Northern Kabuki

by matttbastard

Sure, it’s obviously an opportunistic desperation ploy on the part of an increasingly irrelevant party. But damn if Duceppe doesn’t have my vote – were it not for the niggling matter of separatism, the lack of available candidates west of Hull, and the fact that, like Stephane Dion (who ‘doesn’t like to make threats‘) he’s totally full of shit with his half-assed MOR ‘wait till 2009’ cop-out. Who wants to bet that, come September, Duceppe and Dion, eyes firmly fixed on the tea leaves, quietly back down from their courageously vague insinuations?

Quoth the Catnip:

Look, Stephane – you and Gilles need to get together, stop the egotistical bullshit, and come up with a plan to get Canadian troops out of there. Period. The sooner they come home, the better. If you guys actually had any cajones, you’d start calling for a troop withdrawal now – not in 2009. How many more soldiers will have to die while you wait this out? That’s the bottom line.

Sounds to me like LC has been spending too much time listening to those dirty fucking hippies in the NDP. Pshhh – as if we should expect Serious™ elected officials to actually entertain wacky proposals like immediate withdrawal. Why, what would the neighbours say?

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PSA: Justice for Osvaldo Lorenzo

by matttbastard

Via Eric Lee @ LabourStart

Solidarity Campaign Panama: Worker shot dead and two seriously wounded in the conflict involving Norberto Odebrecht. ACT NOW!

On 14 August 2007, the confrontations between representatives of Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Construcción Perforaciones de Panamá (SINDICOPP, company union) and members of SUNTRACS in Panama led to the murder of SUNTRACS’ activist Osvaldo Lorenzo in Chilibre. Two other workers, Carlos Colindres and José Castillo, were seriously wounded. The company involved is Norberto Odebrecht which is building the highway Panama-Colón.

According to the latest information, Panama’s Fourth Superior Prosecutor has charged two workers of the Odebrecht construction company. For some time now, the company union has been preventing workers from becoming members of SUNTRACS.

The BWI has extended its solidarity to the union and has launched an online campaign. In a protest message to the Labour Minister of Panama, BWI General Secretary requests a thorough investigation into the facts put forward by SUNTRACS. For several years now, the BWI and its affiliates have been accusing the company of violating workers’ rights in various countries.

BWI has a protest message here (in Spanish) requesting a ‘thorough investigation’ of this incident that can be signed and forwarded to Reynaldo Rivera, Labour Minister of Panama.

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Deliberate Provocation @ Montebello? (Updated)

by matttbastard

Oh, those violent anti-SPP protesters. *cluck cluck, tut tut, etc*

Update: File under ‘teh shocking!’ CBC News: “Quebec provincial police admitted Thursday that three of their officers disguised themselves as demonstrators during the protest at the North American leaders summit in Montebello, Que.

Related: Naomi Klein has more on the ‘security state as infotainment‘:

Yes, it’s true: like contestants on a reality TV show, protesters at the SPP meeting were invited to vent into video cameras, their rants to be beamed to “protest-trons” inside the summit enclave.


The spokesperson for Prime Minister Harper explained that although protesters were herded into empty fields, the video link meant that their right to political speech was protected. “Under the law, they need to be seen and heard, and they will be.”

It is an argument with sweeping implications. If videotaping activists meets the legal requirement that dissenting citizens have the right to be seen and heard, what else might fit the bill? How about all the other security cameras that patrolled the summit – the ones filming demonstrators as they got on and off buses and peacefully walked down the street? What about the mobile phone calls that were intercepted, the meetings that were infiltrated, the emails that were read? According to the new rules set out in Montebello, all these actions may soon be recast not as infringements on civil liberties but the opposite: proof of our leaders’ commitment to direct, unmediated consultation. Elections are a crude tool for taking the public temperature – these methods allow constant, exact monitoring of our beliefs. Think of surveillance as the new participatory democracy; of wiretapping as the political equivalent of MTV’s Total Request Live.

Update 08/24: Harper might want to put a muzzle on his yappy Public Safety Minister before Stockboy completely buries what little credibility he has left. Greg Weston asked a pertinent question several months ago that bears repeating: “Why is Stockwell Day still in charge of the Mounties?”

More from Adam Radwonksi on the apparent inability of the Surete du Quebec (and Stockwell Day) to get that newfangled YouTube thingy to work (see video above – again).

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