A Sincere Round Of Applause

by matttbastard

Haven’t had a change to peruse ProgBlogs yet, nor give much thought to what the shut out means for Stephane Dion and the Grits. Nor have I considered the effect the results may have on Harper’s Oct 16th throne speech. All that can wait till tomorrow morning.

For the moment, I’m content to savour the following:

Thomas Mulcair, a newcomer to the NDP, has won the Montreal riding of Outremont, ahead of star Liberal candidate Jocelyn Coulon.


The NDP made Quebec history in winning a seat in Outremont, only the second time a New Democrat has ever been elected in la belle province and the second time a non-Liberal will hold the riding since 1935.

NDP Leader Jack Layton said it was a day to write a new page in Canadian politics.

“Today, Quebec has chosen a new direction, and it has started right here in Outremont. You have participated in making history and changing the course of politics in Quebec, and in Canada.”

Congratulations, Dippers. Y’all worked your asses off to earn this historic, well-deserved victory.

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by matttbastard

I’ve decided to post my foreign/US affairs-type pieces exclusively @ Comments From Left Field, and utilize bastard.logic for teh Canadiana, feminista, identity-politicking, reproductive freedomz and overall far-left social justice-ish stuff (to say nothing of my fetch-forth-the-fainting-couch profane, oh-so-not-ready-for-prime-time rants). So, if you’re looking to find my latest sarcastic diatribes serious musings on the occupation in Iraq, the road to regime change in Iran, the fecklessness of the Bush admin, etc, check out CFLF. First exclusive post is here.

Will make sure to put up pointers and teasers here, just to let you know when I’m gettin’ my bastard on all geopolitical stylez (and, of course, I’ll still crosspost when and where I feel there is convergence, eg Afghanistan).

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About (Saving) Face!

by matttbastard

Some more news that I missed fully getting into last week due to impudent meatworld impositions – remember that document that was exposed last Thursday? The one showing that the Tories had undertaken a secret (then, after having their plans exposed, not-so-secret) consultation process to examine “how law enforcement and national security agencies [could] gain lawful access to [telephone and internet] customers’ information”, all without the inconvenience of having to obtain a pesky warrant?

Well, apparently it was all just a big ol’ misunderstanding:

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced late [Thursday] that the federal government will not force Internet service providers to hand over customers’ personal information to police without a warrant — a move that will surprise critics who have been expressing alarm this week that the Harper government appeared poised to intrude on the civil liberties of Canadians.

“We have not and we will not be proposing legislation to grant police the power to get information from Internet companies without a warrant. That’s never been a proposal,” Mr. Day said. “It may make some investigations more difficult, but our expectation is rights to our privacy are such that we do not plan, nor will we have in place, something that would allow the police to get that information.”


Mr. Day said the consultation document was circulated without his knowledge or consent and emphasized that all groups, regardless of their perspective, should have a chance to voice their opinions on the contentious issue.

“That document never would have gone out if I had seen it,” Mr. Day said. “This particular document just somehow went out without my approval.”

Don’tcha just hate it when that happens? Apparently the buck stops somewhere else in the Public Safety office. Maybe the same place where they hide the YouTube manual.

As for this–“[w]e have not and we will not be proposing legislation to grant police the power to get information from Internet companies without a warrant”–Michael Geist is not buying the lukewarm CYA routine:

“The consultation itself seemed to indicate there was only one framework under consideration — and that was disclosure without court oversight,”

Hey, c’mon, cut Stockboy some slack. Our erstwhile Public Safety Minister claimed to have never even seen the document prior to its release. Dude’s merely in charge of a major cabinet portfolio; he’s not Uri fucking Geller.

Regardless, as Geist pointed out on his blog this past Friday, this unexpected about-face has created an ironic political situation:

The politics of this move are particularly interesting as it leaves the Conservatives favouring court oversight and Liberals – with their support of the Jennings private members bill – opposing it.

Related: Teary-eyed Canadian law enforcement officials are disappointed and confused by the flip-flop. Hey, I was disappointed and confused when Stockboy was handed the Public Safety portfolio on a silver fucking platter. Someone who believes that man walked side by side with dinosaurs 6000 years ago should not be allowed to wander the streets without wearing a crash helmet, let alone run the RCMP (as his record thus far has proven).

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by Isabel

Alan Greenspan criticizes George W. Bush

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan slams President Bush and today’s Republicans, while calling Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton “the smartest presidents” he worked with, according to an advance copy of his upcoming book.

He further says the GOP deserved the stomping it took in November’s congressional elections — a ballot that saw both houses of Congress wrested from Republican control — because the party “swapped principle for power.”

Howard Hampton targets school funding

Rival parties are using the controversy around the Progressive Conservative promise to fund religious schools as a “smokescreen” to obscure a bigger issue — that parents are picking up the slack for cash-starved schools, New Democrat Leader Howard Hampton charged today.

After Assault Scandal, Ex-HBO Honcho Lands Talent Agency Gig

The job represents a new chapter for Mr. Albrecht, who was forced to resign from HBO, a unit of Time Warner, in May after he was arrested and charged with assaulting a girlfriend in a Las Vegas parking lot. That prompted word to leak out that in 1991, HBO paid a settlement of at least $400,000 to a woman who worked under Mr. Albrecht and accused him of choking her during a confrontation in her office.

Fox stifles Field at Emmy Awards

The Emmy Awards show was on time-delay last night, which offered Fox the chance to edit the live show and block “offensive” content. When Sally Field was giving her acceptance speech last night, however, Fox made a decision that warrants some follow-up.

Alvaro Orozco Update: Parks and Ruins

by matttbastard

From Alvaro’s website:

Friday September 14, 2007

Alvaro received his latest Pre Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) decision this morning in the presence of a group of supporters as well as his lawyer and community advocates.

As expected the application was rejected, and the reasons behind the rejection ranged from: the letters of support to prove his sexuality are “hearsay” and do not provide a solid proof that Alvaro is in fact gay, to Nicaragua is a safe place for gay people because there are many cruising spaces, like parks and ruins where people can have gay sex, and also a long narrative praising the human rights record and democracy in Nicaragua.

The problems with the reasons provided for the negative decision are evident to anyone who’ve been following this case.

Alvaro now is under a new deportation order for October 4th.

As it has been since the beginning, the minister of immigration Diane Finley has the authority and capacity to issue the Stay for Alvaro. We need to let the minister know that Canadians demand justice for Alvaro and an immediate end to this tragedy.

Read Slap Upside The Head’s special two-part feature on Orazco by Edward Lee, and then:

  • E-mail and/or send a letter to Federal Immigration Minister Diane Finley at Finley.D@parl.gc.ca. Let the MP in your riding know what is going on and ask them how they will help Alvaro.
  • Sign Alvaro’s online petition
  • Keep talking about Alvaro with friends, family, media, join his facebook group, etc.
  • E-mail Alvaro and help keep his spirits up!
  • If you want to do more please contact Suhail at SOY Toronto

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PSA: Solidarity with Vancouver Library Workers

by matttbastard


Spartikus here. I’m a loyal Obsidian Wings reader and occasional commentator. I work for the Vancouver Public Library and since late July we have been on strike – the first strike in our 77 year unionized history. Our most important issue is pay equity. Library workers have been predominantly female throughout modern history and today the workforce of our library remains 85% female. And as a female predominant workforce librarians have been, and this is a hard comment to make in the 21st century, undervalued and under compensated. Librarians in the Vancouver system require at a minimum a Masters degree (with quite a few Ph.D’s in the ranks). Yet in Vancouver they are not compensated on the same scale as others of equal education and responsibility in traditionally male dominated professions within the workforce of the City of Vancouver, in Canadian university libraries, in library systems in other provinces, and indeed in librarian positions in the private sector. In fact manual labourer positions with our city, that only require a high school degree, are compensated at higher level than starting positions at the Library.

A detailed case for Pay Equity in regards to local conditions in Vancouver is made here. An interesting factoid: In 1998 the average Canadian woman earned 72.8% of the average Canadian man. In 2003 this has dropped to 71%. The free market does not seem to be correcting this historical wrong of it’s own accord.

I should note I am not a librarian. (I’m a graphic designer and as such am likely not to see any financial benefit from a pay equity agreement.) Yet I accept intellectually the strong case made for our issues, and on an emotional level will stand with my co-workers and friends. This is, quite frankly, a good cause. It’s fair, and would not be onerous on the Vancouver taxpayer.

I’ve long been a frustrated film maker, and have made a series of videos on our issues and experiences: The Read In; The Black Out Week; The Rally; Grandeur on Georgia; The Buttoneers; and The Flying Bike Brigade.

One of my hobbies is still photography, and I have a flickr gallery here.

A colleague has also made a number of videos: Pay Equity: Recipe for Disaster; Auxiliaries: The Gentle Sherpas of the Public Library; Wage and Term: It’s the Amount That Counts.

Though my spouse is also with the Library (thus we’ve lost both incomes) I am not asking for anything other than a few moments of your time, and perhaps a word or note to your local librarian. It’s my belief that pressure within the professional librarian community is just as effective as local political pressure.

And, I hope, you will be entertained.

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