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.]
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Prime Minister Stephen Harper talked only about "violent Jihadists" when he held a campaign style rally last Friday to unveil his new security legislation.
But the actual "anti-terrorist" omnibus Bill C-51 makes no reference to such enemies of Canada. It merely talks in entirely undefined ways about "terrorism."
The men were convicted of playing a role in the killings of 16 policemen in the town of Kardasa in August, 2013 during the upheaval that followed the army's ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi. Thirty-four were sentenced in absentia.
Egypt has mounted one of the biggest crackdowns in its modern history on the Brotherhood since the political demise of Mursi, the country's first democratically-elected president.
“I would say we should always be extraordinarily cautious when we see governments trying to set up a new secret police within their own countries,” Snowden said in a livestream feed from Russia. He made reference to Bill C-51, legislation tabled by the Conservative government days earlier.
Premiers gathered in Ottawa last week to talk about pressing needs for Canadian infrastructure investment. As the Council of the Federation meeting, chaired by PEI Premier Robert Ghiz, began to address the infrastructure deficit, Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver emailed a media statement: ".. some premiers appear oblivious to the consequences of the current global instability and the dramatic decline in the price of oil."
In effect Oliver was saying two things. He was acknowledging that the Canadian economy is weakening, and proclaiming this precluded Ottawa making additional money available to meet infrastructure deficits identified by the premiers.
"The third time, I was just left in the ER room, not being able to walk anywhere. Nobody around to help me, not even to a wheelchair," says Labrecque.
She felt abandoned, she says, because she’s native.
It translates as: “In the first place, do no harm.”
My training, and my life as a medical professional, make me uneasy about the kind of communication going on in North America right now around violent extremism.
Take for example the parallels between Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s pronouncements and those of hard-core, belligerent soldiers like Chris Kyle (hero of the film American Sniper). They are striking. In a recent Conservative Party video in his 24 Seven series, Harper puts on his best tough-guy stance, saying Canadians will "fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries, with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores."
Canadians should not be willing to accept such an obvious threat to their basic liberties. Our existing laws and our society are strong enough to stand up to the threat of terrorism without compromising our values.
How did a nice, conservative, Southern white boy become a civilly disobedient, older (but still white) guy bent on transformative change in our system of political economy?
Here’s how a recent interviewer summarized my career:
His résumé is as mainstream and establishment as it gets: environmental advisor to Presidents Carter and Clinton, founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and World Resources Institute, administrator of the UN Development Program, dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, now a professor at Vermont Law School, and distinguished senior fellow at Demos…. This elder environmental statesman is the author of the acclaimed books Red Sky at Morning (2003) and The Bridge at the Edge of the World (2008)…[and a] forceful new book, America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy.
John Roberts is entering the stretch run of his tenth term as chief justice of the United States. In-depth assessments will come, but the preliminary results are plain. The man who vowed to act as a neutral umpire calling balls and strikes has led a Court in which racial and religious minorities, women, workers and consumers have struck out regularly, while the economically and politically powerful have walked around the bases.
Harper made the remark last Friday when he was answering a question about the Canadian government's new anti-terrorism legislation. The measures unveiled in Bill C-51 include criminalizing advocacy for or promotion of a terrorist act. Another measure lowers the threshold needed for police to arrest somebody they suspect may commit a terrorist act.
The update is seen as the first significant political test for Erin O'Toole, who replaced the embattled Julian Fantino last month, but the report did not arrive until well after the close of business Friday night, missing a deadline imposed by a parliamentary committee.
The six-page letter was tabled Monday, but is in limbo because the Commons veterans affairs committee does not have a chairman to formally receive it, according to the committee clerk.
Acres of newsprint have been devoted in recent weeks to the possibility that lower oil prices might push the federal budget back into a deficit position. As I argue in my column, this drama is mostly political theatre -- and progressives should be cautious about accidentally accepting the Conservative frame for this debate.
Provincial governments in the oil-producing provinces face a huge fiscal risk from lower oil prices (since they rely, to varying degrees, on petroleum royalties to directly fund current public services -- not exactly a wise fiscal strategy).