While much of the media and many in the opposition like to say that women's rights have faltered under Harper, the Thompson Reuters Foundation actually ranked Canada the best G20 country for women last year on account of its "strong policies against violence and exploitation combined with good access to education and healthcare."
No one escapes the blame on this one. Conservatives can't even agree if suspending the three senators without due process is the correct way to go. We have Conservative senators and Conservative MPs speaking out against the pending motions -- something that is generally unheard of in this tightly controlled government.
Cross border organizing is becoming a bigger part of tar sands campaigns for native and non-native people alike. Mariner culture dictates that if there's is a distress call anyone in the vicinity has a responsibility to act. That is the spirit of shared responsibility and stewardship that is behind our TarSandsSOS.org site. ForestEthics, with offices in Bellingham and San Francisco, partnered with Vancouver-based ForestEthics Advocacy to create it. The site is home to a unique tar sands oil tanker tracking system, which displays those tanker's locations in real time. The site also generates real time tweets when tankers carrying tar sands enter sensitive habitats on the West Coast, like whale habitat in Washington State's San Juan Islands.
Everyone knows the Conservative government is an unabashed supporter of corporations and foreign investors. They have slashed environmental oversight; attacked labour unions; opened the telecommunications sector up to majority foreign ownership; tripled the financial threshold point where the government must do a "net benefit" test of a foreign corporate takeover. Clearly, big business has gotten almost everything it has wanted from Harper's Conservatives. What should we learn from the fact that it still pushes for more? Perhaps a simple truth about capitalism: There is never enough profit.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is right that legalizing, and then regulating, marijuana is the right thing to do. It will save money and it will help keep weed away from kids. Prohibition isn't working to keep kids safe from today's supercharged weed. Legalization and regulation will.
The Sri Lanka case shows that the declared safety of a foreign country depends on Canadian politics instead of evidence like returned Sri Lankans experiencing torture and possibly worse. Politicians are not an authority on persecution. When they act like one, friends are called safe. Then domestic demands shift and suddenly they balk, tugging along lives with whims.
While these politicians are hiding behind a procedural loophole, arguing over certain senators' use of taxpayer funds to cover their living expenses, ordinary Canadians (some of which are unable to make mortgage payments on their ONLY homes) are stuck with the bill either way and are actually financing this ongoing soap-opera. So, here's an idea, and something fed-up mothers have told fighting siblings plenty of times: take it outside!
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said her government would support the proposed Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) -- with conditions. The province should be compensated by the federal government, said the Premier, for an expected nine-figure increase in drug costs, as well as the effect of subsidized European cheese imports on local dairy farmers and possible hardship at Ontario wineries. Think about that for a second. The feds will hand money over to Ontario, who will in turn hand much of it over to pharmaceutical giants.
For Canada's veterans the Throne Speech was a big flop. It devoted a total of 10 sentences to vets, and only two of them said anything about Harper's plans. The other six were self-congratulatory backslapping: meaningless rhetoric from a government which appears to think supporting veterans is as simple as saying those words over and over.
Prime Minister Harper finally has his very own tombstone-ready one-liner, too: "he got us free trade with the Europeans." That seems to be the consensus bouncing around the Canadian punditocracy at the moment, at least. Everyone agrees this trade deal rules. An estimated 80,000 new jobs, an annual $12 billion boost to GDP, cheaper vino from Italy, yadda yadda. But perhaps there's another story here, too.
Ottawa has been steadily deploying all of the resources at its disposal, including spying and corporate influence, to ensure its hegemony over some of the hemisphere's poorest and most oppressed nations.
You will not find a single word in the speech from the throne on solar or wind power, and certainly not a word on climate change. Why isn't Harper looking at products where the markets are expanding, say renewable fuels and related technology?
Whether we're talking bloody tales of yore featuring the Hatfields vs. the McCoys or contemporary Twitter nastiness between Nicki Minaj and Stephen Tyler, acrimony can be amazingly fun to watch. But these fights are only as interesting as the players are genuinely passionate, which is perhaps why the ongoing feud between the Harper Conservatives and the media has got to be one of the dullest prolonged quarrels ever. The assaults being launched and the injuries being claimed in this vendetta are just too weak and inconsequential for anyone not living in the Parliament Hill bubble to give a hoot about.
Since Canada's Economic Action Plan doesn't seem to include me at this juncture, I recently tried my hand at becoming an author. I tried to shamelessl...
The massive increase in beef and pork exports that have been negotiated will put a terrible strain on our water supplies. It takes over 15 million litres of water to produce one tonne of beef, for example. What we need is more sustainable and local food production, not massive new trade deals that will strain our water sources beyond their capacity.
If TransLink is as broke as it claims to be, why are taxpayers so grossly overpaying its chief executive officer? Ian Jarvis received $394,730 in salary, incentives and taxable benefits in 2012, plus another $32,552 in taxpayer-funded petition contributions. On top of that, Jarvis took $11,418 in "other" benefits, including a "Wellness Allowance" that apparently only the CEO is eligible for. That's a total compensation package of $438,700. Jarvis made $140,000 more last year than the province's deputy transportation minister, Grant Main. He made $200,000 more than Premier Christy Clark. Clark wasn't alone; Jarvis out earned Prime Minister Stephen Harper by nearly $75,000.