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.]

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Harper is losing the argument on C-51 … with Conservatives

Bill C-51 was supposed to unite conservatives in the latest round of the War on Terror™. Instead, it’s dividing them — both on and off Parliament Hill.

This week, Conservative MP Michael Chong, never one to blindly toe the line, criticized the bill’s lack of oversight in a statement to the House of Commons: “However, while I fully support Bill C-51, I also believe we need greater oversight of Canadian security and intelligence agencies by a parliamentary committee of elected MPs, who are directly and democratically accountable to Canadians. That greater oversight is even more important as we give these agencies new powers to combat terrorism.”

Why we can’t just trust CSIS to do the right thing

If laughter really is the best medicine, then I have to thank Christian Leuprecht. His appearance before a Commons committee this week on Bill C-51 had me laughing so hard I won’t need to see a doctor again for years.

Leuprecht, an associate professor at the Royal Military College, appeared before the Public Safety and National Security Committee to offer an impersonation of someone who knows what he’s talking about.

Mr. Alexander’s fantasy Cold War

That was some speech Immigration Minister Chris Alexander gave the Ukrainian Canadian Congress last week. It combined a scathing attack on Vladimir Putin with a rousing call to arms.

The minister’s barn-burner began with a quite reasonable proposition: that the West’s escalating confrontation with Russia is a threat more dangerous than terrorism, Syria or Islamic State. I agree. Russia is a major power, the largest country in the world, with a nuclear arsenal capable of human extinction. No other threat compares.

Feds stifle media questions around oil sands' toxic effects, FOIs reveal

Documents obtained by DeSmog Canada reveal that Canada’s Ministry of Environment vetoed an interview request on toxins in fur-bearing animals in the oilsands, even though the federal scientist was “media trained and interested in doing the interview.”

The Environment Canada scientist in question, Philippe Thomas, had asked members of the Alberta Trappers Association to send him samples of fur-bearing animals caught across Alberta in 2012. Thomas needed a broad range of samples to gain deeper insight into the contaminant load in animals living near the oilsands.

7 Key Facts About the Drought

There's been a lot of talk lately about the drought in California, especially since this past week, when Gov. Jerry Brown introduced mandatory water cuts for the first time in the state's history. So what exactly makes this drought so bad? And what are people doing about it? Here are a few important points to keep in mind:
Drought is the norm in California. How bad is this one? There are always wet years and dry years, but the past three years have been among the driest on record—and state officials worry that 2015 will be even drier. Last week, for the first time in the state's history, Brown imposed mandatory water restrictions, requiring all cities and towns to cut their water usage by 25 percent. Though agriculture uses more than 80 percent of the state's water, the regulations merely require farmers to submit "water management plans."

How Elizabeth Warren Made Expanding Social Security Cool

For years, Washington politicians and policymakers been talking about cutting Social Security benefits. The Beltway consensus, unduly shaped by deficit hawks and Wall Streeters, has been that the system is broken and must be pared back, and progressives who support Social Security have often had to play defense.

But in late March, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the populist Democrat from Massachusetts, entered the fray—and challenged the prevailing view. In the wee hours of March 27, Warren introduced an amendment to the Senate budget resolution calling for protecting the program's solvency and expanding Social Security benefits. And every Democrat present but two voted for the amendment; every Republican opposed it.

Another reason to resist C-51: Canada's invasive financial war on terror

A recent run-of-the-mill telemarketing call from one of Canada's largest credit companies took on a threatening tone. Who knew that owning a credit card whose purchases produced redeemable points for free groceries also entailed an insidious trade-off that invaded our privacy and left a chilling aftertaste?
Informed that failure to answer certain questions would result in forfeiture of the card, I resigned myself to 10 minutes of wasted time and, following the usual gobbledygook about disclosure, was asked if anyone in my immediate and extended family had ever "held one of the following offices or positions in or on behalf of a foreign country: a head of state or government; a member of the executive council of government or member of a legislature; a deputy minister (or equivalent); an ambassador or an ambassador's attaché or counsellor; a military general (or higher rank); a president of a state-owned company or bank; a head of a government agency; a judge; or a leader or president of a political party in a legislature."

The Target diaries: Shock and dismemberment

Canada is facing the biggest private-sector closure in recent history, and 17,600 Target workers will soon be out of a job. An employee of Target Canada is documenting the last days of work at the store during its liquidation.
Fixtures, furniture and equipment are marked with shocking pink stickers, including even the cashier stations reveal their going-out-of-business prices. Everything that can be grabbed is for sale. Locals and out-of-towners are gobbling up the remnants of a once-pleasant department store.

Education Of Residential Schools Should Be Mandatory: Commissioner

SASKATOON - A commissioner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission wants mandatory education about residential schools for students across Canada.

Marie Wilson was in Saskatoon last week to speak about the legacy the commission will leave behind when it wraps up with closing events in Ottawa at the end of May.

Wilson says she hopes the commission will inspire jurisdictions across Canada to include residential school history as a required course to graduate high school.

Oil Plunge Hurt 'Other' Parts Of Economy: Bank Of Canada

OTTAWA - The sting of lower oil prices has dampened the confidence of companies when it comes to future sales growth, investment and hiring, the Bank of Canada's latest business outlook has found.

The central bank's quarterly sampling of 100 representative businesses, released Monday, suggested cheaper crude had even eroded sales expectations among firms beyond the energy sector, such as those down the supply chain.

A message for Harper in a season of mercy

Easter always gets me to thinking. If Jesus were back on earth, lending his spiritual guidance to our political leaders, Stephen Harper would be his problem client.

True, there would be work with the others. A word or two to Justin on hedonism, a quick reminder to Tom on the sin of pride (intellectual), an eternal parking permit in paradise for Liz when the time comes. And for Steve — long, long sessions on a couch with quiet music and no interruptions.

Chuck Schumer bucks White House on Iran

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of Capitol Hill’s most influential voices in the Iran nuclear debate, is strongly endorsing passage of a law opposed by President Barack Obama that would give Congress an avenue to reject the White House-brokered framework unveiled last week.

The comments Monday by the Democratic leader-in-waiting illustrate the enormity of the task ahead for Obama and his team: While there’s no guarantee that Congress would ultimately reject an agreement with Iran, there’s an increasingly bipartisan consensus that Congress should at least have the ability to do so.

Economics and Elections

Britain’s economic performance since the financial crisis struck has been startlingly bad. A tentative recovery began in 2009, but it stalled in 2010. Although growth resumed in 2013, real income per capita is only now reaching its level on the eve of the crisis — which means that Britain has had a much worse track record since 2007 than it had during the Great Depression.

Yet as Britain prepares to go to the polls, the leaders of the coalition government that has ruled the country since 2010 are posing as the guardians of prosperity, the people who really know how to run the economy. And they are, by and large, getting away with it.

Premier Kathleen Wynne's leadership highlights Harper's lack of it

The Globe and Mail story is short and simple  – "Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is preparing to bring in a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions, an ambitious move that could amount to the nation’s single largest salvo in the battle against global warming".

Ah, but it gets more complicated. There's more than one way to skin a cat, the most prominent being "cap and trade", or a "carbon tax". In British Columbia we've feebly chosen a halfhearted carbon tax.

Federal government sells its multibillion-dollar stake in General Motors

The Harper government has unloaded its remaining multibillion-dollar stake in General Motors.

The federal Finance Department said the government sold nearly 73.4 million shares Monday in an unregistered block trade to Goldman, Sachs & Co.

The government’s stake in the automaker was worth more than $3.3 billion Monday, based on a US$36.66 price at the close and an exchange rate of $1.2473. But it’s unclear how much the sale will benefit Ottawa’s bottom line.

Original Article
Author:  Will LeRoy

Boycott, Divest and Sanction Corporations That Feed on Prisons

NEWARK, N.J.—All attempts to reform mass incarceration through the traditional mechanisms of electoral politics, the courts and state and federal legislatures are useless. Corporations, which have turned mass incarceration into a huge revenue stream and which have unchecked political and economic power, have no intention of diminishing their profits. And in a system where money has replaced the vote, where corporate lobbyists write legislation and the laws, where chronic unemployment and underemployment, along with inadequate public transportation, sever people in marginal communities from jobs, and where the courts are a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporate state, this demands a sustained, nationwide revolt.

The Conservative Christian Movement That Tried To Make Religious Liberty About Homophobia

Over the past few weeks, the United States has been locked in a heated debate over whether religious business owners have the right to discriminate against others — specifically LGBT people — by citing their spiritual beliefs. The discussioncentered around “religious liberty” laws in Indiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Georgia, but many supporters of the bills rooted their arguments in a specific example: should a Christian florist be forced to provide services to a couple who has a same-sex wedding?

CSIS Sets Up International Secret-Swapping Forum

OTTAWA - The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has set up a "multilateral forum of trusted partners" to share information on suspected extremists travelling abroad — a group that extends beyond its customary Five Eyes spy network, a newly released memo says.

In the memo, "CSIS Response: Addressing the Terrorist Travel Threat," Canada's spy agency also flags a concern about the challenges it faces in going further to build relationships with "non-traditional partners."

Canadian Dad Demands Citizenship For Son Ensnared In Rule Changes

TORONTO - Paul Compton has done exactly what the federal government recommended to get his son recognized as a Canadian citizen, but his problems have yet to be solved.

For the past five years the Ontario native has been corresponding with public servants, appealing to politicians and even relocated his family in a bid to rectify what he views as an unjust and precarious situation — now, he's demanding action.

"They've been able to take away the rights of citizenship to my son," Compton told The Canadian Press. "I will not allow the Canadian government to do this."

Canadian dad whose son is ensnared in rule changes demands citizenship for son

TORONTO - Paul Compton has done exactly what the federal government recommended to get his son recognized as a Canadian citizen, but his problems have yet to be solved.

For the past five years the Ontario native has been corresponding with public servants, appealing to politicians and even relocated his family in a bid to rectify what he views as an unjust and precarious situation — now, he's demanding action.

"They've been able to take away the rights of citizenship to my son," Compton told The Canadian Press. "I will not allow the Canadian government to do this."

Maher Arar's arrest, torture almost stopped by CIA, ex-spy says

A former spy has described the debate within the CIA over the arrest, rendition and torture of Canadian Maher Arar, saying multiple colleagues warned against it because they were convinced they were punishing an innocent man.

The account from former CIA officer John Kiriakou sheds new light on decade-old events that caused a public inquiry in Canada, a $10 million payout from the federal government, and unsuccessful lawsuits in the U.S.

Israel Prepares Lobbying Strategy Against Iran Deal

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister on Sunday urged world powers to step up pressure on Iran as they finalize a nuclear deal in the coming months, saying there was still time to improve what he said was a deeply flawed framework agreement reached last week.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's appearances on multiple American TV news programs on Sunday signaled the launch of what is expected to be a furious lobbying effort to scuttle or reshape a deal that he has criticized as "bad" and a threat to Israel's very existence. A document drawn up by experts in Netanyahu's office, obtained by The Associated Press, gives a glimpse of the arguments the Israeli leader is going to raise, targeting vague language in the system of inspections and its failure to address issues beyond the nuclear program.

Bob Menendez Corruption Case Reads Like An Indictment Of Citizens United Ruling, Too

WASHINGTON -- The indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on public corruption charges is the first bribery case involving the use of corporate political spending to support a candidate since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision allowed corporations to do just that.

Justice Anthony Kennedy declared in the 5-4 majority opinion that corporations should be free to spend unlimited sums on independent political activities since “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Those making independent expenditures “may have influence over or access to elected officials,” but that “does not mean those officials are corrupt,” Kennedy wrote.

G.O.P.’s Israel Support Deepens as Political Contributions Shift

WASHINGTON — As the proposed agreement over Iran’s nuclear program is debated in coming weeks, President Obama will make his case to a Congress controlled by Republicans who are more fervently pro-Israel than ever, partly a result of ideology, but also a product of a surge in donations and campaign spending on their behalf by a small group of wealthy donors.

One of the surprisingly high-profile critics is Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who burst to prominence with a letter signed by 46 Republican colleagues to leaders of Iran warning against a deal. Mr. Cotton, echoing criticism by Israeli leaders, swiftly denounced the framework reached on Thursday as “a list of dangerous U.S. concessions that will put Iran on the path to nuclear weapons” — words, his colleagues say, that expressed his deep concern about Iran’s threat to Israel’s security.

A Wave Of Looting And Lynching Follows Iraqi Forces Recapture Of Tikrit

TIKRIT, Iraq, April 3 (Reuters) - On April 1, the city of Tikrit was liberated from the extremist group Islamic State. The Shi'ite-led central government and allied militias, after a month-long battle, had expelled the barbarous Sunni radicals.

Then, some of the liberators took revenge.

Near the charred, bullet-scarred government headquarters, two federal policemen flanked a suspected Islamic State fighter. Urged on by a furious mob, the two officers took out knives and repeatedly stabbed the man in the neck and slit his throat. The killing was witnessed by two Reuters correspondents.

Paul Martin blasts Conservative economic plan ahead of budget

Dismissing the Conservative economic plan as "an absolute disgrace" and "nonsensical," former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin has leapt into the debate over Finance Minister Joe Oliver's newly announced April 21 budget.

In an interview on CBC Radio's The House, Martin told host Evan Solomon Canada is facing a "very serious" economic situation and he accused the government of doing nothing about it.

"[The government] is not doing the right things now and we have not been doing the right things for the last decade," Martin said.

The Iran Agreement Is Historic. Will Congress Destroy It?

Just wait for the congressional freakout that comes if world powers and Iran sign a comprehensive nuclear accord this summer. Negotiations advanced on Thursday with a framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1—the United States, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany—that maps out the imposition of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The sides will now begin to draft the final accord, due by the end of June. That leaves plenty of time for the most hawkish and recalcitrant members of Congress to try to scupper talks. And if the reaction to Thursday’s agreement is any indication, they most certainly will.

The Senate’s Biggest Climate Deniers Are Demanding The EPA Explain Climate Models To Them

A group of Senate Republicans notorious for denying climate science sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, demanding that the agency explain the science it used to justify proposed regulations on carbon dioxide emissions. Much of the letter asks for the EPA to compare climate projections with data about what has actually happened, suggesting that if the projections have been wrong, they shouldn’t be used to make inferences about climate change in the future.

What If U.S. and U.N. Sanctioned Israel Over Its Nukes as They Did Iran Over Its Enrichment Program?

There is a lot of talk about nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and the ways in which an Iranian bomb would provoke Saudi Arabia and others to acquire nuclear warheads of their own.

But for decades, the primary impetus to a nuclear arms race in the region has been Israel, which probably had an atom bomb by about 1970.  It was helped behind the scenes by France and Britain– which actively proliferated nuclear weapons to Israel.

Five Reasons Why San Francisco Must Not Give Up Public Land for Market-Rate Development

Public land should be used for public benefit. This seems like a simple principle, but for some reason this doesn't seem to be the case for San Francisco.

The city owns several large plots of public land that are no longer needed. These include obsolete MUNI yards and reservoirs that have never stored water. In a city where land is so scarce, one would think that these ancient gems would be repolished to meet the city's greatest needs, such as affordable housing and affordable commercial spaces for small businesses and nonprofits.

Mitch McConnell And Ted Cruz Join Republicans In Urging SCOTUS To Reject Gay Marriage

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz are among 57 Republicans in Congress who are calling on the Supreme Court to uphold state bans on same-sex marriage.

The congressional Republicans said in a brief filed at the high court Friday that the justices should not impose "a federally mandated redefinition of the ancient institution of marriage" nationwide. The Republicans said the court should let voters and their elected legislatures decide what to do about marriage.

The court will hear arguments on April 28 in cases from McConnell's home state of Kentucky, as well as Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. Same-sex couples can marry in 37 states.

Last month, 7 Republicans joined 211 Democrats and independents in Congress in support of same-sex marriage nationwide.

Original Article
Author: ap

Atlantic Salmon Federation Concerned Government Didn't Notify Public Of Virus

A conservation group is criticizing federal and provincial agencies for not publicizing a preliminary test showing the presence of a potentially deadly salmon virus at a New Brunswick aquaculture operation.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation says it heard on Monday that a strain of infectious salmon anemia was reported by an aquaculture company located along the Bay of Fundy.

The virus can be fatal to fish but doesn't cause harm to human health.

A rap battle against the tar sands

Hip hop is conflict music. Forged in the fires (sometimes literally) of racial tensions, de facto segregation, and violence by police and vigilantes against blacks in 1970s New York, hip hop would grow up watching the crack epidemic spread like a disease through the black American community 1980s. It watched -- and was influenced by -- the widespread gang violence of the 1990s. It has served, since its birth, as a mouthpiece for the angers, desires, fears and dreams of the oppressed. Whether it’s Chuck D laying down rhymes about fighting the power, or Nas waxing poetic about the NY state of mind, hip hop is and has always been a reflection of the society around it.
And for as long as there have been social movements, there have been artists and musicians that reflected them. From Joe Hill singing for the Industrial Workers of the World 100 years ago, to Pete Seeger’s protest songs in the 1960s, all the way to the myriad of songs released during the ongoing movement against systemic racism in the United States. Music and art has always played a role in social movements.

Premier Clark Just Broke More than the Treaty Process

When Premier Christy Clark came to visit the Ktunaxa Nation Government Building last summer, she was all smiles. It was the first time we hosted a premier in our new government building. We had recently purchased the former headquarters of a forestry company that was bought out and no longer operates in our territory. There were smiles, handshakes and photos, too, and while we were not able to discuss anything substantive, we had a forum for discussions.

Millions of Gallons of Water are Being Pumped Out of California for the Worst Possible Reason

California has become synonymous with the word drought in the past four years. With no indication that the drought will end anytime soon, the state has turned to rather desperate measures to keep water flowing. Restaurants are no longer permitted to bring customers water if they do not expressly ask for it, and violators of new water usage regulations are subject to a $500 fine. This situation has become so shockingly bad that Californians have no other choice but to pump water from prehistoric aquifers, just to meet supply needs.

GOP Steadfast On Passing Iran Bill Despite Obama's Plea To Stand Down

WASHINGTON -- Appearing in the Rose Garden on Thursday to announce the framework of a historic deal on Iran's nuclear program, President Barack Obama practically begged lawmakers not to mess with the still delicate arrangement.

"If Congress kills this deal not based on expert analysis and without offering any reasonable alternative, then it's the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy," Obama said. "International unity will collapse, and the path to conflict will widen."

Barack Obama to authorise record $60bn Saudi arms sale

Barack Obama is to go ahead with plans to sell Saudi Arabia advanced aircraft and other weapons worth up to $60bn (£39bn), the biggest arms deal in US history, in a strategy of shoring up Gulf Arab allies to face any military threat from Iran.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the administration is also in talks with the Saudis about possible naval and missile-defence upgrades that could be worth tens of billions of dollars more over five to 10 years.

Chris Hedges calls Harper a puppet

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges told The Vancouver Observer he thinks Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a "pawn" or "puppet" of corporations, and that Canada is repeating many mistakes that the U.S. made during the Bush era.

"The problem is corporate power," Hedges said, while at the State of Extraction conference in downtown Vancouver. "Harper is a pawn or puppet of corporate power in the same way Obama is. But you know, the NDP isn't going to save you, at this point. Your security and surveillance state is as advanced as ours. And if this new anti-terrorism law passes, in some ways it will be even worse."

Plutocracy The First Time Around

Part 1: The Great Upheaval

What came to be known as the Great Upheaval, the movement for the eight-hour day, elicited what one historian has called “a strange enthusiasm.” The normal trade union strike is a finite event joining two parties contesting over limited, if sometimes intractable, issues. The mass strike in 1886 or before that in 1877—all the many localized mass strikes that erupted in towns and small industrial cities after the Civil War and into the new century—was open-ended and ecumenical in reach.

Company Wants 100 West Virginians’ Land For A Pipeline

A pipeline company is suing more than 100 landowners in West Virginia in an attempt to get access to their land, claiming that its proposed pipeline has the right of eminent domain.
Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court last week to force more than 100 property owners and three corporations in 10 West Virginia counties to open their land to surveying for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The proposed pipeline, if approved, would carry natural gas about 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. Since it’s an interstate pipeline, the approval lies with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Yukon Cuts Income Tax After Record-Setting Budget Surplus

WHITEHORSE - The Yukon government is cutting personal income tax rates as it announces yet another record surplus budget.

The territory expects to be a staggering $1.37 billion in the black for the 2015-16 fiscal year, said Premier and Finance Minister Darrell Pasloski during a budget address on Thursday.

"We believe in managing finances in a way that ensures we have money when we need it most,'' he told the legislative assembly on the first day of the spring session.

For corporations, it's never enough: How corporatism threatens Canadian workers

A news story this week blandly described the perverse reality that is the current state of the Canadian economy. The headline read "Corporate profit margins at 27-year high and likely to stay there." Pretty heady stuff if you took it out of context. But the context is everything: pathetic growth projections, record high personal debt, stagnating wages, hundreds of billions in idle corporate cash, a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure deficit, a growing real estate bubble and a Bank of Canada chief who has no idea how to fix things. And, of course, a prime minister who thinks fixing things is heretical.
The headline describes the conclusion of a report by CIBC World Markets, which concluded that not only has the profit margin hit a 30-year high of 8.2 per cent (the historic average is less than 5 per cent), but the signs are that it is going to stay there -- because "profit margins are fully supported by the fundamentals."

Canada: An outlaw state

The Harper Conservatives areprolonging the mandate for Canadian bombing raids targeting Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) forces inside Iraq, and extending it to include bombings in Syria.
Foreign Minister Nicholson has said Conservatives believe Islamic terrorists abroad represent a threat to Canadian security. Citizens are supposed to understand that by fighting ISIL, Canada is protecting itself from terrorist action on Canadian soil.
The ostensible reason for the bombing is to attack and destroy the former al-Qaeda forces now expanded and regrouped as ISIL that control territory in Iraq, and have moved war-making equipment into Syria. In reality Canada has agreed to serve American Middle Eastern foreign policy, without regard to the consequences at home or for peace in the region.

Iran, Cuba And China: Obama Steadily Builds Diplomatic Legacy

WASHINGTON -- It may be hard to remember today, but Barack Obama became president, more or less, thanks to his foreign policy. His early opposition to the war in Iraq gave him the wedge he needed to differentiate himself from the far-and-away frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.

During the campaign, he used Iran to further drive home the contrast. In a debate in July 2007, Obama said he'd meet with then-Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "without precondition." It was an extension of Obama's diplomacy-first foreign policy, and he came under withering attack not just from the GOP, but also from Clinton.

The boys’ club conspiracy keeping Liz May out of the debates

Edward Albee could write a new play: Who’s Afraid of Elizabeth May?

Answer: Just about every political leader and the Big Kahunas of Canada’s corporate media. Who’s not afraid of her and, in fact, wants to hear more from the leader of the Greens? Canadians. They’ve told pollster Frank Graves they want May included in the TV debates in 2015.

At first blush, the political resistance to including May is hard to understand. No current MP or party leader shines more brightly. Her fellow MPs have voted her the best parliamentarian, best orator and hardest worker on the Hill.

John Baird lands yet another job as adviser to Hong Kong billionaire

Former foreign affairs minister John Baird has another new job, this one advising Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, son of one of the wealthiest men in Asia.

Mr. Baird will be based in Toronto and offer Mr. Li advice on international matters as the tycoon makes investments around the world. It is not a full-time job, but Mr. Baird is expected to spend as much as half his time on this new assignment.

Corporate Greed? Enough Already

A news story this week blandly described the perverse reality that is the current state of the Canadian economy. The headline read "Corporate profit margins at 27-year high and likely to stay there." Pretty heady stuff if you took it out of context. But the context is everything: pathetic growth projections, record high personal debt, stagnating wages, hundreds of billions in idle corporate cash, a multi-billion dollar infrastructure deficit, a growing real estate bubble and a Bank of Canada chief who has no idea how to fix things. And, of course, a prime minister who thinks fixing things is heretical.

With Bill 11, BC's School Wars Keep on Raging

The B.C. government has launched yet another school war with Bill 11 and the continued underfunding of school districts. It's going to be an ugly one, in large part because the BC Liberals are still trying to win a stupid feud that W.A.C. Bennett started 50 years ago.

As discussed in yesterday's Tyee column, Bill 11 appears to threaten student privacy, cripple school boards' autonomy, and remove teachers' control over their own professional development. The head of the B.C. Teachers' Federation, Jim Iker, told The Tyee he's baffled by the bill. Why would a government that just achieved a hard-fought contract settlement with teachers introduced it? "I thought they wanted labour peace," Iker said.

Numbers Win Elections, and Here Are the Key

Politics, generally speaking, is about reason and passion, intellect and emotion.

Elections, on the other hand, always come down to numbers. Whichever party or candidate gets the larger numbers (almost always) wins.

With Canada's 42nd general election looming on Oct. 19 -- exactly 200 days from today -- what are some of the numbers Tyee readers might contemplate as E-day fast approaches?

Fracking In California Used 70 Million Gallons Of Water In 2014

SAN FRANCISCO, April 2 (Reuters) - California oil producers used 214 acre-feet of water, equivalent to nearly 70 million gallons, in the process of fracking for oil and gas in the state last year, less than previously projected, state officials told Reuters on Thursday.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, occurs when water and some chemicals are injected deep underground at high pressure to break up rock and release oil and gas into wells.

TPG Capital Threatened To 'Gut' Whistleblower 'Like A Carp,' Lawsuit Claims

Private equity firm TPG Capital was sued Thursday by its former head of public affairs, who alleges his bosses threatened to ruin his career, fired him and sued him after he raised concerns about the firm’s business practices.

Adam Levine, former managing director of TPG’s global public affairs department, claims in a whistleblower lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California that his email to top executives drew a harsh response from chief counsel Clive Bode.