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  Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #150 on: 2013-02-17 11:00:47 »
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Interesting how Ottawa procedures and processes don't translate well to locations where the money is less plentiful.



Nunavut boards say they can’t pay for Bill C-47 obligations

Date: 2013.02.15

NIRB “stretched to the breaking point,” chair tells MPs

Elizabeth Copland, the chair of the Nunavut Impact Review Board, listens last July to evidence given by witnesses at public hearings in the Iqaluit cadet hall on the Mary River iron project. But
Elizabeth Copland, the chair of the Nunavut Impact Review Board, listens last July to evidence given by witnesses at public hearings in the Iqaluit cadet hall on the Mary River iron project. But "with the level of development that we are currently experiencing in Nunavut, the Nunavut Impact Review Board's core capacity is already stretched to the breaking point,” Copland told 

A Conservative bill aimed at implementing part of the Nunavut land claims agreement can’t work unless the Nunavut Impact Review Board and the Nunavut Planning Commission get more funding, board officials told a House of Commons committee in Ottawa recently.

“First, with the level of development that we are currently experiencing in Nunavut, the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s core capacity is already stretched to the breaking point,” the NIRB’s chair Elizabeth Copland told MPs Jan. 29.

The bill, which the Tories are marketing politically as the “Nunavut Jobs and Growth Act,” is mostly aimed at setting out detailed rules and procedures for the review board and the planning commission.

Most of it is taken from an earlier bill called the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, which died on the order paper just before the May 2011 election.

The aboriginal affairs committee finished looking at the Bill C-47 Feb. 12, when the Tory majority voted down a number of NDP and Liberal amendments.

But before that, witnesses from the NIRB and NPC said their organizations don’t get enough money from Ottawa each year to pay for the bill’s new requirements.

Copland, speaking on behalf of the NIRB, said that’s because the bill contains provisions that her board can’t afford.

These include:

• extensive new requirements to meet access to information obligations beyond those set out in the Privacy Act;

• obligations to translate lengthy and highly technical documents into three languages, for which corresponding terms in Inuktitut might not be available, and which only a tiny handful of translators are qualified to carry out; and,

• new public registry requirements.

Another funding gap, Copland said, is the absence of a designated fund to help intervenors from the public make submissions during environmental assessments.

This, she said, creates “a disparity in public access to impact assessment in Nunavut.”

But in jurisdictions covered by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, such funding is available to members of the public, Copland said.

For example, the CEAA made $81,600 available to support public participation on a federal environmental assessment of iron ore project in Quebec called Fire Lake North.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, unless the federal minister declares otherwise in certain rare exceptions, has no jurisdiction in Nunavut anymore.

That’s because the federal government — with the support of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. — quietly amended Article 12 of the land claims agreement to eliminate the CEAA from Nunavut.

This also eliminated provisions for intervenor funding.

Ryan Barry, the NIRB’s executive director, said after since the CEAA was removed from the territory in 2008, funding for ordinary people has been on an ad hoc basis.

“In some cases it’s been granted. More recently the response from the minister has been that because there is no established program, there will be no funding,” Barry said.

As for the NIRB’s current financial situation and its ability to carry out the new functions set out in Bill C-47, Barry said “now you know what keeps us awake at night.”

“The bill in front of you will require us to have an online presence. It brings in new translation requirements. It makes us have to adhere to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

“For a small organization such as ours that doesn’t have those systems in place for all aspects, as the federal government might, that means we are expecting a much larger burden on an already very constrained budget,” Barry said.

But he also said the review board is preparing a detailed funding submission for the federal government and that the board is encouraged by comments made this past December by John Duncan, the Aborginal Affairs and Northern Development minister, on the NIRB’s funding issues.

As for the Nunavut Planning Commission, Sharon Ehaloak, told the Commons committee Feb. 5 that the NPC is so “critically underfunded,” some jobs go unfilled.

“In our organizational capacity, currently we have left positions vacant simply to meet our current needs. We will not be able to enact this legislation without additional funding. There’s just no question about it,” Ehaloak said.

Ehaloak even said the NPC risks being “sued by proponents” because it doesn’t have the money to meet its obligations.

“We have the obligation to create a public registry. We have the obligation to staff and to prepare the staff and to familiarize them with the legislation and the new timelines. The language obligations are also new. In our presentation in 2010, we provided the initial costs.

“From the time of our original submission, I’m sure there have been cost escalators, and we will not be able to fulfill our obligations under the legislation, given the requirements,” Ehaloak said.

On the new translation requirements, Ehaloak said every English word the NPC produces costs them $2 in extra translation costs.
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #151 on: 2013-02-20 18:51:41 »
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As we follow in a world wide tradition ...



Forestry Workers Address Crisis in BC Forests

Source: BCFED
Author: Jesse Uppal

BC’s unionized forest workers are inviting forest communities to join them in a series of town hall meetings around the province to address the crisis in BC forest.

Whether it’s the devastation caused by the mountain pine beetle or raw log exports, forest communities have been hit hard over the last decade, and it’s critical we come together to address not only the problems in our forest sector but solutions as well,” said Jim Britton Vice-President, Western Region, of the Communication, Energy and Paperworker’s Union.

“Years of government staffing cuts, deregulation and mis-management have created a crisis in BC’s forests,” said Darryl Walker, President of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU). “British Columbians deserve to know their forests are being managed sustainably and in the public interest—maintaining forest-sector jobs, while preserving ecosystems. We need to work together to demand that government invest in research, reforestation, and compliance and enforcement to ensure healthy forests today, and in the future.”

“Over the last decade, viable mills were shutdown while raw log exports grew dramatically,” added Steve Hunt, Western Canadian Director of the United Steelworkers. “People in forest communities understand it’s not just about the direct jobs in the forest, or related milling and manufacturing jobs, it’s also about the indirect jobs and benefits to local communities that come from forest workers.”

Community members attending the meetings will not only have an opportunity to hear from provincial and local forestry experts, but each meeting will also engage participants in a dialogue about how we work together to draw attention the crisis and community solutions for change. Start times are 6:00 pm with the exception of Prince George, which will start at 6:15 pm.


NDP Votes With Liberals in Support of the Timber Supply Report to Log
BC's Forest Reserves


Since 2002, the BC Liberal government has slashed more than 1,100 forestry workers' jobs from the Forests and Range ministry. That, along with former premier Gordon Campbell’s idiotic move to collapse the forests ministry into that “super” ministry has resulted in a demoralized and intimidated staff. Also in 2002, the B.C. Liberals changed provincial forestry laws, lessening the obligation of harvesters to replant. Then they cut the budget for silviculture by almost 90 per cent. Ten years later, we have learned that there are more than one million hectares of  “not sufficiently restocked” land.

Then we have British Columbia's Auditor General John Doyle's recently released report on the state of timber management by the Minister of Forests which says, "...by any measure is a scathing indictment of the ministry and proof that the continuous funding cuts made by 11 years of BC Liberal government have left a once proud Forest Service in disarray. Each budget year rolls out deeper and deeper cuts, laying off experienced professional staff and severely reducing the Ministry’s ability to fulfill its purpose."

Over 90% of British Columbia is Crown land, owned by all the people of British Columbia, and it is the responsibility of the Forest Service to act as stewards for this land and cutting of staff  is incredibly short-sighted. It's also effective if your goal is to generate reports from that now insecure staff that agree with your pre-conceived agenda.

Professional foresters are highly trained intelligent people who know full well that clear-cuts and mono-culture plantations aren't good forestry practices. Many have attended courses like those of of UBC Forestry Prof. Suzanne Simard, who at UBC lectures on and researches the role of mycorrhizae and mycorrhizal networks in the web of life that supports us all. All of them are trained in how the progression of species through time leads to a balanced mature forest and the dangers inherent in a mono-cultured plantation compared to the long term health and resilience of an interconnected real forest.

But folks are folks, including BC's forestry professionals. They have families to support, mortgages to pay and careers. In any organization, including the Ministry of Forests, a researcher knows exactly what results his or her supervisor wants - the results their superiors want to hear. And so on up the food chain it goes, until it reaches the top predator, in this case BC's Liberal government.

The results are clear from the Timber Supply Report, the Auditor General's Report of from the Association of BC Forest Professionals themselves - the BC Liberals have, in the last 11 years, run our once powerful forest industry into the ground. Why? Is it simply to cut costs so as to achieve an apparently balanced budget in the short term and pay for it by destroying the long term viability of our forests while at the same time cutting government revenues by lowering taxes on the corporations and their rich benefactors? Sure looks like it from here.
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #152 on: 2013-02-27 10:07:11 »
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And I quote from a more dignified time and place:

"God save your majesty!

I thank you, good people—there shall be no money; all shall eat
and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one livery,
that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers senators.

Nay, that I mean to do."



PS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yq3TQoMjXTw

17 of 104 senators refused to provide information, 8 didn't answer requests

Source: CBC
Author: CBC News
Date: 2013.02.26

Mike Duffy is one of 17 senators who refused to provide proof of residence

Twenty-five senators have either refused to show proof to CBC News that they live where they claim to or haven't responded to questions, as a senate probe into their residency and allowances goes on.

CBC's James Cudmore asked each one of 104 sitting senators to answer:

    Where they live.
    Where they hold a driver's licence and health card.
    Where they pay taxes.
    Where they vote.

INTERACTIVE Residency of Canadian senators

So far, 96 senators have responded to the CBC's queries.

Once contacted, 17 senators simply refused to provide the information requested. Sixteen of those senators were Conservative, and 15 were appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Among those who refused:

    Conservative Donald Oliver, appointed by then-prime minister Brian Mulroney.
    Former broadcaster Pamela Wallin.
    Former broadcaster Mike Duffy.
    Hockey legend Jacques Demers.
    Former Quebec Conservative campaign co-chair Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis.
    Former N.W.T. premier Dennis Patterson.
    Former New Brunswick Conservative cabinet minister Rose-May Poirier
    Former Montreal Canadian Alliance and later Action Démocratique du Québec candidate Leo Housakos.

A further six Conservatives have yet to respond at all. All of those are Harper appointees, including:

    Larry Smith, the former head of the Canadian Football League, who was twice appointed to the Senate, the second time after he resigned from the Senate to run for the House of Commons and lost.
    Irving Gerstein, a Conservative party fundraiser.

That means a total of 21 Conservative senators appointed by Stephen Harper have either refused or not furnished the residency data to CBC News.
One Liberal refused

Two of 36 Liberal senators haven't responded to the request. Trudeau appointee Pierre De Bané refused to turn over the information, but told CBC News he lives in Ottawa — not in the Quebec riding he was appointed to represent. De Bané says he doesn't claim the living allowance.

Liberal Senator Mac Harb, who is under fire now for racking up Senate travel and living expenses, didn't respond at all. Harb was an Ottawa city councillor from 1985-1988, then represented Ottawa Centre — the riding in which Parliament Hill sits — as a member of Parliament until he was appointed to the Senate in 2003.

Two Conservative senators who sit on the Senate committee reviewing the residency and expenses of senators have also refused to disclose key residency issues to CBC News.

Despite repeated requests over two weeks, Smith and his Senate caucus colleague Claude Carignan have refused to reveal in which province each holds a driver's licence and health card, pays provincial income tax, and votes. The other 13 members of the committee have provided that information to the CBC, including the seven other Conservatives.

Five senators are expected to be called before the Senate committee auditing housing allowances to answer more questions:

    Patrick Brazeau, appointed from Quebec.
    Mike Duffy, appointed from P.E.I.
    Mac Harb, appointed from Ontario.
    Dennis Patterson, appointed from Nunavut.
    Pamela Wallin, appointed from Saskatchewan.

Duffy to repay expenses

Patterson refused to answer questions from reporters Tuesday as he left a committee on Parliament Hill. He said he's co-operating with the review process.

Last week, Duffy told CBC News that he would pay back the expenses he'd claimed for his housing because questions about the issue were distracting people from his work. Wallin has reportedly decided to do the same.

Both Liberal and Conservative leaders in the Senate have said they expect anyone who can't back up their expense claims to repay the money.

Duffy is the only federal politician in P.E.I. who does not receive a special residents-only tax break. According to tax information obtained by the CBC, all three other senators, and four elected MPs, receive the provincial credit.

Senator Patrick Brazeau, who is also under scrutiny for his expenses, did respond to questions and provided the information requested.

Brazeau lists his primary residence as Maniwaki, even though the address listed on his driver's licence shows he lives in Gatineau, the city across the river from Parliament Hill.

Brazeau currently faces charges of assault and sexual assault in an unrelated matter.
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #153 on: 2013-03-15 21:59:52 »
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No wonder the US wants a wall between Canada and them. Our politicians support murder and treason it would seem.

Seems maybe that the 'politico kids' are all stirring the pot for political gain, so we take our eye of the real problems heading our way. 'Cause no one, could be this stupid ?



Political party wants to honour Paul Rose, late FLQ kidnapper, following his death

Source: Montreal Gazette
Author: Nelson Wyatt, The Canadian Press
Date: 2013.03.15

MONTREAL - Convicted terrorist Paul Rose, who died Thursday of a stroke, is best known as an architect of the 1970 October Crisis, which saw political kidnappings and murder and troops flooding into Quebec. Now a member of the provincial legislature wants to honour him.

Amir Khadir, one of two members of the pro-sovereignty Quebec solidaire, promises to table a motion for him in the national assembly next week.

"This is someone who is significant to the independence movement," Khadir told The Canadian Press when asked about Rose's passing.

"You can share the reservations he had about his past in the FLQ, but no one can question his sincerity, his devotion, his integrity, his intellectual honesty."

The party also issued a written statement offering its condolences — to Rose's family and friends, and the progressive and sovereigntist activists "who had the pleasure of" working with him. It saluted his decision to pursue the "emancipation of the Quebec people" using democratic means after 1970.

Rose, 69, was convicted in 1971 in the murder and kidnapping of then-Quebec vice-premier Pierre Laporte.

For its part, the Parti Quebecois government refused to issue any comment on the death. Khadir decried the government's silence about Rose, who had supported Quebec solidaire in recent years.

"It shows once again the government's lack of courage," he said. "This is an important figure in the Quebec independence movement and I invite all sovereigntist members, including ministers, to publicly express their condolences."

The PQ has repeatedly distanced itself from the legacy of the October Crisis, one of the most tumultuous periods in Canadian history.

PQ founder Rene Levesque was scornful of the FLQ and its members. He was appalled in 1981 when delegates to a party convention gave a standing ovation to Jacques Rose, Paul Rose's brother.

The PQ founder had been a friend to Laporte, and a cabinet colleague.

Paul Rose is best known to Canadians as leader of the Chenier cell of the Front du liberation du Quebec that snatched Laporte from the front lawn of his suburban home as he played touch football with his nephew on Oct. 10, 1970.

Laporte, who was also Quebec labour minister, was found strangled in the trunk of a car a week later, a day after the invocation of the War Measures Act that sent Canadian troops into Quebec to back up police who were carrying out mass arrests.

Rose died peacefully in a Montreal hospital surrounded by his wife and two children, as well as his sisters and brother Jacques, another former member of the FLQ.

A convicted murderer and an unrepentant terrorist, pockets of Quebec still view Paul Rose as a folk hero

Source: National Post
Author: Tristin Hopper
Date: 2013.03.14

He was a kidnapper, a convicted murderer and an unrepentant terrorist who helped orchestrate one of the darkest events in modern Canadian history, but even in the final months of his life Paul Rose was being feted by cheering crowds in Quebec.

And now a party in Quebec’s National Assembly wants to honour him.

As recently as last April, at the height of student protests in Quebec, the ex-terrorist addressed a rally of CLASSE, the more militant of the province’s three main student groups. Organizers later claimed they had not invited Rose to the event, but maintained his comments were “appropriate to the strike.”

Rose, 69, died of a stroke Thursday morning in Montreal’s Sacré-Coeur Hospital, reportedly as members of his family read nationalist poetry by his bedside.

As a leader of the Front de libération du Québec, a violent terrorist group agitating for Quebec independence, in 1970 Rose played a direct hand in the kidnap and murder of Pierre Laporte, Quebec’s deputy premier and minister of labour.

Mr. Laporte’s murder, as well as the FLQ’s abduction of British trade commissioner James Cross, ultimately prompted Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to impose the War Measures Act in a series of events that became known as the October Crisis.

Despite orchestrating the only assassination of a Canadian political figure in the 20th century, for the last three decades Rose was able to live a relatively public life in Montreal as a union organizer, a University of Montreal sociology student and a newspaper columnist.

In 1995, he even attempted to run as a candidate for the Quebec New Democratic Party, but the Quebec Superior Court barred his eligibility for office due to his criminal past.

Through it all, Rose never apologized, claiming in a 2010 interview “we did this because we believed in the advancement of society.”

“Paul Rose always explained the actions of the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) as a reaction to the repression that people’s organizations, independence groups and other victims were experiencing at the time,” read a Thursday obituary by L’Aut Journal, a Quebec alternative newspaper which counted Rose as a contributor.

Quebec Solidaire, a separatist political party with two seats in Quebec’s National Assembly, in a Thursday statement offered condolences to Paul Rose’s family, without one mention of Rose’s status as a convicted murderer.

Amir Khadir, one of two members of the Quebec solidaire, promises to table a motion in the national assembly to that effect next week.

“You can share the reservations he had about his past in the FLQ, but no one can question his sincerity, his devotion, his integrity, his intellectual honesty,” Mr. Khadir told The Canadian Press when asked about Rose’s death.

Raised in Montreal, Rose was a schoolteacher before he became involved in radical politics in the late 1960s as a member of the FLQ, which was then responsible for staging more than 200 small-scale bombings, largely in Anglophone neighbourhoods of Quebec.

On October 5, 1970, Rose was on vacation in Texas when he got word that other FLQ members had kidnapped British trade commissioner James Cross. He immediately rushed back to Montreal and, within five days, organized the kidnap of Laporte, who lived near the group’s headquarters. The 49-year-old cabinet minister was abducted as he played football with his nephew on his front yard.

In a letter written to Premier Robert Bourassa the day after his abduction, Laporte warned that his abductors were indeed prepared to kill him and that Quebec stood on the precipice of a “bloodbath.”

“After me, it will be a third, a fourth and a fifth,” he wrote.

On October 17, a communiqué written by Rose declared that the FLQ had “executed” Laporte, who they derided as the “Minister of Unemployment and Assimilation.”

The message led police to a remote location just outside Montreal’s St. Hubert airport where officers found Laporte’s body curled around a spare tire in the trunk of Rose’s car.
Handout Quebec Labor Minister Pierre Laporte, kidnapped in front of his home on Oct. 10, 1970, was found dead in a bloodstained car trunk in suburban St. Hubert seven days later.

Under heavy security, one thousand people showed up to Laporte’s October 20 funeral. The journalist-turned-politician would have turned 92 last month. James Cross, who was born the same year as Laporte, is still alive.

Rose was arrested on December 28. At his trial, he became known for his courtroom outbursts and following his sentencing, he screamed“Long Live Quebec! We will overcome!”

A coroner’s inquest soon after the murder determined that Laporte had been strangled by a gold religious medal he wore around his neck. In a conversation wiretapped by police, Rose even admitted to his lawyer that he “finished” Laporte with the gold chain.

Nevertheless, in 2010 Rose asserted in a Radio Canada interview that Laporte’s death could have been avoided. A Radio Canada report that same year put forward the since-discredited theory that Laporte had been “accidentally” strangled.

Although sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, Rose served only 11 years in prison before his 1982 parole. His was the harshestsentence received by any October Crisis conspirator, many of whom dodged prosecution altogether by releasing James Cross in exchange for exile to Cuba.

In 1981, Rose was granted day leave to deliver the eulogy at the funeral of his mother, where he was greeted by a standing ovation.

“The day I was sentenced to life in prison my mother, my friend … told me; ‘Paul, I’m proud of you,’” he told the crowd.

That same year, his brother Jacques Rose — who had also served prison time for the kidnapping —was greeted by a thunderous standing ovation at the 1981 Parti Quebecois convention. Rene Levesque later wrote off the episode as an outbreak of delirium.

Over the years, as October Crisis conspirators have started businesses, opened publishing houses, bought sailboats and reached pension age, Rose’s folk hero status has been viewed with disbelief by the family and friends of those targeted by the FLQ.

In 2010, at the 40th anniversary of the October Crisis, former National Assembly member Raymond Garneau said that to “see the assassin Paul Rose interviewed on the CBC French network, one could believe that murderers were victims and victims murderers.”

True to form, on Thursday Radio Canada reported “that the activist, political scientist and trade unionist” Paul Rose had died.

Even Le Devoir, the Montreal newspaper at which Pierre Laporte had worked as a reformist-minded parliament correspondent in the 1950s, on Thursday eulogized Rose as a “prominent figure in the history of contemporary Quebec.”

« Last Edit: 2013-03-15 22:01:53 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #154 on: 2013-04-08 16:42:53 »
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This has been going on for a while now: Hudson Bay, Canada Post, Telus, ...



RBC replaces Canadian staff with foreign workers

Source: babble
Author: jerrym
Date: 2013.04.07

Axed employee blows whistle; federal government investigating

April 7, 2013 - 10:45pm

RBC bank is laying off fifty Canadian employees in their IT department in order to replace them with temporary foreign workers by the end of April. These jobs are in the department that serves RBC's biggest and wealthiest institutional customers, so it has nothing to do with the profit margins of this department.

"They are being brought in from India, and I am wondering how they got work visas,” said Dave Moreau, one of the employees affected by the move. “The new people are in our offices and we are training them to do our jobs. That adds insult to injury.

In February, RBC told Moreau and his colleagues 45 of their jobs with the regulatory and financial applications team would be terminated at the end of April.

"There are a lot of angry people," Moreau told Go Public. "A lot those people are in their late 50s or early 60s. They are not quite ready for retirement yet, but it may be very difficult to employ them." ...

The foreign workers who are taking over the RBC work in Toronto are employed by a multinational outsourcing firm from India – iGATE Corp. – which has a contract with the bank to provide IT services. The two companies have been working closely since 2005. There is an "RBC Offshore Development Centre" in the iGATE facility in Bangalore. ...

However, the bank refused to answer repeated questions about the type of work visas the iGATE employees have or how they were approved, given the job losses involved. ...

iGATE, a rapidly growing company with offices around the world, including Mississauga and Toronto, has been in trouble before over foreign worker hirings. ...

In 2008, the multinational paid $45,000 to settle charges by the U.S. Department of Justice for discriminating against American citizens. iGATE was advertising jobs in the U.S. for foreign workers — effectively saying Americans need not apply.

iGATE said it brings its foreign workforce into Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and under intra-company transfer visas.

However, a Toronto immigration lawyer says there is no loophole in any visa category that allows companies to displace Canadians who are able to do the work. ...

The iGATE employees don’t appear to have any special skills Canadians don’t, the RBC workers told Go Public.

“That’s why we are training them,” Moreau said. “The person who is replacing me has asked a lot of questions and doesn’t know a major portion of the type of systems that we are working with."

Displacement against rules

However, it is against federal rules for any company to bring foreign workers into Canada temporarily if it will put citizens out of work.

“The rules are very clear. You cannot displace Canadians to hire people from abroad,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. ....

As a result of Go Public’s inquiries, the office of the minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada — the federal office that approved iGATE’s plans to bring in foreign workers — issued a statement late Saturday.

"We have recently learned of allegations that RBC could be replacing Canadian workers by contracting with iGate, which is filling some of the roles with temporary foreign workers. If true, this situation is unacceptable.

"The purpose of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is to fill acute labour needs when Canadians are not available for the work required. It was never intended as a means to bring in temporary foreign workers in order to replace already-employed Canadian workers.

'I have instructed my department to work with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to determine the next steps.' "



RBC denies that it replaced laid-off Canadians with new arrivals from India

Marc Weisblott   
Published: April 7, 2013, 12:30 pm

A report from CBC News about the replacement of RBC employees with temporary workers from India stirred outrage across Canada this weekend.

But the bank came forward on Sunday afternoon to refute claims that their approach to outsourcing was out of bounds.

“We are working diligently to find suitable roles for those affected and it is our hope over the next few months to transition them to other positions,” read the statement from RBC’s chief human resources officer Zabeen Hirji.

She clarified to The Canadian Press that the IT service duties performed by the 45 laid-off staffers were being taken over by the Bangalore-based outsourcing firm iGate — with which RBC has been working closely since 2005. The new arrivals weren’t employees of RBC per se.

Further spin came from RBC’s head of Enterprise Services and chief procurement officer Greg Grice:

“RBC agreements with suppliers, including in this case iGate, requires them to ensure that they are abiding by the applicable laws and regulations,” he said in a statement.

“External suppliers allow us to leverage their scale and technical skills to continually improve our operational processes and service, and re-invest in initiatives that enhance the client experience.”

RBC nonetheless announced plans to discuss some of its hiring practices with the federal government after two Conservative ministers expressed their displeasure with the report — along with other politicians from across the spectrum.

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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #155 on: 2013-04-15 00:27:27 »
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It went so well last time a Trudeau ruled Canada and we plummeted in to massive debt and separatism was whipped into a frenzy and our relationship with our southern neighbour tanked ... lets see if we can completely destroy Canada this time round .... but Canadians wouldn't be that silly and vote a Trudeau in again.. so we're fine ... "JUST WATCH ME"



Justin Trudeau wins Liberal leadership

Source: The Star
Author: Susan Delacourt Parliament Hill
Date: 2013.04.14

Justin Trudeau arrives at the Federal Liberal leadership in Ottawa Sunday April 14, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Justin Trudeau easily won more than 80 per cent of the vote. He must now rebuild the Liberals from their third-place standing.

OTTAWA—Justin Trudeau will walk into the House of Commons on Monday as the new leader of the Liberal party — with expectations for him flying as high as his decisive victory in the leadership race.

Garnering more than 80 per cent of the vote tally on Sunday, Trudeau handily won the job that his late father, Pierre Trudeau, held for 16 years in the 20th century.

His victory, then, is already historic: a rare family dynasty in the making in Canadian politics.

But the task now facing Trudeau is the more pressing question about the future: whether he can rebuild the Liberals from their third-place standing back to the powerful, political force they once were in Canada.
Photos View gallery

    Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire arrive Sunday afternoon for the federal Liberal leadership announcement in Ottawa. A few hours later he was proclaimed winner in the race. zoom

Before about 1,000 cheering Liberals gathered in Ottawa on Sunday night, Trudeau said that task shouldn’t be underestimated.

“Let us be clear-eyed about what we have accomplished. We have worked hard and we have had a great campaign. We are united, hopeful and resolute in our purpose,” he said. “But know this: we have won nothing more and nothing less than the opportunity to work even harder.”

He served notice, though, that he intends to campaign as Liberal leader in the same way as he campaigned for the job, with optimism rather than negativity, and beyond the nasty, personal partisanship that prevails in Ottawa.

The results of the week’s voting weren’t even close. Under the Liberals’ new system, each riding in Canada was worth 100 points, allocated according to the percentage of support each candidate received. The winner needed 15,401 out of 30,800 points, and Trudeau won 24,000.

His closest rival, Vancouver MP Joyce Murray, won 3,130. Former MP Martha Hall Findlay won 1,760, former cabinet minister Martin Cauchon earned 810, and candidates Deborah Coyne and Karen McCrimmon won only a little more than 200 each.

Trudeau will be in the Commons on Monday to take up his role as leader and to face reporters’ questions in the foyer afterward. His campaign advisers said he intends to spend the next few weeks putting a transition plan in place, though he will also visit Labrador, where hopes are also running high for Liberals to take away a seat from the Conservatives in the May 13 byelection.

Trudeau conducted a leadership campaign that attracted nearly viral levels of public attention and crowds of adoring fans: 10,000 volunteers alone and thousands of new party supporters signed up in the past six months.

Many of those volunteers were in the crowd Sunday night, wearing “Justin” scarves, tears streaming down their faces, as the result was announced.

As well, repeated polls in recent days and weeks have shown that a Trudeau-led Liberal party could sweep over its rivals, even the Conservative party.

Conservatives wasted little time in “welcoming” Trudeau to the fray, issuing a news release that announced “he doesn’t have the judgment or experience to be Prime Minister.”

That theme is expected to be reinforced with the Conservatives’ now-familiar brand of attack ads on Liberal leaders. Trudeau said he’s ready for it.

“The Conservative Party will now do what it does. It will try to spread fear. It will sow cynicism. It will attempt to convince Canadians that we should be satisfied with what we have now,” Trudeau said in his acceptance speech.

However, he said, “it is not my leadership that Mr. Harper and his party fear. It’s yours. There is nothing that these Conservatives fear more than an engaged and informed Canadian citizen.”

The New Democrats, keen to keep the Liberals down in third place, will also have Trudeau in their sights as they present themselves as the main progressive opposition to the Conservatives.

In a statement, the Tories congratulated Trudeau on his win but immediately cast doubt on this ability to lead the country.

“Justin Trudeau may have a famous last name, but in a time of global economic uncertainty, he doesn’t have the judgment or experience to be prime minister,” the party said in a statement.

Trudeau spent some of his acceptance speech talking directly to Quebec, which forms the backbone of the NDP’s current strength in Parliament. The province also had a troubled relationship with his father by the end of his tenure in the 1980s.

“I take nothing for granted. I understand that trust can only be earned. And my plan is to earn yours,” Trudeau said, urging Quebecers to be builders of Canada again.

But Trudeau also had some pointed messages for his own party, riven by factional infighting for much of the past few decades, torn between loyalties to past leaders such as Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, who were on hand Sunday night in Ottawa.

« Last Edit: 2013-04-15 10:34:30 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

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« Reply #156 on: 2013-04-30 18:56:59 »
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This old chestnut from 1970 has haunting relevance today. I remember it all so well from the then Canadian Prime Minister ; government officials were kidnapped and one was killed and left in the trunk of a car. The war measures act was introduced and the streets of Quebec had soldiers guarding them. I can't see any current politicians being as clear and unabashed about their actions today. The reporter was given a demotion and reprimand by his bosses. Which they years later apologized for doing.

It still leave me rather unsettled albeit honest. It was, it seems to me, the clear step toward the police state in the new age we are heading into.




The following is a partial transcript of the impromptu interview between Tim Ralfe of the CBC and Trudeau. [2]

    Tim Ralfe: …what you're talking about to me is choices, and my choice is to live in a society that is free and democratic, which means that you don't have people with guns running around in it.

    Pierre Trudeau: Correct.

    Ralfe: And one of the things I have to give up for that choice is the fact that people like you may be kidnapped.

    Trudeau: Sure, but this isn't my choice, obviously. You know, I think it is more important to get rid of those who are committing violence against the total society and those who are trying to run the government through a parallel power by establishing their authority by kidnapping and blackmail. And I think it is our duty as a government to protect government officials and important people in our society against being used as tools in this blackmail. Now, you don't agree to this but I am sure that once again with hindsight, you would probably have found it preferable if Mr. Cross and Mr. Laporte had been protected from kidnapping, which they weren't because these steps we're taking now weren't taken. But even with your hindsight I don't see how you can deny that.

    Ralfe: No, I still go back to the choice that you have to make in the kind of society that you live in.

    Trudeau: Yes, well there are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don't like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is, go on and bleed, but it is more important to keep law and order in this society than to be worried about weak-kneed people who don't like the looks of a soldier's helmet.

    Ralfe: At any cost? How far would you go with that? How far would you extend that?

    Trudeau: Well, just watch me.

    Ralfe: At reducing civil liberties? To that extent?

    Trudeau: To what extent?

    Ralfe: Well, if you extend this and you say, ok, you're going to do anything to protect them, does this include wire-tapping, reducing other civil liberties in some way?

    Trudeau: Yes, I think the society must take every means at its disposal to defend itself against the emergence of a parallel power which defies the elected power in this country and I think that goes to any distance. So long as there is a power in here which is challenging the elected representative of the people I think that power must be stopped and I think it's only, I repeat, weak-kneed bleeding hearts who are afraid to take these measures.
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« Reply #157 on: 2013-05-18 09:17:41 »
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Seems the Meme is that Canadian oil is bad; wonder who is really promulgating this one. The Gas fracking industry ?



A Black Mound of Canadian Oil Waste Is Rising Over Detroit

Source: The New York Times
Date: 2013.05.17

Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times
Petroleum coke, a waste byproduct of refining oil sands oil, is piling up along the Detroit River.

WINDSOR, Ontario — Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River.

Brian Masse, a member of the Canadian Parliament, wants a bilateral agency to investigate the pile accumulating in Detroit.

Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom.

And no one knows quite what to do about it, except Koch Carbon, which owns it.

The company is controlled by Charles and David Koch, wealthy industrialists who back a number of conservative and libertarian causes including activist groups that challenge the science behind climate change. The company sells the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste, usually overseas, where it is burned as fuel.

The coke comes from a refinery alongside the river owned by Marathon Petroleum, which has been there since 1930. But it began refining exports from the Canadian oil sands — and producing the waste that is sold to Koch — only in November.

“What is really, really disturbing to me is how some companies treat the city of Detroit as a dumping ground,” said Rashida Tlaib, the Michigan state representative for that part of Detroit. “Nobody knew this was going to happen.” Almost 56 percent of Canada’s oil production is from the petroleum-soaked oil sands of northern Alberta, more than 2,000 miles north.

An initial refining process known as coking, which releases the oil from the tarlike bitumen in the oil sands, also leaves the petroleum coke, of which Canada has 79.8 million tons stockpiled. Some is dumped in open-pit oil sands mines and tailing ponds in Alberta. Much is just piled up there.

Detroit’s pile will not be the only one. Canada’s efforts to sell more products derived from oil sands to the United States, which include transporting it through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, have pulled more coking south to American refineries, creating more waste product here.

Marathon Petroleum’s plant in Detroit processes 28,000 barrels a day of the oil sands bitumen.

Residents on both sides of the Detroit River are concerned that the coke mountain is both an environmental threat and an eyesore.

“Here’s a little bit of Alberta,” said Brian Masse, one of Windsor’s Parliament members. “For those that thought they were immune from the oil sands and the consequences of them, we’re now seeing up front and center that we’re not.”

Mr. Masse wants the International Joint Commission, the bilateral agency that governs the Great Lakes, to investigate the pile. Michigan’s state environmental regulatory agency has submitted a formal request to Detroit Bulk Storage, the company holding the material for Koch Carbon, to change its storage methods. Michigan politicians and environmental groups have also joined cause with Windsor residents. Paul Baltzer, a spokesman for Koch’s parent company, Koch Companies Public Sector, did not respond to questions about its storage or the ultimate destination of the petroleum coke.

Coke, which is mainly carbon, is an essential ingredient in steelmaking as well as producing the electrical anodes used to make aluminum.

While there is high demand from both those industries, the small grains and high sulfur content of this petroleum coke make it largely unusable for those purposes, said Kerry Satterthwaite, a petroleum coke analyst at Roskill Information Services, a commodities analysis company based in London.

“It is worse than a byproduct,” Ms. Satterthwaite said.“It’s a waste byproduct that is costly and inconvenient to store, but effectively costs nothing to produce.”

Murray Gray, the scientific director for the Center for Oil Sands Innovation at the University of Alberta, said that about two years ago, Alberta backed away from plans to use the petroleum coke as a fuel source, partly over concerns about greenhouse-gas emissions. Some of it is burned there, however, to power coking plants.

The Keystone XL pipeline will provide Gulf Coast refineries with a steady supply of diluted bitumen from the oil sands. The plants on the coast, like the coking refineries concentrated in California to deal with that state’s heavy crude oil, are positioned to ship the waste to China or Mexico, where it is burned as a fuel. California exports about 128,000 barrels of petroleum coke a day, mainly to China.

Tony McCallum, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, played down the impact of Keystone XL. “Most of the Canadian oil earmarked for the U.S. Gulf Coast is to replace declining heavy oil imports from Mexico and Venezuela that produces the same amount of petcoke, so it doesn’t create a new issue,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Much of the new coking investment has gone into refineries in the Midwest to allow them to take advantage of the oil sands. BP, the British energy company, is building what it describes as the second-largest coke refinery in Whiting, Ind. When completed, the unit will be able to process about 102,000 barrels of bitumen or other heavy oils a day.

And what about the leftover coke? The Environmental Protection Agency will no longer allow any new licenses permitting the burning of petroleum coke in the United States. But D. Mark Routt, a staff energy consultant at KBC Advanced Technologies in Houston, said that overseas companies saw it as a cheap alternative to low-grade coal. In China, it is used to generate electricity, adding to that country’s air-quality problems. There is also strong demand from India and Latin America for American petroleum coke, where it mainly fuels cement-making kilns.

“I’m not making a value statement, but it comes down to emission controls,” Mr. Routt said. “Other people don’t seem to have a problem, which is why it is going to Mexico, which is why it is going to China.”

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” he said. One of the world’s largest dealers of petroleum coke is the Oxbow Corporation, which sells about 11 million tons of fuel-grade coke a year. It is owned by William I. Koch, a brother of David and Charles.

Lorne Stockman, who recently published a study on petroleum coke for the environmental group Oil Change International, says, “It’s really the dirtiest residue from the dirtiest oil on earth,” he said.

Rhonda Anderson, an organizing representative of the Sierra Club in Detroit, said that the mountain’s rise took her group by surprise, but it had one benefit.

“Those piles kind of hit us upside to the head,” she said. “But it also triggered a kind of relationship between Canada and the United States that’s allowed us to work together.”
A version of this article appeared in print on May 18, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: From Canadian Oil, a Black Pile Rises in Detroit.
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« Reply #158 on: 2013-05-20 14:40:14 »
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The question is why and for how long ?



Canadian regulators welcome US Bitcoin refugees with open arms

Source: The Register
Author: Jasper Hamill
Date: 2013.05.20

Money laundering not a problem here, eh

Canadian Bitcoin traders will not be clobbered by laws similar to those being used to target virtual currency exchanges in America, according to a leaked letter from the country's financial investigations unit.

The Register has seen a letter from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) which was sent to several prominent Bitcoin exchanges in the country, explaining they are exempt from strict money-laundering laws.

US police used similar laws to freeze the accounts of Mt. Gox, the world's largest Bitcoin exchange, last week after claiming it was operating as an "unlicensed money service business."

But in a letter to the Canadian exchanges, FINTRAC confirmed the exchanges were not actually money service businesses and were therefore exempt from laws governing this type of firm.

If America's crackdown on Bitcoin continues, Canada is likely to be seen as a safe haven if FINTRAC sticks with its current policy.

The boss of Canadian Bitcoin exchange Cadbitcoin, whose name we agreed to keep private, received one of the letters. He wants to open shops across Canada which will allow people to buy Bitcoin in person, but his accounts were shut down by banks concerned about virtual currency trading.

He predicted a Canadian Bitcoin bonanza on the back of the ruling, claiming that worried American investors would start cross-border trading to avoid US legislation.

The entrepreneur said: "This is a big win for Canadian exchanges, because US citizens can simply trade from across the border."

FINTRAC's letter went out to a number of Bitcoin exchanges in Canada, including LibertyBit, who were becoming nervous following developments in America.

The letter said: "Your entity is not, at this time, engaged as a money services business in Canada as per the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing and its associated Regulations.

"In fact, your entity doesn’t provide the services of remitting and/or transferring funds for the sake of the service. The transfer of funds is simply a corollary of your actual service of buying and selling virtual currency. Therefore, you do not have to register your entity with us."

However, Canadian banks have previously closed down accounts held by Bitcoin traders, claiming they fell foul of the money service business laws.

Bitcoin dealers in the US are currently very nervous after the Department of Homeland Security obtained a warrant last week allowing it to seize an account linked to Mt. Gox, a Tokyo-based exchange that claims to process about 80% of all Bitcoin transactions.

Enforcers swooped months after warning that online currency traders would be subject to the same rules as traditional financial operators like Western Union, who are legally compelled to tell cops about transactions worth more than $10,000 to help tackle money-laundering.
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« Reply #159 on: 2013-05-30 10:50:35 »
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This would be nice to have quarterly on all politicians.



Senate finance data

Source: The Star
Author: Andrew Bailey and Bruce Campion-Smith
Date: 2013.05.30

Andrew Bailey and Bruce Campion-Smith have pulled Senate finance data from the last two years into a spreadsheet. The bureau is now looking at the data's highlights

The senators are grouped in alphabetical order according to last name. To reorganize them according to who has the highest travel or living expenses, click the appropriate tab. Mouse over images or tap screen for more information.
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« Reply #160 on: 2013-06-17 11:19:41 »
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No Comment .... sigh....



Forestry Labeling War Turns Ugly As Greenpeace Bungles Logging Industry Attack

Source: Forbes
Author: Jon Entine
Date: 2013.04.09

As Jon Entine of the Genetic Literacy Project reports, Greenpeace’s embarrassing public apology last month for its botched attack against Canada’s largest forestry company and the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) it helped birth—we’ll get to the details of that story soon enough— underscores the growing tensions over the forest certification programs designed to protect North America’s woodlands.

Three years ago, executives from a variety of groups that can’t stand being in the room with one another—forest companies, corporations that use forestry products and anti-big business international non-government organizations (NGOs)—forged what was hailed as a breakthrough deal. The 2010 boreal agreement brought together nine environmental groups, many of them openly hostile to loggers, and 21 members of the Forest Products Association of Canada with a goal of increasing protections of 75 million hectares of forest in Canada. Essentially it was a truce between the logging industry and environmental groups, which have been at odds for decades.

Canada’s boreal forest, which remains largely untouched, rings the northern hemisphere, covering more than 60% of the country’s landmass. It’s dominated by coniferous forests, intermittent wetlands, small villages and wildlife. It’s an area of genuine contradictions: the boreal is a key source of forestry and mining products but also has a thriving, if limited, tourist industry, and the vast woodlands serve as one of the world’s primary carbon sinks. No wonder it has been the focus of the never-ending tensions between the Canadian government, aligned with commercial interests, usually at loggerheads with hard-core environmentalists, who oppose commercialization in principle regardless of the potential tradeoffs.

Under the agreement, the companies agreed to stop logging in certain areas, including valuable regions for caribou habitat, while the environmental groups agreed to back off from their anti-logging campaigns. They agreed to work together on the details of how to set aside valuable habitat for conservation while still allowing forestry companies limited harvesting in other areas.

It’s been an uneasy deal. This tension strikes a familiar chord in the classic battle between developers and protectionists, between those in government and industry who see nature as a resource that can be sustainably developed versus those who believe that vast land areas have inviolable “rights” and should not be subject to commercial use regardless of (or even in spite of) the potential economic bonanzas they might yield.


The Canadian boreal forestry mêlée is actually a skirmish in the an ongoing battle between the two major forestry eco-label schemes: the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), a favorite of campaigning greens, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which was launched by a range of parties independent from but with the financial support of the American Forestry & Paper Association. The SFI has since broken off and currently operates as a fully-independent non-profit organization.

The two schemes have different roots and practices but converging philosophies—although one would never know that from listening to the high decibel rhetoric when forestry labeling initiatives are debated. Both plans arose in response to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro that called for a focus on “sustainable” and “smart growth” development. While both are legally “voluntary”, meaning that they were not created by governments but by private firms, NGOs or coalitions of producers and consumers, in reality they have evolved into mandatory seals of approval in global markets. Key commercial actors, such as large retailers, traders or processing companies, now require their implementation.

Some voluntary standards are also referenced in government regulations. In fact, the US government is currently in the crosshairs of a contentious exchange between SFI and FSC supporters as to what the government should require in construction projects to meet federal sustainable guidelines. Many projects receiving taxpayer subsidies favor FSC-certified wood.

The FSC was formed by a coalition of advocacy groups including Rainforest Action Network, Friends of the Earth and World Wildlife Foundation. It now represents more than 800 groups, mostly outside the United States where it certifies more than 90% of its land. Organizations other than FSC certify 75% of North American forests.

More aggressive FSC members like Greenpeace, ForestEthics and the Dogwood Alliance see themselves as ‘white hats’—unabashedly and aggressively campaign focused, anti-corporate, opposed to fossil fuels at all costs and dismissive of the role of biotechnology and pesticide management in sustainable forestry. To them, SFI represents ‘black hat’ “Big Timber” and is nothing more than a “greenwashing scam.” They launch attack campaigns when they don’t get their way.

“Sometimes companies need a little encouragement,” brags ForestEthics on its website. “When companies refuse to change their harmful practices, ForestEthics holds them publicly accountable. We get creative with online and offline actions, including protests, websites, email campaigns and national advertisements. No corporation can afford to have its brand be synonymous with environmental destruction.”

Because it was cobbled together over years and is dominated by an anti-development bias, FSC’s rules vary across countries and regions. In fact, FSC labels do not disclose under which standards a wood product may have been certified. That means that product claims can’t be verified in many cases.

There are other anomalies, especially when it comes to set aside standards. For example, supposedly green Sweden has to protect only 5% of its forests while the United Kingdom has a 15% requirement; certain areas in the U.S. are required to restrict 10-25% of a given property. In countries without national standards, FSC permits certification authorities to use “interim” clear-cut limits and so-called “green up” requirements for new growth tree height that don’t necessarily reflect standards backed by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and other global initiatives.

These anomalies irk some early FSC supporters, such as Simon Counsell, who has set up a website, FSC Watch, to monitor the problematic practices of the green group. The monitoring group recently attacked the FSC for its policies in Sweden, charging that there is a growing consensus that the “’Swedish model’ of forestry is failing to protect biodiversity, and old growth forests continue to be clear-cut, including those with FSC certification.”

The FSC is also controversial in the developing world. When it was first formed, there was widespread concern that pristine forests were being “raped” by developers in cahoots with corrupt governments. Its response was to set up a standard that denied certification to any operations undertaken on land converted after November 1994. Although the motive for the action was understandable, it’s proven a crude and unworkable tool. It has limited application in many countries pursuing reasonable policies, in effect favoring the developed world, which long ago started converting its usable timberlands. Understandably, many developing countries, like Indonesia, feel constrained by restrictions imposed on them by what they consider anti-development campaigners.

What about the SFI? Its founding in the mid-1990s led to immediate charges of cronyism. In 2005, it linked with European forestry groups, such as the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the world’s largest forest certification umbrella organization. While the FSC has over 30 different standards around the world —which makes it more fractured and confusing—SFI has one single standard.

LEED and the schism in the United States

Green groups remain adamant that the differences between the labeling initiatives are vast and unbridgeable, dismissing SFI as a “creature of vested interest”. One would think by listening to them that only businesses and loggers support SFI. In fact, groups like the Conservation Fund, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement and the Wildlife Society vouch for the certification program’s commitment to sustainability.

ForestEthics and the Dogwood Alliance have emerged as the FSC’s pit bulls, going so far as threatening and bullying companies they consider “weak links,” susceptible to consumer campaigns. They’ve targeted Kroger’s, KFC/Yum Brands, and even high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton for using SFI certified packaging and have convinced at least 21 prominent brands, including Kimberly Clark and Office Depot to phase out the SFI label and Target into adopting FSC-friendly policies.

Are there significant differences between the competing schemes? Independent observers see a convergence of standards as pressure for transparency on both groups has grown. Canada’s EcoLogo and TerraChoice, part of Underwriters Laboratories Global Network, each rate SFI and FSC identically. A United Nations joint commission recently concluded: “Over the years, many of the issues that previously divided the systems have become much less distinct. The largest certification systems now generally have the same structural programmatic requirements.”

University-based researchers who have scrutinized the two labeling programs have found few meaningful differences. For example North Carolina State professor Frederick Cubbage, North Carolina State University Forest Manager Joseph Cox and a team of researchers concluded that while SFI and FSC “have a slightly different focus, both prompt substantial, important changes in forest management to improve environmental, economic, and social outcomes.”

The convergence in standards has not stalled the politicization of the labeling competition. The two systems are currently going head to head in the US. The FSC has been entrenched because of the support from the US Green Building Council. USGBC adopted FSC standards in the mid-1990s, when it was the only game in town, for its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. It’s remained loyal because of fierce lobbying by green activists. Hundreds of cities and agencies in the US now mandate LEED standards, which means that FSC receives preferential treatment in building projects across the country.

This has created some unintended consequences. Because FSC label accounts for just one quarter of North American’s certified forests, three quarters of the wood from the continent’s certified forests are not eligible for LEED sourcing credits. As a result, LEED creates incentives for green building projects to import wood from overseas, resulting in the browning of the supply chain from excess carbon emissions generated by shipping costs. Nonetheless, activist greenies have dug in their heels, determined to do everything in their power to delegitimize competing systems.

The USGBC has never explained why only FSC forests can receive LEED credits. Michael Goergen, Jr., CEO of the Society of American Foresters, has criticized the USGBC for not including other standards, stating, “FSC or better is neither logical nor scientific, especially when it continues to reinforce misconceptions about third-party forest certification and responsible forest practices.”

Some believe LEED FSC-only framework has led to a loss of jobs. Union leader Bill Street of the International Association of Machinists stated that the “ideological driven ‘exclusivity’ of FSC means that systems such as LEED contribute to rural poverty and unemployment while simultaneously adding economic pressure to convert forest land to non-forest land uses.”

Growing concern about the rigidity of the LEED program has led to the emergence of a competing green building initiative in the US. Green Globes, run by the Green Building Initiative, recognizes the SFI and is now in the running along with FSC to be the preferred federal certification program. The Defense Department, one of the earliest LEED adopters and a huge source of new construction, is currently not allowed to spend public funds to achieve LEED’s “gold” or “platinum” certification because of questions about whether the added costs are justified by the benefits.

War breaks out in Canada

These schisms have played out in Canada, where Greenpeace launched its rogue campaign to bring down the fragile sustainability coalition, which it had only tepidly embraced. The CBFA clearly stipulates that Canadian forest managers can certify their practices to certificate programs run by FSC or by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and its ally, the Canadian Standards Association. That has rankled the extremist NGOs, like ForestEthics and Greenpeace, which advocated a more adversarial stance, convinced that the SFI and the Forest Products Association of Canada was secretly undermining the agreement. They registered their disapproval of the CBFA from the beginning and have been threatening to undermine it. Finally, late last fall, they did just that.

In December, Greenpeace pulled the trigger, claiming it had proof from GPS-tagged video and pictures that one of the coalition industry members, Resolute Forest Products, was building logging roads in areas forbidden by the agreement. It released pictures it said were taken in August 2012 in Quebec’s Montagnes Blanches region, and it promptly resigned from the CBFA.

“This is a deal breaker for us,” said Greenpeace spokeswoman Stephanie Goodwin. “There is no agreement left to uphold. With the boreal forest under threat, the only responsible decision for Greenpeace is to pursue other pathways to obtain results in the forest.”

Greenpeace’s action reflected the general sentiment of the radical wing of FSC supporters. They’ve long viewed the forestry industry as a whipping boy to demonstrate the clout of environmental greenmail—threatening corporations with public campaigns to get them to capitulate to their demands, which often include economic payoffs in the form of contributions to their campaigns. In essence, that’s how CBFA came into existence. Canadian foresters reached the truce only after a vicious “Do Not Buy” campaign launched against its members that claimed that the boreal was under imminent threat—although no independent Canadian government or international agency agreed with those hard-edged NGO allegations.

Unlike Kimberly-Clark and Quebec-based hardware and lumber retailer Rona, which buckled under harsh criticism and paid greenmail, Resolute fought back, providing documentation that the allegations were untrue. It supplied “concrete milestones” that it had reached for caribou protection and the implementation of best practices.

When its prey did not drop, Greenpeace reloaded and fired again. Spokesperson Shane Moffat trumpeted “Greenpeace’s science-based advocacy for responsible forestry” as the group issued a report, Boreal Alarm that threatened to wreak havoc on Resolute’s brand if it didn’t junk its logging practices, already approved under the terms of the CBFA coalition, in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba.

Greenpeace and its key allies were surprised at Resolute’s resoluteness. But the company believed it was standing on firm factual ground and refused to be bullied. Finally in a huge embarrassment, on March 19, the activist group admitted it had bungled its “investigation” and that the unimpeachable videos and photos were just plain wrong. Even as it crowed about its 40 years of commitment to “best available science and research,” Greenpeace admitted it relied on “inaccurate maps” before launching its highly public and damaging attacks.

“We felt it was imperative to own up to our error,” said spokesperson Goodwin. Yet, Greenpeace continued to oppose the CBFA, saying it would have quit the organization even if it hadn’t fumbled its campaign.

What do we make of this? As Peter Foster points out in an analysis in the Financial Post, Greenpeace’s “take no prisoners” strategy is hardly unique—it mirrors the aggressive tractics used by the FSC in establishing itself as a powerful voice in the forestry eco label movement. Organizations that are openly hostile to industry and often ignorant of basic business practices demand payoffs from companies who usually fork over their “dues” in fear of being the target of highly public smear campaigns. Its greenmail—blackmail at the hands of so-called green campaigners.

That’s why it’s so important that there are choices when it comes to eco-labels, particularly in the forestry management area. Many FSC proponents are decidedly anti-development and opposed to controversial technologies, including sustainable biotechnology; the SFI does not resort to or encourage greenmail; it’s less confrontational, which clearly does not sit well its harshest critics, like aggressive environmental groups, such as Greenpeace.

Policies regarding the procurement of timber, use of building codes and what businesses can sell to their customers should be informed by facts and science, not scare tactics. Greenpeace’s deception is only the latest propaganda effort that has muddied rather than clarified the issues surrounding forestry practices. With a majority of forests lacking certification, we need common-sense incentives and more certification options to achieve sustainable forestry management goals. Consumers and the general public deserve much better than the disinformation campaigns that have shadowed this debate.
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #161 on: 2013-07-01 10:33:01 »
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I found this a very interesting reminder that Canada has always been shaped and made prosperous thought the efforts of immigrants, yet the establishment doesn't want their kids to marry one ... things change and stay the same.



New Canadian millionaires

Source: The Asian Pacific Post
Author: asingh
Date: 2013.05.25

Almost half of Canada’s richest residents are new immigrants or first generation Canadians, according to research conducted for the Bank of Montreal.
The survey found that two-thirds of Canada’s millionaire respondents were self-made, with only 20 per cent attributing at least part of their wealth to an inheritance.
And 48 per cent were either immigrants to Canada (24 per cent) or described themselves as first generation Canadians, with at least one parent born outside of Canada (24 per cent), according to the research.
The province of British Columbia has the highest proportion of millionaires belonging to immigrant families, at 68 percent, while the rate in every other province is below 50 percent.
In British Columbia the survey that found 68 per cent of high-net-worth British Columbians — those with investable assets of $1 million or more — were either born outside of Canada or had at least one parent born outside the country.
That compares with 48 per cent nationally.
The survey also found that women respondents made up one-third of Canada’s millionaires, up from 21 per cent three years ago.
Among women, 40 per cent of respondents said they generated their own wealth and one-third managed their own investments, compared to 59 per cent of men who said they do.
For the purposes of the study, wealthy was defined as respondents with investible assets of $1-million or more. “Today’s women are controlling more and more wealth in Canada, and that number is increasing by eight percentage points annually,” said Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, senior vice-president and head, BMO Harris Private Banking, in a statement.
“It’s clear that the face of wealth in Canada is changing.” The online survey was conducted by Pollara between March 28 and April 11, 2013, with a sample of 305 Canadian adults with $1-million or more in investable assets.
The margin of error for a sample that size is plus or minus 5.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The U.S figures come from an identical study in the same period among 482 wealthy American adults.
The survey flies in the face of a recent commentary in the Vancouver Sun by Simon Fraser University Professor Herbert Grubel who argues that immigration costs Canadians up to $20 billion a year when all the costs and benefits are tallied.
Grubel concludes that Canada should reduce immigration and only admit those with a high enough income earning and tax paying potential to increase the average income of native-born Canadians.
Meanwhile, a report out of Hong Kong said millionaires in Asia outside Japan will create $7 trillion in net new wealth by 2016, boosting the share of global riches from emerging markets, according to McKinsey & Co.
China, India, South Korea and Taiwan are the leading wealth generators in Asia, where millionaires’ personal financial assets will surge 15 percent a year to reach $15.8 trillion from $9 trillion at the end of 2012, McKinsey said in a survey of private banks.
Asia, combined with fast-growing Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and central and eastern Europe, will account for about 37 percent of an estimated $80 trillion of global private wealth by 2016, up from 24 percent at the end of 2008.
“Asia is the highest growth region for private banks and will continue to be so,” McKinsey said. “Most private banks are trying to broaden their product offerings to cater to the specific needs of an Asian clientele.”
First-generation Asian millionaires will help the region deliver more than one third of profit sources for global private banking by 2016. The Chinese market is “open to competition as nearly half of China’s high-net-worth individuals have only a limited understanding of private banking,” according to the survey.
International managers with offshore units in Asia won’t reap all the benefits of the growth as more than three quarters of wealth is booked onshore where local banks dominate. Taking into account lower margins on offshore assets versus onshore assets in the region, local banks will outperform international firms, McKinsey said.
Future growth in personal wealth in Asia will be slightly lower than the 16 percent annual increase from 2008 to 2012, McKinsey said. Asia outside Japan, the third-largest wealth market at the end of 2012 behind North America and western Europe, will climb to second place over the next four years.
Worldwide, the number of millionaires will rise 30 percent to 16 million by 2016, according to McKinsey. North American millionaires’ assets will jump 7 percent a year to $27.4 trillion by 2016 from $22.6 trillion at the end of 2012.
Millionaires’ personal wealth in western Europe will climb 4 percent annually to $15.7 trillion by 2016 from $13.7 trillion at year end 2012, while total private wealth worlwide will rise to $80 trillion from $60 trillion, according to the report.
The shift in wealth toward developing economies and the need to adjust to a new generation of clients combined with a rapid increase in tax and regulatory requirements may prompt private banks to become more selective in their geographical focus, client mix and services and fuel industry consolidation, McKinsey said.
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #162 on: 2013-07-17 10:39:51 »
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This one will be hard to resist with the potential tax revenue at stake, and the savings in law enforcement.



Sensible B.C. has good chance of forcing marijuana referendum

Source: Vancouver Sun
Author: Barbara Yaffe
Date: 2013.07.22

Organizers of a campaign aimed at decriminalizing pot will be blitzing B.C. this summer, turning up at public gatherings to sign up donors and volunteers.

"British Columbians can expect to hear and see Sensible B.C. on a regular basis," says Dana Larsen, director of the group set up last year to promote a referendum campaign on marijuana.

Governments had better take note because B.C. is a place where people power packs a punch, where a 2011 referendum campaign killed the Harmonized Sales Tax. It's also the location of Insite, the first supervised injection centre in Canada, which is broadly supported by an open-minded, caring community.

It's not a long shot to imagine that British Columbians, fed up with the side-effects of an illegal and untaxed pot industry, would vote to support regulation of cannabis cultivation, distribution and use.

A Senate committee back in 2003 estimated B.C.'s pot industry to be worth $6 billion - a sum that would reap considerable tax revenues.

Sensible B.C. aims to gather signatures from 400,000 supporters, representing 10 per cent of registered voters in every electoral district, within a 90-day period between September and November.

That's what's needed to trigger a B.C. referendum, which Sensible B.C. proposes in 2014.

The referendum, strictly speaking, wouldn't be about decriminalizing marijuana use. That would require changing the Criminal Code, which is under federal jurisdiction. The Harper government would undoubtedly nix any such proposal.

Rather, the vote would be on whether to introduce a "Sensible B.C. Policing Act," whereby the province would ask police to stop detaining or arresting anyone for marijuana possession.

It would also call for a commission to devise a regulatory and taxation framework for a marijuana market in B.C.

The task might be easier now that Washington state is setting up its own such framework after last November's voter decision to allow marijuana growers and retailers to set up shop. If B.C. follows that lead, money collected in taxes could be directed to drug awareness programs.

At present, the province's pot industry is a scourge, serving the interests of organized crime and others involved in illegal marijuana growing operations.

Just this month, police uncovered a Hells Angels-linked, 430-plant marijuana-growing operation in buried shipping containers in Langley; a month before, they made a similar bust in Mission.

B.C. is home to some 188 organized crime gangs. Last year, the province experienced 19 fatalities resulting from gangland hits, believed to be drug-related.

Moreover, the pot law has become an ass, with people openly flouting it every April 20 when tens of thousands gather in the square in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery to toke up as nearby police pretend not to notice.

Polls consistently have shown that B.C. residents want reform. An Angus Reid poll in April found 73 per cent of B.C. respondents support further research into the regulation and taxation of pot.

Larsen reported this week that his group has the support of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and B.C. Health Officers Council.

Decriminalization also is backed by the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition; the Union of B.C. Municipalities; former B.C. attorneys general Geoff Plant, Graeme Bowbrick, Colin Gabelmann and Ujjal Dosanjh; former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan; and Senator Larry Campbell.

Christy Clark's Liberals have punted the issue, asserting it's up to Ottawa to address matters related to cannabis use. That's no surprise; it's a difficult political issue bound to attract controversy.

Sensible B.C.'s strategy, of course, is to have British Columbians force the province's hand through a potent referendum result.

Its approach has been methodical, pragmatic and has every chance of proving effective.


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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #163 on: 2013-08-20 19:18:13 »
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Can a Rogue Prorogue to avoid the Heat he can't Beat ?



Prime Minister Stephen Harper to prorogue Parliament, push new session into October

Source: O Canada
Author: Jason Fekete
Date: 2013.08.19

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to prorogue Parliament and launch a new session in October will likely kill a number of government bills – including a stalled bill on Senate reform – and delay the House of Commons from sitting in September as originally planned.

Federal opposition parties say proroguing is an attempt by Harper and the Conservative government to delay accountability on the Senate expenses scandal and the grilling they will face in the House of Commons.

Harper confirmed Monday during a week-long tour through northern Canada that he plans to ask the Governor General to terminate the current session of Parliament, which was scheduled to see the House of Commons resume sitting on Sept. 16. He also confirmed he’ll lead the Conservative party into the next election, currently scheduled for October 2015.

The prime minister said his government has fulfilled most of its election promises and it’s time to reset the parliamentary agenda with a speech from the throne.

“There will be a new Throne Speech in the fall. Obviously, the House will be prorogued in anticipation of that. We will come back — in October is our tentative timing — and we will obviously have still some things, still some unfulfilled commitments that we will continue to work on,” Harper told reporters in Whitehorse, Yukon.

“The Number One priority for this government, I don’t have to tell you, will continue to be jobs and the economy.”

Harper has previously said the new throne speech, which outlines the government’s priorities, will focus on the economy, promoting safe streets, celebrating the country’s history and promoting Canada’s interests on the world stage.

The prime minister chuckled when asked by reporters whether he’ll stick around to lead the Conservatives into the next election campaign.

“I’m actually disappointed you feel the need to ask that question,” he said.

A number of contentious government bills currently before the House of Commons will die when the Conservatives suspend Parliament, meaning the legislation would likely have to be reintroduced in the new session. Conversely, the majority Conservative government could also pass a motion to reinstate the current bills and resume debate in a new Parliament.

Government bills currently still in the Commons include legislation on Senate reform — which addresses term limits and process for electing senators — as well as a bill that would ban unions and corporations from making loans to political parties and candidates, and another that would place restrictions on offenders who cannot be held criminally responsible for their actions because of mental illness. Harper has referred the issue of Senate reform to the Supreme Court; in any case, the bill, introduced in June 2011, has been stalled in the House of Commons.

The government has not said whether it would recall the House of Commons for a few days to pass any bills before suspending Parliament.

Prime ministers in the past have regularly prorogued Parliament between elections to launch a new government agenda.

While opposition parties acknowledge proroguing in the middle of a four-year mandate is a normal use of prime ministerial power, they believe Harper and the Conservatives are simply looking to delay the return of the House of Commons to avoid the fallout from the Senate expenses scandal.

“He’s running away from accountability,” said NDP deputy leader Megan Leslie.

She said Harper avoided the House of Commons near the end of the spring sitting to avoid questions on the Senate expenses affair that has embroiled the Prime Minister’s Office.

Nigel Wright, Harper’s former chief of staff, resigned over a $90,000 payment to Sen. Mike Duffy, a former Conservative, who is now being investigated by the RCMP over his Senate expense claims.

Along with Duffy, the RCMP are also investigating former Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau and former Liberal senator Mac Harb over improper housing expense claims. The Senate has also recommended the Mounties be called in for a possible criminal investigation into another former Conservative senator, Pamela Wallin, who has been ordered to repay approximately $121,000 in disallowed travel claims, and may be forced to pay back even more.

“It’s a pattern with him, where if he wants to avoid accountability, if he wants to avoid those uncomfortable questions, then he just hits the prorogue button,” Leslie added.

Harper came under fire in December 2008 for proroguing Parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote that could have toppled his minority Conservative government.

Liberal deputy leader Ralph Goodale said Monday prorogation is part of a broader government plan “to try desperately to change the channel from the topic of ethical scandals and criminal investigations.” If it weren’t for the ongoing ethical issues and Senate expenses scandal, the prorogation could be seen as routine, he said.

Goodale said the government could easily prorogue on Sept. 16 and start the new session the next day, rather than wait as long as another month or more and avoid question period in the Commons.

“It’s not routine when the clear motivation is not just to establish a new agenda for the next two years but to avoid accountability for the last six months, in particular,” he added.

— With files from The Canadian Press



Prorogation at a glance

What is prorogation?

It’s a fancy word for “ending the legislative session.” Each Parliament is made up of sessions and each session is made up of individual sittings or meetings. When a session is prorogued, it ends one session and nothing can happen until the next session begins, usually with a throne speech.

What happens when government is prorogued?

Prorogation stops government bills in their tracks and dissolves committees. The House can decide to reinstate some government bills, but it also means that controversial bills, such as the Internet surveillance Bill C-30, can be erased from the agenda. Private members’ bills are not affected by prorogation.

Who can prorogue Parliament?

The Governor General signs the order on the advice of the prime minister.

How often is Parliament prorogued?

Parliament can be prorogued whenever the prime minister wants to restart the agenda with a new Throne Speech. In December 1988, after the general election that returned Brian Mulroney to power, the Throne Speech contained one item: to pass the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Once that was done, Parliament was prorogued until April 1989.

In the previous Parliament, Prime Minister Harper prorogued twice, the first time just two weeks after the first session began in December 2008. He asked then Governor General Michaelle Jean to prorogue his minority Parliament to avoid being replaced by a coalition of opposition parties. Harper prorogued again in December 2009 to “recalibrate” his government, also avoiding the scrutiny of a parliamentary committee investigating Afghan detainees.

What happens next?

The government comes back, likely in October, with a fresh new agenda for the next two years before the 2015 scheduled general election.

When was the last Throne Speech?

The last throne speech was on June 3, 2011. The first session of this 41st Parliament was 272 sitting days.

Which government bills will potentially be scrapped?

Bill C-4: Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System.
Would make it easier to prosecute human smugglers and impose harsher sentences on these criminals.

Bill C-5: Continuing Air Service for Passengers Act.
Would prohibit strikes and lockouts by air service operators.

Bill C-7: Senate Reform Act.
Would provide a framework for provinces and territories to elect senators and would introduce term limits for senators.

Bill C-12: Safeguarding Canadians’ Personal Information Act.
Would require organizations to report breaches of personal information to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and ensure affected individuals are notified.

Bill C-14: Improving Trade Within Canada Act.
Would strengthen dispute resolution and enforcement mechanisms laid out in Canada’s internal trade agreement.

Bill C-17: Air Canada and its Associates Act.
Would have forced air carriers under contract with Air Canada to follow parts of the Official Languages Act.

Bill C-21: Political Loans Accountability Act.
Would ban unions and corporations from making loans to political parties and candidates and limit the amount individuals can loan to political parties and candidates.

Bill C-30: Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.
Would have given authorities new powers to monitor the online activities of Canadians.

Bill C-49: Canadian Museum of History Act.
Would change the name of the Canadian Museum of Civilization to the Canadian Museum of History and change the museum’s mandate to focus on enhancing knowledge about the events that have shaped Canada’s identity.

Bill C-54: Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act.
Would put restrictions on offenders who cannot be held criminally responsible for their actions because of mental illness.

Bill C-56: Combatting Counterfeit Products Act.
Would give border officers new powers to respond when they encounter commercial counterfeit goods at the border.

Bill C-57: Safeguarding Canada’s Seas and Skies Act.
Would give authorities new powers to investigate aviation accidents, introduces new requirements for operators of oil-handling facilities.

Bill C-61: Offshore Health and Safety Act.
Would establish new occupational health and safety regulations for offshore petroleum workers.

Bill C-65: Respect for Communities Act.
Would set out strict guidelines for application to run a safe injection site for addicts.

Bill S-6: First Nations Elections Act.
Would make changes to the how chiefs and band councillors can be elected in some First Nations.

Bill S-10: Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act.
Would ban the use, development, production, acquisition, possession, transfer, import or export of cluster munitions.

Bill S-12: Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act.
Would clear up when government can use an “incorporation by reference” technique in federal regulations.

Bill S-13: Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act.
Would increase power of Canadian authorities to inspect and search foreign fishing vessels.

Bill S-16: Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act.
Would create new laws against trafficking unregulated tobacco products and put in place minimum prison sentences for repeat offenders.

– Compiled by Andrea Hill and Kirsten Smith, Postmedia News

Prorogation, Canadian style

Every session of Parliament ends with a prorogation proclamation made by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister. Prorogation is a normal procedure, but some prorogations are more controversial than others:

– In December 2008, just weeks after a general election, Stephen Harper, who headed a minority government, requested a prorogation to avoid losing a confidence vote in the House of Commons. The Liberals and NDP had formed a plan for a possible coalition government supported by the Bloc Quebecois. Instead Harper was granted his prorogation.

– Harper prorogued again the following December, postponing the return of Parliament to March 3, 2010 from Jan. 25. He claimed this would allow the government time to consult Canadians on the economy and enjoy watching the Vancouver Olympics without distractions. During the prorogation, Harper appointed enough new senators to the upper chamber to give the Conservatives a majority and control committees, making it easier for government legislation to pass. The prorogation also shut down a special House committee investigating whether Afghan detainees were tortured after Canadian soldiers transferred them to Afghan custody and if Canada was aware of the alleged torture.

– In September 2002, the Liberal government of Jean Chretien prorogued Parliament a few weeks before it was scheduled to return from the summer recess, preventing the public accounts committee from finishing a report on advertising contracts awarded to Quebec companies, a scandal that had been plaguing the Liberal party for months.

– The first controversial prorogation was in 1873 when Prime Minister John A. Macdonald asked Governor General Lord Dufferin to end the session to prevent a damning committee report from being tabled. The report was going to find that Macdonald had received illegal donations from a company that was awarded the contract to expand the railway to the west coast, the so-called Pacific Scandal. Dufferin granted the prorogation despite protests from the Liberal Party. When the House reconvened, Macdonald was forced to resign..

– Compiled by Kirsten Smith, Postmedia News
« Last Edit: 2013-08-20 19:20:26 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #164 on: 2013-08-26 11:36:08 »
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Sure would like to hear another take on this story but limited analysis is available in the mainstream media:
C-45 http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/tag/bill-c-45
C-38 http://http://environmentallawcentre.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/an-overview-of-bill-c-38-the-budget-bill-that-transformed-canadas-federal-environmental-laws/



Hupacasath First Nation shines light on secretive Canada-China investment deal

Source: Rabble
Author: Mark Taliano
Date: 2013.08.19

A small polity of First Nations peoples, the Hupacasath, could be the only obstacle to stop the ratification of what may well be the most devastating corporate empowerment treaty that this country will ever endure. And most Canadians, by design, know nothing about it.

In June, 2013, the 300-strong Hupacasath First Nation launched a court action with the Federal Court to stop ratification of the proposed 31-year trade treaty. The Chief Justice of the Federal Court presided over the hearings, and a decision will be made by the end of August, or in early September.

The Foreign Investment Promotion and Investment Agreement (FIPPA), signed in Russia, is a bilateral investment treaty that abrogates international and constitutional law, and essentially hijacks municipal, provincial, territorial, and federal laws that threaten the profitability of Chinese State Owned Enterprises (SOE).

A treaty as momentous in its import should merit open discussion, but instead, it has been cloaked in secrecy, which is consistent with the treaty itself. According to the treaty, if a Canadian law threatens the profits of a Chinese SOE, a secret tribunal, consisting of three arbitrators, and operating outside the jurisdiction of Canadian law, will adjudicate and award penalties, should it deem that profits have been compromised.

If, for example, a Canadian environmental regulation negatively impacts a Chinese SOE's extractive industry, then the Chinese company can sue for lost profits.

The secretive treaty has not even been ratified, and it has already negatively impacted Canadian legislation. Likely, the federal government's evisceration of environmental laws as spelled out in Bills C-38, and C-45, was an effort to appease Chinese "investors."

Should the treaty become ratified, it will also likely suppress any further efforts to reclaim federal oversight of environmental protections, since legislators will legitimately fear a lawsuit: the Chinese enterprises will be protected by a treaty that effectively supersedes Canadian laws.

Basically, China's corporate reach will be extended further into Canada, and our municipal, provincial, territorial, First Nations, and federal legislators will have their hands tied.

Despite the treaty’s benign sounding name, it's more of a "protection" treaty, (of China's rules) than a "promotion" treaty. It does not "promote" trade by reducing tariffs for Canadian businesses, and most of the "trade" in capital will be flowing in to Canada, rather than out from Canada to China.

Other countries with strong resource bases, including Australia and Brazil, have refused the compromises inherent in such a treaty, but Canada appears to be less inclined to preserve its sovereignty, possibly for ideological "free market" reasons.

Gus Van Harten, Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, has comprehensively countered the Harper government spin. Van Harten's rebuttals to some of the government's "talking points" on FIPPA include:

- Instead of promoting growth, the treaty may undermine growth by removing value-added benefits from Canada's resource sector.

- The treaty's main role is to protect Chinese-owned assets from Canadian legislatures, governments, and courts, and vice versa (i.e corporate empowerment), though it is largely non-reciprocal since China's interests/capital will be (and currently are) far greater than Canada's current or anticipated investments in China.

- Regulatory differences between the two countries will create an uneven playing field as well. Canadian investors will have fewer protections from discriminatory treatment in China, since China's existing legal frameworks are opaque relative to Canada's (remaining) legal frameworks.

- There is also a huge disparity of capital flows, with most capital flowing in to Canada from China, so treaty protections are mostly one-sided.

- An Independent Commission has not studied the treaty, so Canadians are unaware of projected costs and benefits.

Even more important than the lop-sided nature of the treaty details, however, is that it reinforces and accelerates Canada's current trajectory towards international lawlessness.

According to the Royal Proclamation, 1763, the Canadian Constitution, 1982, and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), prior consent and accommodation must be secured from First Nations peoples where there is overlap between, in this case, the corporate rights of a bilateral trade agreement and Aboriginal title, rights, and treaty rights.

The Hupacasath First Nation, with the support of Serpent River, Tsawwassen First Nations, UBCIC, and Chiefs of Ontario, launched its court action for these stated reasons:

- the federal government failed to consult with First Nations which breaches Aboriginal title, rights and treaty rights enshrined in the Canadian Constitution, Section 35;

- if ratified, FIPPA may allow the development of tar sands pipelines through First Nations’ traditional and sacred territories by China state-owned companies;

- this FIPPA is being made with a foreign country on un-ceded lands where treaties have not been settled with First Nations;

- environmental standards gutted by Bills C-38 and C-45 may never be restored due to provisions in the FIPPA which impede first Nations’ rights to protect resources for future generations;

- FIPPA was negotiated in secret by the Conservative federal government and would handcuff Canada for 31 years.

There is clear overlap between First Nation concerns and the concerns of all Canadians. Constitutional rights are shared by all Canadians, all Canadians are partners to treaty rights, and all Canadians are supposedly protected by international laws and agreements.

The as yet unratified FIPPA treaty is a violation to these important rights and laws in the same sense that it is a violation to our sovereignty by superceding Canadian law.

The treaty is more than "NAFTA on steroids"; it might be more aptly described as an icon of the Harper government's debasement of both Canadian and international values.

Mark Taliano is a writer, activist and retired teacher.
Photo: Kristen Mathias
« Last Edit: 2013-08-26 11:39:33 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
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