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.]

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Toews' post-cabinet lobbying raises concerns: Martin

OTTAWA – The federal NDP filed a complaint with the federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner today, asking her to investigate the post-government activities of former Manitoba senior Minister and current Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Vic Toews.

NDP MP Pat Martin said this morning he has great concerns about the lobbying work Toews did during the eight months between his departure from cabinet in July 2013, and the announcement of his appointment to the bench in Manitoba in March 2014.

Jim Prentice’s tough medicine

On March 4, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice made a goof, a slip, a boner, a faux pas . . . can you tell when someone is trying not to say “gaffe”? As the American editor Michael Kinsley decisively ruled for all time in 1984, “gaffe” is an English word now used only to refer to a politician saying something true that he is not supposed to have said.

It’s hard to say whether Prentice’s remarks on a CBC Radio call-in show, which set off a great deal of outraged chatter on Twitter, were true or untrue. That may be a matter of political interpretation best left to the reader.

Economists Lobbying Congress For Trade Deal Could Benefit From Its Passage

Last week, 14 former chairs of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers penned a letter to congressional leaders in support of a controversial measure that would allow free-trade deals to move through Congress rapidly without amendments.

“International trade is fundamentally good for the U.S. economy, beneficial to American families over time and consistent with our domestic policies,” the economists said. “Expanded trade through these policies will contribute to higher incomes and stronger productivity growth over time in both the United States and other countries.”

Privatizing Public Housing: The "Genocide of Poor People"

Over the phone, Candy Smallwood sounds burned out. "This'll be a great job for someone else - but not for me."

The attorney at the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco is two weeks away from leaving her post as the outreach coordinator for RAD, the acronym for the federal government's "Rental Assistance Demonstration" scheme, which may lead all of the country's public housing to become at least partially privatized.

RAD could mean fewer bedbugs, more dependable elevators and other fixes to problems that plague the city's 6,000-plus public housing units. But some tenants and housing rights activists are worried the program is just another step toward dismantling public housing altogether.

The Real Story Behind the Oil Price Collapse

Many reasons have been provided for the dramatic plunge in the price of oil to about $60 per barrel (nearly half of what it was a year ago): slowing demand due to global economic stagnation; overproduction at shale fields in the United States; the decision of the Saudis and other Middle Eastern OPEC producers to maintain output at current levels (presumably to punish higher-cost producers in the U.S. and elsewhere); and the increased value of the dollar relative to other currencies. There is, however, one reason that’s not being discussed, and yet it could be the most important of all: the complete collapse of Big Oil’s production-maximizing business model.

Ottawa Spends $65,000 On Legal Fight With Major Marcus Brauer

HALIFAX - A Canadian Forces member who is locked in a legal battle with the federal government to recover $88,000 he lost on the sale of his home when he was forced to move says it's "unjust" that Ottawa has spent almost $65,000 fighting the case.

Maj. Marcus Brauer expressed his dismay Friday that the Treasury Board Secretariat has spent almost as much fighting the matter as he lost on the sale of his home when he was posted to Halifax from Bon Accord, Alta., in 2010.

"That they're paying any money to fight this is an injustice and it has had such traumatic effects on so many families," Brauer said in Halifax.

Tory Claim Niqab Ban Needed To Prove Citizenship Applicant's ID Is 'Full Of Baloney'

OTTAWA - "I think for the citizenship ceremony, someone needs to identify themselves. We need to know who they are." — Conservative MP Costas Menegakis, parliamentary secretary to the minister of citizenship and immigration.


Debate has been raging on Parliament Hill over the niqab worn by some Muslim women ever since Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared last month that it's "offensive" to cover one's face while taking the oath of Canadian citizenship.

Bill C-51 hearings: Diane Ablonczy's questions to Muslim group 'McCarthyesque'

The head of a group representing Canadian Muslims accused a veteran Conservative MP of making slanderous comments during expert testimony on the government's proposed anti-terror legislation Thursday night.

During a question-and-answer session following National Council of Canadian Muslims executive director Ihsaan Gardee's presentation to the House public safety committee on Bill C-51, Diane Ablonczy used her allotted time to "put on the record" what she described as "a continuing series of allegations" that the NCCM has ties to groups that have expressed support for "Islamic terrorist groups," including Hamas.

Harper's anti-terrorism act is a torture act

The Harper government's anti-terrorism act, Bill C-51, has been in the public domain for over a month. Long enough for us to know that it subverts basic principles of constitutional law, assaults rights of free speech and free assembly and is viciously anti-democratic.
An unprecedented torrent of criticism has been directed against this bill as the government rushes it through Parliament.
This has included stern or at least sceptical editorials in all the major newspapers; an open letter, signed by four former Prime Ministers and five former Supreme Court judges, denouncing the bill for exposing Canadians to major violations of their rights; and another letter, signed by a hundred Canadian law professors, explaining the dangers it poses to justice and legality.