Quebec family to be deported Sunday April 22 2012 | CBC
A family from Guinea that fears its daughters will be forced into marriages and possibly subjected to genital mutilation is to be deported Sunday after losing a last-minute court challenge.
The Federal Court held an emergency hearing by telephone Saturday to consider an application by Kankou Keita and her five children to stop their deportation back to their home country.
After a judge turned down their last-ditch appeal, Immigration Canada ordered Keita and her two youngest children, aged nine and 12, to leave Canada on Sunday. Her three other kids, aged 17, 18 and 20, must leave by Tuesday.
What CBC already knows, but won’t tell you April 21 2012 | Telegram
…this is a government that believes the end justifies any means — and in case you’re confused about that end, it’s simple. That end is keeping a Conservative majority in place long enough to change Canada to something that reflects the image of the 36 per cent or so of Canadians that actually back Harper et al.
It means killing off balanced coverage and salting the Senate, the judiciary and federal agencies, boards and commissions with as many like-minded right-wingers as possible. And it means bulldozing anyone who has the temerity to point that out.
The CBC, dependent as it is on federal dollars, is an easy target. And chances are, even if this latest round of cuts doesn’t kill the public broadcaster, it could well cripple it, either by having its fixed costs put a huge pinch on its ability and therefore its products, or else by effectively putting a chill on the work it does.
Are there things that drive me around the bend about the CBC? Of course there are — and I don’t really have a problem with pointing that out, because I also pay for part of the broadcaster with my tax dollars. Do I think that by making its journalists and anchors into “personalities,” it has weakened its value as an objective news source and has, perhaps by fiscal necessity, strayed into the land of the private radio morning personality talking heads? Yes. I’d like more news and less theatre.
Annette Desgagne: Former Employee For Group That Worked For Tories Files Sworn Affidavit On Polling Location Calls April 18 2012 | Huffington Post
A former employee of a call centre that did work for the Conservative party in the last election says she was instructed to tell people Elections Canada had changed their polling locations.
In a sworn affidavit, Annette Desgagne says she and other workers at Responsive Marketing Group’s call centre in Thunder Bay, Ont., became suspicious when people questioned them about the new polling locations.
I recall one woman in Winnipeg telling me that the address I just gave her was over an hour away, Desgagne says in the court document.
I tried to problem-solve this over the phone with her for a few minutes, but she was sure the new address was wrong. There was a phone number at the bottom of the screen in front of me that I was to give people if they had further questions.
The conclusions I have drawn from the analysis that follows are that:
(i) A live or recorded call advising an elector of a change to their
polling station location that is purported to have been made by
or on behalf of Elections Canada would be false because
Elections Canada does not advise electors by telephone of
polling station changes. Such a call would most likely be
intended to misdirect the elector and discourage the elector
from voting in order to suppress the vote for a particular party
or parties. This is particularly true where there are no relevant
polling station changes in that riding.
(ii) A live or recorded call advising an elector that Elections
Canada has made a last minute change to that elector’s polling- 3 -
station location is almost certain to have been intended to
similarly suppress the vote if the call is being made to a
supporter of another party.
(iii) A live or recorded call advising an elector that Elections
Canada has made a last minute change to that elector’s polling
station location is also most likely to be a voter suppression
call if the call fails to identity the political party making the
call, because a legitimate Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) call
would always contain messaging most persuasive to an elector
as to why he or she should vote, such as the name of the party,
the candidate, the main message(s) for the local or national
campaign, and/or the importance of the vote (closeness of the
(iv) Live or recorded calls that arrive very early in the morning or
late at night, or that are harassing in nature, are unlikely to be
legitimate and more likely to be made by a competing party
seeking to discourage support for the party being falsely
presented as having made the call.
(v) These conclusions are drawn from my opinion that the voter
suppression calls at issue in these proceedings are most likely
to have been organized by a person or persons with: i) access
to the central information system of a political party that
included contact information about non-supporters; ii) the
financial resources to contract voice and automated service
providers to make such calls; and iii) the authority to make
such decisions on behalf of the political party, which would be
an individual at, or very close to the top of the party’s
campaign decision-making structure.
CANADA: Fixing Elections Through Fraud: On the Need for a Royal Commission on Electoral Practices in Canada April 21 2012 | Global Research
The declining credibility of elections in many countries is creating a crisis of legitimacy severing bonds of trust that once linked citizens to the institutions that govern us. Without credible proof that those governing on our behalf really have earned our supportive consent in free and fair elections, one of humanity’s greatest innovations is rendered null and void.
Suicides up, road deaths down due to recession July 8 2011 | Vancouver Sun
Suicides rates rose sharply in Europe in 2007 to 2009 as the financial crisis drove unemployment up and squeezed incomes, with the worst hit countries like Greece and Ireland seeing the most dramatic increases, researchers said Thursday. But rates of road deaths in the region fell during the same period, possibly because higher numbers of jobless people led to lower car use, according to an initial analysis of data from 10 European Union countries.
A man shot and killed himself in the middle of Syntagma Square in Athens this morning, the location which has been the center of protests in Greece.
Dismayed with austerity measures, Dimitris Christoulas wrote in a suicide note that he could see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance, according to Athens News.
Greeks are suffering the consequences of harsh austerity measures demanded by core European countries led by Germany.
In Greece, the suicide rate among men increased more than 24 percent from 2007 to 2009, government statistics show. In Ireland during the same period, suicides among men rose more than 16 percent. In Italy, suicides motivated by economic difficulties have increased 52 percent, to 187 in 2010 — the most recent year for which statistics were available — from 123 in 2005.
Researchers say the trend has intensified this year as government austerity measures took hold and compounded the hardships for many. While suicides often have many complex causes, researchers have found that severe economic stress corresponds to higher suicide rates.
“Financial crisis puts the lives of ordinary people at risk, but much more dangerous is when there are radical cuts to social protection,” said David Stuckler, a sociologist at the University of Cambridge, who led a study published in The Lancet that found a sharp rise in suicides across Europe, particularly in seriously affected countries like Greece and Ireland from 2007 to 2009, years that coincided with the downturn.
Austerity can turn a crisis into an epidemic, Mr. Stuckler added.
Quebec court backs gun registry, sets stage for federal legal battle April 21 2012 | National Post
The province’s gun-control advocates were buoyed Friday by a strongly worded Quebec Superior Court judgment that recognized the recently abolished long-gun registry as an effective and economical crime prevention tool, laying the groundwork for a long legal battle with Ottawa.
The federal government reacted quickly and decisively, in what will no doubt lead to a Supreme Court showdown over the future of the divisive national registry. It said the ruling doesn’t diminish the government’s resolve to scrap it “once and for all.
Last week, Judge Marc-Andre Blanchard extended to June a temporary injunction that orders the Conservative government to continue registering long guns in Quebec and prevents it from destroying 15 years of data collected over the lifetime of the national registry.
CEO Compensation Rose Almost 40 Percent in 2010 and 2011 April 19 2012 | Slate
Everyone knows economic growth has been sluggish lately, with unemployment high and wages barely keeping up with inflation. But there is at least one class of worker—the chief executive—who’s doing quite well. This morning I attended a briefing at AFL-CIO headquarters, where Richard Trumka unveiled the latest version of the union movement’s incredibly useful CEO paywatch database. There’s lots of stuff in there, but the headline facts are just amazing. Among S&P 500 firms, CEO pay grew 22.8 percent on average in 2010 and then grew 13.9 percent in 2011. That’s a total nominal increase of 40 percent when you aggregate it. Obviously nothing else in wages, incomes, economic growth, stock market performance, or anything else has been nearly that robust
Two days before the NYPD’s eviction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, Brookfield Properties’ security was in direct communications and sharing information with the US Park Police in Washington DC, and communicating with other cities around the country, according to newly released internal documents from the National Park Service.
The documents were released late Friday to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) in response to the civil rights legal group’s FOIA demands to the NPS, FBI, CIA, DHS and other federal law enforcement agencies seeking information about the role of Federal agencies in the coordinated nationwide crackdown that led to the eviction of Occupy encampments in cities throughout the United States. The request was made also on behalf of author and filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee The PCJF is making the documents immediately available for review, and highlighting key initial findings .
On Li Changchun, CPC Chief of Propaganda
Controls what 1.3 billion Chinese see, hear, speak. Heads CCTV, China’s leading television network. Man behind “Great Firewall of China”: a directive mandating that all PCs sold in China include sophisticated software that filters out all “unhealthy information” (i.e. Dalai Lama, Tiananmen Square, Falun Gong) from world’s largest Internet user population, an estimated 420 million people. Blocked Facebook, Twitter; forced Google’s hand on censorship this year. Search giant’s ensuing pull-out cost $300 million in annual revenue. News of Google’s departure reverberated around the world–except in China, where it was censored.
Documents show Enbridge concerns about Tides Canada April 20 2012 | Postmedia
Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., threatened to join other industry participants in pulling out of a federal government process to develop a West Coast oceans management plan due to fears that Tides Canada, an organization that later would be labelled “radical” by the Harper government, would “hijack” the process, according to internal government documents.
Enbridge, proponent of the $5.5-billion Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia coast, warned that Tides’ role in funding anti-oilsands campaigns by environmental and First Nations organizations put into question the credibility of the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area initiative, according to a presentation company lobbyists gave to federal officials on Dec. 16, 2010.
PNCIMA is a federal initiative involving all levels of government, the commercial and sport fishing sectors, industry representatives including Enbridge, First Nations and other community groups to develop by the end of 2012 an integrated management plan to ensure a “healthy, safe and prosperous ocean area” from the Canada-Alaska coast to as far south as Campbell River on Vancouver Island, according to PNCIMA’s website.
Enbridge is an alternate member of PNCIMA.
Shrimp without eyes, crabs without claws and a fishing industry in decline – two years after the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, scientists and fishermen tell Al Jazeera that its impact is becoming clearer and things are getting worse.
When BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded two years ago it killed 11 people and released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Then, in an attempt to break up the oil, BP poured nearly two million gallons of dispersant in after it.
Gulf oil drillers are having their busiest year since 2010, but fishermen say their businesses are still suffering and scientists report seeing a disturbing amount of mutated sea life.
After the deadly explosion at BP’s Macondo well, 4.9 million barrels of light sweet crude flowed into the Gulf of Mexico and onto the US coastline.
The rich ecosystems of Louisiana’s marshlands have been damaged and are struggling to recover. And just one or two contaminated species can affect the entire food chain.
Scott Eustis, a coastal wetlands specialist, says: We have some evidence of deformed shrimp, which is another developmental impact. So that shrimp’s grandmother was exposed to oil while the mother was developing. But it’s the grandchild of the shrimp that was exposed [that] grows up with no eyes.
However, in a statement to Al Jazeera, BP says: Every seafood sample from reopened waters has undergone rigorous testing for oil and dispersants – and every sample from reopened waters has passed those tests.
Hundreds of thousands of people living along the US Gulf Coast have hung their economic lives on lawsuits against BP.
Fishermen, in particular, are seeing their way of life threatened with extinction – both from lack of an adequate legal settlement and collapsing fisheries.
Thousands of buildings owned by Ottawa are crumbling and need repair, database shows April 21 2012 | Toronto Star
Nearly 5,000 federal buildings and homes are in serious disrepair, a national database shows.
The RCMP headquarters in Ottawa, Parliament’s West Block and other office towers in the capital’s core are at “high risk of building system failure,” according to data from the Treasury Board, which monitors federal real estate.
In Ottawa, workers occupying federal offices told the Toronto Star of malfunctioning elevators and undrinkable water.
Also topping the list:
• More than 2,300 National Defence buildings, including housing for soldiers and their families on military bases in Ontario and beyond.
More than 370 buildings run by the Correctional Service of Canada, including prisons, treatment centres and staff training compounds.
More than 600 structures maintained by Parks Canada, including cottages, recreation halls and amphitheatres.
This enactment permits individuals who object on conscientious or religious grounds to paying taxes that might be used for military purposes to request that an amount equal to the military portion of income tax paid by the individual in a taxation year be credited to a special account established for non-military peace-building purposes.