Sunday, March 31, 2013 

Exxon Mobil pipeline break spills Canadian crude in Arkansas






MAYFLOWER, Ark. — Exxon Mobil Corp. says crews are working to contain and clean up an oil spill near Mayflower, Arkansas after its Pegasus pipeline ruptured Friday afternoon.

The pipeline carries Canadian heavy crude oil from Patoka, Illinois to refineries on the Texas Gulf coast.
Exxon Mobil issued a release that said the company was responding to a spill of more than 10,000 barrels, and that some 4,500 barrels of oil and water had been recovered.

The company said the 20 inch pipeline had been shut down as crews tried to prevent the spilled oil from reaching a nearby lake.

It said cleanup operations were being co-ordinated with the Department of Emergency Management and other local authorities, and that the cause of the spill was being investigated.

On Monday federal regulators proposed that Exxon Mobil pay $1.7 million in civil penalties for safety violations linked to a pipeline rupture that spilled an estimated 238,000 litres of crude oil into Montana’s scenic Yellowstone River in July 2011.

The spill fouled approximately 110 kilometres of the Yellowstone River’s banks, killing fish and wildlife and prompting a massive, months-long cleanup.

The latest spill comes at time when proponents of the proposed Keystone X-L pipeline have been trying to convince Washington to give the seven billion dollar project the green light.

Opponents of TransCanada Corp.’s plan to pipe Alberta oilsands bitumen to the U.S. Gulf Coast denounce it as an environmental catastrophe in the making.
The Chronicle Herald

 Progressive Bloggers

Saturday, March 30, 2013 

The World Should Consider North Korea As Dangerous And Deranged, Now Threatening Others In The Global Community ...




I don't think it's wise to ignore the political lunacy spewing from North Korea this week. They are isolated and paranoid. Their rigid ideology leaves them reacting to everything  with confrontation and threats of violence. 

Like an armed crazy person making threats in a public place, North Korea should be considered as potentially dangerous to the world community. Personally, I think that North Korea could go over the edge with this nonsense. They would probably consider it courageous and glorious!

It's time for the People's Republic of China to instruct North Korea to tone it down and stand down. If North Korea won't, then China should turn off all the taps and force them into some sort of compromise.


Progressive Bloggers

 -"North Korea enters 'state of war' with South" -BBC.news


UPDATE:
North Korea: 'outbreak of war hours away' as Kim Jong-un plans US strike

Friday, March 29, 2013 

Ooops! Saskatchewan's Brad Wall Signs Deals With Chinese Telecom That Canada Now Restricts

Huawei Technologies, the mainland's largest phone equipment maker, may face additional restrictions selling its products in Canada as the federal government considers new regulations on foreign wireless suppliers it deems security risks.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is reviewing whether it needs rules to govern the equipment used by the country's biggest mobile phone operators, and has been consulting industry officials, said a person familiar with the matter.

While the review is not singling out any company, Canada's trade minister, Ed Fast, said this month that Huawei, which supplies both Telus and Bell Canada, the country's largest telephone company, has already been barred from providing equipment for (federal) government networks. (Note: Saskatchewan has signed deals with Huawei for equipment and technology necessary to bring highspeed service to rural parts of the province).


Ray Boisvert, former assistant director of intelligence at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the country's spy agency, said: "It's a manageable risk if you can implement some verification systems and accept that suppliers like Huawei are working to try to be as transparent as possible."

The review comes as Western nations increasingly view cyberattacks as a top security threat. Computer-based sabotage moved past terrorism to take top place in the US intelligence community's annual list of global threats, which also includes Iran's nuclear programme and Syria's chemical arsenal. Canada could require that suppliers have their software code verified by third parties and be subject to random audits, Boisvert said.

The country's industry minister, Christian Paradis, said Canada was aware of security concerns surrounding foreign wireless equipment providers. "This is something that we clearly have to pay attention to," Paradis said.

A US congressional committee said in October that Huawei and ZTE provided opportunities for Chinese intelligence services to tamper with telecommunications networks for spying. In 2011 the US barred Huawei from taking part in building a nationwide emergency network. However, the company supplies US companies including Clearwire, a Washington-based wireless internet provider.

A decision by Canada to impose tighter security measures could drive up costs for carriers who are already investing billions of dollars to upgrade their networks to accommodate a surge in wireless data traffic. Aside from Bell Canada and Telus, Huawei's customers also include Wind Mobile of Toronto, which began operations in 2009.

Such a review could help suppliers ease concerns about their practices, said Amit Kaminer, an analyst at the Seaboard Group, a Toronto-based telecommunications research firm.

-Buckdog has more posts on Saskatchewan/Huawei deal ... 



 
Progressive Bloggers

Thursday, March 28, 2013 

Men With Loaded Rifles Intimidate Moms Gathered At Indiana Gun Safety Rally

Several men with assault rifles and hand guns crashed a Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns National Day to Demand Action event in Indianapolis, Indiana on Thursday and stood silently as the state chapter of Moms Demand Action held a rally in favor of limiting the availability of military style weapons and universal background checks.
At least two or three men showed up at the rally site before the event began and engaged in a discussion about gun regulations with the group, two participants in the action told ThinkProgress. The armed men — who were later joined by another man carrying a hand gun and a woman who runs Indiana Moms Against Gun Control — insisted that they had a right to carry the loaded weapons:
Watch local news coverage of the event:
 A member of Moms Demand Action said that she felt unsettled by their presence and said that the organizers would have to think twice before holding another event, particularly one where children could be present.
Members of Moms Demand Action also attended an event at the White House today, during which President Obama called on Congress to pass sensible gun regulations and urged the nation to remember the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Editorial comment:

 Adjective
protofascist 
  1. (politics) Showing the beginnings of fascism

 Progressive Bloggers

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 

Green Party And Liberal Party Have Problems In Lead Up To Labrador By-election



Elizabeth May’s plan for electoral cooperation may flop in Labrador: Hebert
MONTREAL—Under the guise of a nicely wrapped gift, Green Party leader Elizabeth May handed the Liberals an empty box this weekend. [...] It is possible that May has another more strategic agenda. As Green party leader, she has no interest in seeing either of her progressive rivals dominate the opposition landscape. That would increase the risk of a hemorrhage of Green support to whichever party has a demonstrable fighting chance of beating the Conservatives.


But if May does not have such an agenda, she might want to consider that her calls to her coterie of Labrador supporters to embrace the Liberals in the upcoming by-election could end up doing her case for cooperation more harm than good.

By the time Labrador goes to the polls in a byelection, the federal Liberals will have chosen a permanent leader.The Labrador vote will be his or her first electoral test.

Little would advance the cause of a more cooperative arrangement between the opposition parties than a Liberal byelection defeat to the Conservatives in the honeymoon phase of the tenure of a brand new leader.

Former Liberal MP stays away from Labrador byelection
The Liberal MP whom controversial Tory Peter Penashue unseated in the 2011 federal election said Monday he will not pursue a chance to get even. 

Todd Russell, who had represented Labrador for six years before losing to Penashue by just 79 votes, says he still feels bitter over the last election, but said his priority is to serve as president of NunatuKavut, the organization that represents Labrador's Inuit Métis.

"I believe in my heart that I lost unfairly, that I was cheated, that in fact the people of Labrador were cheated out of a fair election," Russell told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning.

"That's what makes this decision so difficult …. At the end of the day, I had to put aside some of the hurt, some of the anger, some of the disappointment." [...]  

"The NDP is the party best positioned to defeat and replace Stephen Harper in 2015 and we can start right here in Labrador by punishing Peter Penashue and Stephen Harper for their ethical lapses," Nathan Rotman, the NDP's national director, said in a statement Sunday night.

 Progressive Bloggers

Monday, March 25, 2013 

Labrador : les néo-démocrates présentent leur candidat - Harry Borlase



Le Nouveau Parti démocratique propose Harry Borlase à titre de candidat dans la circonscription fédérale du Labrador en vue de l'élection partielle.

Il se mesurera au député conservateur sortant, Peter Penashue, qui a démissionné du caucus fédéral récemment parce que son équipe a accepté des dons inadmissibles durant la campagne électorale en 2011.

M. Borlase a grandi à Nain et à Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Il travaillait récemment comme analyste du Nord chez C-Core, une société de recherche et développement sans but lucratif.
Les libéraux n'ont pas encore choisi leur candidat ni déterminé la date de leur congrès d'investiture.

La députée provinciale Yvonne Jones a déjà déclaré qu'elle cherchera à obtenir l'investiture des libéraux.

Todd Russell, l'ancien candidat libéral devancé par Peter Penashue en 2011, a annoncé lundi qu'il n'essayera pas d'obtenir l'investiture.

Quant au Parti vert, il ne présentera pas de candidat. La chef du parti, Elizabeth May, dit qu'elle veut éviter de diviser le vote.

Mme May a d'ailleurs invité le NPD à ne pas présenter de candidat pour ouvrir la voie au candidat libéral, mais les néo-démocrates ont refusé cette proposition.

Tous les partis s'attendent à ce que le premier ministre Stephen Harper déclenche cette élection partielle sous peu.
Le Huffington Post - Quebec




Progressive Bloggers

Sunday, March 24, 2013 

New Democrat Harry Borlase Will Challenge Peter Penashue In Labrador By-election

 
The New Democrats have chosen a northern analyst to carry the party banner in the coming Labrador byelection, rejecting a suggestion the party sit this one out.

Harry Borlase was picked in an online vote Sunday for the byelection, which has yet to be called.
Borlase was raised in Nain and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and has worked on northern issues all his life, most recently at C-CORE.

The Labrador seat became vacant when former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Penashue quit this month after Elections Canada found his election campaign had accepted 28 different ineligible donations. He plans to run in the byelection.

Green Leader Elizabeth May says her party will not run a candidate and urged the NDP to follow suit to give the Liberal candidate a better chance. In 2011, Liberal Todd Russell lost to Penashue by 79 votes. But NDP national director Nathan Rotman said voters should make the call.

”If someone should stand down in this byelection it is Peter Penashue while Elections Canada completes its investigation,” Rotman said in an email.

"The NDP respects the right of Canadians to make a democratic choice — and will ensure they have an opportunity to vote NDP, if they so choose."
Vancouver Sun


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Saturday, March 23, 2013 

Why The War In Iraq Was Fought And Won For 'Big Oil'


Yes, the Iraq War was a war for oil, and it was a war with winners: ..... Big Oil.

It has been 10 years since Operation Iraqi Freedom's bombs first landed in Baghdad. And while most of the U.S.-led coalition forces have long since gone, Western oil companies are only getting started.
Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq's domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies. A decade of war later, it is largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms.

From ExxonMobil and Chevron to BP and Shell, the West's largest oil companies have set up shop in Iraq. So have a slew of American oil service companies, including Halliburton, the Texas-based firm Dick Cheney ran before becoming George W. Bush's running mate in 2000. The war is the one and only reason for this long sought and newly acquired access.

Oil was not the only goal of the Iraq War, but it was certainly the central one, as top U.S. military and political figures have attested to in the years following the invasion.
"Of course it's about oil; we can't really deny that," said Gen. John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command and Military Operations in Iraq, in 2007. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan agreed, writing in his memoir, "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." Then-Sen. and now Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the same in 2007: "People say we're not fighting for oil. Of course we are."

For the first time in about 30 years, Western oil companies are exploring for and producing oil in Iraq from some of the world's largest oil fields and reaping enormous profit. And while the U.S. has also maintained a fairly consistent level of Iraq oil imports since the invasion, the benefits are not finding their way through Iraq's economy or society.
These outcomes were by design, the result of a decade of U.S. government and oil company pressure. In 1998, Kenneth Derr, then CEO of Chevron, said, "Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas-reserves I'd love Chevron to have access to." Today it does.

 In 2000, Big Oil, including Exxon, Chevron, BP and Shell, spent more money to get fellow oilmen Bush and Cheney into office than they had spent on any previous election. Just over a week into Bush's first term, their efforts paid off when the National Energy Policy Development Group, chaired by Cheney, was formed, bringing the administration and the oil companies together to plot our collective energy future. In March, the task force reviewed lists and maps outlining Iraq's entire oil productive capacity.
Planning for a military invasion was soon under way. Bush's first Treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, said in 2004, "Already by February (2001), the talk was mostly about logistics. Not the why (to invade Iraq), but the how and how quickly."
In its final report in May 2001 (PDF), the task force argued that Middle Eastern countries should be urged "to open up areas of their energy sectors to foreign investment." This is precisely what has been achieved in Iraq. Here's how they did it. 

The State Department Future of Iraq Project's Oil and Energy Working Group met from February 2002 to April 2003 and agreed that Iraq "should be opened to international oil companies as quickly as possible after the war."

The list of the group's members was not made public, but Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum -- who was appointed Iraq's oil minister by the U.S. occupation government in September 2003 -- was part of the group, according to Greg Muttitt, a journalist and author of "Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq." Bahr al-Uloum promptly set about trying to implement the group's objectives.
At the same time, representatives from ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Halliburton, among others, met with Cheney's staff in January 2003 to discuss plans for Iraq's postwar industry. For the next decade, former and current executives of western oil companies acted first as administrators of Iraq's oil ministry and then as "advisers" to the Iraqi government.

Before the invasion, there were just two things standing in the way of Western oil companies operating in Iraq: Saddam Hussein and the nation's legal system. The invasion dealt handily with Hussein. To address the latter problem, some both inside and outside of the Bush administration argued that it should simply change Iraq's oil laws through the U.S.-led coalition government of Iraq, which ran the country from April 2003 to June 2004. Instead the White House waited, choosing to pressure the newly elected Iraqi government to pass new oil legislation itself.

This Iraq Hydrocarbons Law, partially drafted by the Western oil industry, would lock the nation into private foreign investment under the most corporate-friendly terms. The Bush administration pushed the Iraqi government both publicly and privately to pass the law. And in January 2007, as the ''surge" of 20,000 additional American troops was being finalized, the president set specific benchmarks for the Iraqi government, including the passage of new oil legislation to "promote investment, national unity, and reconciliation."
But due to enormous public opposition and a recalcitrant parliament, the central Iraqi government has failed to pass the Hydrocarbons Law. Usama al-Nujeyfi, a member of the parliamentary energy committee, even quit in protest over the law, saying it would cede too much control to global companies and "ruin the country's future."
In 2008, with the likelihood of the law's passage and the prospect of continued foreign military occupation dimming as elections loomed in the U.S. and Iraq, the oil companies settled on a different track.

Bypassing parliament, the firms started signing contracts that provide all of the access and most of the favorable treatment the Hydrocarbons Law would provide -- and the Bush administration helped draft the model contracts.

Upon leaving office, Bush and Obama administration officials have even worked for oil companies as advisers on their Iraq endeavors. For example, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad's company, CMX-Gryphon, "provides international oil companies and multinationals with unparalleled access, insight and knowledge on Iraq."

The new contracts lack the security a new legal structure would grant, and Iraqi lawmakers have argued that they run contrary to existing law, which requires government control, operation and ownership of Iraq's oil sector. But the contracts do achieve the key goal of the Cheney energy task force: all but privatizing the Iraqi oil sector and opening it to private foreign companies.They also provide exceptionally long contract terms and high ownership stakes and eliminate requirements that Iraq's oil stay in Iraq, that companies invest earnings in the local economy or hire a majority of local workers.

Iraq's oil production has increased by more than 40% in the past five years to 3 million barrels of oil a day (still below the 1979 high of 3.5 million set by Iraq's state-owned companies), but a full 80% of this is being exported out of the country while Iraqis struggle to meet basic energy consumption needs. GDP per capita has increased significantly yet remains among the lowest in the world and well below some of Iraq's other oil-rich neighbors. Basic services such as water and electricity remain luxuries, while 25% of the population lives in poverty.

The promise of new energy-related jobs across the country has yet to materialize. The oil and gas sectors today account directly for less than 2% of total employment, as foreign companies rely instead on imported labor. In just the last few weeks, more than 1,000 people have protested at ExxonMobil and Russia Lukoil's super-giant West Qurna oil field, demanding jobs and payment for private land that has been lost or damaged by oil operations. The Iraqi military was called in to respond. Fed up with the firms, a leading coalition of Iraqi civil society groups and trade unions, including oil workers, declared on February 15 that international oil companies have "taken the place of foreign troops in compromising Iraqi sovereignty" and should "set a timetable for withdrawal."

Closer to home, at a protest at Chevron's Houston headquarters in 2010, former U.S. Army Military Intelligence officer Thomas Buonomo, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, held up a sign that read, "Dear Chevron: Thank you for dishonoring our service" (PDF).
Yes, the Iraq War was a war for oil, and it was a war with losers: the Iraqi people and all those who spilled and lost blood so that Big Oil could come out ahead.

Friday, March 22, 2013 

The story behind Ezra Levant's 11th hour 'apology' for Roma rant


| March 21, 2013 
Apologies are coming fast and furious from Ezra Levant and Sun News Network. Just this week, there have been apologies for comments made about the publication Vancouver Observer and for a rant directed against the Roma people. Our parliamentary reporter Karl Nerenberg, who has been closely following the story of Roma refugees in Canada, has uncovered information about just how close Levant actually came to facing prosecution for hate crimes over his comments about the Roma. The office of the Attorney General of Ontario was contacted for comment on this story, but did not reply by deadline. 
And so, Sun News' resident bad boy and low-rent, ersatz Rush Limbaugh, Ezra Levant, has apologized. On Tuesday, we reported in this space that Levant had delivered an on-air mea culpa to the Roma people and anyone he may have hurt in his hateful screed of September 2012.

His own title for that screed was the quite tasteless: "The Jew versus the Gypsies."  Levant's motive, it appears, was not a sudden conversion to reasonableness. Nor was it sincere contrition that he had deeply wounded decent and good people by showering the "Gypsies" with the kind of ugly epithets that you would normally find only in the most virulent hatemonger's bag of tricks.
Levant apologized, it seems, because he was facing possible charges under article 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada: "public incitement and willful promotion of hatred."

Police were ready to charge Levant. We now know that Levant came within a hair's breadth of being charged, and was only spared by the indulgence of Ontario's Deputy Attorney General, Patrick Monahan, and Attorney General, John Gerretsen. It's entirely possible that Levant's belated on-air apology was part of the price for Monahan's and Gerretsen's clemency.
Here is what seems to have happened. After Levant's on-air outburst last September, members of Toronto's Roma community went to the Toronto police to file a hate crime complaint.

The police undertook an investigation and quite a few months later recommended to the Toronto regional Crown Prosecutor’s office that it charge Levant under Section 319. The regional office agreed with the police, and prepared a dossier. If we were dealing here with any other crime, that would be enough. Levant would be facing charges now.

There is a special provision in Article 319, however. It says: "No proceeding ... shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney General." So the regional office went up the line to the civil servant who heads the Ministry of the Attorney General (Monahan) and to the Ministry's ultimate, political boss, Gerretsen. In making their final decision, Monahan and Gerretsen had to take into account legal and operational issues -- in other words, does the Crown have a good chance of winning this case? -- as well as something the law vaguely terms as the "public interest."

On the latter grounds, the undefined "public interest," it seems Monahan advised Gerretsen that the Crown should not proceed with charges against Levant. Was the Ontario Attorney General intimidated by Levant and Sun News? It appears that Monahan was worried that a Levant trial would become something of a "media circus."

The Deputy Attorney General was, to all appearances, deterred by Levant's well-known reputation for being a loud-mouthed bully, and didn't want the Ontario government getting into a public spitting match with Sun News' professional ranter. So Levant, ironically, was saved by his own notoriety and unsavory reputation. If the crime had been committed by some obscure, street-corner hate-spewer would Monahan and Gerretson have shown similar scruples? We will never know for sure.

And did Sun News and Levant get wind of the potential charges, and decide that discretion was the better part of valour? Did they decide that an apology was preferable to the risk of prosecution?
We cannot be sure. We can be quite sure, however, that, as part of their investigation, the Toronto police would have had to question the notional perpetrator of the hate crime and his employer.
Levant and his Sun News bosses almost certainly had a pretty clear idea of what the police and prosecutors were thinking.

Levant's hate speech did have a negative impact on public opinion. To the Roma who launched the complaint, and their friends, it seems a bit outrageous and unfair that a person such as Levant should be spared simply because he is a well-known media 'personality.'

Despite his near-buffoon status, Levant is still capable of striking politically-motivated fear in the hearts of senior decision makers. It is also frustrating to the Roma that the investigation of a case where the facts were entirely clear should have taken so long. On the other side of the ledger, the negative of impacts of Levant's association of all Roma with a few, isolated instances of petty criminality are undeniable.

The Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, constantly and cleverly played the 'Roma = crime = trouble' card during his campaign to get his refugee reform bill, C-31, through Parliament as fast as possible. It is now the law of the land.

Still, the Roma people, and all Canadians concerned about basic human rights, can at least take comfort from the fact that responsible officials who looked at what Levant said and its potential impact were convinced the Sun News on-air bully had clearly committed a hate crime.
Sun News and Levant also know that -- ergo the apology.

The CRTC is still considering Sun's application to get must-carry status on Canada's cable system. Sun is losing money as an optional service, and argues it should be categorized among the basic, necessary services that cable provides.

Should the CRTC decide that the promulgation of hate propaganda is a necessary service?

 Progressive Bloggers

 

"The Liberal Party Of Canada is about to go the way of the Eaton’s stores."


Thursday night at the Canadian War Museum, in a debate presented by the Macdonald Laurier Institute (macdonaldlaurier.ca), sponsored by the Ottawa Citizen and moderated by historian Jack Granatstein, Michael Bliss and John Duffy debated the resolution: The Liberal Party has no future in Canadian politics. To read John Duffy’s opening argument, click here.

The Liberal party in Canada, like liberalism itself, has a great past, and very little future.

The great past almost goes without saying. The party of Wilfrid Laurier, Mackenzie King, Louis St. Laurent, Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, and Jean Chrétien dominated Canadian politics in the 20th century. But it has all fallen apart for the Liberals, a pathetic shadow with their 35 seats in the House of Commons, and real or pending collapse in every province except their Lego-fortress, Prince Edward Island.

Liberalism has already died in the countries from which we take our political lead. In the United Kingdom the Liberal party never recovered after the First World War. In the United States the word “liberal” has become something of an epithet, a term shunned by even Democrats.

Political liberalism is in crisis because in much of the western world its job is done — over, finished. Classic liberalism was about advancing political liberty — the struggle against authoritarian rule, the expansion of parliamentary freedoms, expansion of the franchise, and, in the 20th century, expansion of the idea of inalienable human rights. The Canadian struggle involved our evolution from imperial rule through responsible self-government and then our gradual march towards independence, all the while trying to preserve and strengthen national unity. It was also the development of democracy and respect for individual autonomy as expressed in the expansion of human rights and the personal security guaranteed in the modern welfare state.
The milestones on the Canadian Liberal road begin with the achievements of Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, and go on through Laurier, King, Pearson, and, above all, the senior Trudeau. Pierre Elliott Trudeau was not a Canadian political maverick. In his political writing and in his political action, Trudeau was a classic Canadian Liberal, and as prime minister he finished the job begun by his predecessors. He gave us our own Constitution, he gave us our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, he preserved our country when its future was in grave doubt because of Quebec separatism.

After Trudeau, Canadian Liberals had little left to do. The Chrétien government got us through the ultimate counter-attack on the Trudeau settlement, the 1995 Quebec referendum, and it took precautions for future battles by passing the Clarity Act. It also tackled the Trudeau-Mulroney legacy of reckless debt increase.
Then, nada. Canadians were not ready for further constitutional change — such as abolishing the monarchy or perhaps the Senate. The pillars of our welfare state were all in place and more in need of repair and repainting than expansion.

In 2008 Stéphane Dion tried to forge a new Liberalism based on environmentalism, highlighted by his proposed carbon tax. Voters were not interested. In 2011 Michael Ignatieff tried to return to old Liberal ideas about fighting tyranny and the abuse of Parliament. But demonization of the Conservative government as enemies of liberty was simply not credited by the voters. Nor is there traction left in the old national unity card: the concept of unity, like identity, seems old-fashioned in an age of pluralism, diversity, distinctiveness, post-modern politics, and the Conservative government’s resurrection of classical federalism.

Now the Liberal party has no ideas at all. Instead of being the party of the vital centre, or the bourgeois revolution, the Liberals are the party of the mushy centre, the party of bourgeois confusion. The party’s old organizational muscle, sinews that worked even as its intellect ossified, has eroded in scandal and rot.
What’s left today is a skeleton party, dominated by Liberals bred in the bone, genetic Liberals — Trudeaus, McGuintys, Daveys, Raes. About all that glues the skeleton together these days is dislike of Conservatives. This is mainly useful in masking Liberals’ intense dislike of one another.

Parties without ideas can stay alive in the hope that their stronger opponents will be destroyed by arrogance and/or scandal. For the most part that doesn’t work for third parties. In today’s Canada the NDP is best situated to pick up the pieces if the Conservatives crumble. Think integrity issues. Think Senate reform.

Will young, charismatic, pragmatic leadership, make a difference? Justin Trudeau might succeed in postponing for another decade the inevitable creation of the Liberal Democratic Party of Canada. His problem is much like that of recent descendants of the great retailers, Timothy Eaton. They tried in vain to save a once-impregnable Canadian institution, a mighty national brand, whose time was past.

The Liberal party is about to go the way of the Eaton’s stores. Like Eaton’s, the Liberal party will live on in the pages of our history books, and maybe in the galleries at our new Canadian Museum of History.

Historian Michael Bliss, professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, is the author of 14 books.

Cartoon by kind permission of
Graeme MacKay
at mackaycartoons.net

Progressive Bloggers

Thursday, March 21, 2013 

Massive Pile Up Of Over 100 Cars In Leduc Alberta ...




A multi-vehicle crash of approximately 100 cars on the Queen Elizabeth II highway south of Leduc, Alta. — 33 km south of Edmonton — has sent around 100 people to hospital.

Latest is 100 minor to moderate injuries in Leduc incident. One serious to UAH. Six moderate to nearby hospitals.


-CTV News Has More ...


  Progressive Bloggers

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 

"Just Watch Me" (cross a picket line) - Justin Trudeau

For the record, Justin Trudeau confirmed on Twitter that when he signed this note to another passenger, he was flying back from Halifax on Porter Airlines --- where the workers have been locked out over their demands to meet safety standards. Meaning he crossed a picket line to do so!
  -CBC: Justin Trudeau sparks Twitter frenzy with 'Just watch me' note
-Catholic Teachers Donate $30,000 to Striking Porter Airlines Employees


-Letter from Sid Ryan to Porter Airlines President Robert Deluce  


PROOF! (for those Libs who are denying this .. ) 

 Progressive Bloggers

Monday, March 18, 2013 

Calling Out Brad Wall's Phony Contrived Outrage At Mulcair


Pipelines have already carried share of hot air

By Bruce Johnstone - Regina Leader-Post

 Aside from oil and gas, pipelines seem to be useful conduits for transporting another commodity we seem to have a surplus of - hot air.No sooner had Premier Brad Wall returned from his trip to Washington, D.C., last week, where he spoke to politicians and business leaders about the importance of approving the Keystone XL pipeline, he was blasting federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair for failing to defend Canada's interests in the U.S., namely promoting the Keystone XL pipeline.

Wall accused Mulcair of leaving a "swath of destruction for the energy sector'' by telling Americans the Harper government was "playing people for fools'' by making claims about its environmental record and its stance on climate change.

Not content with charging Mulcair of "effectively betraying Canadian interests,'' Wall went on to tar newly elected provincial NDP leader Cam Broten with the same brush. "What Mulcair and the NDP are doing - with no objection from the Saskatchewan NDP or (its) new leader - is being quite destructive in terms of getting this important pipeline project approved.''

Broten responded with qualified support for Keystone XL: "If the National Energy Board approves it based on the triple bottom line of environmental, economic and social benefits, it's
something that we support,'' Broten said Tuesday. When Wall pointed out the NEB had approved the Keystone three years ago, Broten removed the qualification, saying he unequivocally supported Keystone XL.

Then, the Saskatchewan Tory caucus jumped into the fray and accused Mulcair of going to the U.S. to "talk down Canada and put narrow political interests ahead of job creation and economic growth in Saskatchewan." Borrowing a line from a recent Tory attack ad that "Mulcair's NDP has come out squarely against resource development, calling it a 'disease,'" the Tory caucus went on to say that "Mulcair's NDP continues to undermine our economy and national interests here in Saskatchewan and abroad."

Not to be outdone, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver slammed Mulcair for failing to support a project the government believes is critical to increasing energy exports and growing the economy. "It isn't helpful when a senior member of Parliament comes down there either directly or indirectly to speak against a project that is in Canada's national interest."

So what exactly did Mulcair say in Washington that has everybody's knickers in a knot? Was it a betrayal of our national interests? Turns out Mulcair didn't bring up Keystone directly, other than to say it was an American decision. But when asked, Mulcair said he believed that Keystone was exporting Canadian jobs - 40,000, according to some studies - and "that is a bad thing for Canada.''

Instead, Mulcair argued for an east-west pipeline that would create more jobs in Canada and reduce imports of crude oil. He also suggested that the Harper government's track record on the environment - pulling out of Kyoto, gutting environmental regulations and agencies, not meeting its GHG targets - make it less credible as a proponent of the environmental benefits of pipelines.
It should be noted Mulcair's views are shared by many people, both here and in the U.S. The day he spoke in Washington, the New York Times editorialized that President Barack Obama should kill Keystone XL because of environmental concerns.

In recent days, thousands of Americans rallied in Washington to oppose the $7.6-billion project to bring 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil, mainly bitumen from Alberta, to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Besides, Mulcair is not the first opposition leader to disagree with government policy while in another country. In fact, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made many such statements as opposition leader.

Remember, as leader of the opposition, Mulcair has a job to do. It is not, as Wall, Oliver and the Tory caucus are suggesting, to promote the Keystone XL pipeline. His job is to articulate and defend his party's position, at home and abroad. Mulcair knew full well his speech to about 30 people in D.C. wouldn't make headlines in the U.S., but it would back home. 

Finally, let's turn the political rhetoric down a notch or two. It's bad enough to have to listen to attack ads during an election campaign, let alone in non-election years.
Johnstone Is The Leader-Post's Financial Editor.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013 

United Nation's Human Development Index Now Ranks Canada As 11th


Progressive Bloggers  

"Canada has slipped out of the top 10 countries listed in the annual United Nation’s human development index — a far cry from the 1990s when it held the first place for most of the decade.

The 2013 report, which reviews a country’s performance in health, education and income, places Canada in 11th place versus 10th last year."
CBC.ca

 

Liberal Party Leadership Alchemy - Seven Leaders in Ten Years


Over a ten year period (2003 - 2013), the once great Liberal Party of Canada has been overseen by 6 different Leaders:
 -Jean Chrétien
-Paul Martin
-Bill Graham*
-Stephane Dion
-Michael Ignatieff
-Bob Rae

.... with a 7th Leader to be chosen in the coming weeks. 
Seven different Leaders within 10 years! 

I am reminded of a time, long ago, known as the Dark Ages when quasi-scientists called 'alchemists' worked tirelessly to find a way to turn base metals into gold. Century after century they experimented and searched for the magic formula that would give them unimaginable wealth . Failure after failure, they endured. 'Perhaps the next experiment would allow copper to be turned into gold'! 

Ultimately, those who practiced alchemy acknowledged the failure of their quest because there is NO way to turn iron into gold. 

So here we have modern 'political alchemists' in the Liberal Party of Canada trying to turn their soured fortunes into an electoral bonanza. Liberals go from leader to leader now, trying to find the right one to take them back to the glory days of their party.

At some point, you would think that the LPC would understand that no matter who they select, the problem is not with the 'leader'  .... no ... the problem is that they are a tired, old, intellectually bankrupt political force that became fat, sassy, corrupt and 'entitled'.

Justin Trudeau will not turn Liberal fortunes to gold.

 Progressive Bloggers

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 

Preston Manning Tells Conservatives That They MUST NOT Say What They Believe If They Want Canadians To Vote For Them!


Chris Selley considers the portion of Preston Manning’s speech this past weekend that dealt with “intemperate and ill considered remarks” by fellow conservatives.
He mentioned (though not by name) Wildrose candidate and evangelical pastor Allan Hunsperger, whose “derogatory reference to homosexuals” was “dredged up during the recent [Alberta] provincial election,” and “a questionable comment by a prominent libertarian and a good friend of mine, which seemed to imply that the freedom of an individual to view child pornography had no serious consequences for others.” That would be Mr. Flanagan.
And he took some of the blame for this state of affairs. “In the early days of the Reform Party, we were so anxious to allow our members the freedom to express contrary views that we virtually let them do and say as they pleased,” he said. “But in later years I have come to see the wisdom of Edmund Burke’s observation that before we encourage people to do as they please, we ought first to inquire what it may please them to do.”
That’s the founder of the Reform Party and the principled conscience of the Canadian conservative movement telling people to shut their yaps on controversial subjects for the good of the tribe. First and foremost, it’s depressing.
It is at least cynical. Consider these two paragraphs from the prepared text.
For the sake of the movement and the maintenance of public trust, conservative organizations should be prepared to swiftly and publicly disassociate themselves from those individuals who cross the line.
This does not mean that we as individual conservatives on a personal level ostracize or disassociate ourselves from those who cross the line. Everyone makes honest mistakes, conservatives believe in second chances, and we need to rally around those who have been lured across the line by opponents rather than “piling on.”
So the line-crosser should be publicly scorned, even if also privately comforted. Perhaps it’s only odd to hear someone acknowledge that much out loud—perhaps this is only the political equivalent of breaking the fourth wall—but it does raise all sorts of interesting questions for further discussion.
Consider the case of Mr. Hunsperger. What was his “mistake”? Holding those views? Expressing them publicly? Expressing them publicly if he ever hoped to run for political office? Or, rather, was it the Wild Rose party’s “mistake”? Should it have barred him from running as a candidate given that he had expressed such views?
Is this anything more than a public relations exercise? Or does a party make a philosophical point when it condemns such “mistakes”? (More broadly, how should a modern conservative party reconcile its social conservative members and supporters with the increasing acceptance of gay rights? I actually think that should be the topic of a panel discussion at next year’s Manning conference.)
How generally should this idea of putting the team before the individual be applied? Could it be applied to Stephen WoodworthMark Warawa or Brad Trost? They certainly seem to contradict their party leader’s line on abortion, but they also speak to a sizeable constituency within the party. Does determining whether a line has been crossed and how the party should respond become a purely mathematical matter of determining how many votes are won or lost as a result? And at what point does this focus on the team limit the independence of the MP and contribute to the disempowerment of the legislature?
All of which perhaps sidesteps the fact that, as political advice for conservative parties who aspire to government, Mr. Manning’s advice is probably very sound.
by Aaron Wherry
MacLeans.ca

STATE OF THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENTremarks by Preston Manning to the annualManning Networking Conference Ottawa – March 9, 2013

Saturday, March 09, 2013 

MLA Cam Broten Wins Sask NDP Leadership Race By 44 Votes!

Progressive Bloggers

Cam Broten is the winner of Saskatchewan's New Democratic Party leadership race after beating fellow candidate Ryan Meili by a thin margin of just 44 votes Saturday afternoon.
 
A total of 8, 284 people voted in the second ballot at the NDP convention held at TCU Place in Saskatoon, with 4,164 of those votes going to Broten.
A gasp went up from the crowd as the results were announced. Saskatoon physician Meili counted in at 4,120 votes. Supporters on both sides were stunned by how close the results were.
Broten, a Saskatoon MLA, took the stage moments after he was announced as the new leader of the NDP.
"I take on this role of leader with great enthusiasm, but also a deep sense of responsibility," Broten said.
CBC Saskatchewan

Top photo by: Greg Pender, The StarPhoenix
Bottom photo by: Peter Mills, CBC Saskatchewan

Wednesday, March 06, 2013 

RIP Stompin' Tom Connors ....






Not sure who Stompin’ Tom Connors is? The country-folk crooner well known for pounding the floor with his left foot during performances became a Canadian icon and developed a devoted following throughout his lifetime.
Although wide commercial appeal escaped Connors for much of his four-decade career, his heritage-soaked songs like “Canada Day, Up Canada Way,” “The Hockey Song,” “Bud the Spud,” and “Sudbury Saturday Night,” have come to be regarded as veritable national anthems thanks to their unabashed embrace of all things Canadiana.
A few days earlier the musician penned a letter to fans that he wanted published after his death, his spokesman said. Here is a copy of the letter published on the singer’s official website.

Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin’ Tom.
It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.
I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.
I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.
Sincerely,
Your Friend always,
Stompin’ Tom Connors
Metro 

 Progressive Bloggers

 

This Is What Democracy Looks Like - Saskatchewan New Democratic Leadership 2013


Other political parties may wish to take a glance at how a truly democratic party selects its leader.

Sask NDP Leadership 2013 Voting FAQ

Monday, March 04, 2013 

The Senate = A Ball Of Shit .. er .. I mean Abolish It.

The New Democrats have long advocated abolishing the corrupt, unelected, undemocratic Canadian Senate.
 
It's at the top of their agenda everyday in Question Period and, on Wednesday, leader Thomas Mulcair called on the RCMP to look into the spending controversies.

Well now, her majesty's loyal opposition have launched a new website called the 'Senate Hall of Shame. As you might imagine, it features the five senators that have been in the news of late: Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy, Mac Harb, Pamela Wallin and Irving Gerstein.

[ Related: Senator Pamela Wallin audited for over $350,000 in travel expenses ]
The NDP want your help to choose which one of those five should be added to the Hall:

Influence peddlers. Partisans. Laggards. The convicted and nearly-convicted. Over the years, the Senate has seen them all – while the Prime Ministers who appointed them did their best to look the other way.
The hundreds of failed candidates, bagmen and party hacks that have filled the Canadian Senate are of such questionable character and have made such dubious contributions to public service, many now find themselves in the Senate Hall of Shame.
Who will be the next to join them? You decide. Vote now.
Already included in the NDP's house of dishonour is former Liberal Senator Philippe Gigantès.
"An aspiring author, [Gigantès] read the entirety of his book into the record of the Senate so he could get a complete French translation, which he would later have published," notes the website.
Andrew Thompson, the Liberal senator who gained infamy in the 1990s for coming to work only 12 times in a seven year period, is also profiled.

Of course there are no NDP senators on the list — that's because the NDP don't have any senators.

You can vote for Brazeau, Duffy, Harb, Wallin or Gerstein here.
Yahoo.news

 Progressive Bloggers

Saturday, March 02, 2013 

B.C. Liberals In Damage Control - Premier And Cabinet To Hold Emergency Cabinet Meeting Sunday


There is trouble in BC Liberal land tonight. The Liberal Caucus is spooked. The BC Liberal 'Ethnic Strategy' memo has infuriated cultural groups across the province. 

Change is coming ........ one way or another!

Global BC


 Progressive Bloggers

Friday, March 01, 2013 

Trent Wotherspoon, is without doubt, the BEST candidate to lead the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party






Trent Wotherspoon for Leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party

Progressive Bloggers



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