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.]

Thursday, August 27, 2015

It’s Time to Free Students From Debt

Butch Hancock, one of Austin’s finest singer-songwriters, grew up in the Texas Panhandle, out among dry-land farmers and strict fundamentalist Christians. Butch once told me that he felt he’d been permanently scarred in his vulnerable teen years by the local culture’s puritanical preaching on sexual propriety: “They told us that sex is filthy, obscene, wicked, and beastly—and that we should save it for someone we love.”

Congress Is Sick of the Secrecy Around the TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is in its final stages, though nobody seems certain when talks over the massive trade deal will actually conclude. The document is undergoing critical late-stage revisions as member nations haggle over the automobile trade with Japan, dairy prices in New Zealand, and monopoly periods for non-generic pharmaceuticals.

When the deal is completed, members of Congress will be able to see the entire text without restriction before they vote on passage. But until then, legislators are operating under hyper-strict rules when they want to review the text, which is locked in a basement room of the US Capitol. Only certain congressional aides with security clearances can see the TPP draft, and only when the member of Congress is also present. Notes taken during these sessions can’t be taken out of the room.

Another Industry Reported Quake in BC's Fracking Grounds

Progress Energy, an arm of the Malaysian oil company Petronas, temporarily shut down operations at a wellsite after a 4.5 magnitude earthquake hit an area 114 kilometres northwest of Fort St. John on Aug. 17.

B.C.'s oil and gas regulator said the earthquake was likely caused by hydraulic fracturing but "has yet to determine the cause of the event." Progress Energy reported the tremor on Monday. No damages were reported to the regulator.

'The Iranian Threat'

Who Is the Gravest Danger to World Peace?
Cross-posted with
Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.”

South Korea Exchanges Fire With North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea fired dozens of shells Thursday at rival North Korea after the North lobbed several rounds across the world's most heavily armed border and threatened to take further action unless Seoul ends its loudspeaker broadcasts.

The North was backing up an earlier threat to attack South Korean border loudspeakers that, after a lull of 11 years, have started broadcasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda.

Why Foreign Ownership Data Won't Solve Vancouver's Affordability Crisis

Data collection on foreign ownership of residential property is not the answer to the housing crisis playing out across Canada and, most acutely, in Vancouver.

Sure, such information might reveal an interesting detail of the housing market, but it is unlikely to be the major insight recent political discussions appear to assume. Indeed, this and an increase in the RRSP withdrawal limit for first-time home buyers are the solutions proposed by the party seeking re-election as our federal government -- showing how deficient current federal policy on housing insecurity and homelessness really is.

The Delusions of David Frum's Mind

David Frum is not here anymore. That's apparent from the defence of Stephen Harper he published in The Atlantic yesterday. It's full of spin and falsehoods evident to those who actually live in Canada and are paying attention.

Born to a famous Canadian family, Frum left long ago to toil in the fertile vineyards of right-wing America, landing a White House job selling George W. Bush's war, and then permanent pundit status.

Now, like an ex-pat come home on vacation but oblivious to all the torn-down landmarks, he argues Canadians have no right to be angry at what Harper has done to their democracy.

Duffy trial testimony has Harper campaign on the defensive

When Stephen Harper kicked off the election campaign on the August long weekend he said voters would have a clear choice between proven leadership they can trust, or unproven risky alternatives.

Three weeks in and trust has indeed become a central theme, just not in the way Harper intended.

Mike Duffy trial: 7 things we learned from Nigel Wright's testimony

After six days in the witness box, including five under intense cross-examination, Nigel Wright wrapped up his testimony on Wednesday, answering a number of questions that had been outstanding since he left the Prime Minister's Office and his role as Stephen Harper's chief of staff in May 2013.

Court challenge slams new Citizenship Act as ‘anti-Canadian’

Two legal advocacy groups are launching a constitutional challenge to the Conservative government’s new Citizenship Act in federal court, calling it “anti-immigrant, anti-Canadian, anti-democratic, and unconstitutional.”

Both the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers are filing a judicial review application and a statement of claim Thursday arguing that Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, creates a “two-tier citizenship regime” that discriminates between dual nationals — born here or abroad — and naturalized citizens.

The Racist Roots of the GOP’s Favorite New Immigration Plan

The year 1866 was an alarming one for xenophobes: Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, declaring “all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power…to be citizens of the United States.” Though explicitly intended to grant citizenship to African-Americans, who’d been denied it by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the 1857 Dred Scott case, wouldn’t the law also “have the effect of naturalizing the children of Chinese and Gypsies born in this country?” wondered Pennsylvania Senator Edgar Cowan. “Undoubtedly,” responded Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois. When President Andrew Johnson vetoed the act, he too raised the specter of the Chinese and “the people called Gypsies.”

Why Harper’s 'base' is frantic about the Duffy trial

When an aggressive pre-screened Conservative supporter (wearing buttons for Ted Opitz and good old Doug Ford) verbally assaulted several reporters outside a Toronto Conservative rally on Aug. 18, it was a clear indication of cracking nerves among the support circle that have bet their fortune (some literally) on the continuation of Stephen Harper’s regime.

But there’s a clear driver to this scenario: Stephen Harper’s overall style and behaviour.

Prison Education Reduces Recidivism by Over 40 Percent. Why Aren’t We Funding More of It?

Prison isn’t the most intellectually stimulating environment, but the dimmest corners of the criminal justice system may actually be a perfect place to liberate an otherwise wasted mind. A new initiative by the White House to issue Pell Grants to incarcerated students is about to test just how truly corrective our so-called corrections system can be.

The plan to extend Pell Grant access in prisons is described as a “limited pilot program” authorized through a federal financial aid waiver program under the Higher Education Act. Incarcerated adults could apply for grants of up to $5,775 for tuition and related expenses, at college-level programs offered in prison facilities nationwide. Designed to allow for studying long-term effects of education on recidivism, the program moves toward restoring access to Pell Grants for incarcerated people, which Congress removed in the mid-1990s.

There’s a Solution to Homelessness. Why Aren’t We Funding It?

We need a national Housing First plan implemented as soon as possible if we are to effectively deal with the problem of homelessness in America. This is a story that explains why.

I became homeless in 2009 and out of necessity learned how to make the services administered through the Ocean County New Jersey Board of Social Services work for me. They included housing assistance provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), food assistance (SNAP) through the US Department of Agriculture, and cash assistance through the General Assistance program made available by the State of New Jersey.

Joan Crockatt, Conservative Candidate, Won't March In Calgary Pride Parade

CALGARY — A Conservative incumbent will no longer be participating in Calgary's pride parade following a controversy over her vote against a bill that would have added gender identity to the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Calgary Pride said on its Facebook page Wednesday that Joan Crockatt agreed to withdraw her application to march in the Sept. 6 event.

Crockatt, elected in Calgary Centre in 2012, faced criticism in social media in recent days for being allowed in the parade.

Energy East Pipeline Would Stress Whales: Conservation Council of New Brunswick

FREDERICTON — A New Brunswick conservation group says the proposed Energy East pipeline would cause a stressed marine environment for whales in the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine.

In a report released today on the risks the proposed bitumen pipeline poses to ocean environments, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick says noise from tanker traffic causes heightened levels of stress for the North Atlantic right whale, the most endangered large whale in the world.

Trudeau, Mulcair Say Harper Hasn't Been Honest On Wright-Duffy Affair

Both Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair are directly accusing Stephen Harper of deceiving Canadians on the Wright-Duffy affair.

The Liberal leader was first to be asked Wednesday morning to react to new developments at the trial of Sen. Mike Duffy.

A day earlier, Duffy's lawyer revealed that Harper's former legal counsel told police that Ray Novak, the prime minister's current chief of staff, knew Nigel Wright paid Duffy's expenses. Conservatives have maintained Novak was unaware of the scheme and a top spokesperson even said it would be "unfathomable" for Novak to know about the plan and not tell Harper.

Scott Walker And The Trouble With Obamacare 'Replacement' Plans

Very near the beginning of Scott Walker's new proposal to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, he bemoans that Obamacare forced so many people to give up the insurance they once had.

Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin and one of many GOP presidential hopefuls, then goes on to outline an alternative plan that would do the exact same thing.

By scrapping President Barack Obama's 2010 health care overhaul, Walker's plan -- which the governor announced this week -- would take away health coverage from some unknowable share of the millions of people who have gained it under Obamacare. It promotes benefits like less regulation and less federal spending on health insurance, as well as cheaper coverage for some young and healthy people. But like all the other Republican “repeal and replace” plans that have appeared in the last few years, Walker's proposal never acknowledges the trade-offs and consequences of these changes.

New Monsanto Spray Kills Bugs by Messing With Their Genes

In a fascinating long piece in MIT Technology Review, Antonio Regalado examines the genetically modified seed industry's latest blockbuster app in development—one that has nothing to do with seeds. Instead, it involves the industry's other bread-and-butter product: pesticide sprays. But we're not talking about the poisonous chemicals you convinced your dad to stop dousing the lawn with. The novel sprays in question are powered by a genetic technology called RNA interference, which promises to kill specific insects and weeds by silencing genes crucial to their survival, while leaving nontarget species unscathed.

Site C Dam: First Nations Go To Court To Halt Project

VANCOUVER — Two northeastern British Columbia First Nations will suffer "irreparable harm'' if thousands of hectares of old-growth forest are cleared to build the Site C dam, their lawyer says.

John Gailus told B.C. Supreme Court that a stop-work order should be issued to halt the first phase of the nearly $9-billion hydroelectric project from proceeding along the Peace River.

Former PMO lawyer contradicts Harper and campaign on Duffy scandal

OTTAWA - Stephen Harper's top aide and election director Ray Novak boomeranged back into the centre of the Mike Duffy coverup scandal, as the testimony of a former PMO lawyer directly contradicted the Conservative election campaign.

For the past several days, Harper and his team have rejected evidence that suggested current chief of staff Novak was privy to his predecessor Nigel Wright's secret repayment of Sen. Duffy's contested expenses in 2013.

Wright's $90,000 cheque is at the heart of some of the 31 charges that Duffy is now facing.

What's with Tories' 'Career Politician' Smear?

Earlier this month, the Conservative Party of Canada ran an advertisement and published tweets accusing NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, who has worked in politics for 20 years, of being a "career politician."

But by that definition -- 20 years in political office -- the Conservatives have more than 20 MPs running for re-election who could wear the same label.

Mulcair, who is 60, first joined the NDP in his early twenties. He entered politics as a provincial representative in Quebec's legislature in 1994 and has been in the political arena ever since.

Who Would Go to Bat for Harper's Minority Team?

If the current federal election isn't long enough for you, take heart: Oct. 19 might merely signal the end of Part One of the epic 2015 campaign.

As Mike Duffy might put it: But wait -- there's more.

As things now stand, not one of the major parties is poised to form a majority government. It's assumed that if the Conservatives can hold on to a minority, Harper will continue to be prime minister. We may want to re-think that assumption.

'You Have Forgotten': Seven Conservative Attacks on Canada's Veterans

Last year retired general Rick Hillier, the former head of the Canadian Military, spoke about high rates of suicide and mental anguish among Canadian soldiers returning home:

"I do not think we had any idea the scale and scope of what the impact would be. I truly do not. This is beyond a medical issue. I think many of our young men and women have lost confidence in our country to support them."

The Amazon Economy

A recent New York Times piece describes as Lord of the Flies for engineers and managers. Relentless culling, hyper-critical supervision, and channels for informing on allegedly slacking co-workers create an artificial State of Nature, where many employees careers are brutish and short. The article tells the stories of workers placed under special scrutiny upon returning from cancer treatment and stillbirths, and quotes a chain of forty-year-olds fearful of being replace by thirty-year-olds, twenty-five-year-olds afraid of being replaced by college students, and so forth. In the world the reporters portray, wanting work-life balance, or just a rest, is an aberration that gets punished as soon as it is discovered.

Harper says Tories would resurrect ‘life means life’ legislation

Stephen Harper says a re-elected Conservative government will reintroduce its “Life Means Life” legislation that died when Parliament dissolved due to the election call.

Speaking in Toronto’s Etobicoke-Centre riding, Harper said Canadians expect to be protected from the worst type of criminals.

The Conservative government originally introduced the legislation this spring.

It proposed amending the Criminal Code to imprison offenders convicted of the “most heinous murders” and high treason for the rest of their natural lives.

The Conservatives say the legislation would address murders involving sexual assault, kidnapping, terrorism, the killing of police officers or corrections offers.

Harper will be travelling through southern Ontario this afternoon.

Original Article
Author: --

Stephen Harper supporter hurls profanity at journalists over Duffy questions

Some Tory supporters are apparently growing tired of seeing Conservative Leader Stephen Harper pressed by questions about Senator Mike Duffy's expense scandal.

During a campaign stop in Toronto this morning, hecklers tried to shout down journalists posing questions to Harper about recent revelations at Duffy's criminal trial. After the event, one man expressed his frustrations to a group of reporters, calling one journalist a "lying piece of shit."

From Japan to Vietnam, Radiation and Agent Orange Survivors Deserve Justice From the US

We have just marked anniversaries of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the US government against the people of Japan and Vietnam. Seventy years ago, on August 6, 1945, the US military unleashed an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing at least 140,000 people. Three days later, the United States dropped a second bomb, on Nagasaki, which killed 70,000. And 54 years ago, on August 10, 1961, the US military began spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam. It contained the deadly chemical dioxin, which has poisoned an estimated 3 million people throughout that country.

Local Officials Have Pushed To Criminalize Homelessness For Years. The Feds Are Starting To Push Back.

Armed with lawyers, data, and money, the federal government is discouraging local communities from passing laws that treat the daily realities of being homeless as crimes.

The effort draws on three different forms of federal power. Government attorneys are urging a federal court to strike down one local law criminalizing outdoor sleeping, which would create precedent that could be used elsewhere. The official federal homelessness task force is using its platform to discourage communities from cracking down on tent encampments, an act without the same bite as a court filing but one which is likely to be influential in the advocacy world.

No Keystone, No Problem: The Oil Industry Is Making Other Pipeline Plans

Environmentalists have been waiting since 2008 for President Barack Obama's decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. That decision may come any day now. But Canada’s tar sands industry hasn't been waiting around.

Publicly, TransCanada, the company behind the embattled pipeline, insists it is still optimistic it will win the long-running standoff—not just over Keystone, but another pipeline project that has faced environmental opposition as well, Energy East. “We’re optimistic for both of our projects,” TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper told the New Republic.

70 Years of Military Mediocrity

The Shared Failings of America’s Military Academies and Senior Officers 
Cross-posted with 
Thomas Jefferson Hall, West Point’s library and learning center, prominently features two quotations for cadets to mull over. In the first, Jefferson writes George Washington in 1788: “The power of making war often prevents it, and in our case would give efficacy to our desire of peace.” In the second, Jefferson writes Thomas Leiper in 1815: “I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power, the greater it will be.”

Obama's Secret Elite Interrogation Squad May Not Be So Elite -- And Might Be Doomed

WASHINGTON -- When President Barack Obama took office, he promised to overhaul the nation's process for interrogating terror suspects. His solution: the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, a small interagency outfit that would use non-coercive methods and the latest psychological research to interrogate America's most-wanted terrorists -- all behind a veil of secrecy.

Raising RRSP withdrawal limit no solution to unaffordable housing

Far be it from me to school Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the laws of supply and demand. He is, after all, the one who has extensively studied neoliberal economics.
But the Conservatives' plan to increase what first-time homebuyers can pull from their RRSPs for a down payment -- from a maximum of $25K to $35K -- would do nothing to help ease the unaffordability of housing. That's because an effective policy response either has to control prices (for example by means of a speculation tax), cool demand (by more tightly regulating speculative buyers), or increase the supply (by building more affordable housing). But a policy such as the one proposed, aimed at simply encouraging more demand, would only result in the bidding upof prices. That's how supply and demand works.

PSAC stands up for public servants, angers Sun editorialists

Many high-profile campaigns targeting Harper's record launched just before the writ dropped on August 2.
One of the highest profile national campaigns was from the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). PSAC represents 170,000 government workers across Canada. PSAC members will be most directly affected by the outcome of the election; the stakes for them are high and personal.

CSIS surveillance of pipeline protesters faces federal review

A federal committee is holding a hearing Wednesday into a complaint that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service illegally spied on peaceful anti-pipeline protesters in B.C., but the public may never know what has occurred behind the hearing's closed doors.

The security intelligence review committee hearing will not be open to the public.

Déjà Vu: Germany Tightens Its Economic Power Over Europe

Germany's leaders herded their European counterparts into imposing harsh austerity on Greece. It was the price, they insisted, that Greece had to pay to receive bailout credits from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Europeans required those bailout credits to be used mostly to pay back loans the Greek government had gotten earlier from private banks (chiefly German, French and Greek). Those credits could not be used to get Greece out of the 2008 crash that afflicted all of Europe.

Duffy Trial: 8 Things We Learned Monday

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, was in the witness box for the fourth day Monday. Under intense cross-examination from Mike Duffy’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, Wright revealed several interesting and significant details.
Duffy, the former broadcaster and Conservative senator from Prince Edward Island, has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges, including multiple counts of fraud and breach of trust, and one count of bribery. Most of the charges are related to claims for secondary housing expenses related to his home in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata. But some of the charges relate to travel and contracts that are unrelated to Wright’s testimony.

Performance pay, bonuses for public service executives up 65 per cent under Harper

Spending on bonuses and performance pay for the public service executives who implement the government’s orders has jumped by more than 65 per cent since Stephen Harper came to power.

Overall spending on bonuses and performance pay for public service executives has risen from $43.8 million in 2006/07 to $72.4 million in 2013/14, the last year for which figures are available.

At the same time, the number of public service executives has risen 11.8 per cent – from 4,984 in 2006/07 to 5,576 in 2013/14. That is down from a high of 6,044 in 2010/11.

How Canada Caved to US Pressure at TPP Talks in Hawaii

Earlier this month, Canada joined 11 other countries including the United States, Japan and Australia in Hawaii for what many experts expected would be the final round of negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership -- a trade deal that represents nearly 40 per cent of world GDP.

According to media reports, the Canadian government was among those expecting the talks to conclude, with officials lining up the corporate community to immediately express their support for the agreement.

Vets Shut Out as Part of Harper's Divide and Conquer Strategy, Critics Say

The group of veterans shut out of a Fredericton Legion hall on Monday have joined the ranks of those on Stephen Harper's pay-no-mind list as the prime minister seeks to avoid those who don't agree with his policies, critics say.

That list includes veterans who don't like the closure of services offices or reductions in staff tasked with helping them navigate the benefits system.

Monday's newest second-class warriors were mostly Afghanistan veterans representing the organization Marijuana For Trauma, which seeks to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with marijuana treatment.

Toronto police curb disclosure of suicide attempts to U.S. border police

Following a highly critical report and unprecedented legal action by Ontario’s privacy commissioner, Toronto police have taken steps to keep U.S. border police from automatically accessing records about a Canadian’s suicide attempts — sensitive personal information that could result in being denied entry.

“This is a huge, huge achievement and a significant advancement in terms of mental health issues,” said former Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian, who in her final year as privacy watchdog took on what she called the “perplexing” and “indiscriminant” disclosure of suicide attempt incidents by police.

Federal Election 2015: Veterans' Group Launches 'Anyone But Conservatives' Campaign

FREDERICTON — A veterans group opposed to the Harper government says it is planning to regularly picket campaign events, post lawn signs and use social media in its Anyone But Conservatives campaign, launched Monday.

The group kicked off its efforts with a protest outside the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Fredericton as Stephen Harper made announcements to boost the number of military reservists in the next mandate.

Scott Walker Wants To Build A Wall On The U.S.-Mexico Border

WASHINGTON -- It didn't take long for Donald Trump's surging presidential campaign to drag his fellow Republican rivals further to the right.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said on Monday that his immigration proposals were "very similar" to those of the real estate magnate, who over the weekend released a tough new plan exclusively focused on enforcement and cracking down on unauthorized immigrants. Walker said that he, too, wanted to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which is one of Trump's most controversial proposals.

Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace

SEATTLE — On Monday mornings, fresh recruits line up for an orientation intended to catapult them into Amazon’s singular way of working.

They are told to forget the “poor habits” they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they “hit the wall” from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: “Climb the wall,” others reported. To be the best Amazonians they can be, they should be guided by the leadership principles, 14 rules inscribed on handy laminated cards. When quizzed days later, those with perfect scores earn a virtual award proclaiming, “I’m Peculiar” — the company’s proud phrase for overturning workplace conventions.

How to Add Politics to Our Protest

While the electorate is rarely excited for elections, the 2016 race takes place against the backdrop of a country on the brink of a crisis of democratic legitimacy. Congress, nominally the most important democratic institution in the country, has suffered from an approval rating averaging in the teens for more than four years. Facing a government held hostage by the 1 percent, many Americans are throwing up their hands: Turnout for the 2014 midterm elections dipped to a 72-year low.

Reporter's ejection from Harper rally fits pattern of hostility to media

Vancouver journalist Shelby Thom was unceremoniously booted out of a Conservative Party rally attended by Stephen Harper simply for asking his supporters if they supported legalizing marijuana.
“Just got kicked out of @pmharper campaign rally for talking to supporters post rally about marijuana. #elxn42,” said Thom, a reporter for CKNW, in a tweet that also included a shot of the door shut behind her after she was kicked out of Richmond’s Pacific Gateway Hotel on Aug. 11. This was yet another chapter in Canada's 2015 federal election in which the Prime Minister's Office has gone to extremes to control the message.

In Stephen Harper's dystopian Canada, Big Brother is the PM

Stephen Harper might not have studied the society in George Orwell’s classic, 1984. He prefers to read just about politics – or hockey – we're told.

So it may simply be a coincidence that since the Conservatives won their majority, Harper has been acting a lot like Big Brother.

Titles like “The Fair Elections Act” and the “Jobs, Growth and Long Term Prosperity Act” reek of “newspeak”, the manufactured language in Orwell’s dark and pessimistic novel.

Your lie-detector guide to the latest PMO spin

If lying were an Olympic sport, Canada's PMO would be the Jamaican bobsled team. They’re really bad, but it's great TV.
The PMO's culture of casual lying made possible by tightly controlled media access is withering under the relentless onslaught of Donald Bayne's cross-examination. As a former criminal prosecutor who watched the last three days of Nigel Wright's testimony at the Duffy trial in person, I find hard to envision a way out now for the government. Nigel Wright's best moments in the witness stand are far behind him, and by my estimation he's not even half-way through.

Why is Joe Oliver seeking economic advice from a scandal-plagued corporate honcho?

Is Canada’s finance minister, Joe Oliver, seeking economic advice from a scandal-plagued corporate honcho?

Oliver, who is also MP for the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, can’t be a happy man these days: Canada has slipped into recession again, blowing a hole in his hopes of balancing the government’s budget for the first time since 2007.

Alberta oil patch firebrand's campaign against Linda McQuaig will (probably) backfire

Brace yourselves, Toronto!Craig B. Chandler's heading your way to campaign against Linda McQuaig, the NDP's candidate in the Toronto Centre riding, who is notorious here in Alberta nowadays for saying aloud that some of our Bitumen may have to stay in the ground if the planet is going to survive.
We don't hold to that point of view out here, if you must know, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives remind us on Facebook ever third or fourth minute. In fact, we find that saying things like that about our sand-impregnated oil is darned unfriendly! And that includes a lot of Alberta New Democrats, if you must know.