted about the overall framework for the review and as a result, the process fails to fully assess impacts on Aboriginal rights and title; 2) a quasi-judicial tribunal cannot accommodate First Nation concerns, in part because there is no live cross examination of witnesses; 3) due to “woefully insufficient” capacity funding, First Nations must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars from their limited budgets; 4) the Crown has not laid out how consultation will proceed following the NEB recommendation and, in any event, it will be too late.

China warns Britain to stay out of its affairs

Protesters at Hong Kong’s main protest camp were bracing themselves for eviction on Monday night as David Cameron said China was “mistaken” to bar a group of British MPs from visiting the former colony and Beijing warned that foreign nations should not meddle in its “domestic affairs”.

The Bush Administration Spent Billions on an Iraqi Army With 50,000 ‘Ghost’ Soldiers

Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi announced to his parliament on Sunday that inspectors had uncovered 50,000 non-existent soldiers in four divisions of the Iraqi Army.  Their pay was presumably being diverted to the officers in the division.  This ziggurat of corruption was one reason the army collapsed on June 9, allowing Daesh (what Arabs derisively call ISIL) to take Mosul.  The officers had many thousands fewer men than they claimed, and those they did actually have were damned if they were dying so the corrupt officers could go on with their double book keeping.

Pro-lifers Answer My Questions (Well, Some of Them)

In my last column, I invited abortion opponents to respond to nine questions. I tried to frame these in a respectful, open-ended, non-sarcastic way, because I was genuinely curious about the answers and was hoping to get people away from talking points and gotchas and insults (how would you feel if your mother had aborted you?). What I got was hardly a random sample—I reached out to some bloggers and writers, and they sent others to me. But I thought it was pretty interesting all the same.

The Real Reason Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Got Booted

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s surprise resignation has largely been ascribed to his lack of assertiveness on key issues and a frosty relationship with President Obama, but it must be seen against a backdrop of growing war fever in Washington. Although Obama has been noticeably reluctant to become militarily involved in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine, he is coming under increasing pressure from both Democrats and Republicans to employ tougher measures in all three. Hagel is believed to have supported such moves in private conversation with the president, but he has not done so in public. By replacing him now, Obama appears to be signaling his intention to adopt a more activist military posture through the appointment of a more vigorous secretary.

If The Supreme Court Reads This Study, It Could End Partisan Gerrymandering Forever

For the last decade, the Supreme Court of the United States has openly refused to police partisan gerrymandering even in egregious cases where the state legislature or its congressional delegation bears little resemblance to the will of the people. A new study out of Duke University, however, casts serious doubts on the reasoning of the justices who have thus-far refused to strike down unconstitutional gerrymanders.
In 2012, Democratic U.S. House candidates in North Carolina received 81,190 more votes that Republicans. Republicans received just under half of the votes earned by the two parties. And yet, the GOP walked away with 9 of the state’s 13 congressional districts. So, despite the fact that they earned just over 49 percent of the two-party vote, Republicans won nearly 70 percent of the state’s congressional seats.

Retiring In Debt The Future For Half Of Canadians; Borrowing Against House A 'Concerning' Trend

TORONTO - Canadians may dream of retiring debt-free, but research done for Manulife suggests nearly 20 per cent of homeowners expect to lean on the value of their homes to finance life after work.

An online survey conducted for the financial services company found about half of the 2,373 respondents expected to still be in debt when they retire.

Of those polled, 10 per cent planned to borrow against their current homes, while about eight per cent were looking to downsize and use money from the sale of their home as income.

Canada's Climate Inaction Leaves It 'Increasingly Isolated' Ahead Of COP 20

Canada is looking "increasingly isolated" as former climate policy laggards such as the U.S. and China take action to tackle climate change, policy experts say.

Earlier this month, the U.S. and China announced an agreement to significantly cut and cap their greenhouse gas emissions.

Not only does that give a big boost to the global momentum to tackle climate change, but it cranks up the international pressure on Canada ahead of the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 20), which opens today in Lima, Peru.

'Balancing' rights by making bigotry easier? The Prentice Government's Bill 10 is a disgrace

Last week, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice tried to frame Bill 10, the hastily cobbled-together response to Bill 202 that we'll get to read moments before it's introduced this week, as an effort to balance the rights of LGBTQ students with those of parents and school boards.
Bill 202, Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman's private member's bill, would require any school where students concluded there was a need for a gay-straight alliance to permit one to operate on school premises.
Bill 202 has become a hot issue among social-conservative MLAs in Prentice's so-calledProgressive Conservative caucus, who are agitated and frightened at how it's been gathering all-party support. It's a concern to the premier’s strategic brain trust because they know voting against it would have made the PC caucus look like bigoted homophobes -- which, under the circumstances, might be a reasonable conclusion.

When Will Bankers Take Inequality Seriously?

It's taken three years for the issue of income inequality to filter upward from the tents of the Occupy movement to the upper reaches of Canada's banks. But we now have a report from economists Craig Alexander and Francis Fong of TD Economics that admits inequality is indeed an issue -- what's more, an issue affecting the top one per cent.

While they provide a useful overview of Canadian inequality, the economists reveal a striking lack of interest in its causes. That in itself tells us something about the attitudes of the business class.

Why Canada's Job Future Is Sinking like a Stone

Canada's economy is increasingly at the mercy of a risk-averse, inept corporate elite addicted to government tax breaks. They are enabled by an ideologically addled government that is incompetent.

It is a deadly combination -- a dumb and dumber team dragging us backwards at a time when the world is hoping there won't be another economic collapse.

Recent media reports reinforce what we have known for decades about the Canadian corporate elite. One highlighted Canada's dismal performance when it comes to research and development, the other our pathetic efforts at broadening our markets for exports. More and more evidence piles up that we are de-industrializing -- reminding me of the Star Trek episode where the whole crew starts devolving. Captain Picard is destined to become a pygmy marmoset. I wonder what the end point for Canada might be?

Passed by Taiwan, Brazil, India

Supreme Court Weighing Limits Of Internet Free Speech

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anthony Elonis claimed he was just kidding when he posted a series of graphically violent rap lyrics on Facebook about killing his estranged wife, shooting up a kindergarten class and attacking an FBI agent.

But his wife didn't see it that way. Neither did a federal jury.

Elonis, who's from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was convicted of violating a federal law that makes it a crime to threaten another person.

In a far-reaching case that probes the limits of free speech over the Internet, the Supreme Court on Monday was to consider whether Elonis' Facebook posts, and others like it, deserve protection under the First Amendment.

The deafening silence that is Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper’s silence is beginning to damn his government and his party.

Even that unshakeable base of his must be wondering what he takes them for.

This week, it was left to Green Party leader Elizabeth May to demand that Elections Canada reopen the Robocalls investigation. The astonishing thing is that someone had to ask.

Two court proceedings into this pathetic affair found that there was indeed evidence that others were involved in voter suppression in the 2011 federal election.

Harper spending spree leaves fed cupboard bare

OTTAWA—After years of struggling to balance Ottawa’s books, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced billions of dollars in new spending and tax cuts that will leave the cupboard nearly bare and shape the scope of debate in the next election.
Harper’s spending spree, which will cost the federal treasury more than $30 billion in foregone revenue by 2019, has eaten up the bulk of expected budget surpluses in coming years.

Who will save Canada's economy from Harper and the CEOs?

However you see it -- as separate from society or integral to it -- Canada's "economy" is increasingly at the mercy of a risk-averse, inept corporate elite addicted to government tax breaks, and an ideologically addled government which more than anything else is simply incompetent. It is a deadly combination -- a sort of dumb and dumber team slowly dragging us backwards at a time when the world is just hoping there won't be another economic collapse.