12.30.2011

NDP leadership and New Politics

Since the election in May I had high hopes for the NDP. The party had achieved two major breakthroughs.  The first becoming the official opposition and the second being the massive win in Quebec.  The reason in large part was the leadership of Jack Layton and the parties decision to do politics differently.

The NDP campaign was less about the other guys and more about what the NDP would do. Sure there were attacks on the Conservatives, Liberals and BLOC, but not in the same way these other parties were attacking each other and eventually attacking the NDP.  I was proud of the campaign and even happier with the overall behavior of the NDP in the House of Commons.  The NDP have largely stuck to their no heckling rule.

During the campaign, Layton stressed that the NDP would try to make parliament work. As opposition, the NDP would not only oppose, they would propose.  They did this, much to the frustration of the main stream media, who are use to the cut and thrust of question period.  The official opposition were expected to attack the government.  If the Government announced it was sunny outside, the NDP were expected to say it was raining.  I lost count of the number of occasions I read tweets from the press gallery chiding the NDP for not acting in the expected way.

The NDP approach to official opposition was and is different. It has been lost in all the attention of the media on the leadership and the Conservative legislation.  I believe the current NDP approach will continue after a new leader is elected.  That with the focus of a new leader the public will actually see that the NDP are doing something that other parties only pay lip service too, ie, being less about scoring points and more about working for Canadians.

One can only imagine what could have been. The NDP with Layton still at the helm would have performed much better in the House. They would have had their full team there.  Important critics like Nash, Mulcair, Cullen, Dewar, Aston and Saganash would be fully focused on House business.  Even though the Conservatives have the votes, they would have been under a great deal more pressure with the popular Layton, with a full team at hand.

The NDP leadership campaign has been pretty boring for most of the media.  They want sparks. That's how you are supposed to separate yourself as a candidate from the others.  Again, the media have almost never cared about previous NDP leaderships, largely because it didn't matter a great deal to them.  Now of course its different as the person elected stands a reasonable chance of becoming the next Prime Minister.

If the Media had covered NDP leadership contests in the past, they would know that there are not many sparks,at least not publicly.  The old adage was if you want to go to a fun convention go to the Tories for free booze, to the Libs for swanky stuff and the NDP convention if you want to discuss policy.

Until today that has been the NDP leadership race.  A few soft little jabs but nothing that the Conservatives could really use in an election ad.  That changed.  Brian Topp seems to figure his main obstacle to becoming leader is Mulcair.  He may be right.  Topp all but said today that Mulcair was a Liberal dressed in NDP colours.  The strategy may work for Topp and it may backfire. NDP members don't usually take too kindly to our leaders attacking each other.  If Mulcair fires back, he could do more harm to himself than Topp.

I did not care for Topp's attack. We don't need that. Put forward your ideas, let us decide.

I have yet to decide who to support.  It's likely to be one of four, Topp, Nash, Mulcair or Cullen.  I just might vote for Ashton on the first ballot and make my real choice for leader on the second ballot.






12.22.2011

my Canadian smugness just left me

Here I sit, in the middle of the great Christian Empire, in the southern USA.  The land where if it has anything to do with a woman's body or two guys kissing, the men will set it all straight.  Being Canadian, I have always felt a little smug when I visited the Empire. Generally Canada seemed to be more progressive, we didn't like to get into shooting wars and respected human rights.  Of course measuring our efforts up against the Empire did set a pretty low bar to leap over.  The smugness is gone.  I never had a right to it in the first place.

We did recognize queer rights way before the Empire.  We did leave abortion to women.  We treated most cases of pot possession as minor, you certainly didn't go to jail.  Our health care was universal.  We said the right things about the environment and we banned land mines and the death penalty is long gone. And banning assault weapons and creating a national long gun registry was pretty good.

The list above is good. Banning land mines was easy.  Generally we're never in a position to use them anyway. Health care access use to be good, then we slayed the deficit by cutting health, then forgot we did it so we could spend more on health care.  Signing the Kyoto Agreement was awesome, doing nothing is priceless as the ad says. Six plants or a single marijuana cookie now means jail time.  The Long gun registry is gone now.

It had only be a matter of time before abortion reared its head.  Mainstream Canada has long accepted the current state of affairs.  Prime Minister Harper being shrewd as he is, knows this.  To ensure his chance at majority government, he said gay marriage and abortion were not on the agenda, and in any case the Supreme Court was a check on his abilities to change these things.

It was truly astounding that he had to say these things.  Yet it was enough for him to get some extra votes, now he has a majority and as many of us suspected, he is acting as if he has absolute power. They limit debate on legislation. They vote down every opposition amendment.  They reallocate government money without parliamentary approval.  They have ignored a court decision that said they broke the Rule of Law.

What's next? That question was answered yesterday by Conservative MP, Stephen Woodworth.  Woodworth says he simply wants to look at the law and determine when a fetus becomes a human being.  Here we go folks.  Harper will have a tough time keeping back bench MPs in line here. Expect a vote on a motion and or a private members bill in the next year.

Right after that issue is debated, we will likely get a chance to re-visit capital punishment.

I don't expect that a Harper Government would support a private members bill, that is in fact a back door to  limiting abortion access. At least not in this term of government.  He has much more important things to do like ripping more holes in the already badly torn social safety net.

Our rights are only as good as the next election and or the next appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Want to learn more, check out these articles at  Dammit Janet and the Unrepentant Old Hippie

12.12.2011

Noise - Equality Now

Every now and again you hear another protest song, you see another bigger better 'It gets better' video. After awhile they all sound and look the same.  Yet tonight, Robbie Roth, a queer Toronto song writer and performer, sent me a link to his latest contribution for the march to equality.

The song is about making some noise, getting into action.  Its good.  Robbie wrote the song with Gavin Creel of Broadway stuff in New York.

Have a listen.  If you like the song, you can buy it from iTunes. All the proceeds go to queer equality efforts in the US of A, Broadway Impact to be precise.

Broadway Impact here
I like it, I hope you do too.

Now I want to meet this Robbie dude.  If you are in Toronto some day soon Robbie, I would love to talk to you about your work, Toronto and being queer.

GOP Sex Scandal - News that says WTF

Anti-Gay Conservative, GOP Bill Johnson, donated sperm to lesbians.  The guy travelled to New Zealand and was shopping his sperm over the Internet.  He managed to donate to nine women in all, including some lesbians.
Bill Johnson

It seems he is married to a woman that can not have children and he felt the need to spread his seed. Trouble is he didn't share this with his wife.  Trouble is he was opposed to gays marrying, but had no problem donating his sperm to lesbians.

He is a hypocrite if I may be so bold. I really don't care what these guys do in the personal lives.  It becomes an issue for me when they feel they can say and enact laws against people then do something different in their personal lives.  If they stopped doing that, I would leave them alone on the personal lives aspect.

Anti-Gay Conservative Donated Sperm To Lesbians

Alabama politician Bill Johnson caught in sperm donation scandal in New Zealand

12.10.2011

Harper can count on media

This is a lesson for all the mainstream media.  It comes from NPR in the US.  NPR tried to find a millionaire job creator to ask them  if the GOP claims that a surtax on the wealthy would stop job creation. NPR called many Republican congressional staff and leadership offices of the GOP in the Senate and House. They were unable to get a single name!

NPR then went to business groups who are aggressively lobbying against the surtax.  They did get a few millionaires to talk.  Apparently the personal income tax surtax is not a factor in their decisions to invest.

Now wouldn't be wonderful if the rest of the media would take claims made by political parties and check them out.

Here in Canada, our Harper led government missed the fact we were headed to a recession in 2008.  We will balance books chimed the Conservative talking points.  Canada is on sound footing. Yet when they didn't do the job, the media in Canada never made the connection for their readers and viewers.  Every country in the world was gearing up for a recession. Here in Harper bubble land all we heard from the government is that we will balance the books.  They did not do that.  They ran the biggest deficit in Canadian history.

Our finance minister and Stephen Harper's Conservatives promised to balance the books during this term in office in the last election.  The Conservatives knew what shape we were financially, yet campaigned as if their 'lie' was possible.  Less than four months of coming back, they admitted the budget won't be balanced until after the next election.

I understand that things can change.  What is wrong here is the Media's failure in communicating the facts.  They seem more interested in the back and forth between opponents.  Now we have Harper, in a majority government going even further than the Liberals, ramrodding legislation through the House of Commons.  No debate needed, they say.

The media must remember Stephen Harper and many of is buddies screaming when Chretien used closure or time limited debate on legislation.  Why is that not a question and a reminder in every instance of Harper using closure or time limits?  Its like Harper has a free ride.  All opposition members claim the government is limiting debate, so Harper never gets asked.

Remember the Harper in opposition, talking about democracy? Remember when he went after the Liberal government on  patronage? The media actually gave points to Jason Kenney when he stood in the house recently to respond to opposition questions on the issue.  The Minister simply said the Liberals did it.  If it was wrong when the Liberals were in power, why is it okay for the Conservatives when they are in government?

The media are too keen on access to the power in government.  No tough questions here.  No fact checking either.  And don't get me going on the Canadian Wheat Board.

12.08.2011

Harper must act legally

The Stephen Harper Conservative government has once again shown us that they believe they can do anything they want to because they have a majority.  The Government has been found guilty of breaking the law and what his their response?

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said the government will appeal the decision and press ahead with the legislation, which it hopes to have in place by August. “The Parliament of Canada alone has the supremacy to enact, amend or repeal any piece of legislation. This is a fundamental feature of democracy,” Mr. Ritz said Wednesday.  - Globe and Mail, Dec 7, 2011: Ottawa broke law on Wheat Board, court rules, Federal 
Minister Ritz stated further that the Conservatives have a majority and have the authority to make changes as they see fit.  The Minister is right on this point, as long as the government is acting within the rule of law.   Federal Court Judge Douglas Campbell ruled the government must consult Producers (Farmers) before changing the Canadian Wheat Board, pointing to the rule of law, essentially saying that albeit the executive branch (Government) can write the laws, they must abide by the rule of law when doing so.


Judge Campbell included this quote from another decision, made by the Alberta Court of Appeal, in his decision...

The starting point is this. The greatest achievement through the
centuries in the evolution of democratic governance has been
constitutionalism and the rule of law.  The rule of law is not the rule
by  laws where citizens are bound to comply with the laws but
government is not.  Or where one level of government chooses not to
enforce laws binding another.  Under the rule of law, citizens have
the right to come to the courts to enforce the law  as against the
executive branch.  And courts have the right to review actions by the
executive branch to determine whether they are in compliance with
the law and, where warranted, to declare government action
unlawful.  This right in the hands of the people is not a threat to
democratic governance but its very assertion.  Accordingly, the
executive branch of government is not its own exclusive arbiter on
whether it or its delegatee is acting within the limits of the law.  The
detrimental consequences of the executive branch of government
defining for itself – and by itself – the scope of its lawful power have
been revealed, often bloodily, in the tumult of history.   
When government does not comply with the law, this is not merely
non-compliance with a particular law, it is an affront to the rule of
law itself […].
 - 
Chief Justice Fraser in Reece v Edmonton (City), 2011 ABCA 238 at paragraphs 159 and 160
Ritz and the Conservative government plan to appeal the decision and at the same time pass the bill and have it enacted before Christmas. The decision to proceed with the legislation in this manner is both reckless and potentially harmful.  There will be much confusion and its possible the Harper government will lose its appeal. In the mean time Producers will be at a lose as to what to do.

It does not seem to matter much to this government. They are in a hurry, they have an agenda, and it appears they will implement that agenda come hell or high water.  This action will come back to bite Harper and the Conservatives.  They have a majority, a majority that must also act legally.

See Federal judge rips Ritz's plans for CWB reform - Canadian Cattlemen 

12.05.2011

He could be your son or daughter...

I posted this video last night.  A young boy going into grade eight. He is scared.  Lots of people call him names. This is bullying.  This is wrong.  I wish I could reach out and hug this boy.  He needs support.  He needs a safe place to be.


You can see that he has put a lot of thought into his video.  He made up all of the cards. He choose the music. I suspect he could not have said out loud what he wrote on the cards.






This young man is not expendable. He should not be left to fend for himself. As it stands he is alone against the world. He is reaching out.












He is in every school in the land. Help him in those schools.











The video is here. Watch it.  He could be your son or daughter. He could be your brother or sister. He could be your neighbour or your friend.  He could be your student.

12.04.2011

McGuinty and Harper making it worse for Queer kids

It's a crime. While Stephen Harper and his government are building prions to put pot smokers in jail, they are ignoring the plight of many young people in this country. While the Harper Government ramps up the new program to speak out for religious freedom around the world, the Ontario Liberal government is finding ways to allow systemic, may I say religious passive genocide against queer kids. They do that by allowing the Catholic Church to continue to teach gay is bad, that you gays can have a club, but it can not be called the Gay straight Alliance or the rainbow group or the queer Clan. Perhaps in McGuinty's world we can call it the FHnN, (Faggots have No Name").

Those are tough words. In polite society one would not say this. Can any of you say I am too hard in my views? Can you defend the endless numbers of attempted and unfortunately successful suicides due to bullying and perceived/understood homosexuality?

Our society doesn't care. Look at the case of the young girl in Quebec that just killed herself, Quebec teen bullying victim laid to rest | CTV News. Read the stories on this blog. Watch this you tube video posted by a boy headed to the eigth grade.




Think about the previous post to this one. Three very powerful US politicians have stated that they will investigate the gay community. Investigate them for what?

The boy in the video may not be gay. He could be gay. He could be straight. What's missing from our society is that he is a boy. No boy or girl should suffer like this.

I pledge as President, to get all those faggots

You have have got to be kidding,

Only in America could this happen, or Russia maybe... Okay Iran too.  Three leaders running for the GOP nomination in the US have promised to investigate the gay community.

You read that right, they want to check us out.

The pledge ....  
I, [candidate name], pledge to the American people that if elected President, I will:
[...] establish a presidential commission on religious liberty to investigate and document reports of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.

We grow friends and peace

Many of you have written and asked about my farm. Its not a real farm, it was once, for some poor folks that moved to it 200 years ago. They had to make the rock piles and forest work for them. It must have have been tough. The land is all rock.

Today we grow many apples here, we grow many veggies and we and our friends relax here. We share much with the deer and bear, and the Faeries too. This is my sanctuary, this is what it looked like only two days ago.

Little Drummer Boy from Winnipeg

Little Drummer Boy in Winnipeg.

16 year old Sean Quigley expresses the song much differently.

12.01.2011

Bullying Law Not Good Enough for Queer Kids

New anti-bullying law is good except for one thing...
McGuinty said this in the legislature: “We’re going to require that, at every school where students request that this be put in place, they be permitted to organize themselves with a gay-straight alliance,”  
“It may not be that name that they use, but the important thing is we’re going to have that kind of a supportive group there available in all our schools.


This is just wrong headed. Gay kids and their allies will have to join an "Equality group" that may in fact have people that are not sympathetic to queer kids or their issues.  The effect will be to prevent queer kids from feeling comfortable about sharing.  It could even be unsafe.


Perhaps as they did in the 1950's, queer kids will ask each other if they were a friend of Dorothy. That was code for "are you a homosexual like me."


Even if clubs are set up for queer kids and allies, if they can't call themselves the Gay Straight Alliance, we are teaching these kids that they're less than others.  That Gay is a bad and not spoken of in polite circles.


The Globe and Mail editorial today says:
To be made nameless is not a small thing. It is to be told that some shame is associated with who you are. The clubs can exist but, depending on how the Catholic schools react, perhaps only in the closet, a place of shame.
Kudos for this editorial.  I cannot for the life of me understand why the Ontario Liberal government has such a hard time with the concept of a gay straight alliance. Further I cannot understand how a queer former Education Minister and a second queer Cabinet Minister can let this BS happen.  


The MPP for Toronto Centre has a lot of explaining to do over this government bill.

Steven Hennessy 1958 - 2002

World AIDS Day -   Steven, he made me laugh, cry and love. He was special, like so many others. He was brave, stronger than me.  I miss you Steven.
Stephanie, Steven and me


To where you are Steven


Photo - Birds at sunrise

This morning birds flying over St Jamestown in Toronto

11.28.2011

Okay Canada Senate - Prove you have balls!

The Stephen Harper government's omnibus crime bill is making its final stop in the Commons this week before heading off to the Senate. 


  I recall having a conversation with two political reporters at a Progressive Bloggers event in the East Block on Parliament Hill.  Our host was the well respected Progressive Conservative, Senator Elaine McCoy.  I should also note that I believe she is the last Senator standing in the Senate as a Progressive Conservative, steadily defying Stephen Harper and his Reform minded colleagues. 


We had a big discussion on the value of the Senate. I was for throwing it out and two parliamentary reporters were all for keeping it. They agreed it was a little undemocratic, yet okay in a democracy and far superior to the American model of elected Senators. 


They cited the example of Parliament putting the boots to abortion and the Senate stopping it. We can thank the Senate for one maybe four or five occasions when it did not follow its political masters in the House Of Commons and abortion remained legal. 


So here is a major test.  Every person in Canada pretty much knows that crime is way down. Almost every person in Canada knows someone that smokes dope. The new crime bill brings massive change and costs.  We will see many more Canadians in jail. We will see the cost of keeping them there sky-rocket.  Almost every progressive voice in this country says this is wrong.
I have a question for all you good people that support the Senate. Will the chamber of so called 'sober second thought' stop the omnibus crime bill as it is?
I'm willing to reconsider supporting a senate of some kind if the Senate we have today steps up to the plate and tosses this legislation right back at Harper.  Its time my two political buddies on Parliament Hill start proving the Senate has value.  Its time the MSM start calling on the Senate to full fill its mandate. 






11.26.2011

BC Last in Child Poverty - Eight years running

So in doing some research into Premier Clark and her BC Liberal Government, I discovered what I already suspected was the case. BC has the highest child poverty rate in Canada.  In fact, they have had the worst record of child poverty for eight years in a row.  Kinda makes you proud to be from BC right?  


Christy Clark, the Great 'not' Gordo hope for Families in BC wants to put Families First.  What is she doing about it ... 

As Paul Wilcocks points out   ...when it was reported that B.C. had the highest rate of child poverty in Canada for the eighth consecutive year, Premier Christy Clark rejected calls for a plan to address the problem, with targets, actions and a requirement for an annual report on “progress or lack of progress,” to use Falcon’s words.  Why no plan? Clark and the other ministers never offered a coherent reason. Because there isn’t one. 



Its astonishing that the province in Canada that for the last five years has been billing itself as The Best Place on Earth, has more poor kids per-capita than any other province in our country.  


I found this here.


Perhaps this slogan would have been a little more honest 

BC Liberals Deadly Silent on Queers in School

I know of a few of my blogging friends here in Ontario, people on the progressive side of politics (today that means almost anyone that isn't a Conservative), who support the BC Liberals and in particular, Christy Clark.  Supporting Christy Clark puts your progressive credentials on the line.


Premier Christy Clark
Clark is a slightly younger version of Stephen Harper.  She better than Gordon Campbell because, well, she's not Gordon Campbell. The packaging is different, the product inside is the same.   


No doubt there are good people in that party who are socially progressive.  These people don't stand a chance however as getting votes in bible belt BC requires the party to cater to regressive southern baptist like attitudes.  Something The Liberals are good at, just as the Social Credit party was for years.  


In the recent BC municipal elections, the right wing religious folks in the NDP stronghold of Burnaby waged a mighty war against the NDP friendly school board, because the  board brought in a strong anti-homophobia policy. What's interesting here is the lack of response to the hateful anti-queer campaign waged by the Parents’ Voice slate for school board from the BC Liberal government.


Some more history...
"On January 8, 2011 Christy Clark promised the gay community that homophobic bullying would be among her top priorities if she were to become premier. But homophobia is not mentioned in Clark's new education policy released on February 14th, this year. Clark spokesperson Shane Mills told Xtra on February 15 that Clark did not want to bury her bullying policy in the general education document. He said it would be released in conjunction with Pink Shirt Day on February 21 or 22.” (Jeremy Hainsworth, Xtra West, Feb. 15, 2011)
It didn't happen. 


Hon. Mary Polak
There's still no plan on the part of the BC Liberal government to bring in any anti-homophobia curriculum changes in BC schools.  And I for one am not surprised when one of BC's most famous homophobes, Mary Polak is a key member of Premier Clark's cabinet.  


Polak's government bio site states that she served nine years on the Surrey School board and boasts of her efforts to balance the books.  Not surprisingly, she doesn't mention spending One million School Board tax dollars to keep books about same sex families out of the schools.  She lost in the end.  
See The Silence on Sex Candidate


Christy Clark has a long history of playing both sides of the homophobia debate. In 2003, then Education Minister, Christy Clark convened a “Safe Schools Task Force” – their report acknowledged that concerns about homophobia figured prominently in submissions and that attempts to raise the issue of homophobia in schools often met with resistance. Yet despite the acknowledgement of a culture of homophobia in the school system, the report offered no recommendations aimed at addressing these serious concerns. “Even though the report infers a connection between bullying based on sexual orientation and suicide and murder, it offers no standard anti-homophobic harassment guidelines in its recommendations. Homophobia does not even rate a mention." (Jeremy Hainsworth, Xtra West, Sept. 4, 2003) 


The report did not even say the word homophobia. 


Hon. Barry Penner
Now Barry Penner, long time Liberal MLA from Chilliwack-Hope has retired. That means a by-election.  The riding is part of BC's Bible belt. Its an area the BC Liberals will have to win in the next election if they have any hope of staying in power.  The BC Lberals are fighting a rear guard action as the BC Conservative party looks to take some seats in the next election.  


The writing is on the wall for queer kids in BC schools.  The current government lead by Premier Clark will do nothing more to protect them.  In fact in Premier Clark claimed that protecting LGBT students was a local issue: "Local school boards can make their own rules about these things." (Christy Clark, Global TV, June 15, 2011)  

Christy Clark is Gordon Campbell in drag, which is funny to say in a way, seeing as future drag queen/kings get no help from her government.



 



You cannot support Christy Clark and the BC Liberals and call yourself progressive. 

11.25.2011

Yikers, Who hasn't recorded Little Drummer Boy

Okay, something different I always liked the song, Little Drummer Boy. Im not a christian, yet I find this song comforting. So I decided to gather a few versions. Its all my buddy Michael Yoder's fault. He posted a an okay version of the song on facebook.
Then Bob Dylan did this version
Then Justin Bieber abig time Christian, does this really yucky version of the song...
This is a little better an likely the most popular version to last 30 years or more. Boney M Josh Groban does a great job here and then Dolly does it And in 1970 Michael and the rest of the Jackson Five recorded what I am seeing is a song recorded by almost anyone who has done a Christmas Album

NYPD harass media and Undercover cop is caught

AMAZING video of a journalist not taking crap from NYPD. The reporter is told that he can not be there filming the protest. The police manhandle him, shout at him and continue to direct him away. The reporter is having none of that. Its fortunate for the reporter that there were many other cameras recording the incident. No cameras and the reporter is charged with assaulting a police officer and then resisting arrest. The world is watching. In this video an undercover cop is exposed and takes a swipe at the protester filming him. Cover blown.

Who Knew it was legal to Camp at Best Buy

Don't Mess up Like Texas - maybe too late?

We still have time to raise awareness on Bill C-10, the omnibus crime bill being rammed through the House of Commons by the Stephen Harper Conservatives.

LeadNow.ca
This would be funny if it weren't so true.  Crime rates at record low levels and a crazy government decides it needs to get tough on crime.

They take on Texas like program just as Texas decides it doesn't work.

It's rife with potential comedy as bumbling Conservative Prime Minister and his sidekick justice Minister convince a country that they are facing crime around every corner.  They build gazebos to hide cash for retirement and then use government helicopters to spend time at planning retreats hosted by rich people.  It goes so well they decide to try something even more outrageous.

Ethical Oil they scream!  LOL that's a good one.  What's next for all of us.  Hey I know...

Leadnow provides these links on Bill C-10


  1. 10 reasons to oppose Bill C-10, Trinda L. Ernst, President, Canadian Bar Association:
    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1086785--10-reasons-to-oppose-bill-c-10
  2. Texas conservatives reject Harper's crime plan - 'Been there; done that; didn't work,' say Texas crime-fighters (CBC):
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/10/17/pol-vp-milewski-texas-crime.html
  3. Tough on crime bill will hurt First Nations, Atleo says:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2011/11/16/north-atleo-crime-bill.html
  4. Provinces wont foot bill for crime legislation, McGuinty warns PM:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/provinces-wont-foot-bill-for-crime-legislation-mcguinty-warns-pm/article2222867/
  5. Leadnow petition: http://www.leadnow.ca/keep-canada-safe
    Avaaz petition: http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_harpers_cruel_crime_bill/
  6. Bill C-10 in full: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=5124131&file=4

11.23.2011

Aransas County Judge William Adams Beats Daughter

This is horrifying.  No parent should ever get away with this.  I know many parents 20 and 30 years ago did this.  It was wrong then and it is wrong today.  The person beating his daughter in the video below is a Family Law Judge in Texas.  This man is suppose to be someone who upholds the law and can be respected.  I tried to watch this video three times so far.  I have only managed to watch the first 4 minutes and the last 45 seconds.

(CBS/AP) McALLEN, Texas - The Texas family law judge whose daughter secretly videotaped him savagely beating her in 2004 has been suspended as a judge by the Texas Supreme Court.
According to an order signed Tuesday by the clerk of the state's highest court, Aransas County court-at-law Judge William Adams is suspended immediately with pay pending the outcome of the inquiry started by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct earlier this month. CBS

This video is traumatizing.  I have chosen to post it because its vitally important that people know just what kind of man this Judge is.  I know people that as children were the victim of this kind of violence.  Its vital we stop it where ever we see it.


From You Tube:  2004: Aransas County Court-At-Law Judge William Adams took a belt to his own teenage daughter as punishment for using the internet to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time. She has had ataxic cerebral palsy from birth that led her to a passion for technology, which was strictly forbidden by her father's backwards views. The judge's wife was emotionally abused herself and was severely manipulated into assisting the beating and should not be blamed for any content in this video. The judge's wife has since left the marriage due to the abuse, which continues to this day, and has sincerely apologized and repented for her part and for allowing such a thing, long before this video was even revealed to exist.

11.20.2011

Harper and his Omni-crime Bill

The Stephen Harper Conservatives are about to add to the cost of government.  Justice will soon cost us much more than it does now.  We all have heard about the cost to build new prisons and housing the new influx of prisoners due to minimum sentences contained in Bill C-10, the omni-crime bill.  Most the burden will be on the provincial side of spending.

The costs don't stop there.  We will need more courtrooms, more judges and staff, more legal aid and of course more prosecutors whom like everyone else in the legal system is overworked.  Again, most of these costs are borne by the provinces.

So while the Federal Conservative government delivers tough on crime laws for its base, they also plan to cut the cost of federal prosecutors by ten percent.


It’s rare for a judge to criticize the judicial system, but a clearly frustrated Justice Peter Tetley of the Ontario Court of Justice told a hearing in Newmarket in September that even without the extra load from new federal legislation, the situation is critical.
After being told by a Crown prosecutor that the first available date for a one and a half day trial was January 2013, Tetley accepted that the delay was unconstitutional and apologized to the defendant.
“If you don’t have enough people to try the cases and enough support staff to process them and you continue to hire police officers to arrest people, this is what happens,” he said. “So consequently, we’re in a predicament where we’re setting dates, that unless they can be brought forward, these charges are not going to be viable."

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Judicial+system+crisis+Crown+prosecutors+warn/5735714/story.html#ixzz1eJEby5be

Its all going to cost more, more people in jail, longer waits to go to trial and the likelihood we will see charges dismissed due to waits of two years or more.

Of course Harper is spreading the cost with little or no input from those he expects to pay.  So far Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia have made it clear they are not happy with this.  Lets see how the provinces deal with this while attempting to reign in their own budgets.

11.19.2011

Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi | UCDavis Bicycle Barricade

Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi | UCDavis Bicycle Barricade


Police use pepper-spray against sitting Students

The rule of thumb in use-of-force: police are prohibited from applying more physical force than is necessary to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement task.
H/t to Joshua Holland

Watch the video below of university students.  The students are sitting.  The students are not threatening. They are sitting very peacefully.  Then a police office pulls out his pepper spray and walks down the line of sitting students and sprays everyone of them.

The students remain in place despite the spray.  The officer then goes back and sprays the students again. The police then randomly selecting students to be arrested.

Having arrested a few students, the police start backing out.  It is amazing to watch as the police back out.  They know they have used excessive force.  If you have a child or loved one in University, whether you agree with the occupy movement or not, do you feel that your child or loved one should be pepper sprayed because they were protesting in such a peaceful fashion?

Do you think the police could have used much less force?  Do you think the police even had to act here in the first place?

 What this video shows is the incredible lengths the police will go to end a peaceful protest. Its becoming far too common. Police seem to be ready to use extraordinary force to quell even the politest of protests.

11.17.2011

'blind-sided by the force Occupiers have unleashed'

John Moore nails it in today's column in the National Post...
But the anger out there isn’t about knee-jerk anti-capitalism or grieving those who create genuine wealth. It’s about pushing back against those who got us into this mess by gaming the system. They were bought out with our money and had the gall to then insist they couldn’t possibly continue to do their jobs unless they collected Christmas bonuses that amount to three times the salary of a flight attendant.
As he points out in his column today, when families can no longer get by or plan to have a pension to retire, when education becomes too expensive, look out. We are in a period of severe instability. The economy is fragile and our government keeps telling us we will be okay, just need a few adjustments, some cut backs but all is good.

Kids play area at Occupy Toronto
We are being played by the very wealthy and their government.  The Harper Government served up a big threat to workers when they ordered postal workers back to work with less money than the company had last offered.  He was making it clear, when it comes to choosing winners, the government is on the side of the man. Workers will pay the price.

I live next to one of Canada's poorest neighbourhoods, St Jamestown in Toronto.  The people live in very tall rental buildings, housing two to three times the intended occupancy. Young families, people with disabilities, new Canadians, seniors.  Many working at minimum or near wages. The seniors have small pensions. They are struggling.  Each of the last few years has added to their burdens.

Many of the people here don't yet see a connection to the occupy groups or don't think it will change things. Yet under the surface lies a bomb about to go off.  Its smoldering now, you can smell the smoke...


John Moore: Elites likely to be blind-sided by the force Occupiers have unleashed






11.16.2011

Harper Govt Spying on Canadians

The Stephen Harper government is spending a ton of money spying on Canadians.  Even after they were told not to spy on the medical records of VETS they have continued the practice.  And now we hear they are sying on First Nations advocates.

Cindy Blackstock
Cindy Blackstock is a hard working advocate that has become a thorn under the rear end of the Conservative government.  The government has looked at her Indian Status file at least twice and included information from it in briefings, have stalked her facebook page after hours from a home computer to add further information to their files on her and have barred her from attending meetings with Aboriginal Affairs

It seems the Conservatives don't need CSIS (as far as we know they are not using CSIS) to do their spying, they are using management staff in the government.  This is appalling.  I expect that anyone with a history of advocacy, and meeting with this government may face this kind of intrusion into their privacy.

As Jack Layton stated during the english language debate in the 2011 election, "You're not the same Stephen Harper."  That Stephen Harper was about open, honest and accountable government.      

See Toronto Star article here: Tim Harper: Government spies on advocate for native children
See APTN News here: Federal Aboriginal Affairs department spying on advocate for First Nations children

H/t to GritChik

Pepper sprayed 84 year old woman and homophobia at Occupy

It looks like the Occupy folks have really pissed off the management.  In Seattle the police pepper sprayed woman, Dorli Rainey, 84 who was part of the occupy protest.

Dorli Rainey, 84
I imagine she must have been a real threat to police.

More at the Toronto Star here










And in New York videographer Joey Boots was the subject of a homophobic slur by a security guard. “Your fly’s open, faggot,” the unnamed security guard said in response to Boots, who was asking several workers on-camera whether they are employed by Brookfield Properties, the owner of Zuccotti Park. “That’s nice man, really nice. Really professional,” Boots replied (video below; exchange takes place at 1:48).


That's just two examples of what is going on.  There are many more examples of police brutality and violence at the many Occupy sites across the United States.

EnCana Polluting American Water?

Opps!  Ethical oil, Canada's new brand got a black eye in Wyoming.  The EPA has been testing water to confirm its contaminated due to Fracturing.  Seems EnCana a well known Canadian company has been doing this, albeit legally, may well be responsible for contaminating ground water in the State of Wyoming. 

Read more about the EPA results here:

11.15.2011

Conflict Oil or Ethical Oil

Conflict Oil or Ethical Oil.  Its amazing to see this campaign roll out.  The people that previously had somewhat successfully changed Tar sands to Oil sands are now suggesting oil from Alberta is an ethical choice over oil from Saudi Arabia or Iran.

On the face of it they do have a point.  They point to the treatment of women in these dark skinned countries and they also point to the what could happen to queers.  It's a pretty good new paint job.

What is amazing is that this is happening in Alberta.  You know, the province that was the last to end legal discriminating of gay people.  The province that still has the strongest views against gays.  The province where all but one MP would vote for Capital Punishment, vote to ban abortion and rescind gay rights, given half a chance. And our federal government has made a huge shift as well.  Its not Alberta's oil anymore, its Canada's Oil.

The last Prime Minister to refer to Alberta's oil as Canada's oil was Pierre Trudeau.  Since then federal ministers or prime ministers have been careful to dodge that hot pot. Its not really Canada's oil as you you know, resources are provincial jurisdiction, it is however useful to push the progressive Canada stuff in the media, given the opposition to the Tar sands oil.

So Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the guy who once proclaimed the need for a fire wall around Alberta to protect it from eastern Canada, is now claiming the oil as Canada's oil. The Canada Brand around the world use to mean clean and caring.  Its taken a few hits since Harper came to power. We get awards for being the bad guys in the worlds efforts for a cleaner environment when we use to be seen as leaders.

The Canada brand is still strong in the USA. Its not the enviros the Government has to convince to buy 'ethical oil', its middle America.  Americans are somewhat insecure these days. They want American made oil and if they can't drill in parks in the Alaska well then oil from Canada is the next best thing. Yet Americans have been inundated with messaging that the oil from the Tar sands is bad for the environment in a big way.  Canada and Alberta Governments had to find a way to sell it.  Its now ethical oil. Available only from Canada.

Now we need to ship that ethical oil to Huston Texas to be refined.  That requires a new pipeline.  The new pipeline was called Keystone for some reason.  Perhaps they should have called it the Freedom pipe. Then the folks that were proposing this pipeline decided to hire a former American ambassador who is a Republican to lobby the Democratic White House.

The decisions so far weren't killers to the movement of ethical oil from Canada to the USA. They got great press coverage on lots of TV networks. Stephen Colbert played a clip in which the numbers of jobs grew depending on which Fox channel news you tuned in. It started as 20,000 jobs, then 25,000 then 115,000 indirect jobs finally to over a million jobs for Americans.  The pipeline would be great for America.

No it fell down because the planners of the pipeline forgot about the calendar and they couldn't have picked a worse route making it even easier for the  Obama Whitehouse to delay the decision until after the next election. Greeny folks made sure Obama knew that they knew an election was just around the corner.

The  pipeline folks really blew the route.  After the BP failure to cap a well and the Enbridge pipeline spill in the Chicago area last year, running a bigger pipeline through precious water reserves in Nebraska was just plain stupid.  That gave the enviros a local issue with which to hit the project on the head.  Remember, the enviros were opposed to the Tar Sands.  Delaying the pipeline is a fundamental key to that goal.

So the guys that managed to get the media to call the tar sand the oil sands, that have convinced a fair number of people that there is such a thing as Ethical Oil, got a little silly in the end.

Now as the issue goes to bed till after the US elections in November 2012, the Prime Minister has hired the dude that was behind the Ethical Oil campaign.  Watch out for the new Compassionate Conservative campaign to start soon.

 

 

Call Mayor 416-397-FORD (3673)

It happened.  This morning the City of Toronto issued Notices of Trespass against the people of Occupy Toronto. Be out by midnight. I am gobsmacked. The movement has been very peaceful in our city.  The park is very clean and well prepared for the colder temperatures.

I don't think these people could be anymore compliant. The only people ticked off are a few Ford Nation folks and the SUN newspaper.  People have a right to protest and there is a history of that occurring in this park since it was established in the infancy of this city.

The mayor just can not leave well enough alone.  In my previous post I named a few 'funny' reasons Rob Ford couldn't accept the Occupy Toronto group.  They don't look so funny any more.  I was hopeful he would leave well enough alone.  It seems he can't accept any opposition, even respectful opposition.  I imagine he sees it as an embarrassment, what with Halifax and Calgary ridding themselves of these malcontents.  

Oddly enough, New York just evicted everyone and now the courts have said they can go back to the park, with their tents.  I expect there will be potential for a legal battle here.

The movement may in fact move onto the portion of the park owned by the Church at St. James. I do know one thing. The Mayor better not use a heavy hand.  Doing so could lead to a much more embarrassing event for him and the Premier of Ontario.  Remember the G20?

This is a free country.  We have a right to speak our wishes to power. We have a right to voice our concerns. If it means letting a few hundred people stay in the park, what does that hurt.  Democracy is not always easy and as people in power have always shown, they don't like it when people exercise it.

You need to call the Mayor's office. Tell them in polite terms, you support Occupy Toronto and want the City to back off attempts to remove them from St. James Park.

Here are a few numbers to call: Mayor 416-397-FORD (3673) Email:  mayor_ford@toronto.ca 

Departments responsible for the eviction notice are: Municipal Standards and Licensing - Mr. Bruce Robertson, Acting ED @ 416-392-8445 and Communications Department - Ms. Margaret Doherty @ 416-397-5313

Tonight go down and Defend the Occupation at St. James Park!