Monday, June 27, 2011
Next, the Conservatives target climate scientists at Environment Canada with job cuts. Well. Climate Change doesn't exist. Why would you waste money studying it?
Canada continues to embarrass itself by officially denying a UN declaration of asbestos as hazardous. And since the declaration has to be unanimous, there will therefore be no declaration of Asbestos as hazardous by the UN. And we complain when China or Russia step in and derail things with their Security Council vote. Even India, Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan came around to changing their stance on this item. Actually, this probably opens up some Harper spin. "Canada Valiantly Opposes Baltic/Near East Asbestos Denial Axis at UN Summit". (In the end, the axis joined up with Canada. But I'm not writing a whole new paragraph just for that.) Add this to the lengthening list of "Strange Stephen Harper Obsessions."
And another case of "this is the truth because I say so." The Conservatives call the investigation of detainee abuse in Afghanistan closed because nothing in their redacted documents indicates that anything happened. Missing from the records...anything deemed legal advice or related to cabinet confidence. It would seem to me that any important discussion would probably be related to one of these two things.
Oh man. This is like...our two favourite things combined into one topic of awesomeness. Christy Clark...encourages Senate reform...and the addition of 10 Senate seats for British Columbia. Actually...she encourages abolition of the Senate, but if that doesn't work, then she wants to make it bigger. Ya...that doesn't make any sense at all.
And then...What the hell? Gordon Campbell is going to be the Canadian Ambassador to England? Sorry. "High Commissioner". Ya. We should probably reward criminally convicted premieres run out of office on a rail.
After an NDP filibuster (I didn't even know that was possible in Canada), the Conservatives passed back to work legislation for Canada Post employees. This article points out that this is the sort of thing that's supposed to happen in Parliament. I think the Conservatives were probably upset that they might once again miss a chance to stick it to striking workers.
And finally, John Baird begins his new role as International Courier with a quick trip to Libya.
Monday, June 20, 2011
First up, we have an eyewitness account from the riot from the Tyee. While most of the coverage has focussed on the "hooligans" that caused things and how well the police did to contain everything, this talks about how disjointed and odd the police response was to those in the crowd. I'm especially interested on his description on how difficult it was to try to leave the downtown core. Very odd indeed. To kind of add to this theme, I had the opportunity to drive through downtown last night, 24 hours after the riot. I can appreciate that an incredible amount of effort went in to cleaning things up, but I was surprised by just how localized some of the damage was. Hudson Bay - trashed. Bank across the street - untouched. There's a similarly interesting Huffington Post eyewitnees account and Gary Mason - shockingly - has a similar, non-ridiculous point of view. And the Straight.
Next up, we have the story of the kissing rioters. I think it's just an amazingly iconic image. The story itself isn't all that interesting. Now with video.
Speaking of iconic images, there are some really breathtaking galleries of riot images from the legions of professional photographers dispatched to cover it.
Thankfully, there were some positives that came out of the riot. Great responses to clean up. Wide scale narcing. People turning themselves in. I think Vancouver will recover quite nicely. However, we will be subject to thousands of articles.
Unfortunately, after talking about the positives, some people's reaction has been just as bad as the rioter. Anybody with the huevos to step forward, take their licks and accept some punishment are being crucified. The online vigilante justice mob is getting a bit out of hand at times. Hopefully things can get toned down a bit and some positive progress can be made.
Since we've been so focused on riots and hockey for the past couple of weeks, I wouldn't be surprised if we find out that Stephen Harper has been busy as the cameras have been trained elsewhere. Maybe he signed over Quebec to the USA? Or banned gay people from existing? Seems like the right time for him to try such a bold move.
Senate reform seems to be the word of the moment. I read this great Globe and Mail article suggesting that Senate reform is stupid. I'm sold. It is stupid, based on the logistics alone. Heck, even the Senators are bickering about it. Whatever happens, Mr. Harper seems to be pretty serious about moving forward.
And the Conservatives take strides to end some strikes! Can't have people battling for rights when the mail/flights are at stake. That might stop "progress".
Speaking of riots...it was announced today that the majority of the people arrested during the G20 riots were released without charge. i.e. didn't do anything wrong.
And finally...the Conservatives start laying the groundwork for blaming the upcoming problems with the economy on someone else. "Our plan for the economy was awesome. It's Europe's fault." (not an actual quote. Mere speculation.) Isn't it kind of your job to plan for things like that?
What a depressing week.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Oh. And John Baird/Stephen Harper actually changed their minds on Israel. Now the US was correct and the 1967 borders are okay. What happened? How can you so suddenly change your mind after so publicly saying the opposite? Here it is. Right here. The opposite. Eleven days ago.
And here we have praise for Harper "following his convictions" on Israel, even at the expense of votes and international support. What a thing to admire in a national leader. Ignoring the general will of the country/world and following your own convictions.
But, amazingly, this isn't the stupidest thing written by the Globe and Mail this week. The story of Aaron Rome's suspension keeps rising to the top, some 14-15 hours after it happened. And apparently the Canucks are the most hated team in the league (because the Globe and Mail says so. And the Chicago Blackhawks.) This is why I root for the underdog. I can't stand the politicians jumping on board and the journalists piling on. I can't stand the fascination with celebrity bandwagon jumpers and I don't care if the rest of Canada likes the Canucks. Go away everybody. Let me watch hockey.
Finally, Stephen Harper gets called out officially for the lack of transparency on G8 spending. There's not much else to say about it.
Monday, June 6, 2011
As well, we have the Conservatives dropping hints of new things to come out of their next policy convention. We'll have the Omar Kadhr Rule, whereby you'll lose your citizenship if you're accused of high treason. How will that work? Seems like a bit of a catch-22 if the government that you hope will support you in your defense walks away before you can formulate a defense. As well, rumblings about explicit rejection of euthanasia and a "severe crackdown" on prostitution, in order to "declare that human beings are not objects to be enslaved, bought and sold." Ya, forcing prostitution further underground is going to dramatically improve things for those that are enslaved. And why are the religious right so concerned about somebody ending their own pain and suffering?
Moving along, Chuck Strahl pen's a ridiculous piece of tripe posing as "advice to my son, the new MP". I guess the Globe and Mail is hard up for content. Let's read between the lines:
"you made a decision to run for office" - I retired after getting my full pension so that you could have an easy seat while the getting was good
"charted a course" - did exactly what I did
"worked hard" - avoided debates and towed the party line
"and got yourself elected" - because even a coat rack could have gotten itself elected as the Conservative candidate in this riding
And that's just the first sentence!
Building on that, the Conservatives are going to start adding seats in the areas where they are strongest. I'm all for distribution of Parliament seats based on where the population actually is, but I'd like to think that it is more scientific than this. As the article points out, there is already an automatic redistribution initiated by the census. So why is this required? Why would you make this announcement before seeing the results of the census? How can you make these decisions without having the most up-to-date information? It's pure speculation at this point. At least this explains the decision to scrap the mandatory long form census. Why bother if you're not going to use the information? On a side note, we completed our census form a few weeks back. I was kind of hoping to volunteer to fill out the long form census, as a form of protest. But we couldn't figure out a way to do that. I guess the only way to non-mandatorily participate is if you are non-mandatorily selected to voluntarily fill it out.
In support of last week, here's a link to a great Tyee article talking about Stephen Harper's international policy shortcomings. It touches on some points raised last week, but summarizes things far more coherently than I ever could.
Lastly, the Throne Speech happened. There were no real surprises...but most of those probably won't come out for a year or two. Say goodbye to the long-gun registry, vote subsidies and Canadian Wheat Board Monopolies (not sure if that is good or bad). Say hello to longer prison terms and harsher punishment, as well as "shared border security" with the US, Alright Canada! Way to pave your own way!
Worst of all...and honestly, this is one of my biggest problems with the Conservative Government...Copyright Reform. US Copyright Reform is a failure. We are letting the same companies that pushed that crap on the US write our legislation. Internet "piracy" has caused problems for many dinosaur entertainment companies. But look at the explosion in concert revenues. Look at the explosion in independent music. Past bills have ignored feedback from artists groups and consumers and focussed on a bunch of near-criminal music companies that robbed us for years and years. I fear that with a majority there will be no consultation. It could be grim. Three strikes? Criminalization of digital lock breaking? Who knows. It won't be good. And it really won't stop anything.
And the (lady) cojones on that page that held up the "Stop Harper" sign...impressive indeed.