Monthly Archives: March 2015

After 35 years, federal government takes jobs from developmentally disabled workers (with video)

Attack the Disabled, but give income-splitting to the wealthiest among us, and massive tax breaks to corporations. Poisonous politics, and destructive social policy. Canada will soon be competing with Britain in its callous treatment of disabled people. Many of these people have nothing much else that is meaningful in their lives – and virtually no social life outside their meagre jobs. This is not just the loss of a criminally low-paying job – it is the destruction of large pieces of peoples’ lives. What will the government get out of it? Outsourcing of this task to places that will charge the government far more to get the job done. Brilliant.

Ottawa Citizen

Gladys Whincup is losing the $1.15-an-hour job she’s had for 35 years, and she’s devastated.

“I loved working there,” she says. “It was a nice job and we got paid for it. I liked everything about the job. All the people I work with I like very much — they are all my friends.”

Whincup’s workplace is — or was — a wastepaper sorting and disposal plant at Tunney’s Pasture where she and dozens of other developmentally disabled people have been gainfully employed disposing of copious quantities of secret and confidential federal government paper — as much as 40 per cent of it — since 1980.

As of month’s end, their workplace and sense of community and friendship will be just another empty federal government building. The group of 50 workers has been told to vacate the premises.

The Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OCAPDD) administered the work program in a joint agreement with Library…

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ISIS – the new Naziism?

All of this anti-Muslim fear-mongering and Harper jingoism is bothering me deeply. (Apart from the very real fact that our PM Harper is stoking up the rhetoric, and thus all but inviting attacks from jihadists – doing the Bush ‘bring it on’ bullshit while hiding in the closet.)
One big truth, and one I think we should keep in mind, so as to remain rational, is that ISIS is in no way a direct threat to Western democracy, its principles, or the (gradually eroding) freedoms we enjoy. They are not the Nazis, and they are not a cohesive military with a Hitler figure, capable of launching war against democracies.

Has anyone noted that ISIS is not firing missiles at Israel, or conducting all out war with the Americans, Canadians, Brits., etc. who are in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere? That’s because Israel alone could wipe ISIS off the planet within days if it wished to. And it would, if seriously provoked – civilian casualties notwithstanding. They have never been shy about bombing the hell out of the Palestinians and bulldozing them into oblivion.

ISIS is a joke as a military force. They are terrorists, yes. And terrorism is the ubiquitous, amorphous enemy. ISIS, like the Taliban, are terrorizing their own people, as well as citizens of Western democracies when they can get their hands on them, because they are barbaric fundamentalists. They fear that their fundamentalist religious culture will die out. In that, they are no different to our own White Supremacists – with one caveat. White Supremacists do not live in their own region, which has been exploited and raped for over a century by the West, for its own economic gain, and to feed its industrial/military/consumerist complex.

For all its horrific barbarity and rabid brainlessness, ISIS is the product of Middle East rape, and the same kind of fear-mongering on their part that is going on now in Canada. I do not defend their actions. But I do understand that we, our armies, are the ones with the overwhelming power. Our world network of surveillance and global control is huge and indomitable. Even our klutzy RCMP and CSIS can apparently recognize so-called ‘potential terrorist threats’ and deal with them effectively, without our knowing a thing, and without the insane powers now given them in Bill C-51.

Enough of the fear-mongering. Put things in perspective. There is no Muslim movement akin to Hitler’s Nazi Germany, ready to destroy us because they ‘hate our freedom.’ Anyone who believes that is a simpleton, or an ostrich. We could destroy the Taliban and ISIS in days, if we used the force we truly wield. We don’t do that – and are dragged into a drawn out guerrilla-war scenario – because to do otherwise would be to declare all out war on sovereign countries, and be met with powerful, ‘legitimate’ standing armies in the Middle East. We haven’t wiped them off the face of the earth, simply because they operate in sovereign countries which we cannot cook up an excuse to directly attack. (Oh, what am I saying…. ?We did something like that in a place called Iraq. Silly me.)
Let’s get real. Muslims are not our enemies. Radical fundamentalists are, whether they fight for Islam or Jesus, wear nasty scarves or collect MPs salaries.

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Harper sparks controversy by linking guns and personal security

Yep. Harper’s playing to his rabid core for the election. Amazing that a Canadian PM would not understand Canadian Criminal Law – or would choose to flout it. Ironic, that his statement of vigilante justice by gun owners could actually be interpreted as advocating a criminal act that would endanger Canadian citizens. Bill C-51 anyone?

Ottawa Citizen

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, after years of cautiously linking gun ownership to farmers and duck hunters, now says firearms are needed by rural Canadians for their own security so they can shoot people who pose a danger.

But a spokesman for the Canadian Bar Association is urging Canadians to realize that they do not have an automatic right to defend themselves at home with a gun, and could end up facing criminal charges if they do so.

Harper’s comments are being promoted by the Conservatives’ election campaign manager, who says she is “proud” of how Harper said gun ownership is “important for safety for those of us who live a ways from immediate police assistance.”

The Conservatives are distributing emails to supporters about Harper’s recent remarks on gun ownership, in part to raise funds, and also to spread allegations that the opposition parties would restore the long-gun registry.

Harper’s unusually blunt…

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The Alternative Trade Mandate and the Business of our Future

Thought-provoking stuff from my friend’s blog.

New Generation Trade blog

Do you care about challenges unfolding globally, not only for you, but also for future people coming to this beautiful planet? Trade is the only cross-continental plan, bound by law, focused on the everyday content of our lives. It’s truly the business of our futures. The Alternative Trade Mandate is one of many community-driven coalitions encouraging public dialogue to ponder and plan what trade could be.

Trade discourse sounds far away from our personal lives but it isn’t. The content of trade is now local. Since the eighties trade has rapidly shifted focus to community assets – like public services. With few tariffs remaining for goods around the globe, trade’s core content has become the stuff of elections – rules about control of contracts for: energy, health care, water, transit, and more. It shapes the parametres for pressing twenty-first century issues like food security and internet privacy. With 3000+ investment…

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Open letter to Parliament: Amend C-51 or kill it

Will our PM show that he has a conscience, and a sound mind? Or will he just continue, as usual, claiming that all expert opinion is suspect and to be ignored?

National Post

The following is an open letter addressed to all members of Parliament and signed by more than 100 Canadian professors of law and related disciplines.

Dear Members of Parliament,

Please accept this collective open letter as an expression of the signatories’ deep concern that Bill C-51 (which the government is calling the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015) is a dangerous piece of legislation in terms of its potential impacts on the rule of law, on constitutionally and internationally protected rights, and on the health of Canada’s democracy.

Beyond that, we note with concern that knowledgeable analysts have made cogent arguments not only that Bill C-51 may turn out to be ineffective in countering terrorism by virtue of what is omitted from the bill, but also that Bill C-51 could actually be counter-productive in that it could easily get in the way of effective policing, intelligence-gathering and prosecutorial activity. In this respect, we…

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