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, April 27, 2015

Parliament No Place to Shovel Duffy Dirt, Speaker Implies

Questions about information coming out of the trial of suspended senator Mike Duffy are not related to government business, implied Canada's Speaker of the House Andrew Scheer during question period on Monday.

On the first day that Parliament has sat since the Duffy trial began, Scheer repeatedly told opposition MPs to ensure their questions "touch on the administrative areas of government," in an apparent attempt to curb those based on the trial.

The speaker, an MP elected by secret ballot by members, is tasked with guiding debate in the House of Commons in a nonpartisan way.*

Duffy has plead not guilty to all charges, including 30 counts of fraud and breach of trust, and one charge of bribery, relating to his time as a senator. He was appointed as a Conservative to the senate in 2008, but quit the party in 2013 amid controversy over his expenses.

Government Foils Freedom of Information Requests, Says Opposition

The British Columbia government is routinely blocking access to documents that should be made public by claiming that the records don't exist, says the NDP opposition.

The NDP has asked, through freedom of information requests, for documents that it already had obtained copies of through other means, leader John Horgan told reporters.

Yet the government still claimed it had no documents to hand over, he said. "We continue to get 'no records' responses back, yet we have the documents in our hands."


Thirty-nine minutes into his southbound ride from Wilmington, Delaware, to Washington, D.C., Joseph H. Boardman, president and CEO of Amtrak, begins to cry. We're in the dining car of a train called the Silver Star, surrounded by people eating hamburgers. The Silver Star runs from New York City to Miami in 31 hours, or five more hours than the route took in 1958, which is when our dining car was built. Boardman and I have been discussing the unfortunate fact that 45 years since its inception, the company he oversees remains a poorly funded, largely neglected ward of the state, unable to fully control its own finances or make its own decisions. I ask him, "Is this a frustrating job?"

The Koch Brothers Are Reportedly Ready To Back Scott Walker

WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) - Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, the influential conservative donors, have settled on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as their top choice to win the 2016 Republican nomination for U.S. president, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Harper and Modi's visit to Vancouver fraught with tension and protests

Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi at an event fraught with tension and security on Thursday evening. Police with dogs and backpacks full of pepper spray formed walls around the entrances of the Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel to keep anti-Harper protesters at bay.

Behind a group of protesters holding banners a police dog barked and snarled from a black sport utility vehicle with the back passenger side window rolled down.

World Finance Leaders Nervous About Road Ahead; Greece At Top Of List Of Worries

WASHINGTON -- The world's financial leaders see a number of threats facing a global economy still on an uneven road to recovery with U.S. and European officials worrying that Greece will default on its debt.

The finance ministers and central bank governors ended three days of meetings in Washington determined to work toward "a more robust, balanced and job-rich economy'' while admitting there are risks in reaching that objective, the steering committee of the International Monetary Fund said in its communique Saturday.

Bank Fees In Canada On The Rise Amid Profit Margin Squeeze

Many of Canada’s big banks are raising fees for customers, adding millions to their bottom lines amid a slowdown in lending and a hit to revenues from the oil price shock.

Canada’s biggest bank, Royal Bank, will raise rates on a range of accounts and transactions starting June 1. Some of those changes include new charges for using Interac on some savings accounts, a fee for making a payment on a credit card and higher charges for cheque certifications.

Stephen Harper loves the smell of napalm in the morning

It is beginning to look like Field Marshall Harper has slipped a gear.

Going after the Ukrainian vote in Canada is one thing. But sending troops, even as trainers, into Ukraine’s “fratricidal” civil war and confronting Russia is quite another. If this thing goes sideways, he may wish he had sent diplomats instead of military advisors.

Has anyone told the PM that these are not toy soldiers he is dispatching — by the hundreds no less — but flesh and blood human beings?

This is an old story. From his opposition days, this leader has exhibited a fatal instinct to take it to the parking lot. The itchy trigger finger initially showed up in the second Iraq War. Cooler heads in the Chretien government scuppered his ill-informed bellicosity. Canada refused to join President George W. Bush’s coalition of the misguided.

'A Better Place on Earth' Charts BC's Growing Wealth Divide

Last year, after writing a searing 10-part series on inequality in British Columbia, Tyee reporter Andrew MacLeod sensed there was a whole lot more to investigate about the growing gap between rich and poor in the province.

His new book, A Better Place on Earth, takes readers on a gripping, often disturbing, journey that explores the origins of unequal wealth distribution in B.C., its impact on the economy and greater society, and the role governments can play to alleviate the divide.

As MacLeod notes, the wealth gap in B.C. is greater than anywhere else in Canada. The top 10 per cent in B.C. now hold 56.2 per cent of the wealth, while many low-income people must choose between buying food and medicine.

Harper Brings CBC to Heel

The thing about public broadcasters is that governments too often get confused between "publicly-owned" and "state-owned."

Technically, of course, there is no difference. Both are funded with tax dollars.

But the former suggests that citizens get a public good like, say, when they fund public transit or public roads. Public broadcasting should, as a result, serve the public interest. That translates to journalism and programming of social and cultural benefit, with as much good as possible for as many people as possible.

Access denied: The Globe barred from investigating friendly fire death

To get to Bashiq Mountain – and the front line between the Kurdish peshmerga army and forces of the so-called Islamic State – you drive a long bumpy highway through just-planted fields of rice and corn, passing a white-tent settlement for refugees from nearby IS-controlled Mosul, and a succession of tin-roofed Kurdish checkpoints. Somewhere nearby lies the spot where Sergeant Andrew Doiron died in a “friendly fire” incident last month.

Barring the way is the ambiguous figure of Farhang Afandi, with two flags on his military uniform, a one-man representative of the Byzantine politics and murky chains of command in this breakaway region of northern Iraq.

India-Canada Treaty Critics Team Up to Fight

As governments in Canada and India herald their progress on a free trade agreement, promising to have it worked out by September, opponents from both countries are preparing to unite in their efforts to stop the deal.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Canada earlier this week, vowing to sort out the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) this year.

Bill C-51, security certificates, and their shared racist roots

Mohammad Mahjoub was arrested in the year 2000. In the years that followed, he undertook numerous hunger strikes. One, in 2005, lasted 76 days. He lost 110 pounds and had to be hospitalized. Another the next year lasted 93 days. He was transferred to the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre, known as "Guantanamo North"; released from detention and put under house arrest; sent back to detention, at his request, because of the effect surveillance had on his family during his house arrest; and then returned again to house arrest, this time living alone.

How the oil shock turned federal budget wish lists into watery wine

OTTAWA - As last autumn's colours were setting in, veteran Ottawa lobbyist Dan Kelly was confident the spring would produce a federal budget surplus with ample room for announcements.

But following a long winter, the head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is approaching Tuesday's election-year budget with his hopes somewhat in check.

"Things were trucking on really well, we were certainly thinking very positively about some of our requests — some of our tax-reduction requests in particular," Kelly said in an interview.

Duffy dependence: More than 70 Conservative MPs leaned on suspended senator

OTTAWA - It seems everyone wanted a piece of Sen. Mike Duffy.

At least 74 former and current Conservative members of Parliament leaned on Duffy at one point or another to appear at their events, record messages for supporters or stump for them on the campaign trail, documents released at the suspended senator's trial indicate.

Duffy also did work for Ontario, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island Tories, and several unsuccessful federal Conservative candidates.

The former broadcaster's daily diaries for 2009-2012, now a courtroom exhibit, illustrate the full extent of Duffy's celebrity status when he was still in the party's good graces.

Hundreds Feared Dead After Migrant Boat Sinks Off Libya

PALERMO, Italy April 19 (Reuters) - As many as 700 migrants were feared dead on Sunday after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean, raising pressure on Europe to face down anti-immigrant bias and find money for support as turmoil in Libya and the Middle East worsens the crisis.

If the death toll is confirmed, it will bring to 1,500 the total number of people who died this year seeking to reach Europe - a swelling exodus that prompted Europe to downsize its seek and rescue border protection program in a bid to deter them. International aid groups strongly criticized the decision.

Hundreds of mental health experts issue rallying call against austerity

Austerity cuts are having a “profoundly disturbing” impact on people’s psychological wellbeing and the emotional state of the nation, hundreds of counsellors, psychotherapists and mental health experts have said in a letter to the Guardian.

They said an “intimidatory disciplinary regime” facing benefits claimants would be made worse by further “unacceptable” proposals outlined in the budget.

Will BRICS Carbon Traders Bailout Bankers' Climate Strategy?

The hope for our collective survival in the face of a likely climate catastrophe has been vested in a combination of multilateral emissions rearrangements and national regulation. But the premise behind the core strategy—the 1997 Kyoto Protocol—must be debated. Assuming a degree of state subsidization and increasingly stringent caps on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Kyoto posited that market-centric strategies such as emissions trading schemes and offsets can allocate costs and benefits appropriately so as to shift the burden of mitigation and carbon sequestration most efficiently. Current advocates of emissions trading still insist that this strategy will be effective once the largest new emitters in the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) bloc are integrated in world carbon markets.

How the "Gold Standard" of Police Accountability Fails Civilians by Design

It was 12:45 am when Dorothy Holmes' phone rang, on October 12, 2014.

As thousands of athletes across the city slept in preparation for the Chicago marathon, commencing the next morning, a family friend told Holmes that her son Ronald "Ronnieman" Johnson had been shot by police, 10 minutes prior. Holmes raced to the hospital, but never saw her 25-year-old son alive again.

Hours later, on the southernmost stretch of the marathon route, at Chicago Police headquarters, approximately 45,000 runners would pass within two-and-half miles of where the killing took place, off of King Drive. Another 1.5 million people cheered along the marathon participants.

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Politicians Denying Science Is ‘Beginning Of The End Of An Informed Democracy’

What will you be doing on Monday, 4/20, at 11 p.m.?

Perhaps watching the premiere of acclaimed astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new show StarTalk. Tyson, who may be best known for hosting the reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series in 2014, will now be appearing weekly on the National Geographic Channel in what may be the first late-night science talk show. Along with a trusty cast of comedians and science-minded folks like Bill Nye, Tyson hopes the adaptation of his popular podcast to a broadcast format will make getting a regular dose of science as pain-free as possible. He thinks that by embedding it between pop culture discussions and entertaining asides, the science will go down easy, and even leave you wanting more. And he’s right.

Gold Rush -- How The World Bank Is Financing Environmental Destruction

LA PAJUELA, Peru — It started as just another farm chore for Elvira Flores, a teenage shepherd in the northern Andean highlands.

On Sept. 8, 2013, Flores drove her flock across a dirt road that crosses her family’s rocky green fields and down to a stream.

After the sheep drank their fill, something went wrong.

If Inequality Worries Republicans, Why Do They Keep Making It Worse?

You can tell things have gotten very bad when the issue of economic inequality—a serious national problem mostly ignored for more than three decades—is suddenly in political vogue. And you can be sure things have gotten very, very bad when Republicans—who usually insist that inequality is natural, inevitable, even beneficial—suddenly claim they’re worried about it, too.

As the 2016 contenders officially declare their intentions, all of them seem aware that voters want to restore a vestige of fairness to the American economy. Regardless of personal ideology or political reliance on plutocratic billionaires, every presidential candidate must, at the very least, display concern for working families, single mothers, indebted students and everyone struggling to achieve or maintain a decent living.

We Spend $600 Billion a Year on Defense, but Couldn’t Stop a Mailman From Landing His Gyrocopter on the Capitol Lawn

The US military machine spends around $600 billion a year on national defense, but somehow it couldn’t stop a Florida mailman from landing his airborne protest right on the Capitol lawn. Doug Hughes arrived in a slow-moving, light-weight gyrocopter that he flew right past all the elaborate checkpoints and high-tech security monitors. His message to members of Congress: you and your institution are utterly corrupted by political money and we, the people, are coming after you.

“I’m just delivering the mail,” the Florida postal worker said with a touch of whimsical humor. “This isn’t my regular route.”

Canada-India Uranium Deal Will Spur Proliferation, Experts Warn

India test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile Thursday, just hours after signing a deal to buy 3,000 tons of Canadian uranium.

The Agni-III missile, which has a range of over 3,000 kilometres, was fired from the Indian army's test range on Wheeler Island in the Bay of Bengal. India declared the test a success.

It's a sign of India's confidence that — with the help of Canada — it has finally left behind its status as a rogue nuclear nation and become an accepted member of the nuclear arms establishment.

Federal Budget 2015: Aid Agencies Urge Foreign Aid Increase

OTTAWA - Canadian aid agencies are fearful that after five years of cuts and freezes, Tuesday's federal budget will fail to reverse the country's continuing decline in foreign aid spending.

Their fingers may be crossed, but any hope they might have is being trumped by politics and math.

They realize an increase in aid spending is unlikely, because foreign aid isn't known as a vote-getter in an election year.

Federal Budget 2015 To Bolster Anti-Terror Programs, Security: Sources

OTTAWA - The Conservative government plans to use the coming federal budget to underscore its pre-election messaging on the importance of national security.

The budget due Tuesday is expected to earmark resources to help security agencies carry out enhanced responsibilities under new anti-terrorism legislation, sources tell The Canadian Press.

Those familiar with the plan to make national security one of the budget's themes spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Canada Greenhouse Gas Emissions Continue To Climb: Report

OTTAWA - The latest emissions inventory from Environment Canada shows the country's overall greenhouse gas output climbed 1.5 per cent between 2012 and 2013, continuing a slow, but steady, upward trend since the global recession of 2009.

The report, prepared by Environment Canada and submitted annually to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, shows 726 megatonnes of emissions in 2013, still three per cent below Canada's output in 2005.

However, under the international Copenhagen Accord signed in 2009, Canada committed to reduce its emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 — and the trend is now firmly heading the wrong way.

John Tory's Support of Police Carding Is an Insult to the Black Community

The Toronto Police Services board approved and endorsed a policy of racial profiling -- carding -- to keep track of residents who look like me last night. From now onward, any Toronto Police officer can arbitrarily stop me without informing me of my rights, when no specific offence has not been committed and I am not considered a suspect.

In the words of Toronto Star's Shawn Micallef, "It's a civic relationship that is warped, wrong and racist." If refusing to reappoint Councillor Michael Thompson, the lone black member of the Toronto Police board, was not enough, Mayor John Tory voted to endorse the carding policy. I am disappointed and we should all be outraged.

Clement pledges to not use mental health as "bargaining chip"

Treasury Board President Tony Clement says he won’t use the mental health of public servants as a “bargaining chip” during negotiations with unions over his plan to replace the existing sick-leave regime with a short-term disability plan.

But that hasn’t stopped concerns that Clement may have done just that when he recently reached an extraordinary agreement with the largest federal union to set up a task force that will examine what’s making public servants sick with historic levels of mental health disability claims.

India-Canada Treaty Critics Team Up to Fight

As governments in Canada and India herald their progress on a free trade agreement, promising to have it worked out by September, opponents from both countries are preparing to unite in their efforts to stop the deal.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Canada earlier this week, vowing to sort out the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) this year.

Burned Out - World Bank Projects Leave Trail Of Misery Around Globe

Gladys Chepkemoi was weeding potatoes in her garden the day the men came to burn down her house.

After her mother-in-law told her that rangers from the Kenya Forest Service were on their way, Chepkemoi strapped her 1-year-old son on her back and hurried to her thatched-roofed home. She grabbed two tins of corn, blankets, plates and cooking pans, and hid in a thicket.

She watched, she said, as the green-uniformed rangers set her house ablaze.

Trans-Sensitive, Competent Health Care In Canada Search Yields Frustration, Hurt

TORONTO - Canada's health-care system may be built on the premise of equal access for all, but the transgender community says the provision of services for those who don't conform to traditional notions of male and female can be far from universal.

A common complaint is that many doctors and other medical practitioners lack an understanding of what it means to be transgender, and even seeking routine care can lead to invasive and irrelevant questions about sexual orientation and genitals.

Inflation In Canada At 1.2% As Rising Food Costs Outstrip Lower Gas Prices

OTTAWA - Canada's inflation rate ticked higher in March despite lower gasoline prices, which partially offset a broad rise in other prices.

Statistics Canada said Friday the consumer price index for March was up 1.2 per cent from a year ago. That compared with a year-over-year gain of 1.0 per cent in February.

Economists had estimated that the inflation rate would remain at 1.0 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

Can the courts liberate the Bank of Canada?

Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes the nation's laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation.
-- William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, 1935
You know the old aphorism, "If a tree falls in the forest…?" Well, how about this one: if citizens win a significant victory in court against an autocratic government involving the fleecing of Canadians of billions of their hard-earned tax dollars and no one in the media actually covers it, did it really happen?

C-51 and a lesson that should have been learned from Canada's shameful Japanese internment

Following Japan's December 7, 1941 attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, racism and paranoia toward the Japanese were at an all-time high. The fear in North America was that, should Japan attack, the invaders might be assisted by acts of treason and espionage coming from within the Japanese Canadian or American communities. In both countries, the decision was made to round up all residents of Japanese descent on the west coast and forcibly relocate the entire populations to internment camps located away from the coast.
Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's decision to intern more than 20,000 Japanese Canadians was not without controversy, but wartime hysteria was high and there was much popular support. It is important to note that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Department of National Defence advised that the interment was unwarranted, but racism and economics took precedence.

Secrecy Shrouds Decade-Old Oil Spill In Gulf Of Mexico

OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO (AP) — A blanket of fog lifts, exposing a band of rainbow sheen that stretches for miles off the coast of Louisiana. From the vantage point of an airplane, it's easy to see gas bubbles in the slick that mark the spot where an oil platform toppled during a 2004 hurricane, triggering what might be the longest-running commercial oil spill ever to pollute the Gulf of Mexico.

Yet more than a decade after crude started leaking at the site formerly operated by Taylor Energy Company, few people even know of its existence. The company has downplayed the leak's extent and environmental impact, likening it to scores of minor spills and natural seeps the Gulf routinely absorbs.

Ben Bernanke Hired By $25 Billion Hedge Fund

April 16 (Reuters) - Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, has agreed to become a senior adviser to Citadel Investment Group, a $25 billion hedge fund founded by billionaire investor Kenneth Griffin, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

Bernanke, who handed the reins of the U.S. central bank to Janet Yellen last year, will advise Citadel's investment committees on global economic and financial issues and meet the fund's investors, the newspaper said. (

House Votes To Repeal Tax On Richest 0.2 Percent Of Americans

WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives voted Thursday to give a tax break worth $269 billion to the richest few thousand estates in the country, and add that cost to the federal debt.

Called the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015, the bill would end the nearly 100-year-old federal estate tax. All but three Republicans voted in favor, while all but seven Democrats voted against. The legislation passed 239 to 179.

Lawmakers Unveil Secretly Negotiated Deal To Fast-Track Free Trade

WASHINGTON -- Congress’ tax committees announced an agreement Thursday to speed through a bill to give President Barack Obama the fast-track authority that he will need to push mammoth new trade deals through Congress.

While many believed a deal was in the works, news that it was actually done came as a surprise to members of both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, which had been called to a hearing on the deal less than 12 hours earlier.

Ethiopians talk of violent intimidation as their land is earmarked for foreign investors

The human cost of Ethiopia’s “villagisation” programme is laid bare by damning first person testimony published on Tuesday.

The east African country has long faced criticism for forcibly relocating tens of thousands of people from their ancestral homes to make way for large scale commercial agriculture, often benefiting foreign investors. Those moved to purpose-built communes are allegedly no longer able to farm or access education, healthcare and other basic services.

World Bank breaks its own rules as millions lose land and livelihoods

The World Bank has repeatedly violated its own policies on protecting the rights of indigenous people by funding projects that resulted in nearly 3.4 million slum-dwellers, farmers and villagers losing their land or having their livelihoods damaged over the past decade, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

The projects, into which the bank channelled more than $60bn (£40bn), aimed to boost electricity and water supplies and expand transport networks in some of the world’s poorest countries. But they have resulted in more than 1.2 million people in Vietnam being displaced over the past decade, as they made way for dams and power plants funded by the organisation. In addition, more than 1 million people in China were displaced by about $12bn of bank investment.

The New Thought Police

In August 2014, Steven Salaita was scheduled to take up a position as a tenured associate professor in the American Indian and Indigenous Studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Salaita had resigned his job at Virginia Tech, where he had tenure, and ordered books and submitted syllabuses for his new courses at UIUC. He had every reason to believe his future was secure. Although his appointment was contingent on a final approval by the board of trustees, which would meet two weeks after the school year began, Salaita had been assured that this was merely a formality. It wasn’t: The board refused to ratify his appointment.

Drilling Continues On Critical Alberta Caribou Habitat Despite Recovery Deadline

EDMONTON - Thousands of oil and gas wells continue to be drilled on critical caribou habitat despite an approaching deadline for Alberta to come up with a plan to restore those ranges.

An industry database shows drilling continues even on ranges that are already almost completely disrupted and where new exploration has been banned, said University of Montana biologist Mark Hebblewhite.

Bell Faces $750M Lawsuit For Tracking Customer Usage

WINDSOR, Ont. - A national class-action lawsuit has been filed against Bell Canada over alleged breaches of privacy arising from its recently discontinued target ads program.

The suit against subsidiaries of Bell (TSX:BCE) alleges that the defendants used the program to track, collect and sell the sensitive account and Internet browsing information of their customers to advertisers.

It seeks $750 million in damages for breach of privacy, breach of contract and breach of the Telecommunications Act.

Mike Duffy Trial: Senator's Contract Covered Cost Of Harper's Makeup At G8/G10 event

OTTAWA - Stephen Harper's name surfaced at the Mike Duffy trial Thursday as court heard from a string of contractors who were paid through a taxpayer-funded account that the suspended senator allegedly used to skirt finance rules.

A former intern, a makeup artist and a personal trainer all described being paid by companies run by Duffy's long-time friend Gerald Donohue for services they provided to the senator — and in one case, to the prime minister as well.

Mike Duffy’s makeup paid for from office research budget, trial hears

OTTAWA—The pace of the Mike Duffy fraud trial picked up Thursday with testimony from a witness who was paid $300 out of the senator’s office research budget for makeup services she also provided to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Freelance makeup artist Jacqueline Lambert testified she was hired to provide makeup for Duffy on two occasions after his Senate appointment: a March 2009 formal photo shoot and a May 2010 event billed by Duffy’s lawyer at a G8 youth summit.

Whistleblower groups cry foul over appointment to tribunal

Spokesmen for federal whistleblowers are crying foul after the Harper government appointed a judge with a Conservative background to a key panel.

Peter Annis, a Federal Court judge, was appointed in late February to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal, effective March 3 for a four-year term, serving part-time.

The tribunal was created in 2007 by the Conservative government in the wake of the Liberal sponsorship scandal, as a forum in which whistleblowers could argue they were punished by their bosses for speaking up about corruption and fraud.

Is Canada's warm welcome what Narendra Modi deserves?

When Stephen Harper hosts Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to Canada this week, they will be greeted both with adoring fans and with protests. Modi, an extremist Hindu nationalist, has support within a section of Canadian Indians. But his past comes back to haunt him. A human rights organization called Sikhs for Justice has appealed to the Canadian government to prosecute Modi for his alleged role in the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, a western state of India.

Court rules First Nations can sue over property rights

Industrial giants, from forestry companies to mining operations, must respect aboriginal territorial claims in British Columbia just as they would heed the rights of any other Canadian landowner, the province's highest court has ruled.

A decision from the B.C. Court of Appeal paves the way for First Nations to launch lawsuits to protect their territory from private parties, even without proving aboriginal title.


For the last decade, the federal government has held two grand but contradictory aspirations for Canada. 

Shortly after assuming office, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced, in a July 2006 speech in London, his ambition for Canada to become an “energy superpower.” His speech focused on developing the tar sands, an enterprise Harper described as bigger than building Egypt’s great pyramids or China’s Great Wall. 

Cabinet secrecy blocks rationale behind Harper government’s advertising slogan

OTTAWA - Strong. Proud. Free. And a state secret.

The genesis of the Harper government's "Strong Proud Free" slogan that is currently bombarding Canadian television viewers is considered a cabinet confidence and will be sealed from public scrutiny for 20 years.

A request by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act seeking any background rationale for the tagline, which is being used to punctuate all the latest taxpayer-funded advertising, has come up empty.