Late Night Logic: Jeg Elsker Scandinavia

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

Some musical selections originating from my third-favourite geographic region of this here godforsaken planet (JFTR: #1: Canada. #2: Australia [heh] #4: Latvia):

The Bear Quartet – Mom and Dad

(more after the cut)

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“Canada has to move forward and Neanderthal is yesterday’s man and this man has got to go!” UPDATE 09.24: CLC-CTC Statement

by matttbastard

Not gonna mince words here: if it wasn’t clear before, it should now be plain as day: the Conservative gov’t has, in essence, declared war on the public sectorespecially programs that benefit Canadian womenfull fucking stop.

Godammitkitty (who has a PLETHORA of pertinent links and info – go!go!go!) and Alison @ Creekside have lots more on the latest surgical strike against ‘advocacy’; via F-email Fightback, Ginette Pettipas-Taylor asseses the collateral damage.

Update: also via F-email Fightback:

Amnesty International Canada expresses concern about the closure of the National Association of Women and the Law in the face of government funding restrictions

September 20, 2007

Canada has been a leader in creating critical international standards and institutions for the protection of women’s human rights. However, Canada has failed fully to implement those standards at home. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women has cited Canada for not implementing its obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The sad consequence is that Canada is failing adequately to protect the human rights of women in this country. Government programs and policies for the protection of women’s human rights have been fragmented and shortsighted. Last year’s significant decrease in the budget of Status of Women Canada and the imposition of restrictions on the activities of organizations that receive funding from Status of Women combined to drastically curtail the work of a range of local and national organizations dedicated to defending the human rights of women and challenging existing barriers to the full realization of those rights. When it becomes more difficult to defend rights and challenge barriers, the risk of violence and discrimination inevitably increases.

The fact that the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) has been made to close in the face of funding cuts is a stark illustration of what is at stake. NAWL has played a critical role in demanding domestic compliance with the international human rights standards that Canada helped to create. NAWL has provided important support to women and women human rights groups, to address and change the systemic causes of violence and discrimination.

NAWL and other women’s human rights advocacy groups play an essential role in challenging the gaps and failings of government policies, both federally and provincially, and proposing recommendations for reform. NAWL will be missed. Without that expertise and attention, Canada fails women in this country.

Update 09.24: via rabbleCLC/CTC statement on the closure of NAWL:

Women’s Equality moves to the back of the shop – Closure of NAWL leads to renewed call from labour for government to restore Status of Women mandate and funding
September 20, 2007

OTTAWA – The Canadian Labour Congress renewed its call today for the federal government to reverse budget cuts that have devastated progressive women’s groups across the country and immediately reinstate the equality mandate for Status of Women Canada.

The call followed the announcement that the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) was shutting down its offices and laying off its staff in the wake of government funding cuts.

“The National Association of Women and the Law has a proven track record of getting results for women through careful research and principled calls for change when that research pointed toward a better deal for women in Canadian society,” said Barbara Byers, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Byers says the closure of NAWL’s offices and its relegation to a back room with volunteer resources is a sad development that diminishes an important voice in Canadian society.

Women’s organizations, like NAWL, have played an important role in demonstrating why federal and provincial government should consider changing laws, policies and practices that discriminate against women. Through their dedicated work, reforms such as the inclusion of maternity benefits under Employment Insurance, amendments to human rights laws to prohibit sexual harassment and discrimination based on pregnancy and sexual orientation, the criminalization of wife assault and many others became a reality.

“Governments who placed a high priority on women’s equality and the elimination of discrimination recognized the value of what organizations like NAWL had to offer. Constructive criticism is a fundamental part of parliamentary democracy, which is why groups like NAWL found financial support through Status of Women Canada. The removal of that support, abruptly and without consultation by the new government has sent a chill through civil society, and silenced another voice for equality,” said Byers.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 136 district labour councils. Web site: http://www.canadianlabour.ca

Contact: Jeff Atkinson, 613-526-7425 and 613-863-1413

Also, Godammitkitty points to this bitterly bang on post by April Reign:

The highjacking of our government by special interest groups intent on forcing their narrow minded, narrow viewed, religious and idealogical doctrines upon the country as whole is a travesty that must be opposed.

We have only to look south of the border to see the havoc wrecked upon a society catering to the lowest common denominator.

This lengthy 2006 Walus article provides some examples of the feast currently being gluttonously enjoyed by our homegrown lowest common denominator, supping at the Tory policy table while the rest of us are left to scramble for the meager crumbs that drop on the floor.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

They Call Him MISTER…

by matttbastard

I haven’t given him much link love lately, but Sinister Greg (one of the first Canadian bloggers I began to read on a regular basis) has really been on fire recently. Today the Sinister One points to this eloquent, pragmatic post from conservative pundit and MMP supporter Andrew Coyne (also published in today’s National Post), who ably explains why the long-term benefits of electoral reform should quell anxious partisan concerns of wary conservatives (small and capital ‘C’):

Living on a knife-edge does strange things to people. On the one hand, it leaves the parties in a perpetual fever of anticipation, convinced they have only to gain a few points in the polls to destroy their opponents. That is one reason the two federal conservative parties, Progressive Conservative and Reform, were so reluctant to merge. It is also the reason why minority governments tend, under our system, to be so unstable.

On the other hand, the consequences of losing a few points makes them excessively, almost neurotically cautious, unwilling to take the slightest risk or advocate the mildest change, but each hugging as close as it can to the median voter, the status quo and each other. Hence the dominance of the two brokerage parties, indistinguishable in philosophy — alike, that is, in the lack of it.

Put the two together, and you have much of Canadian politics — viciously partisan, yet unspeakably trivial; much ado about nothing much. McGuintoryism, in short.
So the case for electoral reform, it seems to me, is one that conservatives, if not Conservatives, should find appealing. It is a cause that has tended, historically, to be identified with the left, not least in the current referendum debate; many conservatives have accordingly rejected it. Yet it is not the left that has suffered most under the current system. It’s the right.

By whatever combination of historical circumstances, the left has a party that will advance its ideas, free of the brokerage parties’ grip: the NDP. Though not often in government, outside of the West, it has succeeded in dragging the entire political spectrum to the left, its policies adopted by Liberal and Conservative governments alikes. Nothing like it exists on the right, federally or provincially, nor has since Reform’s demise. Nor is one likely to emerge, so long as “first past the post” remains the rule.

The same is true of parties less easily categorized, like the Green party. Though it is the party of choice for hundreds of thousands of Canadians, it has yet to win a seat, unable to concentrate its support geographically in the way that FPTP requires. How many more votes might it win if potential supporters were not disheartened at the prospect of “wasting” their votes, or worse, “splitting” the vote, as they are forever warned against doing?

But what if there were a system in which no votes were wasted, where vote-splitting ceased to be an issue? There is such a system, and it’s called proportional representation, of which the proposal before Ontarians is a variant. Not only the Greens, but other parties — libertarian, social-conservative, or other — might then have a fighting chance. The spectrum of acceptable ideas for debate would noticeably broaden.

Related: “Rock-ribbed conservative” Greg Staples (another early Canuckosphere fav of mine) dittos Coyne, and supplements with more pragmatism (the theme of the week, methinks):

I’ve already stated that I think the right-wing would split under proportional representation. In Ontario you would see a Tory party, a libertarian/conservative party and possibly a social conservative party. Nationally you could add a Bleu party. The (red) Tory party could become a natural home for the dissaffected centre-right Liberal and we would not be locked into the perpetual NDP wagging the Liberal dog.
All this and we would have actual policy debate. That why I’m signed up.

Vote for MMP

Recommend this post to Progressive Bloggers

Mychal Bell To Remain Imprisoned; Pushback Gets Ridiculous

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

So tell me again why Mychal Bell is still in jail (other than his complexion)? As Carmen D. points out, “He has been in jail since DECEMBER 2006“. Kevin’s right: “The Jena Courts seem intent on giving the middle finger to any notion of decency. ”

Speaking of a distinct (and disturbing) bird-flip to decency, CNN also reports that “the FBI said it was looking into an online posting by a neo-Nazi white supremacist group that published the home addresses of all six of the African-American teenagers, as well as the phone numbers of some. The group said on its Web site it is calling on followers to “let them know justice is coming.””
This sort of response, (and more asinine varients, such as this) are hardly unexpected, alas. I have a feeling the noose is going become a rejuvenated icon of hatred for the racist far-right.

Related: via Hatewatch, skinhead style goes haute couture; David Neiwert offers a mea culpa for going AWOL on Jena:

None of the top-tier liberal bloggers paid the Jena situation much attention in the weeks leading up to the march, and those of us on the left dedicated to civil-rights and race issues — like myself — tended to let it slide. The bloggers who made this happen were all “bloggers of color” whose own burgeoning network turned out to be truly potent.

Fortunately, their energies made the difference in Jena, and now the whole world is watching and paying attention. That includes those of us who should have been doing so in the first place.

Update: Earl Ofari Hutchinson: enough with the tears; show Mychal the money.

Recommend this post to Progressive Bloggers