Fuck Yeah Canadian Politics

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A blog dedicated to the fantastic world of Canadian Politics.

Link roundup — follow-ups on previous articles
  • Further to our post on the CRA’s audits on nonprofits and their political activities, two out of two bloggers agree that it’s probably an attempt to institutionally, administratively quash opposition.
  • The Harper administration is helpfully identifying every single Canadian politician who is showing a critical eye to the nation’s official and uncompromising pro-Israel stance on twitter at @CPC-HQ. Most recently “condemned” include Liberal candidate Darshan Kang and NDP’s Matthew Kellway.
  • A major newspaper is now acknowledging that the Israeli-Palestinian issue is complex and that the leaders of the three top parties are weirdly partisan!! Article covers protests in both Toronto and Ottawa, and notes that Trudeau recently commended (not condemned, as I read several times) Israel for accepting a ceasefire agreement, to the chagrin of some.
— 1 day ago with 8 notes
#israel-palestine conflict  #cra  #audits  #harper administration 
List of charities undergoing tax audits related to political activities →

This is a seriously weird thing. One of these listed charities, Environmental Defence Canada Ltd, seems to be explicitly identified as audited because “Ethical” Oil complained.

It’s almost like the Harper administration wants to do everything it can to minimize activism against its policies.

CCPA is a research-based organization; I’m not sure what activism they think is coming directly out of there, except that its entire mandate is to conceptualize alternatives to current policy initiatives.

Six of these are classified as ‘environmental’ charities. Let’s not all express shock at once.

— 1 day ago with 42 notes
#northern gateway  #never explicitly mentioned but let's be real that's obviously what it's about  #canada revenue agency  #audits 
Anonymous asked: Do you support Enbridge, Northern Gateway or the oil pipeline and tankers? It's important to me to understand how biased you are. I don't care what end of Canada you live in, or where you were born.


Answer:

Feel free to browse our Northern Gateway tag. We don’t hide our biases and our anti-pipeline stance is not disguised by any means. You may notice one article excerpt about the pipeline’s approval begins: “fuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUCK.” Does that answer your inquiry?

Ultimately, though, this blog isn’t about us. Biases matter, obviously; we mostly copypaste existing articles but we also clearly have a selection process. The thing is, though, that your understanding requires more work on your part than it does on ours. We’re not here to defend our personal biases; we don’t institute policy. We volunteer our time to reading the news and posting it to a tumblr. We are both biased and vocal, but justifying our biases goes beyond the scope.

I’m glad biases are important to you, but are you sure we’re the people you want to ask after?

— 2 days ago with 25 notes
#Anonymous  #northern gateway  #asks 
Anonymous asked: What are the overall stances of the major parties on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?


Answer:

The Conservatives are strongly pro-Israel. Please let me issue a warning for that video: the heavy implication — it’s overt in every sense except that they never refer to Palestinians by name — is that Palestinians, unilaterally, are terrorists. The Conservative rhetoric about Israel is uncompromising and overtly draws on WWII and the Holocaust as a source of its support for its views, which is really difficult to argue with.

The Conservatives are disinterested in compromise or agreement; their support of Israel is absolute to the point where that video discounts “going along to get along” as “quite simply weak and wrong”, which I personally read as a rejection of mediation attempts and borders a call to arms in defense of Israel. The Conservative voter base has been historically pro-Israel so it makes political sense to make this ad, but it’s also fucking disgusting to discount all Palestinians as “terrorists,” and it’s clear that these materials are more about securing voters and putting forth a certain image of Canadian support than it is about actually proportionately held views. I would think that if there are any Conservatives that are more ambiguous on their support of Israel, they are keeping their mouths shut.

The Liberals just reiterated recently they were pro-Israel, but Justin Trudeau is being viewed as not standing with Harper, or at least as comparatively silent on the issue, and I think it’s safe to say that not all Liberals do or would support Israel outright. I think it’s also safe to say that most Liberals probably do support Israel, though. Obviously they would be less inclined to send troops to support one side or the other; were they in power, I think the most we would expect was a statement in support of Israel and some expressions of regret about the conflict.Unlike the Conservatives, the Liberals call for negotiation, and would be far more inclined to send representatives in an endeavor to establish a ceasefire.

The NDP are currently experiencing some uncertainty and in-fighting on this topic. Thomas Mulcair himself has spoken strongly in support of Israel; in 2008 he said, “je suis un ardent supporter de toutes les instances et de toutes les circonstances d’Israël” (“I am an ardent supporter of Israel in all situations and in all circumstances”), but that view has been amended in some ways since he took leadership of the NDP. He personally has supported some of Harper’s views on the conflict, before he was leader of the party, due to this support of the state of Israel.

At the very least, the NDP explicitly calls for ceasefire negotiations and will at least acknowledge Israeli aggressions, even if he does list all Palestinian aggressions before getting to those committed to them. Some NDP MPs have obviously and openly disagreed with Mulcair’s views; NDP MP for Vancouver’s Hastings-Sunrise riding Libby Davies was condemned some years ago for her counter-Israel comments, and Svend Robinson, before he left politics, was overtly pro-Palestine (I’ve lived in Vancouver too long; there are likely others in other areas of the country).

I’m still unclear as to how much Mulcair’s views are the party’s official views, or whether they even constitute the views of the majority of NDP MPs. The NDP probably wants to continue being the catch-all party and not state an overt view in case it alienates any aspect of its support base, but Mulcair’s voice is loud and it’s hard to hear the chorus of all-inclusion over the sound of his views.

ETA: here is an official publication describing the NDP’s policies in this matter, which includes overt support for Palestinian statehood, among other things. It is however from 2011, before Mulcair took leadership of the party.

And, as we saw earlier today, Elizabeth May and the Green Party are condemning illegal Israeli expansion (the article has placed “illegal” in quotation marks to cover its ass but I think it’s safe to assume it actually is illegal). A criticism of one does not imply an endorsement of another, and their ambiguity is intentional: officially, the party calls for a bi-lateral ceasefire, advocates a Palestinian right to statehood, and likewise acknowledges an “intractable right” for the state of Israel to exist. This view isn’t uncertain; it’s clear in the sense that it supports everyone’s right to have the land they’re mutually advocating for. The Green Party seems to be advocating for an international conference of support intended to negotiate a peace agreement where both sides’ demands are addressed.

Hope this helps. -L

— 3 days ago with 42 notes
#replies  #Anonymous  #one mod wrote this without consultation from the others so any biases are mine and not necessarily the blog's  #israel-palestine conflict  #canadian politics 
Elizabeth May backs Green Party motion condemning 'illegal' Israeli settlements →

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has no plans to pull her endorsement of a motion that would see the party “fully condemn all illegal Israeli settlement expansions” as “undeniable obstacles to the Israel-Palestine peace-process,” despite escalating tensions in the region.

The proposed resolution is on the list of policy proposals slated to come up for debate during the party’s weekend convention in Fredericton.

"I support the existing resolution condemning illegal settlements," May told CBC News Friday.

In fact, she says she wouldn’t be surprised to see emergency resolutions related to both Gaza and the situation in Ukraine raised during Saturday’s opening session.

The motion, which was drafted by Young Greens co-chair Ghaith El-Mohtar, a former intern in May’s Ottawa office, is one of 54 draft policy resolutions on the agenda for convention attendees this weekend.

May is one of 14 listed co-sponsors.

According to an official policy statement on the Department of Foreign Affairs website, Canada believes the Israeli settlements “constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace,” but the government has in recent years avoided commenting on the settlements.

In a backgrounder posted on the Green Party website, El-Mohtar acknowledges the motion “will likely have political repercussions” for the party.

"It will almost certainly frustrate the party’s supporters who happen to support Israel’s settlement expansions," he explained.

"It may also provoke a reaction from Canada’s Israel lobby, which currently enjoys almost unconditional support for Israel’s actions as the political norm in Canada."

On the other hand, he pointed out that it could “reinforce [the party’s] image as a supporter of justice in the Middle East,” which, he predicted, “would likely win over former NDP supporters who oppose [NDP Leader] Thomas Mulcair’s unquestioning support of Israel.”

The NDP hasn’t been shy of reminding the government of Canada’s official position on settlements, but it is fair to say the party has become less critical of the Israeli government under Mulcair’s leadership.

Last month, a would-be NDP candidate claimed his position on Israeli-Palestinian issues were behind the party executive’s move to block him from running for the nomination in the new B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith. The NDP refused to confirm or deny his claim.

The government and the Conservative Party have been vocal about their staunch and unwavering support for Israel, while the Liberals this week expressed support for Israel in the current conflict with Hamas. […]

Even with May’s backing, the resolution isn’t guaranteed a slot during the main plenary sessions, which are set to take place on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

But the results of the pre-convention online vote — which, while not formally counted, are presented to attendees — indicate the position could garner widespread support within the rank-and-file membership if it does.

According to the numbers posted to the website, 83.6 per cent voted in favour of the resolution as drafted, 10.7 per cent were prepared to endorse it if it was “clarified” during the workshop session, and just 5.7 per cent were opposed.

The website doesn’t say how many members took part in the online survey. […]

A draft of the resolution is also available in the above link.

— 4 days ago with 19 notes
#elizabeth may  #green party of canada  #israel-palestine conflict 
Ontario Liberal budget promises new transit spending, pension plan →

The Ontario government is promising to build transit and roads, create a new provincial pension plan and dole out grants to business – all while balancing the budget in three years.

Backed by their newly won majority, the Liberals on Monday reintroduced the sprawling budget that caused last month’s election. The $130.4-billion plan – virtually identical to the one first tabled in May – is Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s bid to leave a major legacy in the province.

The fiscal blueprint provides $29-billion in new funds for transit, roads and bridges, plus tens of billions more for other capital costs, including schools. It allocates a billion for a new road or rail link to the Ring of Fire, a Northern Ontario mineral deposit that the government estimates will yield $60-billion worth of economic activity. A new $2.5-billion fund for businesses is meant to help lure corporations to the province. New social spending includes raises for personal-support workers and more cash for programs helping people with developmental disabilities.

The document’s centrepiece is the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, a pension system for people who do not already have one through their employer.

The plan adds more than a billion dollars to the deficit – which now stands at $12.5-billion – but Mr. Sousa promised to erase the red ink by fiscal year 2017-18. […]

Among other budget-balancing measures, Mr. Sousa is hiking income taxes on people making more than $150,000 a year, and jacking up levies on airplane fuel and tobacco. The budget also pledges to cut hundreds of millions in program spending, but there are few specifics on how this will be done.

— 4 days ago with 1 note
#ontario politics 
Federal plan to help mentally ill female inmates on hold →

A plan by Correctional Service Canada to move female inmates who are mentally ill from prisons across the country into a new, specially equipped unit in Ontario’s Brockville Mental Health Centre is on hold because governments have yet to finalize a funding agreement.

Last May, Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney held a large news conference in Brockville to announce the pilot project as part of the government’s response to the death of Ashley Smith. The 19-year old, who was mentally ill, choked to death in October 2007 in a Kitchener, Ont., federal institution after tying a piece of cloth around her neck. Guards stood outside her cell and watched — they had been ordered not to intervene.

Federal corrections officials have acknowledged that between 20 and 30 female inmates are in need of psychiatric care that can’t be provided in prison. Blaney said at the time the two beds in Brockville were a first step in addressing those needs.

“The death of Ashley Smith was a terrible tragedy. This is why we need to take action, so such a thing never happens again,” Blaney said.

So far, however, there has been little action. Corrections officials declined to be interviewed by CBC News, but said in a statement that negotiations were “underway” to finalize the terms of “a pilot project.”

“I think it’s a travesty,” said Kim Pate, head of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies. “It’s absolutely outrageous that an announcement can be made and apparently no action has been taken.”

Pate says she has received calls from parole officers and other prison staff who are frustrated that some of these women remain in segregation — some even in physical restraints — because corrections staff don’t know how to handle them.

“It’s disappointingly slow,” said Howard Sapers, Canada’s correctional investigator who acts as an ombudsman for prisons.

“There has been delay after delay,” he said, even though the needs of these inmates have been clearly identified for years. “We need to get on with it.”

Last fall, Sapers released a special report, titled “Risky Business,” that detailed the cases of eight women in federal custody who were desperately in need of mental-health services. The government has yet to respond to that report, even though that is required under the law.

Sapers says the minister has told him the response will come “in due course.”

“I’m very dissatisfied with that response. I think Canadians and parliamentarians deserve to see a response from the Correctional Service to the very serious issued that were raised,” Sapers said.

“It raises some serious accountability and transparency issues.”

The government has set up a steering committee to examine the issue and respond to the 104 recommendations arising from the inquest into Smith’s death. Blaney said that report will be completed by the end of this year. […]

Pate fears there may be more deaths before the government’s plan is in place. But she hopes ongoing attention and the “public outcry at what happened to Ashley Smith” will force the government to speed up its plans.

— 4 days ago with 4 notes
#suicide cw // /  #health care  #criminal justice system  #i mean 'justice'  #ha ha jk it's a perfectly functional system  #mental health 
Canada student loan process too complex: report | Toronto Star →

Student aid across Canada is delivered in “piecemeal, patchwork systems” from province to province that do little to guarantee equity among students, says a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The most complex system of all is in Ontario, where there are 94 possible outcomes involved in an undergraduate student’s application — nearly twice as many as any other province, said the report called “It’s Complicated; An Interprovincial Comparison of Student Financial Aid,” released Thursday.

“The murky realm of student financial aid remains largely a mystery to both students and their families,” said author Jordan MacLaren, a graduate student at Carleton University, who called it “complex to the point of being nonsensical.”

The federal government covers about 60 per cent of a student’s aid and the provinces cover about 40 per cent, but some provinces, including Ontario and Alberta, apply slightly different rules to who qualifies and how much they expect parents to kick in “and Ontario squeezes families a little tighter,” said MacLaren. She also criticized Queen’s Park for offering two “boutique” assistance programs — a tuition rebate and a grant for low-income students — that she said often claw back dollars from each other.

“It raises the question, are we making good use of public finds with all this duplication and inequality?” asked MacLaren. “Why not just lower tuition rather than create systems where a student can fall through the cracks?” […]

— 4 days ago with 18 notes
#student loans  #ontario politics 
Government won’t impose settlement in B.C. teachers’ dispute →

The B.C. government will not impose a settlement in the teachers’ dispute even if there’s no deal by September, the Finance Minister says.

Mike de Jong said that means classes won’t resume after Labour Day if a settlement hasn’t been reached.

“In those circumstances there will be ongoing disruption,” he said. “And I know who feels the pain then – it would be the families with students.”

Mr. de Jong said imposing a legislated contract hasn’t worked in the past, though the teachers’ union has failed to negotiate settlements, unlike other public-sector unions. “There is no rational reason or explanation for the fact that one organization has consistently been unable to accomplish what every other branch of the public sector has managed to do – not always easily and not always without some pretty acrimonious and tough negotiations.”

— 4 days ago with 4 notes
#isn't it neat how everything seems to be the teachers' fault  #bc politics 
blaaargh replied to your link “EI is not actually helping low-income Canadians | rabble.ca”
This is a terribly researched article. The barrier for most canadians is between 400 and 700 hours.

You’re absolutely right. Sections 6 and 7 of the Employment Insurance Act stipulate that, depending on the level of unemployment in the area, the number of hours required to back EI claims ranges from 420 to 700. Thanks for this correction.

— 5 days ago with 6 notes
#blaaargh  #replies  #employment insurance