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, July 31, 2015

New Supreme Court appointee blogged on Khadr, called Trudeau 'unspeakably awful,' hoped for Harper majority

Prime Minister’s Stephen Harper’s latest appointment to the Supreme Court was a prolific blogger who regularly offered opinions on Senate reform, the federal government’s role in health care, elections law, the Omar Khadr case and other matters that could now come before him in his new role on the bench.

Russell Brown, appointed to the top court last week, was an active contributor to a blog shared by faculty members at the University of Alberta law school.

Harper's early election to cost taxpayers an extra $125 million

If Prime Minister Stephen Harper starts the election this weekend as sources suggest he may, the move would cost taxpayers an extra $125 million in the longest and costliest campaign in Canadian history, said Liberal M.P. Marc Garneau in an Ottawa press briefing Friday morning.

Every day the campaign is extended, the federal limit on party spending goes up $600,000, he said.

Garneau said this "disproportionately benefits the Conservatives, who have more cash on hand than they can legally spend within the normal election time line of 37 days."

Borrow $10,000, Owe $25,000: The Face Of Predatory Lending In Canada

Donna Borden believes she was the victim of predatory lending, but she refuses to play that role any longer.

She had already paid $25,000 on a subprime, $10,000 loan when Borden says she decided enough was enough. Fed up, she stopped paying and started fighting.

 People Will Remember Shell Oil As a Symbol of Planet-Destroying Greed

Shell Oil’s icebreaker Fennica is apparently on its way to the Arctic from the Pacific Northwest, ending a dramatic week-long siege that saw activists dangle from bridges and blockade the Portland harbor with kayaks, and a federal court threaten environmentalists with heavy fines.

Amidst the drama of the action, and the drama of the courtroom, and amidst the outpouring of thanks for activists from Greenpeace, Rising Tide, 350PDX, and others, one more thing is worth remembering: there is no more contemptible company on earth than Shell Oil.

Canada's Economy Shrinks For 5th Straight Month; Recession Virtually Unavoidable

Canada's economic contraction accelerated in May, shrinking 0.2 per cent on the month, Statistics Canada said Friday.

That marks the fifth straight month that the economy has shrunk, with every month since the start of the year registering a negative number. The rate of decline in May was twice that in April, when the economy shrank 0.1 per cent.

The worst: Canada's economy under the Harper government

Speculation is intense that the unofficial election campaign we have already been experiencing for several months is about to become official: Ottawa is awash in rumours the writ may be dropped as early as this weekend, setting the stage for months of promises, accusations and photo-ops.
As always the economy will be the top issue. But with recent bad news, Conservative hopes of cashing in on their reputation as "the best economic managers" have suddenly become faint. Four straight months of falling real GDP, terrible export and investment numbers, and growing consumer pessimism, make their traditional chest thumping seem starkly at odds with the painful reality confronted by most Canadians. On September 1 we will learn if Canada is actually in an official recession (defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth). Even if we're not, our performance has been perpetually disappointing.

The law cannot progress without courageous clients

Over the past month, the BC Supreme Court heard a landmark lawsuit involving the City of Abbotsford and members of its homeless community.
Pivot Legal Society is representing a group of individuals living homeless in Abbotsford seeking to protect their Charter-sanctioned rights and freedoms: the right to equality, the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the fundamental freedoms of association and assembly. The case is groundbreaking -- never before has a group of homeless Canadians been able to challenge the constitutionality of their treatment and displacement by a city's staff and police.

The Wettest Rainforest in the United States Has Gone Up in Flames

The wettest rainforest in the continental United States had gone up in flames and the smoke was so thick, so blanketing, that you could see it miles away. Deep in Washington’s Olympic National Park, the aptly named Paradise Fire, undaunted by the dampness of it all, was eating the forest alive and destroying an ecological Eden. In this season of drought across the West, there have been far bigger blazes but none quite so symbolic or offering quite such grim news. It isn’t the size of the fire (though it is the largest in the park’s history), nor its intensity. It’s something else entirely—the fact that it shouldn’t have been burning at all. When fire can eat a rainforest in a relatively cool climate, you know the Earth is beginning to burn.

Turkey Is on the Road to Armageddon

ISTANBUL -- The current situation in Turkey is nothing short of apocalyptic. Radical Islamists who have turned the country into a "jihadi highway" to Syria -- while Ankara has looked the other way -- are now carrying out attacks within Turkey itself. Following last week's ISIS-linked bombing in the Turkish border town of Suruç, which killed 32 civilians, it is no longer possible for Turkey to ignore the threat posed by ISIS. Official figures estimate that the group has 700 Turkish citizens in its ranks and that there are dozens of ISIS cells in major cities like Istanbul and Ankara. Residents of such cities have been on the alert for the past few days, with warnings of imminent bomb attacks in public places.

Canadians Need to Know the Truth About the TPP

This week, ministers from 12 countries representing 40 per cent of the world's economy will meet to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the largest trade agreements ever. As talks are rushed to conclusion, Canada is still fighting to have its supply management system excluded from the deal.

We wish the government well in its quest to protect supply management, but we wish it would go to bat for other core Canadian values and industries.

Unifor Report Slams Harper's Economic Performance

A new report from Canada's largest private sector union says Stephen Harper and his Conservatives are running the most poorly performing economy the country has seen since the end of the Second World War.

Unifor economists Jim Stanford and Jordan Brennan compared economic data from nine governments of Canada (excluding short terms like Kim Campbell and John Turner) since World War II. They found Harper's performance is the most dismal, with Brian Mulroney in a distant second.

Tories’ economic projections all smoke and mirrors

In the fall of 2008, private sector economists were forecasting that the Canadian economy was already in a recession due to the financial crisis. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his finance minister, the late Jim Flaherty, ignored these warnings and told Canadians there was nothing to worry about. The prime minister even advised Canadians that it was a good time to buy stocks, given the fall in equity prices.

The November 2008 Economic and Fiscal Update forecast annual surpluses as far as the eye could see. Two months later this forecast was thrown into the trash. In response to the crisis Harper and Flaherty quickly discarded their Conservative orthodoxy and became temporary Keynesians. They introduced the largest stimulus budget ever, in an effort to increase economic activity. After that, deficits were recorded for seven consecutive years until, in this year’s April budget, Finance Minister Joe Oliver declared the government would finally register a surplus in 2015-16.

6 charts show Stephen Harper has the worst economic record of any Prime Minister since World War II

It turns out the emperor has no clothes after all.

Although Conservatives like to drone on like robots about how Stephen Harper is a "steady hand on the wheel" of the economy, that myth is increasingly hard to square with reality.
Not only does a recent poll suggest Harper's reputation as a competent manager of the economy has plummeted, a new analysis shows Harper with the worst economic record of any Canadian Prime Minister since the end of the Second World War.

Why Republicans Oppose the Iran Agreement: Follow the Money

By any sensible measure, our country's highest foreign policy priority is halting the spread of nuclear weapons.

Given our size and military might, we Americans are safe from outside invasion for as far into the future as anyone can possible see. But we are clearly vulnerable to terrorist attacks. And the more nuclear weapons there are in the world, the greater the chance that a future suicide bomber strolling through one of our cities will be carrying a nuclear device in his or her backpack.

13 Issues Facing Native People Beyond Mascots And Casinos

Most of the recent headlines about indigenous Americans have had to do with a certain D.C. football team, or a surpassingly dumb Adam Sandler movie, or casinos of the kind operated by the fictional Ugaya tribe on "House of Cards." And we're not saying these issues don't matter. But beyond the slot machines, the movie sets and the football fields, there are other problems facing Native communities -- insidious, systemic, life-or-death problems; the kinds of problems it takes years and votes and marches to resolve -- that aren't getting nearly as much attention.

China’s Most Censored Author Published His Riskiest Book Yet

In 1958, Mao Zedong declared war on the sparrows. Sparrows ate grain while it ripened in the fields, depriving the people of the fruits of their labor. For this reason they were one of four species, along with rats, mosquitoes, and flies, targeted for elimination. The campaign against them was massive and total. Sparrows were shot out of the air by the thousands. Their nests were smashed, eggs broken, and chicks killed. Children helped by hunting them with slings. In coordinated attempts to scare the sparrows from descending from the air, whole towns marched into the countryside banging gongs, beating drums, and setting off fireworks. Exhausted, eventually they dropped dead from the sky.

How the Rich Can Keep Their Homes, Businesses, Artwork, and Wealth Tax-Free—Forever

It’s a common-sense notion that society’s wealth shouldn’t be governed by ghosts. “Our Creator made the earth for the use of the living and not of the dead,” wrote Thomas Jefferson. (Also: “One generation of men cannot foreclose or burthen its use to another.”) But in our new age of inequality—the top 10 percent now own nearly 80 percent of all wealth—old concerns about wealth and inheritance are coming back from the dead.

Americans have, historically, had a simple approach to dealing with wealth after its holder dies: You can do whatever you want with your property, but not for very long. Rich people can disinherit children. They can put extreme conditions on how their successors can inherit, like requiring marriage. They can build monuments to themselves or give everything to their pets. But they can only do it so long. Eventually, time catches up with them and their estates dissolve.

Police Shootings Won't Stop Unless We Also Stop Shaking Down Black People

In April, several days after North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager stopped Walter Scott for a busted taillight and then fatally shot him, the usual cable-news transmogrification of victim into superpredator ran into problems. The dash cam showed Scott being pulled over while traveling at a nerdy rate of speed, using his left turn signal to pull into a parking lot and having an amiable conversation with Slager until he realized he'd probably get popped for nonpayment of child support. At which point he bolted out of the car and hobbled off. Slager then shot him. Why didn't the cop just jog up and grab him? Calling what the obese 50-year-old Scott was doing "running" really stretches the bounds of literary license.

IMF Says No To Bailout Deal For Greece, Unless Debt Relief Included

WASHINGTON -- An International Monetary Fund official says the IMF cannot participate in another Greek bailout until Greece and its creditors make difficult decisions on economic reforms and debt relief.

Briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, the official says Greece needs to commit to reforms and creditors must provide debt relief — extending loan terms or reducing the debt outright — that will allow Greece to pay its bills over time.

TPP Trade Deal Proposal Would See CBC, Canada Post Exist Solely For Profit

A leaked document from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks indicates the CBC, Canada Post and other Crown corporations could be required to operate solely for profit under the deal’s terms.

It’s unknown whether the principles outlined in the document will be a part of the final agreement, but the paper — a briefing for ministers ahead of a December, 2013, TPP meeting — also raises questions about the extent to which Canada will be able to continue using taxpayers’ money to fund Crown corporations, such as the $1-billion annual subsidy to the CBC.

TPP leaks show Canada Post and CBC up for trade

OTTAWA – According to a document leaked on Wikileaks, the CBC and Canada Post could be jeopardized by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement being negotiated this week in Maui by Canada and 11 other countries. State-owned enterprises in the TPP could be severely restricted and subject to rules that force them to give up their public service mandates in order to become purely profit-driven organizations. They would also be prohibited from buying services exclusively from local or national sources.

Millions of Canadians denied the right to vote in 2015 federal election

Last week, the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice each ruled on separate Charter challenges to legislation affecting the rights of certain groups of Canadians to vote in the October 2015 federal election. Surprisingly, both courts permitted the impugned provisions at issue to continue in force and effectively denied these groups the right to vote.
The main focus of this article is the Court of Appeal's decision regarding the right of Canadian expatriates to vote; however, I will first briefly address the Ontario Superior Court's disappointing decision in Council of Canadians v. Canada related to  voter ID requirements (the "Voter ID Case").

Canadian Banks' Record Profits ‘Achieved At Expense Of Customer Satisfaction': J.D. Power

Canadians are growing increasingly dissatisfied with their banks and rising fees are among the main reasons why, says a new study from J.D. Power.

“Record profits for retail banks in Canada are being achieved at the expense of customer satisfaction as customers report increased fees and reduced levels of service in the branch and on the phone,” the marketing research firm said in a statement.

Alabama Seeks To Deny Woman Abortion By Stripping Her Parental Rights, Appointing Lawyer For Fetus

Alabama officials are currently seeking to prevent a pregnant prison inmate from obtaining a legal abortion by stripping her of her parental rights, in a case where a lawyer has been appointed to represent the interests of her fetus.

An unnamed woman, who is referred to in court documents only as Jane Doe, is asking for permission to travel to Huntsville to end her pregnancy. She says she was unable to get an abortion before she was taken into custody and is now feeling desperate. “I am very distraught, and do not want to be forced to carry this pregnancy to term,” she wrote.

Private firms at heart of US drone warfare

The overstretched US military has hired hundreds of private-sector contractors to the heart of its drone operations to analyse top-secret video feeds and help track suspected terrorist leaders, an investigation has found.

Contracts unearthed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal a secretive industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars, placing a corporate workforce alongside uniformed personnel analysing intelligence from areas of interest.

Jumbo Resort Developer Not Giving Up Without a Fight

The development group that has spent more than 24 years trying to build a controversial ski resort in East Kootenay's Purcell Mountains is not giving up without a fight.

Glacier Resorts Ltd. plans to ask for a judicial review of Environment Minister Mary Polak's decision to pull the project's environmental assessment certificate. The group is also looking into building a smaller resort that would not trigger a new environmental assessment process.

Surplus or Deficit, Harper Budget Still Pre-Election Theatre

It didn't look like a coincidence -- and it wasn't.

Last week, only an hour before the parliamentary budget office forecast a $1 billion deficit for the current fiscal year, the Finance department scrambled to deliver a Fiscal Monitor report showing a $3.9 billion surplus in April and May.

Normally, the PBO would have given its report in advance to the Prime Minister's Office as a courtesy -- and the PMO would have been on the phone to Finance in a heartbeat.

Federal election 2015: How a long campaign will benefit the cash-rich Tories

A lengthy 11-week federal election campaign could give the Conservatives, armed with a significant war chest, a marked edge over their political rivals.

​"Politics is a lot like war. You want to starve your opponent and be able to bomb the heck out of them," said Toronto-based political strategist Marcel Wieder. "And the Tories currently have a decided advantage in terms of financial resources that work in their favour."

Premier Clark's claims of thousands of LNG jobs 'grossly overstated' — CCPA report

Premier Christy Clark may be touting massive job opportunities with the B.C.-based LNG industry, but the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released a "reality check" report that disputes the numbers.

Clark has stated that the LNG industry as a whole would create 100,000 jobs, with 4,500 jobs in the Petronas-backed Pacific NorthWest LNG project alone.

Anonymous threatens to release text messages from John Baird that allegedly reveal ‘real reason’ he left politics

Hackers with Anonymous — who last week leaked a seemingly legitimate secret document on cyber-security at Canada’s spy agency — threatened Wednesday to release decrypted text messages from former Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird allegedly showing the “real reason” why he abruptly left politics.

The warning was made in social media from an account the National Post confirms is one that has been operated by activists responsible for the CSIS leak.


Imagine a family living in fear of violence every day in their country despite calling it home for more than a dozen generations. Despite the need to abandon everything they have and everything they know, they decide to risk migration to another country. They choose Canada.

Prior to 1967, their chances of success would have depended on who they were. Asian? No. African? Not them either. Eastern European? A few. Western Europeans? Of course. Jewish? Sorry. Sikh? Afraid not. Discrimination was legal.

Mass Die-Off of Fish Underscores Dangers of Palm Oil Industry in Guatemala

Crossing the River Pasión today, nothing would appear out of the ordinary: Boats ferry people across the river while a woman washes clothing in the murky brown water. But a little over a month ago, the scene was different. On May 30, residents of the municipality of Sayaxché, in the Guatemalan department of Petén, awoke to find tens of thousands of fish floating in the river. For residents, it was clear who was responsible for the die-off: the local palm company, Reforestadora de Palma del Petén (REPSA), a member of the powerful Olmeca Group.

Why Are Hundreds Of Thousands Of Salmon Dying In The Northwest?

Each year, around July 1, thousands of sockeye salmon pass the Columbia River’s Bonneville Dam on their way to their spawning grounds in northern Washington and Canada. Centuries ago, sockeye salmon runs could be as large as three million fish. Last year — in the largest run since the construction of the Bonneville Dam in 1938 — 645,100 sockeye made the trip from the Pacific through the Columbia River.

Greece's Tspiras Says Won't Go Beyond Agreed Reforms

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, struggling to contain a revolt in his left-wing Syriza party, said on Wednesday that his government would not implement reform measures beyond those agreed with lenders at a euro zone summit this month.

Tsipras faces a tough Syriza central committee session on Thursday with many activists angered by his acceptance of bailout terms more stringent than those voters rejected in a July 5 referendum.

Seven reasons why long-term expats deserve a voice in Canadian politics

Canadian democracy suffered another serious blow last weekwhen the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled against allowing expats living abroad for longer than five years the right to vote, and consequently, playing any role in shaping Canadian policies and laws.
The decision comes at an especially crucial moment because some analysts are calling the 2015 federal election a particularly high-stakes race with the potential to radicallytransform Canada's image at home and abroad.

Hedge funds tell Puerto Rico: lay off teachers and close schools to pay us back

Billionaire hedge fund managers have called on Puerto Rico to lay off teachers and close schools so that the island can pay them back the billions it owes.

The hedge funds called for Puerto Rico to avoid financial default – and repay its debts – by collecting more taxes, selling $4bn worth of public buildings and drastically cutting public spending, particularly on education.

Yanis Varoufakis is being pilloried for doing what had to be done

Yanis Varoufakis has few friends in official circles these days. Greece’s outspoken former finance minister has long been loathed by his erstwhile eurozone counterparts, on whom he counterproductively impressed their mediocrity. Since he has been jettisoned by his prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, and criticised Greece’s capitulation to Germany’s iniquitous demands, his former Syriza colleagues are losing patience with him too. He is becoming the perfect fall guy for having devised a daring escape plan in the event that Greece’s creditors shut down its banking system and severed its international economic ties – as they eventually did.

Federal Election 2015: Longer Campaign Could Cost Taxpayers Millions

OTTAWA - It's not just political parties that will be spending money hand over fist if Stephen Harper fires the starting gun for the Oct. 19 federal election weeks earlier than necessary.

Taxpayers will be shelling out big bucks, too - millions in extra administrative costs and tens of millions more in rebates to parties and candidates for their inflated election expenses.

Speculation is rampant that Harper is poised to officially kick off the election campaign - known as the writ period - as early as this weekend.

We Are Literally Farming Ourselves Out of Food

Two items crossed my desk recently that were so fundamentally opposite in their visions of the future that it was enough to give a reader whiplash. The first was the 2012 book Abundance, the optimistic paen to entrepreneurs, inventors and Silicon Valley gazillionaires written by X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis and science journalist Steven Kotler. The authors claim that the exponential growth of technology will solve all the world's ills, and, "within a generation ... provide goods and services, once reserved for the wealthy few, to any and all who need them." Poo-burning toilets, refrigerator-sized water purifiers, portable nuclear power plants, algae biofuels and skyscraper greenhouses capable of feeding the world's 800 million hungry, among many other gadgets, they contend, are just around the corner and, within 25 years, will create a techno-utopian world.

Conservative insider won huge contract to build Harper’s Arctic project

A hugely expensive public contract to build an Arctic research station —promoted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper —went to a joint venture that included a company run by a Conservative Party insider with close ties to Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, the National Observer has confirmed.

An $85-million construction contract to build the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) was awarded in June 2013 to a partnership between EllisDon and NCC Dowland Construction —the latter is controlled by a prominent Iqaluit businessman, Greg Cayen, who has been a key planner behind Leona Aglukkaq’s two federal election victories.


Toronto Wildlife Centre (TWC) has released the last of the 111 oil-smothered ducks rescued from Mimico Creek after a spill from an overturned truck, but enviros say the threat to wildlife is far from over.

A transport truck carrying transformers rolled over at 427 and 401 earlier this month, dumping some 6,000 litres of petroleum-based oil. Storm sewers carried the slick down to Mimico Creek, where TWC rescued most of the birds, and into Lake Ontario. A spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change says the spill was vacuumed up and “all impacts to the Creek were remediated.” But questions remain.

I’m Canadian – and I should have a right to vote

My name is Donald Sutherland. My wife’s name is Francine Racette. We are Canadians. We each hold one passport. A Canadian passport. That’s it. They ask me at the border why I don’t take American citizenship. I could still be Canadian, they say. You could have dual citizenship. But I say no, I’m not dual anything. I’m Canadian. There’s a maple leaf in my underwear somewhere. There used to be a beaver there, too, but I’m 80 now and beavers are known to take off when you’re in your 80s.

'We Use Other People's Money': The Reality Behind Canada's Shadow Mortgage Lenders

Juanita was already taking care of her 87-year-old mother when her husband had a heart attack so serious that he couldn’t return to work.

The 60-year-old Newfoundland woman had been eking out enough as a personal support worker to cover living costs for all three of them — until her sister was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Juanita gave up more shifts to care for her sister as well.

Hillary Clinton Keeps Ducking Questions About the Keystone Pipeline

For the second time this week, voters asked Hillary Clinton to weigh in on the Keystone XL pipeline. And for the second time this week, she dodged the question. “I want to wait and see what [President Barack Obama] and Secretary [John] Kerry decide," she told an audience on Tuesday in New Hampshire. "If it's undecided when I become president, I will answer your question."

Senate Aims To Vote On Defunding Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Republicans are planning a vote in coming days on legislation to cut $500 million in annual federal funding for Planned Parenthood, reigniting a fight in Congress over abortion that has long been dormant.

For years a target of conservatives, Planned Parenthood has come under increasing scrutiny recently due to secretly recorded videos about its role in supplying aborted fetal tissue for medical research.

Anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress on Tuesday released the third of a series of videos that it says prove Planned Parenthood staff sell fetal material from abortions for profit.

A Witch Hunt For Kurdish Politicians Is Brewing In Turkey

A witch hunt is brewing in Turkey, one that could result in the leading politicians within the country's pro-Kurdish party being sent to jail as terrorists.

“Executives of this party should pay,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a fiery press conference Tuesday, referring to the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). “The Turkish state has the power to make so-called politicians [and] so-called intellectuals pay for the blood of its martyrs.”

Confrontation escalates as LNG battles First Nations for land access

A month after the B.C. government conditionally approved a liquefied natural gas project led by Royal Dutch Shell in Kitimat, the Unist’ot’en Camp has reported escalating confrontations as RCMP and the LNG industry seek access to its unceded territory.

In recent days supporters of the Unist’ot’en Camp have uploaded three videos showing clashes with RCMP and pipeline officials.

Here's What Sandra Bland's Death Says About Our Broken Bail System

If Sandra Bland indeed committed suicide after spending three days in a Texas jail, as the Harris county medical examiner determined last week, her death fits a pattern: Half of all suicides behind bars occur within the first 14 days of custody. Twenty-three percent happen within the first 24 hours following an arrest. And like two-thirds of the 750,000 people in US jails, Bland had not yet been convicted of any crime.

Anonymous Vows To Leak More Secret Federal Documents After Apparent Breach

OTTAWA — The federal government is saying little about an apparent breach involving classified information - one that could snowball into a serious compromise of closely guarded secrets.

Digital hacking collective Anonymous made good late Monday on a threat to release what it says is the first of many sensitive documents.

It posted online what appeared to be a 2014 Treasury Board memo about funding of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's overseas communications capabilities. But as of Tuesday morning, the document could not be accessed through the original link.

How the 2000 Election in Florida Led to a New Wave of Voter Disenfranchisement

On November 7, 2000, Willie Steen, a Navy vet who had served in the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm, went to cast his ballot for president at the St. Francis Episcopal Church in Tampa, Florida.

He brought his 10-year-old son, Willie Jr., to the polls for the first time. They waited a half hour to reach a poll worker. When Steen gave the poll worker his name, she searched a list of registered voters in the precinct and told him, “You can’t vote. You’re a convicted felon.”

TransAlta Timed Power Outages To Drive Up Prices: Alberta Utilities Commission

CALGARY - TransAlta Corp. deliberately timed outages at power plants in Alberta at peak times in order to drive up electricity prices, the province's utilities commission said in a ruling Monday.

The Alberta Utilities Commission conducted hearings after the province's market surveillance administrator alleged that the Calgary-based company manipulated the electricity market by shutting down coal-fired power plants in late 2010 and early 2011 to drive up power costs during periods when demand was high.

Wrongly Fired Health Workers Reject Ombudsperson Review

Eight people affected by the botched firings from the British Columbia health ministry in 2012 say a proposed review by the Ombudsperson will fail to provide the answers and accountability that they and the public need.

The B.C. legislature's select standing committee on finance and government services is considering a request from Health Minister Terry Lake to ask recently appointed Ombudsperson Jay Chalke to review what went wrong with the firings.