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.]

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Canada’s gun lobby has never had a more sympathetic ear in Ottawa, but public concern over the Parliament Hill shooting threatened their plans to further loosen gun laws under Bill C-42. Documentary filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza spent two years following the gun industry’s top lobbyist, Tony Bernardo. With access to Parliament’s backrooms, Pequeneza captures how Bernardo was able to stickhandle the changes through as the clock was ticking toward an election. The result is Up In Arms: How The Gun Lobby Is Changing Canada.

Justice Scalia Is Still Hopping Mad Over The Gay Marriage Ruling

With less than two weeks before the start of the new Supreme Court session, Justice Antonin Scalia is still lamenting Obergefell v. Hodges, the June ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

At a Tuesday speech at Rhodes College, which his grandson attends, the justice blasted the decision, calling it the "furthest imaginable extension of the Supreme Court doing whatever it wants," according to The Associated Press.

Rock Band Won't Rock Because Hedge Fund Pill Guy Bankrolled Label

WASHINGTON -- Martin Shkreli has said he will lower the price of a drug used mainly by AIDS and cancer patients following outrage over his pharmaceutical company jacking the pill's price up 5,000 percent this week.

But a mere price reduction isn't good enough for Nothing, a Philadelphia-based rock band that has a two-album contract with a label that happens to be bankrolled by Shkreli. For Nothing, it's an odious association. It does not rock.

‘Pharma Bro’ Financially Supports Several Punk Bands, And They Hate Him Now

Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical CEO known as the ‘most hated man in America’ or the ‘pharma bro’ for raising the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat infections in AIDS patients and infants, by 5000 percent, is in more hot water. This time, it’s with the punk musicians he financially supports.

Bands on the independent label Collect Records have confirmed that Shkreli funds the label, and they aren’t happy about the association. Geoff Rickly, who fronted influential bands Thursday and United Nations, and now runs Collect, called the revelation of Shkreli’s actions “totally and completely heartbreaking” and said “I can’t see my future at all in the label.”

Martin Shkreli: Pharmaceuticals CEO who raised HIV drug price by 5,000% 'also hiked cost of pill taken by children with incurable kidney disease'

The pharmaceuticals CEO that raised the cost of a drug used by Aids sufferers by more than 5,000 per cent also hiked the price of medication taken by children for a rare kidney disease, it has emerged.

Martin Shkreli is currently the chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which has been internationally condemned for its use of Daraprim, which is the only US-approved treatment for toxoplasmosis.

Joe Oliver, Finance Minister, Says We're Not In Recession

TORONTO -- Canada's finance minister says Canada is not in recession now and wasn't in recession in the first half of the year despite data showing otherwise.

Joe Oliver said in an interview with The Associated Press the downturn was largely confined to the energy sector. Canada fell into a recession in the first six months of the year, dragged down by falling energy prices and economic troubles in China.

Pentagon official casts more doubt on Harper’s dire F-35 industry warning

OTTAWA — More questions have been raised about how much the Canadian aerospace industry would suffer if a future government drops out of the oft-maligned F-35 stealth fighter program.

The Pentagon's top acquisition official says the Canadian supply base is an essential part of the program and will remain as such, even if the country does not buy the aircraft.

Famed Journalist Robert Fisk: Canada's Moral Power Is Lost

Arguably the world's most famous international war correspondent, Robert Fisk has been travelling to strife-ravaged regions of the world for over 30 years. His columns -- he has been contributing to the British newspaper the Independent since 1988 -- are trenchant, often angry analyses of missteps in military interventions in the Middle East.

Fisk has interviewed numerous leaders and figures in the region, including Osama bin Laden (three times). The current refugee crisis, created by instability in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, is the worst of its kind since the Second World War, he says.

Turing Will Roll Back Massive Drug Price Hike After Backlash

Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli said Tuesday he would roll back the massive price increase for lifesaving drug Daraprim after a fierce public backlash that included presidential candidates.

Shkreli, who is part of a criminal investigation involving another company he founded, told NBC News he'll lower the price of the toxoplasmosis-treating drug, which he jacked up overnight from $13.50 per pill to $750 after buying exclusive marketing rights in August. He didn't say how much he'd cut the cost, though he admitted that he made the decision after the drubbing he got from the public.

Drug-Price Gouging Hedge Fund Guy May Be Even Worse Than You Thought, SEC Documents Show

Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive who jacked up the price of a drug mainly used by cancer and HIV-AIDS patients by about 8 gazillion percent, is part of a criminal investigation involving a company he founded, according to documents on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A federal prosecutor this year subpoenaed Retrophin Inc., looking for information on the company's dealings with Shkreli, who founded the biotechnology company in 2011 and ran it until he was fired last year. Shkreli, 32, currently is CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

Harper government facing court challenge over secret OIC

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is facing a court challenge over one of its secret orders in council adopted earlier this year that ordered a Chinese firm to sell its shares in a Montreal-area company, iPolitics has learned.

O-Net Communications has filed an application for judicial review in Federal Court, calling on the court to quash a July 9 order in council, which gave it 180 days to divest its interest in ITF Technologies, a St. Laurent firm specializing in fiber components and modules.

Winnipeg Conservative candidate compares abortion numbers in Canada to Holocaust

WINNIPEG - A Conservative candidate in Winnipeg has compared the number of abortions in Canada to the death tolls of the Holocaust and the 9-11 attack in the United States.

Gordon Giesbrecht, who is running in Winnipeg-South, made the comments in a video posted online in 2009 when he was president of Horizon College and Seminary, a Christian academy in Saskatoon.

In the video, Giesbrecht says the number of abortions in recent decades equals "a 9-11 every day" and surpasses the number of people killed in the Holocaust in the Second World War.

Majority of Canadians worried about potential election fraud, study finds

Many Canadians are heading to the polls in 2015 worried about the potential for the “illegal manipulation” of their votes, and showing as little trust in elections as people in some Latin American countries.

A survey of 26 countries in the Americas found that Canadians’ trust in elections is relatively weak, with only one in five (21 per cent) expressing “strong trust” in elections. An equal proportion (22 per cent) have little or no trust, with 57 per cent in the middle, showing “some” trust.

Syrian War Causes The Global Doomsday Seed Vault's First Withdrawal

The doomsday seed vault on Norway's remote Svalbard archipelago houses the world's back up supply of seeds to ensure crop diversity. It contains deposits of nearly 865,000 varieties of seeds buried within a mountain in case of catastrophe. Due to Syria's civil war, it will now allow a withdrawal of its contents for the first time in its existence.

Ben Carson: Big Bang A Fairy Tale, Theory Of Evolution Encouraged By The Devil

In a speech delivered in 2012, Ben Carson said the big bang theory was part of the “fairy tales” pushed by “highfalutin scientists” as a story of creation.

Similarly, Carson, a noted creationist, said he believed the theory of evolution was encouraged by the devil.

“Now what about the big bang theory,” said Carson at speech to fellow Seventh-day Adventists titled “Celebration of Creation,” about the theory for the origin of the universe.

Canada's Election Needs Outside Observers To Ensure Fairness: Report

OTTAWA — Canada needs outside observers to monitor the federal election for fairness due to the rise of big money, nasty attack ads and new voting laws, says a report based on a survey of civil society groups.

The non-partisan Civil Election organization, which promotes open and fair discussion during campaigns, invited 70 groups to participate in a survey about the Oct. 19 election.

World's Poorest Need Freedom Far More Than Charity

The United Nations held its Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD3) in Ethiopia this summer. At the meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a "reboot" of development finance to fund the pursuit of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals that will take the place of the UN's expiring Millennium Development Goals moving forward. The 17 new goals and 169 new targets are expected to be adopted by the UN General Assembly at a Sustainable Development Summit being held in New York this weekend.

UN Climate Change Agreement Must Address Corporate Right to Sue Countries

A foreword to Gus Van Harten's An ISDS Carve-out to Support Action on Climate Change, written by Maude Barlow. Find the foreword here.

This December, the world will gather in Paris for COP 21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. This is a historic gathering, and the last chance for perhaps another decade for the nations of the world to truly and meaningfully come to an agreement to seriously reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Expectations are high.

How to vote Harper out

On Oct. 19, an embattled Stephen Harper still plans on mustering a minority win, according to polls, despite two-thirds of Canadians wanting to see him gone.

The prime minister's base is notoriously organized and ready to vote for Harper's fourth straight term, so he has a good shot.

Given the damage he's already done to Canada's democracy, four more years of Stephen Harper would be disastrous.

Clinton breaks longstanding silence; opposes building of Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON — The prospects dimmed for the Keystone XL pipeline ever seeing the light of day, with a significant development Tuesday in the years-long debate over the Canada-to-Texas oil project.

The cause: Hillary Clinton.

The current frontrunner in most U.S. presidential election polls made the long-awaited announcement about where she stands on the project.

Public service union helped save library's documents from the dumpster

By exposing the trashing of reports, journals and other documents, Canada's public service union may have prevented even more from ending up in a landfill, Johanne Fillion, a spokesperson for the Professional Institute of Public Service (PIPSC), told National Observer this week.

After PIPSC issued a release in late August showing the holdings from a suddenly-closed federal government library tossed in a dumpster, Agriculture Canada has since boxed a large amount of material, Fillion said.

Conservative campaign of fear

Conservative messaging finally jumped the jihadist shark last weekend, when BC candidate Dianne Watts mailed out an unhinged flyer promising to keep Canadians safe from ISIS terrorists.

Terrorists, nothing.

The former Surrey mayor's tone-deaf fear-mongering is an insult to her community, now crouching under a hail of gangland gunfire. Three weeks ago an elderly grandfather in a neighbouring municipality was shot dead in his yard by a stray bullet from a drive-by shooting. But nobody should forget that the terrorists are coming for them.

University Sexual Assault Study Sees Unwanted Contact For Almost 1 In 4 U.S. Female Undergrads

Almost one in four undergraduate women at 27 U.S. schools report non-consensual sexual contact in a survey released by the Association of American Universities (AAU) Monday.

Ivy League institutions such as Harvard and Yale partook in an extensive study that yielded responses from over 150,000 professional, graduate and undergraduate students.

It was called "one of the largest surveys on sexual assault and sexual misconduct to provide insight into students' perceptions of campus climate in terms of both number of schools and number of students."

Pharma Company Forced To Backtrack After Suddenly Raising Drug’s Price 20-Fold

Amid outrage about sudden price hikes of specialty drugs, a company has reneged on its recent acquisition of a tuberculosis medication, a deal that would have increased the cost of the treatment more than 20-fold. Just three weeks after purchasing the rights to the drug, Rodelis Therapeutics has agreed to return the medication to the nonprofit that previously owned it.

The medicine, named Cycloserine, treats a form of tuberculosis that’s resistant to multiple drugs usually used to treat it — in other words, a serious form of the ailment. There are nearly 90 cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis annually in the United States.

What You Need To Know About Hillary Clinton's Plan For Soaring Drug Prices

WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will outline a set of policies Tuesday she says will help make prescription drugs more affordable as escalating prices cause rising anxiety among American consumers.

Clinton's plan, a summary of which her campaign provided to reporters Monday evening, mostly represents steps long advocated by Democrats, including giving Medicare the authority to negotiate bulk discounts from pharmaceutical companies. Drug prices and overall national spending on prescriptions have risen in recent years, and a poll last month showed more than 70 percent of Americans think these medicines are too costly.

Embattled Ferguson Mayor Suggests Activists Stop Protesting, Lobby Lawmakers Instead

FERGUSON, Mo. -- Dozens of people attended a panel discussion Monday night about how to respond to suggestions laid out last week by the Ferguson Commission, which was tasked with studying the St. Louis area and proposing ways of moving forward after a year of protests and unrest.

At the "#BeyondFerguson" town hall panel, which was hosted by St. Louis Public Radio and took place at Wellsprings Church -- a frequent meeting spot for activists and political groups since last August -- a group of community leaders addressed the commission's final report. The 16-member, governor-appointed commission was tasked with studying the community and sharing the underlying causes for the unrest that followed the death unarmed black teenager Michael Brown last year. Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer, and his death sparked ongoing protests and a national discussion on racial inequality and police brutality in America.

Here's A Sad Indicator Of Just How Little We Do For Working Moms In The U.S.

This is glacial progress: The very best companies for working mothers in the U.S. were offering an average of just eight weeks of paid maternity leave in 2014, according to Working Mother magazine’s list of the 100 best companies, released on Tuesday.

That's a record high, up from seven weeks in 2013 -- and it's a sad indicator of how little we do for women in this country.

U.S. Outrage and Resignation Over Afghans’ Rape of Boys

WASHINGTON — A report describing how American forces looked the other way as powerful Afghans raped boys with impunity — an issue that long plagued the war effort in Afghanistan — prompted declarations of outrage in Washington on Monday, but officials said the problem was ultimately for Afghans to solve.

The Pentagon insisted that it never ordered troops to ignore any kind of rights abuse. But among American military personnel and civilians who served in Afghanistan, it was well known that many wealthy and prominent Afghans rape boys, often making them dress up as women and dance at gatherings during which they are assaulted — and that Western officials often turned a blind eye to the practice for fear of alienating allies.

Did the Fish and Wildlife Service Just Doom This Bird to Extinction?

UPDATE: The federal government today announced that the greater sage grouse does not warrant listing as an endangered or threatened species. The decision is a victory for the oil industry and a risk to the bird, which has seen its numbers plummet over the last decades.

Today’s decision rests on the hope that a series of novel federal and state conservation plans will be enough to stop the grouse decline and bolster its populations into the future. It’s the dream verdict for the fossil fuel industry, as well as developers and ranchers, since it averts the strict regulations that come with any Endangered Species Act listing—regulations that would sharply limit industry access to large swaths of land in the West. Some environmentalists have also celebrated the news, since the decision reduces the likelihood of a major blowback against the ESA by Republicans in Congress.

Harper's Claim F-35 Cancellation Will 'Crater' Aerospace Industry 'A Lot Of Baloney'

OTTAWA — "He's not giving shipbuilding anything; he's merely talking about cratering our aerospace industry, which is, as I say, bad policy.... I don't understand where they're going with this." — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's promise to scrap the F-35 stealth fighter program and channel the savings into naval shipbuilding.

Baloney Meter: Will cancelling F-35 ‘crater’ the Canadian aerospace industry?

OTTAWA — "He's not giving shipbuilding anything; he's merely talking about cratering our aerospace industry, which is, as I say, bad policy.... I don't understand where they're going with this." — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's promise to scrap the F-35 stealth fighter program and channel the savings into naval shipbuilding.


One of the cornerstones of the Liberal defence policy is to formally opt out of the Conservative government's plan to acquire 65 F-35 stealth fighter jets to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of 1980s vintage CF-18s.

Harper's 'old-stock Canadians' comment and cuts to health care for refugees

During the leaders' debate this past Thursday, Conservative leader Stephen Harper stated, "The only time we've removed [health-care coverage] is where we have clearly bogus refugee claimants who have been refused and turned down. We do not offer them a better health-care plan than the ordinary Canadian can receive. I think that's something that most new and existing and, and, old-stock Canadians agree with."
Much has been rightly made of his use of the term "old-stock Canadians."

As Russia Supports Iran in Syria, Netanyahu Loses Yet Again

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, accompanied by Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and Military Intelligence chief Hertzi Halevy, visited Moscow and attempted to hammer out an agreement with Russia to forestall any military confrontations between the two.  Netanyahu also lobbied Russian President Vladimir Putin against his current alliance with Iran.

Harper Races Against Cracks Eroding His Base

As if trying to scamper across a frozen pond before falling through expanding cracks in the ice beneath him, Stephen Harper leads his party into the last stretch of the campaign. Those cracks are fissures in the Conservative base.

Another one gaped into view last week when the head of Canada's National Firearms Association went public with his group's opposition to Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, which expands the government's powers to spy on the citizenry in the name of anti-terrorism.

Cameron faces fresh questions over knowledge of Ashcroft tax status

David Cameron is facing fresh questions from Labour and the SNP over allegations by the former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft that the prime minister conspired to mislead the public before the 2010 election about his knowledge of Ashcroft’s non-dom tax status.

Ashcroft, a billionaire businessman, Tory donor and former key Cameron ally, has said he is not seeking to settle old scores, but also claimed in a long-awaited unofficial biography that Cameron took drugs at Oxford University and was involved in an initiation ceremony involving mock sex with a dead pig.

Trump, Carson, Rand Paul and Other GOP Candidates Defy the Constitution with Anti-Muslim Bigotry

The founders of this nation recognized Islam as one of the world’s great faiths. Incredibly and disgracefully, much of today’s Republican Party disagrees.

Thomas Jefferson, whose well-worn copy of the Quran is in the Library of Congress, fought to ensure that the American concept of religious freedom encompassed Islam. John Adams wrote that Muhammad was a “sober inquirer after truth.” Benjamin Franklin asserted that even a Muslim missionary sent by “the Mufti of Constantinople” would find there was “a pulpit at his service” in this country.

Dr. Ben Carson Isn’t Just Disrespecting Muslims—He’s Disregarding the Constitution

Days after Donald Trump dignified anti-Muslim bigotry at a New Hampshire town hall meeting, Dr. Ben Carson announced that he did not think a Muslim-American should serve as president.

So it goes in a race for the Republican presidential nomination that is increasingly at odds with the contemporary American circumstance and with the long history of the American experiment.

Suburban Poverty Has Arrived In Toronto, Food Bank Data Shows

The U.S. has seen a growing trend of suburban poverty in the years since the Great Recession, and now evidence is mounting that something similar is happening in Toronto.

Food bank use in Toronto’s suburban boroughs (Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough) has soared 45 per cent since 2008, while food bank use in the inner city (the old city of Toronto, East York and York) has fallen by 16 per cent in that time, says a new report from the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Harper's Decision To Skip Women's Issue Discussion Met With Boos

TORONTO — Federal party leaders courting female voters have made their pitch, laying out proposed childcare plans and promises of an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women Monday in pre-recorded statements to a panel of women.

But one leader was conspicuously absent — Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose decision not to attend elicited boos from the master of ceremonies at the start of the livestreamed discussion.

Cabinet ministers met publicly with KPMG while firm's tax 'sham' under CRA probe

Top Conservative cabinet ministers met publicly with senior staff from KPMG's tax division, and one went so far as to promote the firm, even as the Canada Revenue Agency was alleging the company set up an offshore tax "sham" that deceived the government and deprived the treasury of potentially millions of dollars, a CBC News investigation shows.

Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Finance Minister Joe Oliver and Prime Minister Stephen Harper all appeared in public with officials from KPMG's tax department in 2014 and 2015 during the period when CRA auditors were continuing an investigation into one of the accounting firm's tax schemes and seeking names of multimillionaire clients.

Canadians get ripped off at the pumps

A huge disconnect exists between the price of crude oil and gasoline even though crude is the major component in a refiner’s cost. Big Oil is taking advantage of Canadians at the pumps.

The Harper government seems worried voters might figure it out. When the election was called, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) stopped producing the Fuel Focus Report—its bi-weekly window on economic drivers influencing gasoline prices “intended to provide Canadians with regular information on the various aspects of the gasoline market in Canada.”

How Harper controls the news

Last week, Conservatives invited journalists to a secretive campaign event with Canada's prime minister in North Vancouver.

The event was in the federal riding of Burnaby North-Seymour, where the issue of Kinder Morgan's proposed oil sands pipeline looms large.

Got kids? Find another place to live

Twenty-two-month-old Ava McCubbin has a toddler's chubby cheeks, blond hair and an infectious smile. She's also a big reason why her parents, Gina and Bruce McCubbin, can't find a place to live.

"When I contacted a landlord and I explained that we had Ava, she abruptly told me that she wasn't welcome."  Bruce McCubbin told CBC News.

Canadian election: What's the best way to increase voter turnout?

For three consecutive federal elections in the late 1950s and early '60s, more than 79 per cent of Canadians cast a ballot.

Since then, election day participation rates have been declining. The last time more than 70 per cent of Canadians voted was in 1992 for the referendum on the Charlottetown Accord, a series of proposed amendments to the Constitution.

Hunger in Toronto is a tale of two cities

Toronto’s hungry are on the move.

Food bank use in the city’s inner suburbs — Scarborough, North York, York and Etobicoke — has spiked 45 per cent since the 2008 recession with a corresponding 16 per cent drop in the old city of Toronto, according to the Daily Bread Food Bank’s annual Who’s Hungry report.

Spiralling rents and Toronto’s downtown condo boom are pushing the poor — and many food banks themselves — into the suburbs where transit and social services are sparse, says the report subtitled “A tale of two cities,” being released Monday.

No-chance Candidates Have One Week to Quit for Good of Canada

Federal candidates with no hope of winning (and by now you know who you are):

You have one week to do the right thing. Withdraw your nomination. Get out of the race. Remove your name from the ballot.

Leave the field clear for anyone but a Harper Conservative to become the next MP in your riding.

Will you agree to do so? Will you take the (let's call it) Canada First Pledge? It is this:

Troubling' and 'Toxic' to Imply Refugee Terror Links, Says Amnesty Chief

It's "deeply disappointing and troubling" to hear top Conservatives suggest national security could be at risk if Canada accepts more Syrian refugees, said the head of Amnesty International Canada.

Alex Neve, executive director of the human rights group, criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper for saying Canada can't accept more refugees because of the need to screen people fleeing civil war in regions where extremists operate.

'Sessional' Instructors: Return of the Penniless Scholar?

Orion Kidder has been teaching freshman university English literature courses for six years. It's a job he spent 13-and-a-half years in university to get -- over three times what a carpentry apprenticeship takes in British Columbia.

But he barely sleeps at night wondering if he'll have a job next semester, because the future for a sessional lecturer like him, hired by universities and colleges one semester at a time, is never certain.

Canada's biggest-ever military procurement at 'very high risk,' documents suggest

Documents obtained by CTV News suggest that the Conservative government's plan to overhaul the Royal Canadian Navy with a multi-billion dollar procurement to replace frigates and destroyers may be in trouble.

According to internal documents obtained by CTV News' Mercedes Stephenson, the "Canadian Surface Combatant" program is at "very high risk" of running over budget, behind schedule, lacking skilled manpower, and producing inadequate capabilities.

Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance and the “weaponization of public affairs”

There is a lot of excitement these days in the public affairs branch at National Defence headquarters about Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance and what senior officers are calling the “weaponization of public affairs.”

There are already different interpretations among public affairs officers about this new plan/terminology being attributed to Gen. Vance.

Elections Canada warns staff to watch for dirty 'voter suppression' tricks

Elections Canada has quietly warned staff to be on the lookout for increasingly sophisticated tactics aimed at discouraging — or even stopping — voters from casting a ballot.

The advanced voter suppression techniques flourishing in the United States are likely to spill into other countries, employees were advised in a presentation aimed at raising awareness prior to the Oct. 19 federal election.

Eritrean refugee crisis continues to escalate due to Canadian mining

As millions of refugees brave their way across a Europe increasingly hostile to their existence, it is still Syrians dominating the headlines. But the third-largest group crossing the Mediterranean is fleeing the small African country Eritrea, home to one of the most corrupt and brutal regimes in the world.
The gut-wrenching photo of drowned toddler Alan Kurdi has strained Canadians' humanitarian mettle. Many have criticized Stephen Harper's failure to welcome a single refugee across Canada's borders since publication of the photo, yet few have reckoned with the ways in which Canadians are complicit in driving desperate people toward the sea.