Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dear Postmedia Editorial Board

This : 
is not an adequate response or apology for what was previously published in that same space by the Postmedia Editorial Board on August 24th : "[Elizabeth] May must renounce anti-Israel resolutions". Excerpted :

You are not RebelMedia. 
You are not some partisan advocacy organization that can pass off the blame for this appalling libelous attack on some hapless newbie book reviewer - although I notice you share with them the phrase "figleaf of Jewishness". 
No, you are the editorial board of Vancouver's largest newspaper. Shame on you for stating Independent Jewish Voices supports terrorism and denies the Holocaust.

IJV Statement On Canadian Media Giant Libeling Us

Corey Levine : Why I Asked The Green Party To Challenge The JNF's Charitable Status

The only upside to this ridiculous op-ed is the thorough drubbing you received in comments below it. First five comments, excerpted :
"As a former journalist and chair of Langara's journalism program, I'm shocked by the degree of distortion in this editorial."
"This editorial is preposterous!"
"What a very sad editorial, full of errors and inaccuracies and probably conscious lies."
"This 'editorial' is purposely disingenuous."
"This editorial could have been written by the Likud party."

Your op-ed also condemned a resolution sponsored by Elizabeth May and 28 other Greens calling for Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund, the largest private landowner in Israel. JNF has used its tax-deductible status in Canada to build and maintain the infamous “Canada Park” on the ruins of three Palestinian villages.  As you note in your correction, at the convention the language was watered down to call for any charitable organization's status to be revoked if they are in violation of Canadian or international law. 

In 2014 Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey was Honorary Chair of the Jewish National Fund's annual Negev Gala.  
Elizabeth May has attended their galas in the past and consulted with JNF CEO Josh Cooper prior to the Green Party convention vote.

The offending op-ed, now taken down, published in the Vancouver Sun and Ottawa Citizen :

In February, the House of Commons passed a motion 229-to-51 condemning any actions by Canadian groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement. IJV was the first national Jewish organization globally to support the non-violent BDS movement; the Green Party is the first national party in Canada to follow suit. Bravo to you both.

h/t  Waterbaby

Friday, August 26, 2016

Stephen Harper's Legacy

Ten years ago on the day Stephen Harper and his Conservative government were first elected into office, US Ambassador David Wilkins sent home a diplomatic cable outlining how the US could best support and direct a prime minister whose values were "not in line" with most Canadians. 

He recommended Harper would be useful in "advancing the US agenda for Canada" and that giving him " a success story" like the softwood lumber deal would "shore up his credentials" with Canadians without appearing to "sell out to the Americans".

Ambassador Wilkins "transformational agenda" for Harper :

"Cross border law enforcement" "enhanced information sharing", "joint maritime operations", "more robust counter-narcotics efforts", "security perimeter", following the US lead on Haiti, Afghanistan, Iran, Venezuela, Colombia, ...

Has Canada done anything independent of this cable under Harper?

Last time for Harper's Perps with Perks - here are the stories behind each Perp.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Libs falling off electoral reform bandwagon

Electoral Reform Committee member Liberal Sherry Romanado floated the idea of implementing "federal solutions" "without changing the voting system itself" at ERRE meeting #16 yesterday. She was pitching how to achieve at least some of the committee's mandate set in motion by Justin Trudeau's campaign promise to make 2015 the last election under FPtP.

This is one step further along from her more usual complaint that any version of proportional representation multi-member ridings would mean people would be confused as to who their MP is.

Liberal John Aldag asked “Is FPtP the only solution for Canada?”, while Liberal Ruby Sahota recommended giving voters the simplest voting system possible, presumably if not FPtP then its even worse majoritarian cousin, Alternative Vote. 

Liberal Chair Scarpaleggia wrapped up meeting #15 earlier with a nice paeon to the status quo, opining that a government's majority power under FPtP is not absolute - no, it is kept in check by "the courts, provinces, the media, and unions". 
You'll notice that other parties did not make his list. 
Scarpaleggia :
"Our system doesn't give absolute power to a party that has less than 50% of the vote, it just gives a stronger hand to one party to negotiate the obstacles in its way in trying to exercise national purpose."
National purpose that does not include obstacles like proportional representation.

Between Libs falling off the electoral reform bandwagon, the Cons and Bloc still banging on about referendums and moving the whole issue forward to be voted on in the 2019 election, and the inordinate amount of time wasted discussing internet voting - which Elections Canada has said we will definitely not be getting for the next election - it really is not looking good for electoral reform at the Electoral Reform Committee at this point. 

Fun fact : From the e-voting proponent witness : "Estonia is the only country to deploy internet voting in a national election." 
I wonder why that is.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Loopholes and Libya

Really? Because a mere two weeks ago, Steven Chase was reporting: 
Ottawa rewrites mandate for screening arms exports
"The Canadian government has quietly watered down its own mandate for screening the export of military goods, rewriting parts of the only substantive public statement available on Ottawa’s responsibilities for policing foreign sales."

Previous policy on military exports : Canada’s export controls are meant “to regulate and impose certain restrictions on exports in response to clear policy objectives.” 

New policy :"export controls are intended “to balance the economic and commercial interests of Canadian business with the national interest of Canada.”

So it's jobs, jobs, jobs vs "Canada prohibits the export of arms and related materiel to countries that are under United Nations Security Council arms embargos "

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's guarded "hints" above yesterday come in response to this item two days ago

"Earlier this year, a UN report criticized the Streit Group, which has a plant in Innisfil, Ont., north of Toronto, for the "illicit transfer" of 131 armoured vehicles in 2012...   At least 79 Typhoon and Spartan patrol vehicles were delivered to the effectively lawless nation in 2014
"Streit's sales were brokered through middlemen. At least four separate companies, one American and three from the United Arab Emirates, purchased the vehicles."
This brokering through middlemen to a third country is called diversion, which was prohibited by Global Affairs until it changed the rules this year to allow it.

In 2012 and 2013, the United Arab Emirates was, according to Global Affairs, our second largest destination for military exports after Saudi Arabia. 


Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada - 2012
United Arab Emirates     $277,116,557  No armoured cars but $251,134,882 for : 
"Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines ...specially designed or modified for military use"

Libya            $3,116,000     "Ground vehicles and components" 
United Arab Emirates       $4,038,373  of which $1,659,530 was for "Ground vehicles"

Table 4: Exports of Military Goods and Technology - 2014
Libya            $2,681,000      "Ground vehicles and components"
United Arab Emirates    $10,204,844 - of which $5,205,000 were "Ground vehicles" and another $3,706,563 was for "Imaging or countermeasure equipment, specially designed for military use"

Nothing for Libya
United Arab Emirates   $3,629,728 worth of "Military Goods and Technology" but no mention exactly what was shipped.        

So are these ground vehicle sales part of the Streit Group shipment to Libya and South Sudan, or some other shipment altogether?

Well we're unlikely ever to know who shipped what where because of another change made this year to our government’s policy governing the export of military goods :
"The names of exporting companies are now specifically protected."
Neither will we know how much happens to find its way to "lawless nations" through the US, where Streit happens to have a plant, because :
"The tables do not report exports of military goods to the United States, which are roughly estimated to account for over half of Canada’s exports of military goods and technology each year."

*** Fun fact : Following the $347-million Libya * mission* and a few months after Steve had his very own Mission Accomplished moment, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird signed off on $2.68 million in armoured vehicle export sales to Libya during the UN investigation. 

Because it's 2016 ... just like it was in 2012.

Balancing jobsjobsjobs with destroying the planet

Brilliant one minute speech New Zealand MP James Shaw made to an almost empty house. Before going into politics, Shaw was a consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and HSBC.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Dear Jason Kenney and Scott Reid

Watching you two in the ERRE committee dragging your feet on implementing electoral reform, I'm reminded of your pioneering work arguing passionately and intelligently in favour of it in the HoC in 2001.

Here's you, Jason Kenney, deploring that "Canada is now the only multi-party advanced democracy in the world that has a system of voting designed in and for 16th-century England" and arguing in favour of "a greater reflection of the diversity and plurality of political views" : 

And you, Mr. Reid, you left no doubt as to your position on our current FPtP system :  
"I will start by making the objection that the system in Canada really is broken at this point" 
and called for "a special all-party committee to examine the merits of various models of proportional representation" :

All excellent points, Mr. Reid!
Three and a half hours later you were on your feet again making a pitch for the Single Transferable Vote System 

Presumably this past advocacy in favour of changing our voting system to some form of proportional representation explains why the only objection to it available to you now is to keep banging on about referenda instead.  

I ask the ERRE committee to enter Mr. Reid and Mr. Kenney's excellent arguments in favour of electoral reform into the current record.

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