Category Archives: Canada

CETA: Why Is Britain Pushing for an EU Trade Deal Before Parliament Can Vote On It?

Oscar Rickett reports for VICE News:

In an EU referendum campaign that has rarely been anything other than banal or absurd, the issue of British sovereignty has been the overriding theme. The Brexit campaign is founded on the idea that the European Union is a shady, labyrinthine organisation that would see every free-born Englishman bound by the chains of Brussels bureaucracy. David Cameron reckons this is bullshit, saying the idea of Britain having any more real power outside of the EU is an illusion. We wouldn’t have the power to stop British businesses being discriminated against, or to make EU countries share border information with us, for instance. Sometimes power can be a bit more complicated than making your own laws in a world where there are other countries also making laws that might affect you.

But how much does Cameron actually care about sovereignty? Leaked documents shown to VICE by Global Justice Now suggest not as much as he’d like you to think.

On the 13th of May, the EU Foreign Affairs / Trade-Council met in Brussels to discuss, among other things, the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). CETA is the cousin of the more famous TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), a free trade deal between the US and the EU. CETA is a deal with Canada that many critics believe is a corporate power grab designed to strip away the regulations that protect us from badly made or dangerous products.

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CETA: Think TTIP is a Threat to Democracy? There’s Another Trade Deal That’s Already Signed

Nick Dearden writes for The Guardian:

As the great powers gathered in Japan for last week’s G7 summit, a series of massive trade deals were under attack from all sides. And yet, fromDonald Trump to Jeremy Corbyn, there is a recognition that “trade” has become little more than a synonym for big business to take ever more control of society.

The US-Europe deal TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) is the best known of these so-called “new generation” trade deals and has inspired a movement. More than 3 million Europeans have signed Europe’s biggest petition to oppose TTIP, while 250,000 Germans took to the streets of Berlin last autumn to try to bring this deal down. A new opinion poll shows only 18% of Americans and 17% of Germans support TTIP, down from 53% and 55% just two years ago.

But TTIP is not alone. Its smaller sister deal between the EU and Canada is called Ceta (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). Ceta is just as dangerous as TTIP; indeed it’s in the vanguard of TTIP-style deals, because it’s already been signed by the European commission and the Canadian government. It now awaits ratification over the next 12 months.

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Why police don’t pull guns in many countries

Sara Miller Llana reports for Christian Science Monitor:

The officer, alert but cautious, pounds on the suspect’s door. “Polizei!” he says forcefully, in his native German. A man thrusts open the door and walks out. His hands are at his side, but the policeman notices a gun tucked into the man’s belt. He pulls out his own firearm in response. He then moves briskly backward, coaxing the man to place his weapon on the ground.

The cop is commended for his actions.

The next officer up bangs on the same door. “Polizei!,” he says. This time the person walks out carrying a baton, not a gun. So the cop doesn’t pull out his pistol. He brandishes instead a can of pepper spray – a reflex response that also garners praise afterward.

The scene here in what looks like an outdoor movie set seems as if it would be basic enough training at almost any police academy in the world. But today’s course for the new recruits in the Ruhr Valley in western Germany represents just one small part of an educational process that will last for three years, during which the officers will be drilled in alternatives to pulling a trigger. Today’s shooting training is subtitled, tellingly, “Don’t shoot.” And it’s far from the only lesson they’ll receive in restraint. Each recruit earns a bachelor’s degree as part of basic police training – a requisite before getting a badge and a beat.

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Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters have become mouthpieces of the elite

George Monbiot writes for The Guardian:

When people say they have no politics, it means that their politics aligns with the status quo. None of us are unbiased, none removed from the question of power. We are social creatures who absorb the outlook and opinions of those with whom we associate, and unconciously echo them. Objectivity is impossible.

The illusion of neutrality is one of the reasons for the rotten state of journalism, as those who might have been expected to hold power to account drift thoughtlessly into its arms. But until I came across the scandal currently erupting in Canada, I hadn’t understood just how quickly standards are falling.

In 2013 reporters at CBC, Canada’s equivalent of the BBC, broke a major story. They discovered that RBC – Royal Bank of Canada – had done something cruel and unusual even by banking standards. It was obliging junior staff to train a group of temporary foreign workers, who would then be given the staff’s jobs. Just after the first report was aired, according to the website Canadaland, something odd happened: journalists preparing to expand on the investigation were summoned to a conference call with Amanda Lang, CBC’s senior business correspondent and a star presenter. The reporters she spoke to say she repeatedly attempted to scuttle the story, dismissing it as trivial and dull.

They were astonished. But not half as astonished as when they discovered the following, unpublished facts.

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From Paris to Boston, Terrorists Were Already Known to Authorities

map-3Ryan Gallagher reports for The Intercept:

Whenever a terrorist attack occurs, it never takes long for politicians to begin calling for more surveillance powers. The horrendous attacks in Paris last week, which left more than 120 people dead, are no exception to this rule. In recent days, officials in the United Kingdom and the United States have been among those arguing that more surveillance of Internet communications is necessary to prevent further atrocities.

The case for expanded surveillance of communications, however, is complicated by an analysis of recent terrorist attacks. The Intercept has reviewed 10 high-profile jihadi attacks carried out in Western countries between 2013 and 2015 (see below), and in each case some or all of the perpetrators were already known to the authorities before they executed their plot. In other words, most of the terrorists involved were not ghost operatives who sprang from nowhere to commit their crimes; they were already viewed as a potential threat, yet were not subjected to sufficient scrutiny by authorities under existing counterterrorism powers. Some of those involved in last week’s Paris massacre, for instance, were already known to authorities; at least three of the men appear to have been flagged at different times as having been radicalized, but warning signs were ignored.

In the aftermath of a terrorist atrocity, government officials often seem to talk about surveillance as if it were some sort of panacea, a silver bullet. But what they always fail to explain is how, even with mass surveillance systems already in place in countries like France, the United States, and the United Kingdom, attacks still happen. In reality, it is only possible to watch some of the people some of the time, not all of the people all of the time. Even if you had every single person in the world under constant electronic surveillance, you would still need a human being to analyze the data and assess any threats in a timely fashion. And human resources are limited and fallible.

There is no doubt that we live in a dangerous world and that intelligence agencies and the police have a difficult job to do, particularly in the current geopolitical environment. They know about hundreds or thousands of individuals who sympathize with terrorist groups, any one of whom may be plotting an attack, yet they do not appear to have the means to monitor each of these people closely over sustained periods of time. If any lesson can be learned from studying the perpetrators of recent attacks, it is that there needs to be a greater investment in conducting targeted surveillance of known terror suspects and a move away from the constant knee-jerk expansion of dragnet surveillance, which has simply not proven itself to be effective, regardless of the debate about whether it is legal or ethical in the first place.

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Frozen Assets: Inside the Spy War for Control of the Arctic

James Bamford writes for Foreign Policy:

Arctic Circle Map[…] Worth an estimated $17.2 trillion, an amount roughly equivalent to the entire U.S. economy, these resources have been trapped for eons under a dome of ice and snow. But now, with the Arctic warming faster than anywhere else on the planet, that dome is getting smaller and smaller. According to scientists at the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center, about 65 percent of the ice layer above the Lomonosov Ridge melted between 1975 and 2012. In layman’s terms, says Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, this means one thing: The ice cap is in a “death spiral.”

For the countries that border the Arctic Ocean—
Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway, and Denmark (through its territory of Greenland)—an accessible ocean means new opportunities. And for the states that have their sights set on the Lomonosov Ridge—possibly all five Arctic Ocean neighbors but the United States—an open ocean means access to much of the North Pole’s largesse. First, though, they must prove to the United Nations that the access is rightfully theirs. Because that process could take years, if not decades, these countries could clash in the meantime, especially as they quietly send in soldiers, spies, and scientists to collect information on one of the planet’s most hostile pieces of real estate.

While the world’s attention today is focused largely on the Middle East and other obvious trouble spots, few people seem to be monitoring what’s happening in the Arctic. Over the past few years, in fact, the Arctic Ocean countries have been busy building up their espionage armories with imaging satellites, reconnaissance drones, eavesdropping bases, spy planes, and stealthy subs. Denmark and Canada have described a clear uptick in Arctic spies operating on their territories, with Canada reporting levels comparable to those at the height of the Cold War. As of October, NATO had recorded a threefold jump in 2014 over the previous year in the number of Russian spy aircraft it had intercepted in the region. Meanwhile, the United States is sending satellites over the icy region about every 30 minutes, averaging more than 17,000 passes every year, and is developing a new generation of unmanned intelligence sensors to monitor everything above, on, and below the ice and water.

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Canada poised to pass anti-terror legislation despite widespread outrage

John Barber reports for The Guardian:

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen HarperWidespread protest and souring public opinion has failed to prevent Canada’s ruling Conservative Party from pushing forward with sweeping anti-terror legislation which a battery of legal scholars, civil liberties groups, opposition politicians and pundits of every persuasion say will replace the country’s healthy democracy with a creeping police state.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is looking forward to an easy victory on Tuesday when the House of Commons votes in its final debate on the bill, known as C-51. But lingering public anger over the legislation suggests that his success in dividing his parliamentary opposition may well work against him when Canadians go to the polls for a national election this fall.

No legislation in memory has united such a diverse array of prominent opponents as the proposed legislation, which the Globe and Mail newspaper denounced as a a plan to create a “secret police force”.

The campaign to stop Bill C-51 grew to include virtually every civil-rights group, law professor, retired judge, author, editorialist and public intellectual in Canada.’

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The Orwellian Re-Branding of “Mass Surveillance” as Merely “Bulk Collection”

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

‘Just as the Bush administration and the U.S. media re-labelled “torture” with the Orwellian euphemism “enhanced interrogation techniques” to make it more palatable, the governments and media of the Five Eyes surveillance alliance are now attempting to re-brand “mass surveillance” as “bulk collection” in order to make it less menacing (and less illegal). In the past several weeks, this is the clearly coordinated theme that has arisen in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as the last defense against the Snowden revelations, as those governments seek to further enhance their surveillance and detention powers under the guise of terrorism.

This manipulative language distortion can be seen perfectly in yesterday’s white-washing report of GCHQ mass surveillance from the servile rubber-stamp calling itself “The Intelligence and Security Committee of the UK Parliament (ISC)”(see this great Guardian Editorial this morning on what a “slumbering” joke that “oversight” body is). As Committee Member MP Hazel Blears explained yesterday (photo above), the Parliamentary Committee officially invoked this euphemism to justify the collection of billions of electronic communications events every day.

The Committee actually acknowledged for the first time (which Snowden documents log ago proved) that GCHQ maintains what it calls “Bulk Personal Datasets” that contain “millions of records,” and even said about pro-privacy witnesses who testified before it: “we recognise their concerns as to the intrusive nature of bulk collection.” That is the very definition of “mass surveillance,” yet the Committee simply re-labelled it “bulk collection,” purported to distinguish it from “mass surveillance,” and thus insist that it was all perfectly legal.’

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Canada Unveils New Anti-Terrorism Bill That Moves for ‘Unprecedented Expansion of Powers’

Andrea Germanos reports for Common Dreams:

Canada introduced on Friday new anti-terrorism legislation critics say gives spy agencies sweeping powers that threaten the public’s civil liberties. The legislation is the Anti-terrorism Act 2015, which Ottawa Citizen reporter Ian MacLeod described as “the most dramatic package of new laws since the Anti-terrorism Act of 2001.”

Among the provisions of the legislation are that it would expand the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)’s powers to “disrupt terrorism offenses and terrorist activity;” make it easier for law enforcement agencies to carry out preventive detentions, and allow them for longer time, make it easier to federal agencies to share information, and give law enforcement agencies power “to disrupt terrorism offenses and terrorist activity, according to a government fact sheet.

Defending the measures in Richmond Hill, Ontario on Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, “Over the last few years a great evil has been descending over our world.”‘

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Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters have become mouthpieces of the elite

George Monbiot writes for The Guardian:

‘When people say they have no politics, it means that their politics aligns with the status quo. None of us are unbiased, none removed from the question of power. We are social creatures who absorb the outlook and opinions of those with whom we associate, and unconciously echo them. Objectivity is impossible.

The illusion of neutrality is one of the reasons for the rotten state of journalism, as those who might have been expected to hold power to account drift thoughtlessly into its arms. But until I came across the scandal currently erupting in Canada, I hadn’t understood just how quickly standards are falling.’

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Is the Bilderberg Group Picking Our Politicians?

Andrew Gavin Marshall writes:

clinton-thatcher‘When it comes to the secretive meetings of the world’s financial, corporate, political and technocratic elites at the annual Bilderberg conferences, a common criticism from conspiracy theorists and others is that the group pre-selects major politicians – choosing presidents and prime ministers in private before populations have a chance to vote themselves.

Bilderberg participants contest this framing, suggesting that Bilderberg participants simply invite up-and-coming politicians who appear to have a bright future ahead of them.

The truth is that it’s a bit of both. Bilderberg invites politicians who appear to have an influential future in their respective nations, but their attendance at the meetings (depending on their ability to impress Bilderberg members and participants) can itself have a very significant influence on their political futures. This is because the industrialists, bankers and media moguls in attendance hold significant individual and collective power over the political processes across much of the Western world.’

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What’s Behind the Defeat of the Left in Toronto? Interview with Leo Panitch

Editor’s Note: Professor Leo Panitch is a distinguished research professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto, Canada and editor of the Socialist Register. He is also co-author of ‘The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire‘.

Ottawa Killings: Who Wins?

Police-State Rhetoric and the Ottawa Attack

Murray Dobbin writes for CounterPunch:

‘[…] While not exclusively the fault of the current prime minister, Conservative Stephen Harper, many will put the largest part of the blame on his efforts to transform Canada from a moderate, middle power with a history of virtually inventing UN peacekeeping, into a shrill, warmongering nation ever ready to rattle its (insignificant) sabre at any opportunity. It’s not who we feel we are, but it’s what have become in the world

We may never know whether this attack has anything to do with ISIS and Canada’s decision to join the bombing campaign (six fighter bombers for six months) and send military advisors to Iraq. But just last week another Islamist convert ran over and killed a Canadian soldier in Montreal (injuring a second soldier) – and he did so explicitly as revenge for Canada’s role in fighting ISIS. The demonic nature of Islamist terror is that the now-dead terrorists didn’t have to have any actual connection with ISIS. All they had to do was “believe,” listen to and read the ISIS propaganda and take matters into his own hands. These are sleeper agents that the mother ship doesn’t even know exist.

Stephen Harper is a man with undeniable psychopathic tendencies and as such he is very likely the biggest risk-taker in Canadian political history.  This plays itself out at every level and his recklessness, while it too often pays off, can also have severe blow-back. A few commentators have pointed to Harper’s recklessness and rhetorically asked just why no one in his government seemed to take seriously the ISIS threat to take the fight to Canada. According to a report in the National Post, on September 21st, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani “…urged ISIS supporters to kill Canadians, Americans, Australians, French and other Europeans…Rely upon Allah …Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict.”’

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After Shooting, Fear and Anxiety Take Over Ottawa

Ian Austen and Jeff Z. Klein report for The New York Times:

‘The normally bustling streets near Canada’s Parliament were transformed on Wednesday as thousands of government workers were kept inside their buildings for hours while police and military officers in combat gear swept the area, fearful that shootings that morning had been part of a larger plot.

Anxious workers pressed their faces against the windows of nearby offices, trying to figure out what had happened in a city so peaceful that pedestrians can usually walk unimpeded into the Parliament building before being checked by guards.

“I never thought this would happen,” said one woman, who refused to give her name as she hurried along a main street after the police allowed people in her building to evacuate the area in the afternoon. “This is Canada.”’

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Blowback: Attack on Canadian Parliament Leaves Ottawa Stunned

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

‘[…] Ottawa, a city of almost 900,000 people, has seen only five murders all year, and terror attacks in Canada are virtually unheard of. Yet Canada’s foreign policy, and particularly its role in NATO’s overseas operations have meant resentment was building, and this sort of blowback was only a matter of time.

There doesn’t seem to be any real dispute that the attack was ideological in nature, and Canadian Premier Stephen Harper says the shooter, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was known to Canadian authorities already, and designated a “high-risk traveler” who could not travel abroad.

That must inevitably draw comparison to Monday’s hit-and-run attack in Quebec by Martin Couture-Rouleau, who ran over a pair of Canadian soldiers and sped off. He was also being tracked as a potentially “radicalized” citizen of Canada.

The incidents both come as Canada’s parliament is moving forward with more draconian anti-terror laws, aiming to dramatically increase the power of security agencies.

Unfortunately for Canadians, the very same policies that are triggering this blowback are likely to only get worse in the wake of the attacks, as officials are already talking up granting even more power to the CSIS spy agency.’

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White House: No change in terror threat level after Canada shooting

Brian Hughes reports for the Washington Examiner:

‘White House officials said that President Obama had been briefed on the shooting earlier Wednesday near Canada’s Parliament building but were “not aware” of additional security measures implemented in the U.S. following the deadly attack.

A man opened fire at Ottawa’s National War Memorial Wednesday morning, authorities said, killing at least one soldier. Police are investigating shootings at the Parliament building, war memorial and a nearby shopping center but have not said whether multiple gunmen are involved.’

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Canada’s Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame

‘The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation today gave a master class in calm, credible breaking news reporting.

Anchored by the unflappable Peter Mansbridge, news of the shootings in Ottawa unfolded live on the CBC much like they do here in the United States: lots of sketchy details, conflicting reports, unreliable witnesses, and a thick fog of confusion. All of that was familiar. What was less familiar was how Mansbridge and his team managed that confusion, conveying a concise and fact-based version of fast-moving events to viewers across Canada and the world.

This live bit of level-headed reporting by Mansbridge, from around 11:10am Wednesday, should be given to journalism students around the country. It basically contains everything you need to know about why CBC did its audience proud.’

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Canada, At War For 13 Years, Shocked That ‘A Terrorist’ Attacked Its Soldiers

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

In Quebec on Monday, two Canadian soldiers were hit by a car driven by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a 25-year-old Canadian who, as The Globe and Mail reported, “converted to Islam recently and called himself Ahmad Rouleau.” One of the soldiers died, as did Couture-Rouleau when he was shot by police upon apprehension after allegedly brandishing a large knife. Police speculated that the incident was deliberate, alleging the driver waited for two hours before hitting the soldiers, one of whom was wearing a uniform. The incident took place in the parking lot of a shopping mall 30 miles southeast of Montreal, “a few kilometres from the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, the military academy operated by the Department of National Defence.”

The right-wing Canadian government wasted no time in seizing on the incident to promote its fear-mongering agenda over terrorism, which includes pending legislation to vest its intelligence agency, CSIS, with more spying and secrecy powers in the name of fighting ISIS. A government spokesperson asserted “clear indications” that the driver “had become radicalized.”’

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Militarized policing in Canada under scrutiny following Ferguson protests

Tyler Dawson reports for the Edmonton Journal:

‘Heavily armed and armoured American police responding to protests in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, has punted to the national — and international — stage questions about police tactics and the militarization of police forces. Here in Canada, some observers are warning that there are lessons to be learned from the American experience.

“If you don’t keep something like this in check, it’s like a cancer, it will spread, it will metastasize into the justice system,” said Darryl Davies, a professor of criminology at Carleton University in Ottawa. “We can learn from what’s happening in the U.S. by making sure it does not happen on the same level.”

Police militarization, explained by journalist Radley Balko, who wrote a book on the subject, encompasses everything from swapping blue shirts for black uniforms, to police using military-grade equipment and the development of a military mindset among officers. While critics of police see the ramped-up matériel as overkill, police say it’s necessary for fighting crime.’

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NAFTA Is 20 Years Old

Editor’s Note: Regional and global trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP currently being negotiated are not designed to benefit the populations they affect, they are designed to benefit the biggest corporations. Multinational corporations will move to countries where they can exploit cheap labour, don’t have to fund health care and have less environmental controls in order to enhance their bottom line. They don’t care about the people they leave behind, nor do they care about the people they exploit for low wages in the countries they move to. 

Michael Snyder writes for The Economic Collapse:

NAFTA-Logo-300x300‘Back in the early 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement was one of the hottest political issues in the country.  When he was running for president in 1992, Bill Clinton promised that NAFTA would result in an increase in the number of high quality jobs for Americans that it would reduce illegal immigration.  Ross Perot warned that just the opposite would happen.  He warned that if NAFTA was implemented there would be a “giant sucking sound” as thousands of businesses and millions of jobs left this country.  Most Americans chose to believe Bill Clinton.  Well, it is 20 years later and it turns out that Perot was right and Clinton was dead wrong.  But now history is repeating itself, and most Americans don’t even realize that it is happening.  As you will read about at the end of this article, Barack Obama has been negotiating a secret trade treaty that is being called “NAFTA on steroids”, and if Congress adopts it we could lose millions more good paying jobs.

It amazes me how the American people can fall for the same lies over and over again.  The lies that serial liar Barack Obama is telling about “free trade” and the globalization of the economy are the same lies that Bill Clinton was telling back in the early 1990s.  The following is an excerpt from a recent interview with Paul Craig Roberts

I remember in the 90′s when former Presidential candidate Ross Perot emphatically stated that NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) would create a giant “sucking sound” of jobs being extracted away from the U.S.  He did not win the election, and NAFTA was instituted on Jan. 1, 1994. Now, 20 years later, we see the result of all the jobs that have been “sucked away” to other countries.

According to an article by the Economic Policy Institute on 1/3/14:

“Clinton and his collaborators promised that the deal would bring “good-paying American jobs,” a rising trade surplus with Mexico, and a dramatic reduction in illegal immigration. Considering that thousands of kids are pouring over the border as we speak, well, how’d that work out for us?

Many Americans like to remember Bill Clinton as a “great president” for some reason.  Well, it turns out that he was completely and totally wrong about NAFTA.’

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Canadian tax agency says ‘preventing poverty’ not allowed as goal for charity

The Toronto Star reports:

‘The Canada Revenue Agency has told a well-known charity that it can no longer try to prevent poverty around the world, it can only alleviate poverty — because preventing poverty might benefit people who are not already poor.

The bizarre bureaucratic brawl over a mission statement is yet more evidence of deteriorating relations between the Harper government and some parts of Canada’s charitable sector.’

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2 out of 3 women in Canadian prisons sedated with psychotropic drugs

New Mayor Rob Ford crack smoking video is only a few days old

Canadian Military to Review Widespread Sex Assaults

Charmaine Noronha reports for AP:

Canada’s top military commander has ordered an internal review of programs and policies to combat sexual violence after an investigation by two magazines uncovered allegations of rampant sexual violence within the armed forces. Gen. Tom Lawson, Canada’s chief of defense staff, described the allegations in the latest edition of Maclean’s magazine as “disturbing.”

The year-long investigation, conducted by Maclean’s and its French-language sister publication L’Actualite, also suggests that some assaults may have been covered up. The report in Maclean’s published this week contains interviews with alleged victims, and uses access-to-information records to track military police investigations over a decade.

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Canada Shifts to Right Under Harper, Mimicking the United States: Interview with Leo Panitch and Yves Engler

Senior Officer: Wounded soldiers told to sign form agreeing not to criticize military for their own good

David Pugliese and Patrick Smith report for the National Post:

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickThe military officer in charge of providing help for injured soldiers says they are being asked for their own good to sign a form governing what they can and can’t say in public. In September, the Ottawa Citizen reported that the Canadian Forces were requiring physically and mentally wounded soldiers to sign a form agreeing they won’t criticize senior officers on social media outlets or discourage others in uniform with their comments on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

But Col. Gerry Blais, director of casualty support management and the Joint Personnel Support Unit, told MPs at the Commons defence committee that the form was for the benefit of the wounded. “The form is there more for the protection of the individuals because unfortunately there are occasions where people, especially when they are suffering from mental health issues, will make comments or become involved in discussions that, later on in the full light of day, they would probably prefer that they had not been involved,” he explained Tuesday.

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Canadian Man Apprehended by Mental Health Authorities After Spending a Few Days Giving Away Money

Ed Krayewski reports for Reason:

in canada govt pays it forward on youRichard Wright spent last week giving away silver coins and CA$50 and CA$100 bills across Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was reportedly stopped by police for a “wellness check” shortly after driving back to his hometown, Charlottetown, Prince Edward’s Island, about 200 miles away. According to The National Post:

“They think he is sick and has mental issues … but I know he does not,” wrote Mr. Wright’s teenaged daughter, Chelsey, in a Sunday night Facebook post.

Since Thursday, she wrote, her father has been held in the psychiatric ward of Charlottetown’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, all because “he had some extra money so he decided to share it around with some homeless and needy people in Halifax and Dartmouth.”

And strangely, Mr. Wright was hospitalized in P.E.I. only hours after his mental condition had been given a pass by Halifax psychiatrists.

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CBC News Documentary: The Surveillance State

Big Oil’s Chokehold on Canadian Democracy: How Far Will Harper Go to Neutralize Opposition to Tar Sands?

Murray Dobbin writes for CounterPunch:

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.

– Benito Mussolini

With the announcement by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) of formal complaints against the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) for illegally spying on environmental groups opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, should we ask the question: are we there yet? Well, no.

But it is instructive to reflect once in a while on Mussolini’s musings about the true character of fascism. The word itself has become almost unusable given that for years it has been applied to the guy who cut you off in traffic or your neighbour who refuses to silence his dog. And, absent goose-stepping soldiers and brown-shirts breaking down your door in the middle of the night, people simply don’t think much about fascism. The last infamous Western fascist was the murderous Augusto Pinochet (best buddy of Margaret Thatcher’s).

But while a fascist system may be a long way off, fascist attitudes and behaviour are clearly not. And if we shy away from using the term to describe genuinely alarming and unprecedented trends in that direction then we effectively declare that any new anti-democratic measure, any incremental assault on our rights, is still somehow within the bounds of normality. Until it isn’t, and then it’s too late.

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