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.]

Friday, June 26, 2015

Could John Kasich’s Anti-Green Legacy Propel Him to the White House?

Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich has joined the 2016 herd: He has declared himself a candidate for the presidency.

But he may very well get the vice presidential nomination instead.

He may very well also be America’s most anti-green governor.

Kasich is an inveterate maverick. He recently created a characteristic stir by saying he would not have invaded Iraq. Over the decades he’s been a “budget hawk” congressman, hard-right Fox commentator, Wall Street speculator and now a second-term governor of the Buckeye State. Edgy and unpredictable, he’s gone against the GOP grain by supporting Medicaid and occasionally preaching compassion for the sick and the poor.

Advertisers Using Search Info Inappropriately, Privacy Commissioner Warns

OTTAWA — The federal privacy watchdog warns that searching online for information about pregnancy tests, liposuction or a divorce lawyer can prompt related ads to pop up on your computer screen.

Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien says new research released by his office reveals a small but troubling number of cases in which major websites used such sensitive information to target Internet users without appropriate consent.

How the Budget Bill Quietly Reshapes Canadian Privacy Law

A budget implementation bill is an unlikely -- and many would say inappropriate -- place to make major changes to Canadian privacy law. Yet Bill C-59, the government's 158-page bill that is set to sweep through the House of Commons, does just that.

The omnibus budget bill touches on a wide range of issues, including copyright term extension and retroactive reforms to access to information laws. But there are also privacy amendments that have received little attention.

In fact, the privacy commissioner of Canada was not even granted the opportunity to appear before the committee that "studied" the bill, meaning that privacy was not discussed nor analyzed (the committee devoted only two sessions to external witnesses for study, meaning most issues were glossed over).

Judges slam police for unnecessary jailing of non-Ontario residents

Some police forces appear to have trouble understanding when it is appropriate — to say nothing of legal — to hold people in custody pending a bail hearing, three judges have recently noted in strongly worded rulings, going so far as to call the problem “systemic.”
In the span of just three months, three cases against alleged impaired drivers in Toronto and Mississauga were thrown out because the courts found police had violated the accused person’s rights by erroneously asserting they had to be detained as they were not considered residents of Ontario.

Rich Californians balk at limits: ‘We’re not all equal when it comes to water’

RANCHO SANTA FE, CALIF. — Drought or no drought, Steve Yuhas resents the idea that it is somehow shameful to be a water hog. If you can pay for it, he argues, you should get your water.

People “should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful,” Yuhas fumed recently on social media. “We pay significant property taxes based on where we live,” he added in an interview. “And, no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.”

Watch Out, Dems: Sheldon Adelson And The Koch Brothers Are Closer Than Ever

In late April, some 700 conservative luminaries, including presidential contenders, donors, fundraisers and former President George W. Bush, gathered at the Venetian casino and resort in Las Vegas for the Republican Jewish Coalition’s spring meeting, where Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul and GOP megadonor, was holding court.

Among the assembled allies, well-wishers and supplicants who put in appearances was Tim Phillips, the head of Americans for Prosperity, the political centerpiece of the sprawling fundraising and advocacy network spearheaded by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

Why Does Jeb Bush Want to Be President?

Nothing in Jeb Bush’s presidential candidate is as enthusiastic as the logo he released on Sunday: Displaying his first name in blood red, the logo is capped off with an over-eager exclamation mark.
That loud punctuation feels far too insistent, like a back-slapping salesman eager to assure you that you are making the best deal of your life.

The Depths Of Poverty In The Deep South

Andrew sat a table in a bar with no sign outside drinking a Bud Light tallboy. The windows were boarded up from the outside and the only source of light was a bare light bulb sticking out from a fixture on the wall. Behind him, gray-haired men sat at the bar watching an old kung fu movie on a grainy television.
“I spent my whole life on the plantation around the corner,” Andrew* said, and took a drink from his tallboy. “My entire family worked on it—dad, brothers, uncles. Our family must’ve gone back three or four generations on Mr. Peaster’s farm.”

Former US Attorney General Files Brief in Lawsuit Challenging Legality of Iraq War

Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi single mother, is suing members of the George W. Bush administration for their role in the war in Iraq. Saleh has assembled an international team of lawyers, who are requesting the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit hear her claim that the US-led Iraq war was illegal under laws formed from the Nuremberg trials in the wake of World War II.

"The invasion resulted in the total destruction of a beautiful, peaceful country," Saleh told Truthout. "The invasion didn't destroy only the country's infrastructure, buildings and heritage; it destroyed millions of families and their dreams."

Jeb Bush Is Officially Running for President. Here's What You Need to Know About Him.

Well, today's the day. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is expected to finally announce that he is running for president. After months of mounting a not-very-shadow campaign and raising money (almost $100 million since January for his super-PAC Right to Rise), his official leap into the crowded Republican field is no surprise. As the third Bush to run for president in 35 years, he is already considered the top choice for the GOP establishment.

Yet Another Way That Oil Is Screwing the Environment

What do almonds, golf, fracking, and Kim Kardashian's lawn have in common? They've all been publicly shamed for their outsized water use during California's ongoing drought.
But you likely haven't heard as much about one of the state's major water sucks: oil refineries, which are estimated to be the second-biggest water user of non-ag businesses in the state (after golf).

Quebec Ready To Bail Out Bombardier's CSeries, Economy Minister Indicates

PARIS - Quebec's economy minister says the government is ready to buy shares in Bombardier if the airplane manufacturer asks for financial aid to support the CSeries commercial jet program.

Jacques Daoust told reporters on Sunday that Bombardier was looking for financing and that "conversations" had been held. He said the company did not make a formal request for aid, but Daoust made it clear Bombardier would have no trouble receiving help if it made a request.

Canadian Manufacturing Sales Shrink Four Times Faster Than Expected

OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 2.1 per cent to $49.8 billion in April as sales of food, aerospace products and parts, and petroleum and coal products dropped.

Economists had expected a drop of 0.5 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

PMO’s role in Senate scandal is what should be on trial

It’s as if the Senate of Canada has a death wish.

Exactly one year after his retirement speech from the Senate, Hugh Segal penned a special article for the Globe and Mail about his former workplace. His words connect some interesting dots between events.

On June 12, 2014, Segal delivered a graceful farewell to his former colleagues that included these words on the proper role of the Senate:

“And finally, above all, the central and indisputable importance of the rule of law, due process, presumption of innocence as cornerstones of our democratic way of life, whatever dark forces elsewhere — sometimes in government, sometimes in opposition, the police or the media — might seek to dictate or impose upon us.”

Evidence shows privately funded health care does not decrease wait times

Current public dialogue is full of questions about what kind of innovation or "revamping" the health system needs. In this context, as a physician, I am compelled to apply principles of evidence-based practice to the public vs. private debate: Will Brian Day's plan to expand privately funded health care in B.C. shorten wait lists and improve the system?
Evidence indicates it will do the opposite. Of the Canadian provinces, B.C. has the most privately funded orthopedics services, and the longest waiting lists for this specialty. Evidence indicates that privately funded health services and long public wait times go hand in hand, and that growth in private payment will do nothing to alleviate it.

Harper's voter suppression plan: Coming soon to a polling station near you

Stephen Harper's re-election strategy depends on a lot of you not voting. And if you mess with his plan by showing up at the polling station on Election Day, he's prepared for that, too: he's made it a lot harder for you to vote.
The prime minister has made it so much harder that "many tens of thousands" of Canadians may be denied their constitutional right to cast a ballot in the upcoming federal election, according to Harry Neufeld, former chief electoral officer for British Columbia.

Tories keep introducing bills that have no chance of becoming law

OTTAWA—They are government bills born to die.
The Harper government has stuffed the legislative pipeline with newly introduced bills in the past two weeks, despite being well aware that those proposed laws are dead in the water.
Seven of 10 new bills introduced so far this month and sponsored by Conservative ministers are stalled. They range from a new national marine conservation area for Lake Superior and the Georges Bank Protection Act, to motor vehicle safety amendments, copyright changes, new mandatory minimum sentences for gun crime and changes to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Nenshi slams MP Crockatt over infrastructure comments

Calgary’s mayor and one of its Conservative MPs verbally sparred Friday over infrastructure funding, with Naheed Nenshi saying Joan Crockatt’s comment on the issue “doesn’t make any sense.”

Crockatt, the MP for Calgary Centre, issued a news release Friday urging the new NDP government and Nenshi to access federal infrastructure dollars for the city and province that “are sitting unused.”

She said that while other provinces “have shovels in the ground” for projects funded from Ottawa’s Building Canada fund, Alberta has not given a list of priorities to the federal government.

Bill C-51 violates Universal Declaration of Human Rights, OSCE finds

The Harper government’s controversial anti-terrorism bill violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Canada has ratified, according to legal analysis by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization.

The Vienna-based group, which Canada joined in 1973, found that Section 16 of Bill C-51, which contain amendments to the Criminal Code outlawing “advocating or promoting the commission of terrorism,” places a number of direct restrictions on freedom of expression.

Harper doesn’t let law get in the way

It’s unconstitutional in Canada to charge someone with a crime if the offence was not illegal at the time it was committed, technically called an ex post facto law. Unfortunately, the framers of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms never anticipated the Harper government, which has found a loophole on that principle.

Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, actions that were illegal can now be made legal when the law is politically inconvenient.

Conservatives choose retaliation over redress when it comes to aboriginals

OTTAWA—It is the default position of the Stephen Harper government.
If you encounter dissent, you demonize. If you are crossed, you take the low road and fight back. Seek enemies. They keep supporters energized and help you raise money.
Now it’s been caught and has retreated to another well-known default position — ignore.

This City Is Fighting Against Public School Privatization

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN — As Governor Scott Walker’s state budget inches toward passage, parents, teachers and students are taking to the streets to oppose sections of the education budget, which include sweeping changes they say would effectively privatize many public schools while draining funding from others.

Snowden files 'read by Russia and China': five questions for UK government

The Sunday Times produced what at first sight looked like a startling news story: Russia and China had gained access to the cache of top-secret documents leaked by former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Not only that, but as a result, Britain’s overseas intelligence agency, the Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6, had been forced “to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries”.

Journalists slam article claiming Russia, China cracked Edward Snowden files

Two journalists at the centre of the Edward Snowden mass-surveillance revelations say British claims that spies have been pulled from operations because Russia and China have cracked Snowden's files are full of contradictions and likely false.

Citing anonymous and unverified government sources, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper said in a report this weekend that Britain has pulled out agents from operations in "hostile countries" after Russia and China cracked secrets in the documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Hillary Clinton: Obama Should Listen To Nancy Pelosi On Trade

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton encouraged President Barack Obama on Sunday to listen to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) on trade.

Pelosi took to the House floor Friday to oppose trade legislation Obama had personally lobbied for on Capitol Hill earlier that day.

“We have an opportunity to slow down,” Pelosi said. “Whatever the deal is with other countries, we want a better deal for America’s workers.” Following her speech, House Democrats rejected Obama's trade agenda in overwhelming numbers. Obama spent the weekend lobbying members of his party to switch their votes next week.

Break the "Defense" Industry Across the Knee of Democracy

Nine months ago, I penned an article about our ongoing and seemingly endless tangle in Iraq, titled "The Pleasant Fiction of 'No Boots on the Ground.'" Specifically addressing those who claimed, "We have to do something" regarding ISIS and the situation over there, I replied, "What you are in favor of is the equivalent of doing nothing. We will blow some stuff up and kill some people, and every bomb dropped and missile fired will transfer more of your tax dollars into the bank accounts of 'defense' companies. That's it, period, end of file."

Amanda Korody, John Nuttall Case: Human Rights Watch Raises Concerns Over Trial

VANCOUVER - A terrorism trial underway in British Columbia runs disturbingly parallel with an emerging trend in U.S. anti-terror efforts targeting some of society's most vulnerable people, says an international human rights group.

Human Rights Watch members have been observing the case of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody, two Vancouver-area residents found guilty earlier this month of plotting to decimate the provincial legislature with pressure-cooker bombs.

Harper government cranks up polling in run-up to election

The Harper government has ordered extra taxpayer-paid polling in the months leading up to the scheduled October election, spending beyond its budget and asking Canadians more questions about hot topics, such as the future of the Senate.

The prime minister's own department, the Privy Council Office, twice added public opinion research it had not budgeted for in 2014-15, at a cost of $160,278 on top of its original allotment of $250,000.

Greek PM Tsipras Insists On Debt Relief As Negotiations Resume

ATHENS/BRUSSELS, June 13 (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he was willing to accept unpalatable compromises to secure a deal with international creditors provided he gets debt relief in return, something that Germany refuses to countenance.

With Greece heading towards possible default and bankruptcy, he told his negotiating team before it took a counter-proposal to Brussels that without debt relief he would reject any settlement that isolates his country from the rest of Europe.

U.S. Is Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry in Eastern Europe

RIGA, Latvia — In a significant move to deter possible Russian aggression in Europe, the Pentagon is poised to store battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons for as many as 5,000 American troops in several Baltic and Eastern European countries, American and allied officials say.

The proposal, if approved, would represent the first time since the end of the Cold War that the United States has stationed heavy military equipment in the newer NATO member nations in Eastern Europe that had once been part of the Soviet sphere of influence. Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine have caused alarm and prompted new military planning in NATO capitals.

Surprise! Hillary Clinton's Big Campaign Speech Didn't Mention The Trade Deal

Hillary Clinton paid lip service to just about every issue dear to progressive voters in her presidential campaign kickoff on Saturday, from paid sick leave, to LGBT rights, to climate change and student loan reform. But one issue she notably omitted from her speech to supporters at New York City's Roosevelt Island was the pending trade legislation that roiled Democrats in Congress merely a day prior.

The pressure on Clinton to clarify her stance on the controversial trade deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has grown in recent weeks as former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) -- her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination -- have repeatedly urged her to do so. The issue came to a head on Friday, after President Barack Obama suffered an embarrassing defeat when House Democrats spurned his last-second personal appeal and voted against a measure that would have granted him the authority to fast-track the sweeping trade deal though Congress.

Senate's Temporary Offices Could Cost Taxpayers Almost $25 Million

OTTAWA - Finding temporary offices for the Senate could cost taxpayers an extra $24.5 million — even more than the latest big-ticket audit of expenses in the upper chamber.

And it's all because of one city block.

The cost of temporary Senate offices in downtown Ottawa could surpass the $23.6-million audit by nearly a million dollars if the Senate doesn't agree to extend its search boundaries by a single block, an internal government document shows.

These Carwashers Were Being Paid as Little as $125 a Week

It only takes a few minutes for New York City motorists to sweep through a carwash; it may take weeks for the guy wiping your hubcaps to see his first paycheck. That’s why the New York City Council just pushed through landmark legislation to revamp labor protections in one of the city’s least-regulated industries and pave the way for unionization.

The new licensing rules aim to prevent the wage theft that drives one of the classic little luxuries of urban life. Carwashes are known as a “runaway” industry (think nail-salon equivalent for car lovers) running on the exploitation of immigrant workers. The carwasheros campaign, supported by community groups and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and United Food and Commercial Workers, exposed the brutal labor conditions in a survey of local workers, which showed wages could run as low as $125 per week, “with some working as high as 105 hours.” The majority earned less than minimum wage and were often denied overtime. The murky tipped-wage system has allowed employers to pay a lower base wage and leave it to impoverished workers to earn the rest off of discretionary tips.

How to Dump Tenants and Make a Fortune

It is 7:45 am, and 18 real-estate professionals are gathered around a conference table in downtown Manhattan, a hairbreadth from Wall Street. They are agents, insurers, asset managers, investors—there is even an architect who uses her allotted 30 seconds of introduction to mention her knack for creating spaces with high-end finishes on economical budgets. Everyone is here to listen to Simon Moule speak.

The topic, as described by the invitation, is “making sense of NYC Rent Stabilization Laws,” and Moule is a guru when it comes to understanding what he describes as “millions of rules.” The people in this room seek understanding with a specific endgame in mind: increasing capitalization of a building, if not a portfolio of buildings. As the lawyer who introduces Moule puts it: “If you know the rent laws, that’s where the juice is. You can really squeeze as much as possible out of a building.”

‘Fast Track’ Would Hand the Money Monopoly to Private Banks—Permanently

It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.                                                                                                                — Attributed to Henry Ford

In March 2014, the Bank of England let the cat out of the bag: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it. So wrote David Graeber in The Guardian the same month, referring to a BOE paper called “Money Creation in the Modern Economy.” The paper stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong. The result, said Graeber, was to throw the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.

New Emails Reveal Friendship of Koch Lobbyists and Financial Regulators

Recent emails, released to the public Friday, have revealed the close bond between Koch lobbyists and regulators at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The commission was created in 1974 to stop manipulation and abusive practices in derivatives and commodity trading, one of the key components of the 2008 financial meltdown. The emails revealed by The Intercept show the Koch Industries Inc. lobbyists pressuring regulators to review ways to change regulatory policy. The correspondence also gives a glimpse of the friendship between the lobbyists and regulators, with both sides expressing pleasure in getting together.

Guatemalans Are Taking Their Democracy Back

Guatemalans are clamoring for change, pouring into the capital city's central plaza on a weekly basis. From massive national mobilizations down to local consultations, defending territories from extractive industries, people all over Guatemala are taking action to take their country back from transnational corporations and the political, business and military elite.

The historic protests at the national level stem from a groundswell of outrage and indignation over revelations of widespread corruption within the highest levels of government. Guatemala prosecutors and the UN International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala cracked down on two major corruption rings within the National Tax Office and the Guatemalan Social Security Institute in April and May. The heads of both institutions have been arrested, along with the president of the country's central bank and dozens of others inside and outside the government.

Bernie Sanders's Family-Friendly Agenda Crushes the Competition

Earlier this week, Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released his Family Values Agenda, a package of policy proposals aimed at expanding employees’ rights to paid time off. The agenda, which includes paid leave for sickness, vacations, and newborns, is the only program of its type announced so far by any candidate in the nascent presidential contest. If implemented, it would represent a significant leap forward for the United States—but only take us halfway to where we need to be.

State Rep Suggests Abortion Is To Blame For California Drought

Scientists are still exploring the causes of California's historic drought, but one local lawmaker thinks it might all come down to one thing: God's wrath over abortion.
While speaking at the California ProLife Legislative Banquet last week, California Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R) suggested a theory that the state's worst drought in 1,200 years may be divine retribution for California providing women with access to abortions, RH Reality Check reported.

Logging Plans Could Rekindle BC's War in the Woods

Eight months ago, a hiker and friend of our organization found new surveying tape in the central Walbran Valley. There, centred around the iconic Castle Grove, stands one of the largest intact tracts of unlogged old growth rainforest on southern Vancouver Island.

The area was ground zero for B.C.'s war in the woods more than 20 years ago. Grassroots action swept the province and saved ancient forest in the nearby Carmanah Valley and in other parts of the Walbran.

Document shows Canadian government has been fully aware of tar sands dangers

A document recently released under Canada's access-to-information law reveals that Canadian government officials have been aware of the proliferation of contaminants associated with tar sands mining even as they continues to promote industry expansion with minimal regulation. The January 2015 briefing note, prepared forNatural Resources Minister Greg Rickford, discusses findings from a tar sands monitoring report published in December 2014 describing dangerous concentrations of iron and cadmium in Alberta's wetlands and of phosophorous and nitrogen in the Athabasca River. In addition, increased concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the toxic tailings ponds near tar sands strip mines are raising PAH levels in the atmosphere, which can lead to human health concerns like DNA damage and impaired development. The briefing note also highlights serious declines in species that rely on old forest habitat, which has been decimated by mining operations. Yet even with the knowledge furnished by this briefing note, the Canadian government has continued to promote the expansion of the tar sands industry, particularly through its support for tar sands pipelines like Keystone XL and Energy East.

Conservatives Have Damaged Our Immigration System

Throughout our history, Canada has welcomed newcomers with a smile. They were -- and are -- nation builders. Under the Conservatives, this smile has become a scowl and we have unfortunately witnessed a decade of decline in three major areas: family reunification, refugees, and citizenship applicants.

Wait times have ballooned during Mr. Harper's time in office. Since 2007, family reunification processing times are up 70 percent for spouses and children and up a staggering 500 percent for parents and grandparents. Processing times took a particularly sharp jump after 2011, which was the same year this Conservative government imposed crippling budget cuts. Adding insult to injury, the Conservatives also reduced the age of dependents from 22 to 18.

B.C. wants feds to stay out of environmental assessment for Fraser River LNG project

The provincial government has asked the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to stay out of the environmental review process of a controversial jetty that could bring in more than 120 liquefied natural gas tankers up the Fraser River.

In a letter, provincial environmental assessment associate minister Kevin Jardine asks CEAA president Ron Hallman to allow B.C.'s environmental assessment of the project substitute the federal one, in case the CEAA determines a federal evaluation is needed.

Markets Tumble As IMF Negotiators Walk Away From Greece Crisis Talks

ATHENS, Greece -- Markets tumbled Friday as investors reassessed their recent bout of optimism over the likelihood of a deal that would prevent the country from going bankrupt.

The moves were stoked by the International Monetary Fund's decision on Thursday to send its negotiators home from bailout talks with Greek officials in Brussels, citing a lack of progress. Observers had been increasingly optimistic that a deal would be reached by the end of the month.

The main Athens stock exchange was down 5.6 per cent in late-afternoon trading, a day after it surged 8 per cent on hopes of an imminent breakthrough that would unlock bailout funds that Greece needs to pay upcoming debts and avoid a default.

Canada's Public Health Care To See More Corporate Influence Under TPP

Just days after a number of provincial health ministers advocated for the creation of a national pharmacare program, a leaked document suggests Canada may have to abandon any such plans if it signs up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

According to a draft chapter of the 12-country free trade agreement currently under negotiation, leaked Wednesday by Wikileaks, Canada may also see drug prices rise as pharma companies gain more access to government decisions on pricing. And the deal could protect a controversial pharma industry practice that could mean fewer generics coming on the market.

Democrats Rebel To Block Obama's Trade Deals

WASHINGTON -- Democrats rebelled against President Barack Obama's ambitious trade agenda Friday, spurning his last-second personal appeal and blocking a measure in the House that would have granted him the power to fast-track sweeping, secretive international agreements through Congress.

The Democrats' revolt focused on a provision that they would normally back -- something called Trade Adjustment Assistance, or TAA, which would pay to help retrain workers whose jobs get shipped overseas by trade deals -- knowing that killing it would bring fast-track down with it.

Opposition MPs blast "crazy" omnibus budget bill C-59

Finance critics and MPs from both the NDP and Liberal parties blasted the federal government’s 2015 budget, taking aim at everything from long-gun registry record destruction to employment statistics.

Liberal finance critic Scott Brison had harsh words about the government’s elimination of the long-gun registry, which formed part of the Harper government’s latest ‘omnibus’ Bill C-59, ‘An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures.’

Mr. Harper, Move the Victims of Communism Monument

The planned Memorial to the Victims of Communism has attracted ever-greater controversy over its design and location, evoking strong and remarkably united criticism from a broad array of commentators, including architectural associations, legal experts, the Mayor of Ottawa, the NCC, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court -- not to mention the vast majority of local residents. Perhaps most astonishingly, nearly two-thirds of Conservative supporters nationwide oppose the plan.

Yet the Conservative government perseveres, obstinately rejecting any reasoned debate or compromise.

Canada Household Debt Ratio Hovers Near Record as Wealth Gains

Canadian households kept debt at almost record levels in the first quarter, even as they benefit from rising asset values that saw their net worth rise to new highs.

Credit-market debt including mortgages, consumer credit and non-mortgage loans was 163.3 percent of disposable income in the three-month period, compared with a revised record 163.6 percent in the fourth quarter, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa. Household net worth rose 3.4% in C$8.65 trillion.

Tory-led city council continues Toronto's tragic transit farce

The tragedy and farce that is Toronto's political capitulation to the cult of the car continues unabated.
Mayor John Tory -- despite the recommendations of the city's own planners and health officials, former mayors and many others -- has managed to narrowly get his "hybrid" Gardiner Expressway plan passed by Toronto city council and to see the boulevard plan of basically all experts (less narrowly) defeated.
This is yet another installment in the long and terrible history of the love affair that Toronto's politicians have with cars at the expense of public transit and good sense.