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.]

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Liberals to repeal Bill C-24 on citizenship: immigration minister

Immigration Minister John McCallum says the government will announce significant changes to the Citizenship Act in the coming days.

Mr. McCallum said Tuesday that the Liberals will soon follow through on their election pledge to repeal the Conservatives’ controversial Bill C-24, which gave the government the power to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage.

Dave Fraser, Retired Canadian Commander: West Should Have Left Taliban Alone

OTTAWA — The West made a mistake deposing the Taliban regime in the aftermath of 9/11 and should have simply trained its guns on al-Qaida, says the Canadian commander who led NATO into southern Afghanistan a decade ago.

Retired major-general Dave Fraser commanded both the Canadian task force and the military alliance's expanded mission to extend the authority of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai beyond the capital of Kabul in 2006.

Brexit Would Increase Security Threats To Britain, Former Top Military Leaders Warn In Letter

A British exit from the European Union would limit the UK’s capacity to deal with international dangers, including the threat from members of the so-called Islamic State group and the rise of Russian nationalism under Vladimir Putin, according to top former military commanders.

In a letter to the Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday, the former top brass highlighted the “grave security” risks facing Europe, which they said the UK would be better able to deal with as part of the EU.

States That Criminalize Homelessness End Up Paying The Price

Cities and states have limited resources. When they’re faced with a growing homeless problem, those resources can either go toward finding housing for the homeless or to policing and criminalizing the daily habits of the homeless.

In Colorado, according to a new study, the choice has largely been to criminalize homelessness. And it’s a choice that’s coming with a big price tag.

Everything You Need To Know About The Syrian Ceasefire

A rare cessation of hostilities in Syria will begin late on Friday night, according to an agreement struck by Russian and U.S. officials. While Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s acquiescence to the terms of the ceasefire raises hopes for the plan’s success, many high-ranking diplomats and Middle East analysts see the agreement to reign in the sprawling geopolitical battle as fundamentally flawed.

How the U.S. Went Fascist: Mass Media Makes Excuses for Trump Voters

The rise of Donald Trump to the presumptive Republican standard bearer for president in 2016 is an indictment of, and a profound danger to the American republic.

The Founding Fathers were afraid of the excitability of the voters and their vulnerability to the appeal of demagogues.  That is the reason for a senate (which was originally appointed), intended to check those notorious hotheads in Congress, who are elected from districts every two years.

Hillary Clinton Now Says She’ll Only Release Big-Bank Speeches If the Republicans Do

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton again refused to release transcripts of her paid speeches to big banks, telling a CNN town hall audience Tuesday night that she will only release her transcripts if her Republican opponents release theirs.

“Earlier tonight, I asked Senator Sanders: Will you give your transcripts of speeches?” said host Chris Cuomo. “He said he doesn’t have the bank speeches, if he can find any of the speeches that he did give for money he will gladly give the transcripts up. So: Will you agree to release these transcripts? They have become an issue.”

Christy Clark government takes on staff from Harper's and Alberta's ousted Conservative ranks

It appears out-of-work roughnecks from Alberta aren’t the only ones heading west across the Rockies in search of greener pastures.

Judging by a recent string of political appointments, British Columbia is also a hot destination for recently unemployed Stephen Harper Conservatives and staffers from Alberta’s defeated Conservative government.

Since last month, about a dozen Conservative-aligned political staffers have found employment with the B.C. government.

Trade Officials Promised Exxon That U.S.-E.U. Pact Would Erase Environmental ‘Obstacles’ Worldwide

Newly released documents show that, in back-room talks, European officials assured ExxonMobil that the pending US-EU trade agreement would force the removal of regulatory “obstacles” worldwide, thus opening up even more countries to exploitation by the fossil fuel empire.

Heavily redacted documents pertaining to an October 2013 meeting, obtained by The Guardian and reported on Tuesday, reveal that then-trade commissioner Karel de Gucht met with two officials from ExxonMobil’s EU and U.S. divisions to address the benefits of the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Obama’s Plan to Close Guantánamo Would Establish Indefinite Detention on U.S. Soil

SAYING THAT THE PRISON at Guantánamo Bay “undermines our standing in the world,” President Barack Obama today announced a detailed plan to close the facility, 14 years after it was first inaugurated by President George W. Bush. Among other measures, the plan calls for a number of Guantánamo prisoners to be transferred into permanent custody in the United States. This component of the government’s plan has alarmed many legal experts, who say that it would create a dangerous precedent for indefinite detention without trial in the United States.

Do We Really Have a 'Right' to Digital Privacy?

Apple's decision to challenge a federal court order to help the FBI "hack" into a shooting suspect's iPhone 5C is drawing into focus a battle which has been brewing for the past several years.

The way this debate has been shaped thus far is, as follows: which do we value more, privacy or security?

Virginians Describe How The State Has Made It Harder For Them To Vote

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA — When Karen Stallings decided to move her blind, 84-year-old father from Arizona into her home in Virginia, she expected many new challenges in her life. She did not expect voting to be one of them.

And yet, a few months before election day rolled around, she realized her father’s drivers license was out-of-state and expired. And under Virginia’s strict voter ID law, every voter needs an acceptable, unexpired form of photo identification to cast a regular ballot. So in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, Stallings drove her father to the DMV to register to vote and get a photo ID card.

GOP Senators Won't Even Meet With An Obama Supreme Court Nominee

WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans on Tuesday launched an unprecedented blockade of President Barack Obama's yet-to-be-named Supreme Court pick, saying they won't give any nominee a hearing or even meet with the candidate.

"I don't know how many times we need to say this," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters. "The Judiciary Committee has unanimously recommended to me that we not hold a hearing. I don't know the purpose of such a visit. I would not be inclined to take one myself."

TD Bank CEO Bharat Masrani Got A 10% Pay Hike Amid Company-Wide Layoffs

TORONTO — TD Bank CEO Bharat Masrani was given a 10 per cent pay bump in 2015, a year when the bank laid off staff as part of a company-wide effort to trim costs.

The bank issued its management proxy circular on Tuesday, showing that Masrani was paid $9 million in total compensation.

Without Ending Immoral and Illegal Detention, Obama’s Gitmo Plan Is Just Empty Talk

President Barack Obama on Tuesday outlined his long-awaited plan to close the Guantánamo Bay military detention center in Cuba, but rights groups immediately condemned the proposal as a series of “talking points” rather than any real effort to end the indefinite detention of prisoners and restore justice.

“The infamy of Guantánamo has never been just its location, but rather its immoral and illegal regime of indefinite detention,” said the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which represents a number of Guantánamo detainees. “Closing Guantánamo in any meaningful sense means putting an end to that practice.”

Canadian electronic spy agency’s unlawful metadata sharing went on for years before being fixed

The unlawful sharing by Canada’s electronic spy agency of metadata involving Canadians’ communications went on for years before the practice was suspended in 2014, parliamentarians learned Monday.

The disclosure by Jean-Pierre Plouffe, head of the small, independent agency that monitors the legality of Communications Security Establishment (CSE) operations, means vast amounts of unprotected data were shared with Canada’s “Five Eyes” intelligence partners in the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Dear Bernie: I Like You, But These Red Flags Are Too Frequent to Ignore

You have been a lifelong champion of human equality. You have kept economic inequality, an issue I care very deeply about, at the forefront of an election cycle that might otherwise have been dominated by the antics of a reality TV clown.

On foreign policy, the issue that is generally considered your greatest weakness, I believe that you have consistently shown yourself to be responsible, inquisitive and level-headed. And you and Secretary Clinton have run campaigns which, a few stumbles aside, stand in such stark contrast to the GOP field that it is difficult to fathom how anyone could possibly consider any of them over either of you.

Cornel West: ‘Sister Hillary Clinton is the Milli Vanilli of American politics’

Philosopher and Bernie Sanders surrogate Cornel West told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that Hillary Clinton was like the disgraced band Milli Vanilli because she only gave “lip service” to social justice policies.

During a Monday interview on CNN’s New Day, West praised Sanders for supporting Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential bid, but he wasn’t as impressed with Clinton’s political pedigree.

U.S. Military White Paper Describes Wearing Hijab as “Passive Terrorism”

A POLICY PAPER issued by the Air Force Research Laboratory, titled Countering Violent Extremism: Scientific Methods & Strategies, includes a chapter setting forth controversial and unsubstantiated theories of radicalization, including the idea that support for militant groups is driven by “sexual deprivation” and that headscarves worn by Muslim women represent a form of “passive terrorism.”

GOP Judiciary: No hearing on Obama court nominee

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have come to a consensus decision to not have hearings or a vote on a Supreme Court nominee in 2016.

"We believe the American people need to decide who is going to make this appointment rather than a lame-duck president," Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) told reporters Tuesday after a special meeting of the committee.

Satellite Images Show China May Be Building Powerful Radar On Disputed Islands

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Recent satellite images show China may be installing a high-frequency radar system in the Spratly Islands that could significantly boost its ability control the disputed South China Sea, a U.S. think tank reported on Monday.

The Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies said the images showed that construction of facilities at Cuarteron Reef appeared nearly complete and that the artificial island now covered an area of about 52 acres.

Actually, Ted Cruz Does Want To Round Up Every Undocumented Immigrant

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has taken a page from Donald Trump's presidential campaign playbook, hardening his rhetoric against undocumented immigrants.

Cruz told Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Monday that yes, should he be elected president, his administration would deport all 12 million undocumented people estimated to be in the U.S. and wouldn't allow them to return.

Uber Won't Change Screening Procedures, Add Panic Button After Kalamazoo Shooting

Uber has no plans to change its screening procedures or make a promised "panic button" available to U.S. riders after one of its drivers was charged with killing six people and attempting to kill two others Saturday in a shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the transportation giant's top security official said Monday.

"No background check process would have flagged and anticipated this situation," Uber security chief Joe Sullivan said in a conference call with reporters. And the "panic button" -- a feature the company uses in India and announced last year it would implement in Chicago -- won't be coming to the U.S. anytime soon, Sullivan added.

What Is Uber Actually Doing to Keep Riders Safe?

For any Uber user waiting for a pickup in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Saturday night, Jason Brian Dalton and his Chevy SUV would have looked like a safe ride across town. Dalton, a 45-year-old insurance adjustor, had racked up an average passenger rating of 4.73 stars out of 5 in a month of driving for the ride-sharing service. His reviews, Uber officials say, were favorable.

Justice Department Seeks to Force Apple to Extract Data From About 12 Other iPhones

The Justice Department is pursuing court orders to force Apple Inc. to help investigators extract data from iPhones in about a dozen undisclosed cases around the country, in disputes similar to the current battle over a terrorist’s locked phone, according to people familiar with the matter.

The other phones are at issue in cases where prosecutors have sought, as in the San Bernardino, Calif., terror case, to use an 18th-century law called the All Writs Act to compel the company to help them bypass the passcode security feature of phones that may hold evidence, these people said.

Clinton's Most Valuable Allies in South Carolina: the Moms of Black Lives Matter

As Hillary Clinton makes her final push in South Carolina ahead of the state's critical Saturday primary, she's getting some help from five African American mothers whose children were victims of gun violence or died in police custody.

The women—Maria Hamilton, the mother of Dontre Hamilton; Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis; Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland; Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin; and Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner—spoke to small audiences at three black churches in the first round of a two-day trip that will culminate Tuesday night in a mega-rally with Clinton in Columbia. They talked emotionally about their faith and their families' trauma, but they were there primarily to deliver a simple message about the Democratic presidential front-runner: You can trust Hillary Clinton.

Saudi Arabia isn't the only despotic Gulf state Canada is helping oppress human rights

Five years after the waves of popular protest spread excitedly across the Arab world, little seems to have improved.

Egypt is again being presided over by an autocrat embroiled in high-level corruption; Libya, Yemen and Syria are being blown apart in civil wars that seem to have no end in sight.

Then there's Bahrain, the tiny, nearly forgotten Gulf island kingdom that quietly suppressed its own mass uprising on Feb. 14, five years ago. It was a brutal uprising in which rights groups allege Ottawa played a direct hand.

The business of the living wage

Staff compensation packages can be a significant determining factor in the success of businesses.

According to workplace research, employees earning a fair deal on the job are more efficient, loyal to their bosses and less likely to get sick.

Kaylie Tiessen, national representative in the Unifor research department, says Canadian businesses hoping to improve the bottom line need to look at what's happening within their own employee base.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Enabled the Coup in Honduras

On June 28, 2009, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown by a military coup. The United Nations, the European Union and the Organization of American States (OAS) condemned the coup, and on July 5, Honduras was suspended from the OAS.

Homeless Advocates Fight for the Right to Rest in Denver

Homelessness in Denver has grown 600 percent in the last 20 years, while the amount of emergency shelter beds has been stagnant. In October 2015, Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) occupied space at Sustainability Park and, financed through online donations, began constructing tiny homes for those experiencing homelessness. The group named the site Resurrection Village, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign, which culminated in 1968 after King was assassinated. The historic campaign confronted economic inequality in the United States as demonstrators built tents outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, deeming the encampment "Resurrection City."

Obama’s Russian Rationale for $1 Trillion Nuke Plan Signals New Arms Race

The Obama administration has historically insisted that its massive $1 trillion nuclear weapons modernization program does not represent a return to Cold War-era nuclear rivalry between Russia and the United States.

The hugely expensive undertaking, which calls for a slew of new cruise missiles, ICBMs, nuclear submarines, and long-range bombers over the next three decades, has been widely panned by critics as “wasteful,” “unsustainable,” “unaffordable,” and “a fantasy.”

House Moves On Bills That Would Allow States To Seize Millions Of Acres Of Public Lands

Less than two weeks after the arrest of Cliven Bundy and the armed militants who were occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider three bills that would dispose of vast stretches of national forests and other public lands across the country.

The bills, which will be heard in a meeting of the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, represent an escalation of the political battle being waged by the Koch brothers’ political network, anti-government extremist groups, and a small group of conservative politicians led by the committee’s chairman, U.S. Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT).

Boris Is a Copper Bottomed, Double Dealing Hypocritical Little Shit - The Press Will Destroy Him

I have been knocking around politics for so long that I didn't think it was possible for me to become utterly shocked at the venality, ambition and horror of one man's ego. But this evening I have been proved totally wrong. Boris Johnson has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that he is a copper bottomed, double dealing, hypocritical little shit.

Nova Scotia Power outages generate outrage... and questions about the wisdom of privatization

I woke up one recent morning and flipped on the radio. "Nova Scotia Power is reporting its first outage of the morning," the newscaster began. It was not a storm day. Or the day after. Or even the day after that. We were in the middle of a brief winter storm interregnum. Skies were clear.

Another day, another news report. On Feb. 3, the Digby Courier reported 5,800 customers in Clare and Weymouth without power -- "just like yesterday." The cause of the first outage: "damage to overhead equipment." The cause of the second: "equipment failure." Unrelated to the first, according to a Nova Scotia Power spokesperson.

Kevin Page: Liberals need to explain $40B 'adjustment'

Canada's former parliamentary budget officer says there are "holes" in the government's newly released deficit projections that are unexplained.

Appearing on CTV's Power Play, Kevin Page said the government took the private sector forecast for Canada’s economy in 2016/17, and then cut an extra $40 billion from the projected growth.

Trump Is the Product of a Failed System

Donald Trump’s shocking transformation from reality-show host to Republican presidential front-runner is not some random and bizarre twist of fate. It grows from the failure of our political system to adapt to demographic change, economic disruption and a reorganizing world.

Trump’s victory Saturday in the South Carolina primary appears to have cleared away the cobwebs of denial. However improbable, outlandish or frightening it may be, Trump has a very good chance of becoming the nominee. He can still be beaten, but the debilitated Republican establishment does not seem up to the task; poor Jeb Bush bowed out after winning less than 8 percent of the vote.

Protesters Shut Down Delhi’s Water Supply, Demand To Be Recognized As ‘Backwards’

Days of violent riots in the Indian capital city of Delhi and in the adjoining state of Haryana left 16 people dead and caused nearly $500,000 in losses for area industries. Nearly 10,000 Indian troops and paramilitary force members were deployed by the federal government to quell the uprising, which is still ongoing in parts of the region.

The protesters cut off the water supply of 10 million in Delhi — the world’s second most populous city — when they breached and damaged a wall of a canal that supplies the city with water. The city’s water supply is incredibly vulnerable, with parts of the water infrastructure dating back to the 13th century. The state government deployed the army to the canals to secure them, but the city’s water is being temporarily rationed as normal water flow is restored.

Wall Street's Message to Young Adults: 'You Are Clueless'

Wall Street CEOs are very upset with young adults. They believe you are "clueless" and "voting against [your] own interests" when you support Bernie Sanders. A Wall Street CEO took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to decry the fact that, "Millennials are flocking to Sanders." It would be cruel to note that one has to be clueless to believe that writing an op-ed in the WSJ was a good way to reach millennials supporting Bernie. But at least we can gain an insight into Wall Street's theory of why Bernie is bad for young adults. It turns out that Wall Street is worried that Bernie is pushing Hillary Clinton to take inequality seriously because younger Americans take inequality seriously. Wall Street, of course, loves and exists to produce staggering inequality.

Emails Show Hillary Clinton Aides Celebrating F-15 Sales to Saudi Arabia: “Good News”

The shockingly brutal Saudi air campaign in Yemen has been led by American-made F-15 jet fighters.

The indiscriminate bombing of civilians and rescuers from the air has prompted human rights organizations to claim that some Saudi-led strikes on Yemen may amount to war crimes. At least 2,800 civilians have been killed in the conflict so far, according to the United Nations — mostly by airstrikes. The strikes have killed journalists and ambulance drivers.

Donald Trump and Boris Johnson could be leading the English-speaking world by Christmas

Only a few weeks ago Boris Johnson, a big city mayor with prime ministerial ambitions, would have been surely balked at being compared to Donald Trump, but his decision to throw his hat in the ring for Brexit now makes that comparison feel suddenly inevitable. Here’s why.

Both are larger-than-life public figures whose popular appeal puts them outside the reviled political establishment, even though both the London mayor and the Republican presidential nomination frontrunner come from very establishment backgrounds.

Torture Is a Crime

The subject of U.S. policies on torture is back in the news again. With far too much frequency, I've been seeing media reports of public figures calling for a return to so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" or, even worse, using dangerous and ill-informed rhetoric in support of reviving these illegal and immoral tactics.

Here’s How The Government Could Close The Staggering Racial Wealth Gap

Kaelyn Thompson lives paycheck to paycheck. She graduated at the top of her high school class and, despite the financial struggles of her parents, decided to attend college.

“Not only did my mother make it clear that I had no choice, I also realized that I would never be able to make a good enough living to do more than just survive without a college degree,” Thompson wrote in a blog for The Huffington Post. “Though my mother demanded I go to college, she and my stepfather really had no way of supporting me financially to help me get there. They had their hands full and were still living paycheck to paycheck so it was up to me to make it happen.”

The Speaker for the Dead: Antonin Scalia and the Truth

For a long time now, I've been waiting with diligent patience to write three articles: One on the passing of former President George W. Bush, one on the passing of former Vice President Dick Cheney and one on the passing of now-former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The novelist Orson Scott Card developed, in his writings, an idea for someone known as the Speaker for the Dead. A Speaker does not spit-polish and shine the departed at the graveside, doesn't eulogize inflated greatness or create a polite fiction to please and soothe. The Speaker tells the unvarnished truth about the one going into the ground: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Scalia's Pro-Business Legacy

Justice Antonin Scalia took his seat on the bench in 1986, during one of the greatest bull markets and the heyday of corporate mergers and acquisitions. In the three decades he served on the high court, he helped raise barriers for employees and consumers and he helped strike down limits on corporate political spending in the U.S. democracy. He will be remembered for his intellect and personality, but he should also be remembered for increasing the power of business in society.

Saudi Arabia leads surge in arms imports by Middle East states

The international transfer of weapons to the Middle East has risen dramatically over the past five years, with Saudi Arabia’s imports for 2011-15 increasing by 275% compared with 2006–10, according to an authoritative report.

Overall, imports by states in the Middle East increased by 61%; imports by European states decreased by 41% over the same period. Britain sold more weapons to Saudi Arabia than to any other country. Saudi Arabia is also the biggest US arms market and buys more American arms than British, the report shows.

Forget Foreign Buyers: 3 Reasons Toronto, Vancouver House Prices Aren't Coming Down

With house prices up by double digits in the Toronto and Vancouver areas, policymakers are finally starting to take the foreign investor issue seriously. British Columbia, for instance, announced in its budget this week that it will start tracking the citizenship of home buyers.

But Bank of Montreal senior economist Robert Kavcic thinks the foreign investor debate amounts to barking up the wrong tree.

Unite-the-right poll results ring alarm bells and raise interesting questions, none of which are asked by the media

Last week the busy guys at the Alberta Prosperity Fund put out a news release saying they'd done a poll that showed a unified Wildrose-Progressive Conservative Party would easily whip the New Democrats in an election if it were held today.

Alert readers will recall that Alberta Prosperity Fund and Advocacy Ltd. is a non-profit corporation run by Barry McNamar, a former Wildrose Party fund raiser. Nowadays, in addition to being president of APFA Ltd., McNamar is the Calgary-based vice-president of operations for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a Fraser-Institute-style right-wing think-tank that operates out of Winnipeg.

Vancouver transit's Compass card system poses privacy concerns

Translink's Compass card system in Vancouver has been a long time coming.

The plan to implement controlled gate access and smart fare cards was announced in 2009 by then-Premier Gordon Campbell. While the initial release date of the new system was set for 2013, significant delays due to ongoing technical difficulties pushed back the project and the general public wasn't given full access to Compass until November 2015.

Looking Back

Antonin Scalia, who died this month, after nearly three decades on the Supreme Court, devoted his professional life to making the United States a less fair, less tolerant, and less admirable democracy. Fortunately, he mostly failed. Belligerent with his colleagues, dismissive of his critics, nostalgic for a world where outsiders knew their place and stayed there, Scalia represents a perfect model for everything that President Obama should avoid in a successor. The great Justices of the Supreme Court have always looked forward; their words both anticipated and helped shape the nation that the United States was becoming. Chief Justice John Marshall read the new Constitution to allow for a vibrant and progressive federal government. Louis Brandeis understood the need for that government to regulate an industrializing economy. Earl Warren saw that segregation was poison in the modern world. Scalia, in contrast, looked backward.

It's Time Governments Treated Real Estate as a Public Resource

While most of Canada's resource sectors are reeling from slow-down in the global economy, at least one of our globally significant assets is booming: British Columbia real estate. And as is sadly typical with most of Canada's intrinsic endowment, we have less oversight on foreign investment than almost any other nation of Earth.

Until the last week's budget, B.C. didn't even collect data on offshore ownership. Any figures came from the real estate industry -- hardly a disinterested party.