Thursday, March 29, 2007

Royal Corruption/Cronyism/CoverUp Mounted Police

Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day, himself under shadow of an RCMP investigation into allegations as to whether he paid off Con Jim Hart with public funds in order to replace him in a previous federal election, has declined demands for a judicial inquiry into the RCMP pension scandal.

Nope, instead he'll be appointing an independent investigator - meaning no subpoenas.

Some other RCMP scandals which have also escaped judicial inquiry :

1) The passing of false information about Maher Arar to US authorites, the subsequent cover-up of RCMP involvement, and their leaking of smears about Arar to the press after his release.

2) The public RCMP announcement in the middle of a federal election campaign of an investigation into members of the Liberal party over an alleged tax-policy leak. Goodale was later found innocent of all charges.

3) Shooting an unarmed BC man in the back of the head "in self-defence".

4) The pepper spraying at the APEC protests

5) Waiting over a year to investigate an RCMP officer accused of having sex with underage girls and then ruling that too much time had passed to launch an investigation.

6) Blowing the Airbus investigation so badly we wound up paying Brian Mulroney $2M in libel damages for accepting $300,000 from an arms dealer.

Well, I'm sure you have your own list.

At the emergency parliamentary committee hearing yesterday, NaPo reports :
"Witnesses alleged anyone who complained or raised concerns about abuses was quietly shuffled aside or moved.
Denise Revine, the whistleblower who first stumbled on irregularities in the pension plan's books, took her concerns to her boss, Chief Superintendent Fraser Macaulay. Ms. Levine lost her job, and Chief Supt. Macaulay was reassigned to National Defence."
Four others also lost their jobs.

RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli presided over that particular pension fund investigation. He has called the allegations "baseless" and said he would like to make a statement. Previous statements from Zaccardelli included the wildly conflicting $25,000 PR-fluffed testimony he gave on RCMP mistreatment of Arar and for which he had to resign.

This time I think we'd like to see a judicial inquiry and some subpoenas.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This week in celebrity Con bitchiness

Fabulously bitchy line from ex ConMP and now lobbyist John "I am not a lobbyist" Reynolds, in the ongoing police investigation into the alleged Ottawa mayoralty bribery case.
You know - did the millionnaire offer the bailiff a patronage job and $30,000 in cash in the parking lot behind Tim Horton's to drop out of the race?
Despite this being the apparently preferred Con method of attaining public office, sadly it is in fact against the law.

This week John Reynolds' name came up as an alleged facilitator to the alleged deal. Allegedly.
From Canadian Press, here's the bitchy bit :

John Reynolds : "Well, it's something in his own mind. I don't know him from Adam".

Terry Kilrea the bailiff : "Before I turned down the offer, (O'Brien) told me the Parole Board was a five-year appointment at $110,000 a year," Kilrea said in an interview.
"So, I mean, pretty tempting for a guy who's making 60 (thousand) go to a 110 for a five-year appointment - and cash, to boot, in the offer. It was a very, very tempting offer."

Reynolds maintains there's nothing sinister. He said he would be happy to put Kilrea's name forward, or any other person's, for a Parole Board appointment because not many people want the job.
"They're looking for people to go on parole boards," said Reynolds. "Most guys don't want the jobs. They don't pay that much."

Ooooooh. Man, there really is no defence quite like hauteur, is there?

More bitchy Ottawa celebrity Con news from - who else? - Ottawonk.

Monday, March 26, 2007

This week in Con accountability

Doesn't anyone just throw their hat into the ring and then spend months making vile accusations about their opponents in their own party anymore?

1) Police probe alleged Tory link to mayoralty offer

2) Judge overturns Tory nomination of MP Rob Anders

3) Former MP issues statement about Day accusations

Con accountability - you're soaking in it now.
Can we start banging on about "13 months of Conservative corruption" yet?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tom Harris - Busted!

A post from Tom Harris, Natural Resources Stewardship Project, at Free Dominion :*

Posted: 01/ 10/ 07 2:20 pm
Post subject: If the science is wrong, then nothing else matters

"I completely agree with fourhorses that the ultimate aim is to create a situation where the CPC can say assertively, "The science no longer supports the assumptions of the Kyoto Accord."

However, politically this cannot be done overnight without the Conservatives taking what they consider to be an unacceptable hit (do people think they would really lose votes with this statement (from Canadians who would otherwise vote for them, that is?).

So, the solution put on this site a little while ago by Tina is one I would support as well - namely, they don't take sides at all and admit they don't know and so are holding unbiased, public hearings in which scientists from both sides are invited to testify. The resulting chaos, with claims all over the map, will do enough to thoroughly confuse everyone (which is appropriate, actually, since the science is so immature and, frankly, confusing) and take the wind out of the sails of the "we are causing a climate disaster and must stop it" camp entirely, and the CPC can quietly turn to important issues without really having had to say much at all.

What's wrong with this approach?

Sincerely,
Tom Harris, Executive Director, Natural Resources Stewardship Project
Web: www.nrsp.com


Dear Sir :

What's wrong with this approach you ask?
I do believe I can answer that question for you.

1) Contrary to what you seem to believe, it is not the aim of science to create "chaos" and "thoroughly confuse everyone".
We leave that to the paid shills and hacks of the oil industry.

2) Science is not a handmaiden to the agenda of any political party.
This includes inventing dubious vote-getting strategies for the Cons.

3) To the extent to which such a bullshit scheme might be temporarily successful, you would serve to undermine public confidence in the very discipline you claim to represent.

Finally, and this is the most important one for you and your organization so pay attention :

4) With this single post on a public forum, you have completely forfeited any claim you or your organization might have had to represent either science or scientists.

Sincerely,
Alison, Creekside

*with thanks to the anonymous researcher who sent me this link.

Update and Note to Self : Always check to see if that speedy little Zorpheous fellow didn't get there first.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

O'Connor's "Bumps along the road and little glitches"




Just a couple of guys who were the victims of bad intelligence.

On the heels of Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor's apology for misleading the House with assurances that the Red Cross would report any mistreatment of Afghan prisoners to Canadian authorities, the Globe and Mail reports today that O'Connor was the victim of bad intelligence from his policy advisors.

"The group, led by assistant deputy minister for policy Vincent Rigby, first advised Mr. O'Connor last May that "if pressed" in the Commons with questions about detainee follow-up, he should respond by saying: "If the ICRC advised us of some problems with transferred detainees, we would discuss the issue with the government of Afghanistan." "

This has certainly been Mr Rigby's own preferred response when pressed :


Rigby, addressing the Standing Committee on National Defence on Dec 11, 2006:

"With respect to the International Committee of the Red Cross, again, they have an international mandate to follow up in this regard with detainees who are transferred to Afghan authorities. Our relationship with the ICRC has been excellent. They have all the information we've provided to them, and certainly they've had access and have been following up with detainees we've transferred to Afghan authorities."

and

"We're very comfortable with the role of the International Committee of the Red Cross, with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and with our access to prisons as required. We've had absolutely no information passed to us directly by the ICRC or the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission or Afghan authorities themselves as to mistreatment of detainees passed on to Afghan authorities by Canadian Forces."





There's lots more quotes like this from Rigby but you get the gist : he never actually states that we're depending on the ICRC to report back to us about the prisoners we hand over; he just mentions them in the same sentence every time it comes up.

The previous May, O'Connor was deferring all such questions regarding prisoners to Rigby.

From the Standing Committee on National Defence, May 30, 2006 :


"NDP Ms Dawn Black: I've had a lot of interest and questions about the detainee transfer agreement with Afghanistan. Has NATO concluded a detainee transfer agreement with Afghanistan, and when will that agreement be made public? I would assume that it will be, if indeed there is an agreement with NATO, and that it would govern Canadian transfers once NATO assumes control through ISAF in the south.

Hon. Gordon O'Connor: I don't know that, ma'am. I'm going to have to ask Mr. Rigby.
Is there such a thing as a NATO agreement for detainees?

Mr. Vincent Rigby (Acting Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy), Department of National Defence): We're certainly working on that right now, Ms. Black, in a NATO context. Certainly Canada is very involved in Brussels in helping draft that document, but it's not finished yet. I'm not aware of exactly how.... One of the issues is how it will relate to the Canadian detainee arrangement and the other detainee arrangements that NATO allies have right now, so it's still a work in progress; we still have a little ways to go.

NDP MP Ms Dawn Black: Essentially, are Canadian soldiers instructed to give minimal protections because this is not an international conflict, or do we give the full prisoner-of-war protections, such as preventing prisoners from being humiliated or being put as public curiosities and photographed?

Hon. Gordon O'Connor: My understanding is the latter--that we maintain the highest standards.
I'll ask Mr. Rigby to confirm that."





Yeah, ok, that's enough of that. You get the idea. O'Connor doesn't appear to know anything about prisoners and repeatedly cues Rigby up to "imply".

And it was all going just swimmingly until O'Connor stood in Parliament - without Rigby - and made that one small causative embellishment on Rigby's usual series of passive-voice obfuscations :

"The Red Cross or the Red Crescent is responsible to supervise their treatment once the prisoners are in the hands of the Afghan authorities. If there is something wrong with their treatment, the Red Cross or Red Crescent would inform us and we would take action."



and another time :

"The process is that if Canadian soldiers capture insurgents or terrorists they hand them over to the Afghan authorities and then the International Red Cross or Red Crescent supervise the detainees. If there is any problem, the Red Cross or Red Crescent would inform us and then we would become involved."

At which point the ICRC was forced to say that no, they wouldn't, because it was not in their mandate to report back to third parties.

The US State Dept, Louise Arbor at the UN, Amir Attaran, Michael Byers, and the Afghan International Human Rights Committee have all described torture of detainees in Afghanistan as "routine".
But O'Connor's getting his advice from a guy who once described Canada's decision to stay out of Iraq and the US Ballistic Missile Defense Program as "bumps along the road and little glitches".

That was Vincent Rigby in his powerpoint presentation to the Heritage Foundation in Washington.
You can watch it here.

UPDATE : Well now look - you guys have pissed Dave off with your Bushwhackery.
That link to Rigby's Dec 2006 appearance before the National Defence Standing Committee keeps going down so here it is in a cached pdf And I forgot to thank Audacious Ontology for the G&M link.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Senlis Council Afghanistan Survey


From the latest Senlis Council survey on Afghanistan.
Kandahar - that would be where our guys are.
And if you think this graphic is discouraging, consider that support for troops in US-occupied regions is running at only 6.5%.

In interviews with 17,000 Afghan men between Mar 3 and Mar 12, Senlis also found growing support for the Taliban from a people whose principal concern is their increasing poverty and difficulty in providing food for their families. 27% were willing to tell the interviewers that they support the Taleban.

In a country where the GDP per capita is less than 1% of ours and two weeks employment with the Taliban is equivalent to a year's average earnings, the Taliban also serve to protect their poppy plantations from our troops. They are, says Senlis, winning the propaganda war by meeting people's basic needs. These so-called "insurgents" have little interest in AlQaeda or the Taliban - they just want to eat.

Senlis believe international intervention in Afghanistan is vital but they argue that our emphasis on the military is a mistake. Of the $100 million Canada contributes in aid through CIDA, $4.30 per person goes to development and $140 goes to the military.

Senlis Council Afghanistan Survey pdf here. It's a very interesting read.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The war on crime stats

"The Vancouver Board of Trade today called on Opposition Leader St├ęphane Dion to deal with Canada’s increasing crime problem currently hidden by inaccurate statistics." ~ VBT media release

Director Jason McLean stated that current StatsCan statistics showing an overall drop in crime in Canada are inaccurate due to StatsCan's own admission that crime is under-reported by a third.
McLean referred Dion to the board's own Crime Task Force and the more serious crime picture contained in StasCan's Criminal Victimization Surveys which show one in four people were affected by criminal offenses in 2004.

"The Board’s Crime Task Force has revealed that Canada has some of the highest crime rates of all OECD countries. In fact, much of violent crime is getting worse. This year alone, one in ten Canadians will be a victim of violent crime," McLean said."

Holy crap! One in four? One in ten? How'd you figure that?

A look at those Criminal Victimization Surveys and the questions in it gives us a clue.
Good for them for including spousal violence. Really.
But : "Puts you down or calls you names to make you feel bad"?
And under Stalking : "Sent you unwanted email messages"?
How about "During the last 12 months did anyone deliberately damage or destroy any property belonging to you or anyone in your houshold, including a window or a fence?"

What? Nothing about being jostled on the bus?

Look, guys. Get a grip.
Unwanted emails and broken fences are not what we mean by violent crime.

Here's the StatsCan crime stats for 2004.
Crime going down. Deal with it.

Oh and that one-third under-reporting of crimes?
Unless people suddenly started under-reporting crimes just recently, that one-third would apply to all years, wouldn't it? Crime would be one-third higher in all years but it would still be going down.

So spare us that old Toews hysteria you're peddling about Canada being "worse than the U.S., where the violent crime rate has dropped significantly since 1999" and your recommendation that we should therefore adopt "American tough-on-crime policies".

Here's a piece of advice for all you VBTers and your Con enablers from Corrections Canada. It was on a page since expunged in one of those gnugov page purges.

"American politicians have often found it in their self-interest to use fear of crime as a strategy to win elections, by promising to wage war on crime.
It is ironic that in the United States, as in Canada, crime rates have been declining since 1991. However, by waging war on crime they have managed to double their prison population without making the United States a noticeably safer society than Canada.
We would do much to advance the public interest if we can better manage the fear of crime than our American neighbours."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Who says the Right isn't funny?

Lately, Canada Free Press has been running some pretty amusing articles lambasting anyone with the temerity to question Dr Tim Ball and his argument from diminishing authority.

Of course they're not as funny as that serious piece they did on dangers to the traditional papacy :
"Donning the mitre with "less pope-y duties" ,
without realizing that the article from which they so freely borrowed without giving any mention of the original author or article :
"Cocky Pope-Hopeful Ready To Make Some Changes Around the Vatican"
was from The Onion and was therefore - you know - satire.
That was pretty damn funny.

Other previous CFP hits include an expose about Harper throwing the 2004 election to the Libs, Michael Moore's imminent arrest for interfering in our electoral process and how the Jooos control immigrants and stuff.
So do give them a look this weekend as I'm afraid their so-called supporters on the right just don't seem to appreciate how genuinely funny CFP really is.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Getting things rebranded for all of us

A screen shot of the website of the ruling party of Canada.
The "flip flop" background behind Dion is a nice touch.
But the best part is their headline : "Replacing Liberal Talk with Real Action on Climate Change".
How very true. One of the 'things Steve got done' this month was to eliminate the Climate Change Policy Directorate at Environment Canada after rebranding their initiatives as his own. The CCPD are the experts "responsible for implementing new policy, co-ordinating climate-change efforts among different government departments, and analyzing their potential impact."
CJOB : "The memo came just as the prime minister embarked on a national tour to announce a series of green initiatives that were largely prepared by the division now being dismantled."
Hey, thanks for the great green talking points for Steve's road trip, guys, but I reckon your work is all done now.
"The (policy) work now is being done by a very small handful of people under the direct supervision of (the Privy Council Office) and Prime Minister's Office."
Getting Things Rebranded For All of Us.
List of rebranded initiatives at CJOB
Horrible CPoC screen shot via link at Ottawonk.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fishy business

Former Con MP John "I am not a lobbyist" Reynolds has added three more clients to his portfolio and finally registered himself as a lobbyist. Denying that he'd broken his promise not to become a lobbyist, Reynolds joined Lang Michener, a law firm whose clients lobby government, immediately after leaving the Cons early last year. He explained at the time that this didn't really count as lobbying because he'd promised not to lobby Steve.

His three new clients are all charities seeking federal funding, one of which is fronted by Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan.
Apparently Sam didn't know how to get hold of Steve and John said - hey just call his exec assistant! - and so Sam did, explains Reynolds.

The Accountability Act, proposed by the Cons to battle the revolving door between government and lobbyists and corporate interests, will be spinning full tilt come the next election as Reynolds returns to his previously held position as Harper's national campaign co-chair.

Disclosure : While we're on the subject of accountability, I feel I should mention that years ago I lived down the block from Reynolds' campaign headquarters and given that there was never anyone there for months on end, it seemed like a good idea at the time to put a dead fish through the letter box. This childish act of disrespectful vandalism has weighed on me strangely over the years and I would now like to take this opportunity to offer my most humble and heartfelt apologies to the cleaning staff.

"Pithy sound bites"

Tories off to pre-election 'boot camp'
Candidates to be drilled: Possible revival of the Big Blue Machine?

"Hundreds of federal Conservative candidates and campaign workers will converge on a Toronto convention centre this week for a political "boot camp" designed to prepare them for the next election.
Over three days of activities starting on Friday at the Toronto Congress Centre, candidates will be drilled in everything from the basics of door-to-door canvassing to the art of delivering the pithy sound bite."

Some "pithy sound bites" from previous ConservAllianceReform campaigns that very probably won't be making the cut this time round :

"In the 1950s, buggery was a criminal offence. Now it's a requirement to receive benefits from the federal government." ~ Garry Breitkreuz

"Old age security is welfare for the aged." ~ Paul Forseth

"The Canadian Alliance simply couldn't support the tone and overall direction of a Report that failed to recognize the tremendous gains that manufacturers and user groups of pesticides have been making for years to make human health and safety their top priority." ~ Rahim Jaffir

"I do support the idea of private health care."~ Jason Kenney

"I think that all the Indians should all be sent to Labrador, to all live together in peace and leave us in peace." ~ Ricardo Lopez

"My riding has the largest Iranian population in the country. At least 40% of all the Iranians living there are refugee claimants. Most of them are bogus." ~ Ted White

"Hostility in Canada to Christian teachings about the sanctity of the family and life has resulted in persecution here at home... The government has launched a campaign of intimidation to silence churches by dispatching tax collectors to threaten the charitable tax status of denominations who speak out against the Liberal government." ~ Cheryl Gallant

"The fact is that homosexuals aren’t barred from marrying under Canadian law... Marriage is open to everybody as long as they’re a man and a woman." ~ Jason Kenney

"It's past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act." ~ Stephen Harper

"Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status." ~ Stephen Harper

"[Y]our country [the USA], and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country{Canada] and across the world." ~ Stephen Harper

Lots more at In Their Own Words though, in case they run out.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Snark hunting

Last week the German minister of agriculture said he would introduce a bill in German Parliament to ban the import of all seal products from Canada.
In retaliation, Newfoundland MP Scott Simms has proposed a motion to ban the import of German boar and venison into Canada.
Dave up at Dave's Snarky Northern Canadian Blog harbours some doubts as to the likely effectiveness of the Canadian counter-ban measures and asks :

Is German boar/deer in any of the following products? :
Beer?
Sausage?
BMW Z4 Roadster?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Steve and Sandra's Gnu Accountability


The GnuGovs want to know if Canadians are cool with there being no accountability in their GnuGov Accountability Act. They have even set up a webpage, www.consultingcanadians.gc.ca , to record our views.
Because, as we all remember from their campaign in the last election, there is nothing, repeat nothing, more important to Candians than cleaning up government by making lobbyists and their government contacts accountable.
In fact, according to the Glib&Mall :

" the Treasury Board Secretariat is now engaged in consultations with the lobbying industry to draft the regulations" and "lobbyists are being asked whether the reporting requirement would impede their dealings "

Yeah, well, we didn't elect those lobbyists anyway. Besides, it's the GnuGovs who, in this gnu spirit of accountability, will be reporting on all their contacts with the lobbyists, right?

Apparently not :
"A spokesman for the Treasury Board confirmed that the Accountability Act will not force federal officials to record their own contacts with lobbyists. “The onus is on the lobbyist to report,” said Robert Makichuk, chief of media relations at Treasury Board."

The onus is on the lobbyist? The whole burden of accountability is on the lobbyists ?
Well, not entirely. Formal verbal communications with federal officials will definitely be counted as lobbying. Any talks sporting a tux? -definitely. But “spontaneous” verbal communications with government officials, e-mail or other written exchanges? Well I guess we'll just have to see how tough the lobbyists are going to be on themselves here.

As Treasury Board Minister Vic Toews said when announcing the consultations with lobbyists this week :
"Canadians have told us that they want tighter rules. That's why the Federal Accountability Act promised new rules to provide Canadians with better information on the activities of lobbyists."

If they feel like it.
.
UPDATE : I don't know how I managed to forget about this.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Click here to show your support


An Appeal From the Ad Hoc Committee For Conrad Black

"This web site is dedicated to the support of Conrad Moffat Black in his current battle with grandstanding U.S. prosecutors and a hostile left-wing press. More than that it is our grateful and long overdue acknowledgement of his Lordship's life's struggle to confront, with unflagging courage, the Brobdingnagian forces of Canadian small-mindedness, parochialism, mediocrity, and failure."

And click they did, leaving their stirring testimonials alongside supportive quotes from David Frum, Mark Steyn, Christie Blatchford, William F. Buckley Jr., Michael Coren, and Baroness Thatcher.

Werner Patels : "Conrad Black and I have corresponded on occasion on various issues, and I have found him to be a congenial and highly intelligent individual. I believe he has become the victim of a witch hunt. I will keep my fingers crossed for him and wish him all the best."

Adam Yoshida sweetly offered to send money.

From Alastair Gordon, president of Canadian Coalition For Democracies , a long and stinging indictment of Lord Black's "persecutors", ending with : "the OSC actually destroyed shareholder value when it denied the defendant's privatization proposal in March 2005."

Still others bewailed "the Stalinist practice of taking out the strong-men in a horrifying spectacle before subjecting the rest to unending and complete subservience" and how "Jesus himself was persecuted by the high court of the Sanhedrin".

The National Post publicized the website "Black described as Martyr" and Lord Black himself wrote them a gracious letter.
All in all, a rousing show of support from Canada's right wing.

And you just gotta love those endorsements from Ayn Rand and Napoleon Bonaparte on the sidebar.

Thank you, Frank Magazine ... eFrank.ca

UPDATE: RossK on The Backdoor Man

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Electoral reform deniers



Remember this?

That third column of numbers is how our government would look today if we had had proportional representation during the last election, based on the percentage of votes cast for each party in January 2006. Results? Fewer seats for the Libs, the Cons, and the Bloc; more for the Greens and the Dippers.

Back in Dec., NDP MP Catherine Bell put forward a motion for electoral reform.
Last week she expressed her displeasure with the rightwing think tank the Cons chose to oversee it :
"MP Catherine Bell has revealed in Question Period this week that the Conservative government has contracted out public consultation on electoral reform to a right wing think tank that opposes electoral reform. 
In an exchange with the Minister for Democratic Reform, Bell said, “Let me introduce him to his new friends, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a neo-Conservative think tank against the idea of climate change. They want a private health care system. They like the idea of bulk water exports and they think trans fats are okay. Guess what? They are opposed to electoral reform. A special interest group has already hijacked the process”.
“This is cynical politics of the worst kind,” said Bell. First, the government should trust the work of Parliament’s own Committee and agree to engage in that process. But to hire a group that is publicly opposed to electoral reform is beyond the pale.” "
Gosh, who are the Frontier for Public Policy?
Their website does seem to be unusually full of global warming denial articles, but that only makes sense really when you consider that Tim Ball is on their board of the Research Advisors.
Plus there's

  • Brian Lee Crowley, the guy behind the Atlantica concept.
  • Wendell Cox, who wrote "The Wal-Mart Revolution: How Big-Box Stores Benefit Consumers, Workers, and the Economy."
  • David Henderson of the American Enterprise Institute.
  • Johan Hjertqvist, private health care advocate.
And many more all-too-familiar corporate shills.
Lots of interesting articles on their site too :
"Natives Don't Want Self-Rule"
"Vote For Choice In Marketing Barley"
"Like It or Not, Here Come Private Clinics"
"Global Warming Hypocrites"
Go check out their website.
After all, these are the guys the Cons have chosen to guide consultations on our electoral reform process, and they report privately to the Minister and not to parliament.

Minister Van Loan defended the Con government’s contracting out the consultation process with these words:
the consultation that has begun is one that is designed to be representative of all Canadians and is a process that will do that without allowing the process to be hijacked by special interest groups.”
By "special interest groups", I'm guessing Van Loan must mean people who are interested in electoral reform.
.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The contempt of the courts

Betty Krawczyk, 78, was sentenced to 10 months in prison today for her involvement in protests against the 2010 Olympics Sea-to-Sky highway expansion at Eagleridge Bluffs. She will not be given credit for time already served. It is to be hoped that Betty is in better physical condition than her fellow Bluffs protester, 71 year old Harriet Nahanee, who recently died of pneumonia following her incarceration in the same facility.

Betty was sentenced for contempt of court. In addition to protesting the contempt of the Campbell government for the Eagleridge Bluffs, she was also protesting the egregious use of court injunctions to curtail public protest and freedom of speech where they interfere with corporate interests. These issues were ruled inadmissable in her court case so Betty is going to jail today for protesting the contempt of the courts for ordinary citizens and public interest.

Betty has a blog. You can read her final submission to the court prior to her sentencing here.
An exerpt :

"I won’t do community service should that be part of my sentence. I have done community service all of my life and I have done it for love. I refuse to have community service imposed on me as a punishment. And I won’t pay a fine or allow anyone else to pay a fine for me. I won’t accept any part of electronic monitoring as I would consider that an enforced internalization of a guilt I don’t feel and don’t accept and I refuse to internalize this court’s opinion of me by policing myself."

UPDATE : From The Tyee : Harriet Nahanee Did Not Die in Vain
"What if the court allows itself to be used as the strong arm of government and big business?
What if government and big business can operate irrespective of public opinion and without having to fairly obtain legitimacy for their projects, while those who protest go into the slammer? "

From Chris in comments : Harriet's blog , Spirit of Warrior Harriet Nahanee

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Five Ring Circus Act




Michael Geist asks "Should the Vancouver Olympic Organizers Own the word "Winter"? "
Or, for that matter, the words Olympics, 2010, Vancouver, Whistler, Games, Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Medal?

Yesterday Bill C-47 was tabled in the HoC to protect the 2010 Olympics from encroachment on their ownership of the above list of words and their logo, because, as they helpfully remind us on their site :

"Any unauthorized use of the Olympic Brand threatens VANOC's ability to establish a successful sponsorship program and raise funds necessary to host and stage the 2010 Winter Games....Any deficit [generated by the 2010 Olympics] will be the responsibility of the Province of British Columbia."

Yes, we do remember that part of the deal, thank you - we get to pay for turning patriotism into corporatism.

But wait! Does that mean I can be McLibelled for my various parodies of their logo? There was that business of them suing - unsuccessfully - Olympic Pizza, who had already owned that name for 15 years.

The bill specifically excludes "criticism of the Olympics" from liability, but Michael Geist is not sure that includes parodies. While we're waiting to see whether I get busted by Stockwell Day - yes, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness will be responsible for enforcing the act - I would like to propose that the Olympic organizers add the following phrases to that list of trademark words they hope to own :

Boondoggle. Evictions. SROs. Homelessness. Union-busting. Cost over-runs.

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