Saturday, June 30, 2007

VANOC and Vancouver City Council go for the gold in homelessness

On Wednesday the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee issued its blueprint for how it will be the first Games to "leave a lasting positive social, economic and environmental legacy".
VP of sustainability for VANOC Linda Coady : "a report at the end of June will come from VANOC and the three levels of government because they carry the accountability for the social housing unit.”
She said VANOC has committed to providing 250 social housing units from the athlete’s village in Vancouver’s False Creek area and has budgeted $500,000 for shelters to deal with any spike in homelessness during the Games.
She then went on to boast that VANOC had saved some frogs by not running over them with bulldozers.
But a Freedom of Information request showed "head of the City of Vancouver’s housing department reveals that none of the 250 units of promised “affordable housing” are guaranteed to be available to people living below the poverty line".
This comes on top of the city voting in 2005 to eliminate the promised middle income housing in False Creek and cutting the social housing from 33% to 20%.
The same FOI request revealed documents showing that the City of Vancouver will make at least $64.5m profit on the SE False Creek development project
On Thursday Vancouver citizens presented four hours of submissions to council begging them to reject the bullshit VANOC-approved report, which revealed no new housing from VANOC despite the loss of 700 units to the Olympics so far and VANOC's own housing subcommittee report that 3,300 new social housing units would be required to offset homelessness caused by Olympic "urban renewal".
Mayor Sam Sullivan left during the second speaker.
Thursday night Vancouver City Council went for the gold in homelessness, voting 6 to 5 to approve the VANOC report, asserting that housing recommendations developed for VANOC are "not binding."
How the hell is this not actionable?
The 2010 Olympics were sold to us as the greenest most socially responsible Olympics evah in order to get a "YES" vote to satisfy IOC standards requiring public support.
Again, how is this not actionable?

Friday, June 29, 2007

That was then; this is now

The just declassified CIA documents from the late 40's to the mid 70's known as "The Family Jewels" reveal that the CIA spied on left-wing Canadians critical of the Vietnam War during the late 1960s and '70s.
In an operation that paralelled their domestic program of keeping tabs on left-wing activity on campuses in the US, Operation "MH Chaos" targeted anti-war poli-sci Prof. Mordecai Briemberg at SFU and other student activists.

Yeah, I know. Quel surprise.

Other declassified "Family Jewels" :
  • Enlisting the mob to assassinate Castro with poison
  • Testing LSD and other drugs on unwitting victims
  • Wiretapping US journalists at home and at work
  • Spying on civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protesters
  • CIA meetings leading up to the Watergate burglary
  • Breaking in to the homes of ex-CIA employees
  • The torture of KGB defector Yuri Nosenko
  • Keeping files on members of Congress and 9,900+ Americans in the anti-war movement

More details.

So -- 9/11 didn't change that much after all.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We interrupt this pogrom...

"Disruptions?" "Barricades?" "Interruptions of service?"

We caused disruptions in the First Nation people's way of life for decades.
We put up barricades against their realizing their own way and their own wealth.
And we have not provided them with sufficient services such that interruptions would be notable.

CBC TV blots an otherwise great record in bringing us an hour a night every night this past week on the plight of FN peoples by asking whether tomorrow's Day of Action disruptions and barricades are really in the FN peoples' best interest.

Hey it's our shame, not theirs, that a Day of Action is even necessary.
While it is FN people who suffer, this is Canada's problem.
Support their action tomorrow, any way you can.

Five Ring Circus Spin

Organizers of the 2010 Five Ring Circus claim to have spurred the creation of 1,109 new units of social housing in Vancouver.

"But a Tyee review of the 1,109 units cited in the Olympic partners report finds shelter beds being counted as housing units, pre-existing units being claimed as new housing, and a double-counting of the 250 units of athlete housing at False Creek -- which will not necessarily become low-income housing after the Games."

The Tyee has also found that all but one of the remaining projects were approved and funded years before the Olympic bid was awarded in July of 2003.

You're really surprised by this news, I can tell.

Say, how much has VANOC set aside to give themselves raises again? Oh, yeah - $44 million.

David Eby from Pivot Legal Society points out that $44mil, along with the $64mil the city is expected to reap on the SE False Creek Project and the $250mil provincial housing budget, would be enough to build 3,200 units of new supportive housing. The 3,200 figure represents VANOC's own assessment of the number of new housing units required in order to ensure the Olympics would not contribute to rising homelessness.

The Olympics has been an insidious covert form of "urban renewal" for decades now. The Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions estimates that Olympic events in seven cities in the last 20 years has resulted in the displacement of over two million people.

Not entirely oblivious to the sullying of its reputation by corporate greed, the IOC has implemented an ethical review sytem to evaluate the housing situation in cities two years following the games. Having fucked up the opportunity to get the homeless off the streets by 2010 by providing them with shelter, VANOC and Sullivan and Campbell will presumably now need to resort to 'street cleansing', the further criminalization of the very people they have made homeless in the first place.

Bonus : Pretty Shaved Ape's Olympics rant.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Great Canadian Freep List

CBC has been hosting The Great Canadian Wish List
Here you can vote via Facebook for your very best wish for Canada.

Out of over 400 possibilities so far - world peace; an end to poverty and hunger; environmental responsibility; justice for First Nations - more or less the wishes you would expect, how do you think the voting is going so far?

According to F-email Fightback, here's the top four as of yesterday :
Abolish Abortion in Canada
I wish that Canada would remain pro-choice
For a spiritual revival in our nation
Restore the Traditional Definition of Marriage
On Friday CBC noticed 1)a glitch in their software allowing for multiple voting, including over 900 votes for one wish in an hour, and 2) American IPs, resulting in their deletion.

Hence the following missive:
Dear readers,
Apologies for the error in the email note at the top of yesterday's news. Contrary to information we were previously given, the CBC Great Canadian Wish List contest is open only to Canadians. Foreign entries will be removed. However if you are Canadian and have not yet entered your vote in favour of the pro-life wish there is still time to do so. - LifeSite.

As Canadian Cynic says : Are we out of Cheetos again?

And if there's a sudden need to start submitting votes for wishes like "I wish Canada would remain anti-slavery" or "I wish Canada would continue to give women the vote", I'll let you know.
Silly freepers.

Monday, June 25, 2007

First of all I'd like to thank my cat...

Somewhere in between JJ at Unrepentant Old Hippie kindly nominating me in early May for a Thinking Blogger Award (oh noes, not anuzzer memes!) and Big City Lib tagging me for it again yesterday, just about everyone I regularly read over on my sidebar - thinking bloggers all - is now sporting that thoughtful baby alien on their own sidebars. Oh, a few have managed to keep their little heads down so far, salting their nominations away in the backs of their sock drawers, but I think I'm pretty safely off the hook here now as regards having to pass it on.

Of course not all forms of award are such an unqualified success....

"Iran has stepped up its protest over the knighthood awarded by Britain to Salman Rushdie... Britain denied that the award was intended to insult Islam."

Harry Hutton figures the award is an insult to Rushdie.

He points out that to the British, "knight" simply means "famous dickhead in his fifties" or "fat crook who donates to the Labour Party" [Ed. - Take that, Conrad Black!]
Therefore due to the British inclination to knight aging popstars - Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Jimmy Saville, Sir Elton John - the writer Salmon Rushdie winds up sharing knighthood with the guy who wrote:

"Everybody has a summer holiday.
Doin' things they always wanted to.
So we're goin' on a summer holiday
To make our dreams come true..."


Sunday, June 24, 2007

SoCon and busted

From SoCon or Bust, the blog of John Pacheco, Catholic, homophobe and fetus fetishist, Family Coalition Party candidate and then independent candidate in the last federal election :

Belinda Stronach Has Breast Cancer

Please pray for Belinda.

We must still admit that for women taking oral contraceptives and having abortions, there is an increase in the risk of breast cancer. Check it out here. Keep scrolling down for the ABC link.
Posted by John Pacheco at 6/23/2007 07:11:00 AM
Labels: LifeStyle Choices

You utter worm.
You use the announcement of Stronach's breast cancer as an excuse to resurrect the utterly discredited link between abortion and breast cancer as promulgated by born-again anti-abortion British nutbar Dr.Joel Brind and his more recent American converts.

And by utterly discredited, John, I mean utterly discredited by the National Cancer Institute in the United States, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (and their U.S. counterparts), the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Breast Cancer Network as being entirely without merit.

"Label : LifeStyle Choices." What the fuck would you know of Stronach's personal history?

But that doesn't really matter, does it John, because your real message here is "It's your own fault, bitches."

JJ has a screen shot from Freeper Dominion of a strikingly similar but even more disgusting post from someone called "Paycheck".

Your imaginary sky monster must be just beaming with pride.

Unrepentant Old Hippie link from Skdadl via Bread and Roses

UPDATE : In comments Niles suggests it would be a nice gesture of support to Belinda to go to her website Spread the Net and make a donation/sponsorship to acquire UNICEF malaria nets for kids in Africa. They currently have 65,000 nets and are aimimg for 500,000. Each net is $10 and can protect 2 to 5 sleeping kids for up to 5 years. According to her site, an African child dies of malaria every 30 seconds.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Gun-Binkies for everyone!

April Reign has a post up about the Con's hand-picked firearm advisory panel, which appears to be stocked entirely with gun enthusiasts. Here's a quote from one of them :

"If even 1 per cent of the students and staff at Virginia Tech had been allowed to exercise their right to self defence, then this tragedy would have been stopped in its very beginning and dozens of lives would have been saved," Dr. Mike Ackermann, a Nova Scotia physician, wrote in a letter to the Ottawa Sun in April. "There are never any mass killings at shooting ranges; only at schools and other so-called `gun-free zones."

The other panel members consist of two firearms dealers, a firearms expert, an RCMP commish, two cops, three guys from sports clubs, an Olympic pistol shooter, an SFU prof renowned for his opposition to gun laws, and a guy praised by the president of the NRA for being "one of the beacons of hope in a room full of enemies determined to eradicate your gun rights."

Interesting that Dr. Ackerman should advocate giving guns to students.

The Canadian Mental Health Association reports : "Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people after motor vehicle accidents."

And wouldn't you know it, 60% of the time their instrument of choice is a handgun.

Note : The picture is from a spoof site advertizing Gun Toddler Products. As far as I'm concerned that picture would work just as well if you replaced the baby with an NRA member.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Water truckin'

You may remember Michael Byers as the UBC International Law prof who asked prior to the last election why extraordinary rendition wasn't an election issue and who also red-flagged our Afghan detainee transfer deal in the national press over a whole freakin year ago.

Byers has a book out - "Intent for a Nation : What is Canada for?" - and The Tyee has an excerpt :

"In 2004, the Canadian actor Paul Gross starred in a made-for-TV drama entitled H2O. Gross plays Tom McLaughlin, the charismatic son of a murdered Canadian prime minister, who takes over Canada at the behest of a group of international financiers eager to sell our fresh water to an increasingly thirsty United States."

Did you see this movie? I hadn't so I looked it up at IMDb. Some of the user comments about the unlikelihood of the plot's basic premise were kind of sad. At the time this movie aired, the GATT agricultural provisions regarding water were two decades old, and NAFTA, including the dreaded Annex Tariff Item 22.01: water: all natural water other than sea water, whether or not clarified or purified, had already passed its tenth birthday. Five years before this movie was even a twinkle in CBC's eye, the NDP were standing on the floor of the HoC demanding a clarification on water sovereignty under NAFTA - and it was denied.

While conceding that Canada's legal position on control of her water is at the very least muddy, Byer warns against setting any bulk water trading precedents:

"A single act of trading water on a bulk basis would arguably transform the resource into a tradable good that was legally indistinguishable from softwood lumber, potash or oil, rendering subsequent attempts to prevent or limit further exports illegal. For this reason, it is imperative that Canada takes water off the free trade table, quickly and decisively -- now, before it's too late."

Well another attempt was made two weeks ago, this time in the form of a motion asking the Cons to request a clarification from Mexico and the US on their position on Canada's water, and it was again denied.

Byers' excerpt concludes:

"On water, as on so many other issues, our conciliatory, don't-rock-the-boat approach to Canada-U.S. relations has failed. Unless we stand up for our own interests, Canadian fresh water could soon be irrigating crops, watering golf courses and filling backyard swimming pools in the south western United States.
It's time to dissuade Americans of the notion that we're going to rescue them from the consequences of their short-sighted, profligate ways by allowing them to mess with our environment, too. It's time to make it absolutely clear that bulk water exports are not covered by NAFTA."

In the meantime someone please let me know how that H2O movie turned out.

Tyee link from Jennifer at Runesmith's Canadian Content


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Great Reads

From the introductory essay of Linda McQuaig's "Holding the Bully's Coat", an examination of Canada's complicity in and subservience to the American empire :

"Although it received almost no attention in the Canadian media, the appointment of Gen.Bantz Craddock as NATO’s top military commander in December 2006 had a significance for Canadians. Craddock had been in charge of the U.S.’s notorious Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, where hundreds of suspected terrorists have been stripped of their most basic human rights in defiance of international law.

His appointment as NATO’s military chief meant that Canadian troops serving in the NATO mission in Afghanistan were being brought under the ultimate command of a U.S. general deeply connected to the worst aspects of American foreign policy carried out in the name of defeating "terror."

In fact, there has been a significant shift in how Canada operates in the world, as we’ve moved from being a nation that has championed internationalism, the United Nations and UN peacekeeping to being a key prop to an aggressive U.S. administration operating outside the constraints of international law."

The rest of McQuaig's essay can be read at the excellent Canadian monthly ColdType.
Offering free subscription in a downloadable pdf format, The ColdType Reader has attracted and published such writers as George Monbiot, Greg Palast, Chris Hedges, Robert Fisk, Robert Jenson, Norman Solomon, ... and Hugo Chavez.

Well, go on then. Why are you still here?

UPDATE : Oh good lord. Catnip links to an Independent article on Craddock's old Gitmo stomping grounds from July of last year.
In a review of the military's own documents, a Seton Hall University study discovered that :
"Only 8 per cent of prisoners are accused of fighting for a terrorist group, and that 86 per cent were captured by the Northern Alliance or Pakistani authorities "at a time when the US offered large bounties for the capture of suspected terrorists". "

Yes, where are all the smart female bloggers?

Joe Wilson, Digby of Hullabaloo, Rick Perlstein
So it turns out Digby is a woman.
Jason and Warren will be pleased.
Picture and vid from Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake via Skdadl at Bread and Roses
Closing off this post with the three words that have for years comprised many entire posts across the blogosphere :

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On The Map : It's called a 'coup'

Whatever we may think of Hamas, their armed aggression, and their refusal to recognize Israel, they did win a decisive victory in a democratic election in Palestine a year and a half ago. This prompted Peter MacKay to fall all over himself in his rush to clock in before the US and officially nominate Canada to be the first country outside Israel not to recognize the new government. Condemnations were issued and aid was cut off.

Last week, in response to Hamas' taking of Gaza, President Abbas fired Prime Minister Haniyeh and his Hamas cabinet and replaced them with an appointed more western-friendly "emergency government".

Bush and Israeli PM Olmert responded with statements of support for Abbas and the promise to resume aid. Bush said he would keep fighting for democracy in the region because it is the only way to prevent extremists from gaining a foothold.

Screw democracy when it doesn't come out the way you want, eh?

Last night I was pleased to hear Avi Lewis on On The Map name last week's events in Palestine for what they actually were - a coup d'etat.

UPDATE : Avi called it on Tuesday and now via a link at Buckdog:

An oped in Wednesday's New York Times from now ex-Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's political advisor Ahmed Yousef : What Hamas Wants

"The events in Gaza over the last few days have been described in the West as a coup. In essence, they have been the opposite. Eighteen months ago, our Hamas Party won the Palestinian parliamentary elections and entered office under Prime Minister Ismail Haniya but never received the handover of real power from Fatah, the losing party. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has now tried to replace the winning Hamas government with one of his own, returning Fatah to power while many of our elected members of Parliament languish in Israeli jails. That is the real coup."

Continued at NYT. where Yousef lays out the Hamas position here.

GnuGov GnuLogo

Jennifer at Runesmith's Canadian Content, always a good read, suggests this would be a more appropriate ConLogo than the one they're using now. That redstate star is a nice touch too, don't you think?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Cons - "Getting Things Dumber"

As the Cons shop their party logo onto Pierre Bourque's stock car in an effort to target that all-important NASCAR dad demographic, I'm thinking that the WWF dads (pronounced WOOF dads) are probably up next.
Faked pugnacious histrionics in a fixed fight - it's perfect.
Best line on the current foray into "Getting Things Dumb" came from Bourque himself who explained :
"NASCAR provides a "terrific medium" to spread the party brand as Canadians switch from traditional sources of information, such as newspapers and television, to reading logos painted on cars instead."
"It's a natural fit for them," he said of the Cons.
Referring to the other parties, Bourque, who also drives the Con message on his News Swatch website, mused, "I don't know why they didn't think of it first."
Why indeed.
Red Tory thinks it might have something to do with conjuring up an image of "making a lot of noise while going endlessly round in circles".

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Environment Committee scuttled

The Environment Committee appears to gone the way of other government committees who deviate from the Con party line.

Faced with the prospect of testimony hostile to the Con environment plan from a witness previously expected to be 'friendly', Environment Committee Chair and Con MP Bob Mills attempted to change the witness line-up, and when over-ruled by the rest of the committee he promptly resigned as committee chair. No other Con agreed to stand in for Mills, thereby effectively shutting down the hearings.

Another one for the growing list of sabotaged committees.
The silenced witness was Mark Jaccard, a Simon Fraser University economist who Environment Minister John Baird counted on to validate the Con non-environment plan right up til this week when Jaccard published a scathing review of the government's climate change targets via the previously supportive C.D.Howe Institute.

Now we all remember the 200 page Con dirty tricks manual with its suggestions on how to disrupt and terminate committees not holding to the Con party line, and the subsequent leak to NaPo's Don Martin a month ago that Con party whip Jay Hill leaned on committee chairs who didn't play along :

"A source at that meeting confided that [government whip] Mr. [Jay] Hill "lavished praise on the chairs who caused disruptions and admonished those who prefer to lead through consensus".

So it's more than a little interesting that following his resignation as Environment Committee Chair, Bob Mills refused all interviews and instead "referred all questions on the matter to the Conservative whip".

Con whip Jay Hill, apparently not yet informed of Mills' resignation, declined to be interviewed when questioned on it by reporters.

I imagine Bob Mills, an apparently decent guy by all accounts, actually expected to get a little work done when he came to Ottawa. I don't imagine he saw resigning his position as a way of achieving that.
Just how much pressure are these committee chairs under to entirely discredit the whole concept of government?
This entirely ridiculous experiment in being governed by people who hate government has been an unmitigated disaster.


Feeding SUVs

"Filling up an SUV represents the caloric equivalent of one person's food intake for an entire year," says Helmut Burkhardt, Professor of Physics Emeritus at Ryerson University.
You can read his statistical breakdown of how this works here.
Dr. Burkhardt was responding to Tuesday's On The Map segment on ethanol and bio-fuels :
"American farmers have planted the biggest corn crop in U.S. history. Almost 30% will be used to make fuel, not food. Corn needs three-times the fertilizer of any other crop. And fertilizers are a major source of greenhouse gases.
In both Canada and the U.S., billions of dollars in biofuel subsidies are being doled out mostly to the pockets of agri-business giants."
I think this is where we came in...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Business Without Borders

Atlantica 2007 Conference

Jun 14-16, 2007

Yo! Atlanticans! Could you be any more ass?

From the Media Page of AIMS - Atlantic Institute of Market Study, a sponsor of Atlantica 2007 :

"It is a shame that ideological blindness of the usual suspects - unions, rabid ultranationalists like the Council of Canadians, radical feminists, and other fellow-traveling leftist flat-earthers got most of the media attention focused on the "Reaching Atlantica: Business without Boundaries," conference hosted in Saint John last weekend by the Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce, bringing together business leaders, trade experts and scholars to discuss a strategy for creating an International Northeast Economic Region (AINER) - a cross-border economic zone encompassing the northeast corner of North America.

"Atlantica" broadly encompasses the Atlantic Provinces, eastern Quebec, the northern tier of New England states, and northern New York state, all of which share various common characteristics: similar demographics, social diversity and migration, a shared history, and interrelated transportation issues, but AIMS argues that trade restrictions imposed by an international border running through the heart of Atlantica hobbles the region's prosperity.

Unfortunately, the unions, nationalists, protectionists and knee-jerk America-haters, as usual, just don't get it that before you can slice an economic pie equitably, first you have to secure the pie, which requires trade and commerce, preferably without a lot of bureaucratic obstacles constipating the process.If the vision of Atlantica could be realized, it would be a wonderful facilitator toward restoring Atlantic Canada's heritage as a thriving centre of international trade, but even better would be to integrate all of Canada and the U.S. inside one big continental economic and security zone."

"Integrate all of Canada and the U.S. inside one big continental economic security zone"?

See, I'm guessing right about there is where you lost those flat-earthers.

Interesting group of panellists and speakers you have this time : Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Rodney MacDonald, Premier of Nova Scotia; Stephen Blank, Director of North American Forum on Integration; Harold Foster, Consul General of the USA; Jim Quigley, VP at the Bank of Montreal; Mike Duffy; and a whole load of energy CEOs for some reason, but....Mike Duffy? Scott Sinclair from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives will presumably be there dissenting.

Besides AIMS, the other big fluffer for Atlantica is the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce.

Yo ! Chamber! How did you come to pick Jonathan Daniels, the American CEO of Eastern Maine Development Corporation, as your next Chair for the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce? Huh? You don't see anything up with him being the head of a Canadian Chamber of Commerce?

And then there's all the whining about minimum wage and gov regs and unions and ....there go the feminists and the ultranationals and the unions. You just lost 'em. In fact right there is where you alienated anyone who hasn't crawled up the asshole of deep integration and fallen asleep.

Stop Atlantica! - Atlantic Canadians' Declaration Against Atlantica

Puppet head politics

The Oxfam G8 Bighead Pinocchio protest in Rostock.
Reuters describes the 'real' Harper as "a somewhat wooden figure".
Wooden and all but ignored in the foreign press he may be, but did you notice that Harper's domestic "Made In Canada" climate plan of no specific targets is now the official G8 plan?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

"We're the Indians now" **

"The Plan to Disappear Canada" in yesterday's Tyee outlines ten recent developments in deep integration that have received media coverage.

As author Murray Dobbin points out : it's good that our media is finally giving it some tentative attention but it's bad that it's taken them so long to notice that The Big Idea is already well underway.

Several people have emailed it to me along with their comments, which mostly run to the "those fucking Americans" variety, and it's this idea that deep integration is someone else's fault that I'd like to address here. Specifically I'd like to hear a lot more about complicity from certain "fucking Canadians".

Mulroney gave us the 1989 Free Trade Agreement, Chretien gave us NAFTA, Paul Martin the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and Harper - Harper's knees are covered in callouses and his lower jaw has gone numb.

In their April 2004 position paper "New Frontiers - North American Security and Prosperity Initiative", the Canadian Council of Chief Executives bragged :

"The Council was the private sector leader in the development and promotion of the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement during the 1980s and of the subsequent trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement. North American economic integration is now well advanced and irreversible."

Canadians all.

The 2005 Independent Task Force on the Future of North America, also a Canadian initiative, included :

  • John Manley, Task Force Canada Chair, former Deputy Prime Minister and ex-Finance Minister
  • Tom D'Aquino, Chief Exec of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives
  • Tom Axworthy*, former Chief of Staff to Trudeau
  • Jim Dinning, former Alberta Finance Minister, lost to Stelmach in leadership bid
  • Wendy Dobson, Pres. C.D. Howe Institute, Ass Deputy Minister of Finance of Canada
  • Pierre-Marc Johnson, former Quebec Premier
  • Michael Wilson, former Canada Finance Minister, ex-Minister of International Trade, and Canadian Ambassador to the U.S.

who, along with their US and Mexican counterparts, variously advocated and signed off on :

  • a North American brand name, "portraying NA as a club of privileged members"
  • a North American security perimeter - "Security issues trump all other issues."
  • an educational project to teach "a shared NA identity in schools"
  • a North American passport.
  • a feasibility study on North American currency union.
  • an integrated NA electrical grid
  • a NA "resource pact allowing greater trade and investment in non-renewable resources, such as oil, gas, and fresh water"
  • the complaint that "Governance has not kept pace with economic realities and is preventing further integration."

(*Tom Axworthy appended a dissenting view, disagreeing with creating one security perimeter and also with moving bulk water exports and cultural protections from national to NA jurisdiction.)

And the Smart Borders and the Smart Regulations harmonization with US regs and the Fire Sale of Canadian companies.

So please, let's admit that Canadian corporations and think tanks and politicians have more than met "those effing Americans" half-way here. However horrified we may be at the idea of hitching our wagon to the stars and stripes of the war-mongering imperialistic plutocracy to the south, let's at least admit it's Canadians who are selling off our wagon.

**Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, June 08, 2007

Steve and Sandra Go to the G8 : Something or other about 2050

Some previous G8 something or others :
At the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005, world leaders promised Africa debt relief, drugs for AIDS and double the annual aid within five years.
Just one year later, total aid from G8 countries actually dropped. Canada's aid fell by 9%; the US by 20%.

Another previous G8 promise : to write off the debts of the 18 poorest African countries.
This year's debt in interest alone? A billion and half dollars. Or, more than those countries saved from the debt relief they got in the first place.

If you don't count Bush's nostalgia for the good old days of the arms race in Europe, you can at least say that this year the G8's aren't making any promises they can't keep.

On The Map with Avi Lewis
Dana : Harper on the International Stage

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Rob Cottingham says : I can't has laffs at lolcats
So I'm guessing lolsteves are completely out then.

CBC's metaphor-gate

The head of CBC News was grilled by Con MPs on Tuesday about the use of this photo of the Toronto skyline to illustrate a story on the Kyoto Accord.

Calling the darkened stock photo "a complete misrepresentation" that had the effect of "misleading Canadians", the apparently metaphor-challenged Con MP Chris Warkenton complained in a brilliant rhetorical flourish that the photo "was there to support an opinion that was being brought forward with the article that it was published along with."

And here I'll pause for a moment to allow you to enjoy the unintended hilarity produced whenever a Con MP complains about misrepresentation of Kyoto.

CBC editor-in-chief Tony Burman answered that the photo, which was pulled as soon as the mistake was realized, was "misfiled" and "an inadvertent error" and had not been specifically "retouched for use on air".

The Cons, who have recently taken to air-brushing entire people out of their caucus, then promptly squandered whatever dubious moral high ground they might have tried to claim by whining that CBC hadn't given sufficient coverage to their fetus fetish rally on the Hill last month. Wankers.

Note to CBC : Use a bigger brush. Some Cons obviously don't get concepts like 'metaphor' and 'illustration' easily. Next time you run a photo to illustrate a story about Canada's relationship to Kyoto, I would suggest you use something clearer and more to the point. Like this one from Havril :


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

SPP, not just for cows anymore

Robert Pastor : "It's time for Canada to take the lead to propose rule-based institutions that permit cows to roam across borders and people to declare: I am not just a Canadian, a Mexican, or a U.S. citizen; I am also a North American."

Pastor, author of Toward a North American Community, director of the North American Forum on Integration, and tireless cheerleader for "a North American consciousness", is at the University of Ottawa today, plumping for letting the little people in on his pet cow-freeing project :

Mr. Pastor said the SPP summit at Montebello this August "offers an opportunity for the leaders to open the process, to invite in more civil society groups," including academics, environmentalists, unions, the media and state and provincial legislators."

Unlike Ron Covais and his co-conspirators in the North American Competitiveness Council who advocate for "integration by stealth", Pastor says : "What we need is something more bold."

Well, exactly.
Pastor was quite bold himself when he spoke to the Canadian Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade in Feb 2002 on implementation of a common currency :

There are three options for us. Option one is de facto dollarization. That is to say, no government makes a decision, and increasingly Canada and Mexico use the U.S. dollar.

The number two option is de jure dollarization. Three governments all sit down and they decide the dollar makes sense: let's just use a single currency.

The third option is a unified currency. Herbert Grubel has proposed this idea of the amero.

I think it's in the long-term interest of the United States to propose or to discuss a scheme in which all three countries feel there is space for them to define a portion of this larger entity of an amero system, not a dollar system.

Some of the FAIT MPs promptly widdled on the carpet in their gratitude and excitement.
See how much better it is to be open and transparent and let "state and provincial legislators" "feel there is a space for them" in the decision-making?

Actually, the mewling sychophantic behavior of the MPs aside, I heartily advocate Pastor's strategy.

Pastor promotes the SPP as NAFTA-Plus.
NAFTA overrides Canadian law for the benefit of corporations to which it affords the rights and freedoms previously reserved for people. It allows quisling business groups like the Canadian Council of Chief Executives an increasingly large say in public policy issues while excluding the public. It advocates the deregulation and privatization of hard-won public services like health and education, promotes intellectual property rights of corporations over the needs of consumers, nullifies control over foreign investment, and guts protection for workers, stakeholders, and the environment.

In 1993, Canadians reacted to the wholesale promotion of Mulroney's corporate free trade agenda by throwing him out on his ass and reducing the Cons to two seats in the House.
So let's hope the Cons listen to Pastor today and Canada is provided with the opportunity to hear them defend this NAFTA-Plus in the House. And the sooner the better.

Garth wakes up. Somewhat.

H/T Accidental Deliberations : Transparent

Monday, June 04, 2007

So stick another ribbon on your DND

Panglossian Notes noticed this honking new banner hanging on the South wing of the Defence Department Headquarters building in downtown Ottawa and provides us with a friendlier customized version from Mr. Fish.
I always liked this one too from Crabgrass at This Can't Be Right for its gentle reminder that there's rather more to this agenda than merely Standing On Guerre For Thee.
And just in case you've forgotten where all this crap originally came from : A little American song and dance cue from some friends of Rev at the Woodshed.
Yeah, I know, you'll be singing it all day now.


So how 'special' are we?

Harper to tell G8 Canada 'special' on climate change.

Click to enlarge.
The above graphic shows the relationship between wealth and energy consumption, plotting per capita energy consumption (x axis) against per capita income (y axis) for all countries with more than 20 million inhabitants in 2006.
Canada is indeed special. With the highest energy consumption per person in the world, we still fall behind Japan, the US and the UK in our ability to translate that consumption into wealth, while Germany and France require roughly half our energy consumption to maintain the same GDP as us.

The red dot represents the world average, with China and India falling well below it in both energy consumption and income.
I would remind those who prefer whole country stats over the social justice issues exposed in per capita stats that the environment doesn't much care about country names and boundaries.
Just sayin', Steve.

Image courtesy of Frank van Mierlo

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Steve and Sandra - Dressed to Kill

Just so we're clear here : Steve, who didn't serve in the military, went off on Dion for not serving in the military and Ignatieff for spending time in academia outside the country, because Dion called for the resignation of an incompetent Con cabinet minister who used to serve in the military.

"It's true I've never served in the armed forces," the PM admitted. "I consider that an experience in my life that I've missed. But I can say, Mr. Speaker, that I've always worked and lived and paid my taxes in my country."

As Tim put it in The Canadian President : It's really a right wing twofer for Harper. He gets to criticize people who have not served in the military (hypocritical prick that he is) and he gets to sneer at an academic. It's all good!

Got it? No? Just think of it as a more childish variation on "I know you are but what am I?"

Fixed : Oh, just about everything above. Bah!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Water wars

No, not with the US ; apparently we're still duking this one out with the Cons.

You remember those International Trade Committee hearings last month on Canada's water and energy security under NAFTA and the SPP? The one in which chairperson Leon Benoit stomped out with the three other Con members because he didn't like Prof. Gordon Laxer's testimony on just how vulnerable Canada is?
Yes? Then you'll remember how the rest of the committee continued to do their job.

Today the following motion was brought from that Int Trade Committee to the House of Commons for debate :

"Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), and the motion adopted by the Committee on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 your Committee recommends:

Whereas Canada’s water resources must be protected;

Whereas NAFTA covers all services and all goods, except those that are expressly excluded and water is not excluded;

Whereas this situation puts the provincial and federal laws concerning the protection of water including the prohibition of bulk water exports at risk;

Whereas a simple agreement by exchange of letters among the governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico specifying that water is not covered by NAFTA must be respected by international tribunals as if it were an integral part of NAFTA;

That the Standing Committee recommend that the government quickly begin talks with its American and Mexican counterparts to exclude water from the scope of NAFTA."

Yes! Thank you Bloc and NDP committee members, and particularly NDP Trade critic Peter Julian who has worked so hard to expose the whole SPP betrayal in parliament.

The Con members on the committee dissented of course.
And I'm sure, given their previous behavior on the committee and the outing of the Con's dirty tricks manual on how to shut down committees on subjects they don't like, you're not exactly reeling with surprise about it.

Down at the bottom :

"Dissenting opinion from the Conservative Party
The Government members of the Standing Committee on International Trade, for reasons previously stated by our members which appear in the evidence, [snip], choose to dissent respectfully from the Ninth Report."

Dissent away, ReformACons! Da motherfuckin motion is in da House!

SATURDAY UPDATE: From the Ottawa Citizen :
"A motion to open NAFTA talks to make sure bulk-water exports are excluded from the deal sparked an acrimonious three-hour debate in the House yesterday, with all three Opposition parties lined up against the Tories.

The Tories say a 1993 letter signed by the three governments specifically says "water in its natural state" is exempt from the provisions of NAFTA.
But water will not be considered to be "in its natural state" once it has been loaded into a pipeline, or onto a tanker, critics fear.

NDP MP Peter Julian says that in 1998, California-based Sun Belt Water Inc. launched a $10.5-billion lawsuit under NAFTA against British Columbia when a provincial ban scuttled its plans to ship water by tanker to the U.S. (The case is still pending.)
"As a foreign investor, all you need to do is apply for a permit.
You'll either get to export water, or you can sue for compensation, which taxpayers will have to pay. Either way, the investor wins, and Canada loses."
Water is protected not only by the 1993 NAFTA letter, but also by a federal-provincial pact and an amendment to the Canada-U.S. Boundary Waters Treaty, which protects the Great Lakes and other shared waters, he [Ted Menzies, Con from the Int Trade committee] argues.

But the Council of Canadians, an Ottawa-based advocacy group, says the U.S. never signed that amendment and notes that it doesn't cover water sources that are not shared with the U.S."
The quisling Cons are terrified to ask the fucking question : Under NAFTA, does Canada control her own water, or, as Peter Julian puts it, is it a choice between 1)exporting water or 2)paying compensation to each and every foreign company who applies for a permit to do so.

May 31 Hansard account of debate between all parties in the House..

MandaTORY TARgets

This little box appears on the opening page of the Government of Canada Official Web Site (sic) : "Canada is setting mandatory reduction targets for all major industries that produce greenhouse gases."

All of them? Now that can't be right. Why, just today I was reading in The Star how :

"the Harper government's recently announced green plan lets the tar-sands industry off the hook. By using "intensity-based targets" that limit emissions on a per barrel basis, the government applies no caps on expanded production. In the tar sands, where production is expected to quadruple by the year 2015, greenhouse gas emissions are predicted to grow from 27 million metric tonnes today to more than 126 million metric tonnes from this industry alone in less than a decade. Instead of curbing emissions, the Harper plan allows the tar sands to do the opposite."

So what do you get when you click that little " More" link at the bottom of the box ? :
"This functionality is currently unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience."

That's just the Cons all over, isn't it? - Big front page lies, followed up with an awkwardly worded excuse about how it isn't their fault.

(Cross-posted at The Galloping Beaver)

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