Dueling Ledes (Compare & Contrast), Redux

AP video, Feb 15, 2011:

A recent [US] government report states the terrorist threat from Canada is greater than from Mexico, and that only 50 kilometres of the border is adequately patrolled.

CBC News, today:

Major job cuts at the Canada Border Services Agency could undermine national security and public safety, according to a security expert and public-sector union officials.

First food safety, now border security? The wanton Harpercon Budget 2012 slash ‘n’ burn austerity spree has so far made Canada a little TOO open for business. And it’s only just begun.

NDP Agriculture critic Malcolm Allen, commenting on cuts to CFIA, sums up what is shaping up to be the primary takeaway from the aftermath (thus far):

“These cuts put Canadians’ lives at risk.”

Image: conner395, Flickr. Used under CC license.

Dueling Ledes (Compare & Contrast)

TorStar, March 20th:

Schools, hospitals and popular burger restaurants such as Hero’s and Lick’s are part of a suddenly massive beef recall over fears of E. coli contamination.

The G&M, today:

Veterinarians and other inspectors responsible for food recalls and ensuring the safety of Canadian meat are among the hundreds of federal public servants who will be told this week their jobs are at risk.

Apparently the Harpercons figure it will be measurably easier to tighten our belts if our bellies have all imploded from E. coli poisoning.

Image: Vanessa Pike-Russell, Flickr. Used under CC license.

Shooting Themselves in the Foot

by matttbastard

Taxi!

Yesterday, the office of Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan released the following statement, explaining why the Harpercons were blocking the release of a Canada Firearms Centre (CAFC) performance report on the Long Gun Registry:

“Canadians don’t need another report to know that the long-gun registry is very efficient at harassing law-abiding farmers and outdoors enthusiasts, while wasting billions of taxpayer dollars.”

Less than 24 hours later, veteran Parliamentary reporter Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star has linked to the report, which reveals the dirty little secret of Canada’s oh-so controversial Long Gun Registry:

It works.

Notes Delacourt:

[The registry is] spending less, attracting more registrants and police are using the registry  more — almost 4,000 times last year. Yep, that’s an argument to kill it.

Golf claps to the spineless, craven Liberal & New Democrat MPs who allowed the Harpercons to bully them into pissing on the graves of the 14 Montreal Massacre victims (and props to the Bloc for actually doing the right thing for Canada — shocking, I know).

A rundown of the twenty turncoat cowards who felt that pandering to low-information voters trumped public safety:

  1. Mr. Malcolm Allen
    (Welland) NDP
  2. Mr. Scott Andrews
    (Avalon) Liberal
  3. Mr. Charlie Angus
    (Timmins—James Bay) NDP
  4. Ms. Niki Ashton
    (Churchill) NDP
  5. Mr. Larry Bagnell
    (Yukon) Liberal
  6. Mr. Dennis Bevington
    (Western Arctic) NDP
  7. Mr. Nathan Cullen
    (Skeena—Bulkley Valley) NDP
  8. Mr. Jean-Claude D’Amours
    (Madawaska—Restigouche) Liberal
  9. Mr. Wayne Easter
    (Malpeque) Liberal
  10. Mr. Claude Gravelle
    (Nickel Belt) NDP
  11. Mrs. Carol Hughes
    (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing) NDP
  12. Mr. Bruce Hyer
    (Thunder Bay—Superior North) NDP
  13. Mr. Jim Maloway
    (Elmwood—Transcona) NDP
  14. Mr. Keith Martin
    (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca) Liberal
  15. Mr. John Rafferty
    (Thunder Bay—Rainy River) NDP
  16. Mr. Anthony Rota
    (Nipissing—Timiskaming) Liberal
  17. Mr. Todd Russell
    (Labrador) Liberal
  18. Mr. Scott Simms
    (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor) Liberal
  19. Mr. Peter Stoffer
    (Sackville—Eastern Shore) NDP
  20. Mr. Glenn Thibeault
    (Sudbury) NDP

And a handy-dandy directory of the MPs who comprise Canada’s 40th Parliament, including contact info — so you can either thank your local MP for standing up against gun violence, or politely tell them how you feel about them flipping the bird to the women of Canada.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Long Gun Registry Going Down? Happy Anniversary From Canada’s 40th Parliament.

by matttbastard

Shorter 164 members of Parliament to the 14 victims of the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre (and, by extension, every woman in Canada):

Drop dead. Again.

Via Devin Johnston, Dennis Gruending connects the blood-red dots that weave together antipathy for the gun registry and willful indifference towards deadly misogyny:

It is ironic, to say the least, that this vote occurred just a few weeks prior to the 20th anniversary of the December 6th Montreal massacre, when Marc Lepine mowed down 14 young women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal with a semi-automatic weapon. Although this bill will not touch the ban on handguns, it will, if it becomes law, eliminate the requirement to register the type of people-hunting firearm that Lepine used in 1989. It was that gruesome killing which prompted the then-Liberal government of Jean Chretien to pass the Firearms Act in 1995, requiring gun owners to obtain permits and to register their guns.

[…]

My experience in four election campaigns was that you got nowhere with people opposed to the gun registry if you said that the Montreal massacre was a reason why firearms should be registered. That argument left them cold. There was rarely, if ever, any acknowledgement or sympathy expressed for Marc Lepine’s victims.

Fauxggrieved rural voters > women. Duh.

The more things change…

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Wafergate II? Not So Much (Or, Manufacturing Outrage Will Not Stimulate The Economy)

by matttbastard

Regular readers know that I rarely pay much attention to the more wing-nutty residents of the blogosphere, much less the Canuckosphere. I leave that to stout-hearted compatriots with stronger constitutions for regular bullshit consumption than yours truly.  Still, occasionally something from the outer fringe will catch my attention that immediately triggers my ‘dude, WTF?!’ nerve.

In this instance, the flying monkeys are circling over Teresa Wright.

I know, at this point most of you are asking: Who’s Teresa Wright? Well, dear readers, Wright is a reporter with the  Charlottetown Guardian who wrote about a recent speech given by Conservative Senator (and, formerly, CTV’s longtime top Tory sycophant) Mike Duffy.

Ok, with me so far?

Good.

Anyway, the headline to Wright’s piece:

Duffy’s speech hints at looming federal election.’

Pretty innocuous, right?

Well, for whatever reason, Duffy decided to break out Grandma’s pearls, clutch away,  and, in an interview with talk radio blowhard/columnist Michael Harris, stir up a teapot tempest over what Duffy contends is a gross mischaracterization of the speech:

I gave a speech  yesterday to the Rotary Club of Charlottetown, in  which I never used the word  election, and frankly, never mentioned the Prime  Minister, I gave a very dry,  because as you know, Rotary is a  non-political body, I gave a very dry report  card on the more than 200 million additional dollars this government has poured  into Prince Edward Island.

[…]

I was never asked  about an election. I never used the word election. I never mentioned the Prime  Minister by name in my speech or by his office. And yet the headline comes out  this morning, Duffy refuses to dampen speculation of an election and sings the  praises of the Prime Minister in a speech laden with rhetoric.

[…]

I didn’t mention  the Prime Minister. I didn’t ever use the word
election or make any reference to  it because I didn’t want to hurt the neutral ears of the Rotarians, who do so  much great work. And I thought, don’t drag that dirty political thing in  here.

Those poor, delicate, Rotarians–why, the mere mention of anything as jejune as *gasp* politics might cause their pacemakers to short out! Kee-rist. The faux-grievance and feigned innocence is so thick that ol’ Iron Ass himself,  Dick Nixon, must be enjoying an appreciative, jowly cackle from the bowels of Hell.

But wait — it gets even better:

[T]he newspaper reporter never  asked me about an election or about anything else related to the Prime Minister.  She had no, repeat, no questions, so, at least not of the national scene. She  asked something about a local community college. But that was it. And then I  wake up this morning and here they’ve got me singing the praises, great  rhetoric. Well, let me tell you, as much as I like to think that every speech is  a good one, they’ve obviously never heard me when I’ve gotten going as we have.  And so, they put it, all this great rhetoric. I was reading a grocery list of,  of projects for the island. So anyway, this whole thing is manufactured. And I  was thinking so much about you today as I read the paper and the brilliant  column you wrote in last week’s Sun about wafergate in New Brunswick, where the  editors made it up. It had nothing to do with what the reporter said. And so,  I’m saying to myself, my God, this is like the virus or something. It’s creeping  across provincial borders. Now all of a sudden the Charlottetown paper can’t  just report the news. They’ve got to make it up.

[…]

I saw [Wright] yesterday. And, well, in fact I was at an event this  morning. And by the time it was finished and I went over, she had jumped in her  car and fled. So, I didn’t get a chance. But you know, never get in a fight with  people who buy ink by the, by the barrel. I mean, it’s another example. Here it  is in the quiet summertime and everybody’s bound and determined to try and  create something.

So, Duffy disingenuously blows the ‘Wafergate‘ dogwhistle as a means to deflect legitimate speculation generated by what anyone with any sense (even the hothouse flowers of the Charlottetown Rotary Club) could reasonably interpret as a fairly partisan speech that, indeed, does nothing to stem election speculation (who exactly is “we”, Duff?)

Yeah, there’s definitely something that’s been manufactured here, and it ain’t a headline.

That’s right, kiddies: cue the slack-beaked vultures of the far-right, hungry as always to gorge on ‘liberal’ media carrion, as they swoop down with typically measured reserve and sharp insight (snerk):

  • This is not new…too many examples to mention. However they are now being exposed. The game has gone on too long. The snakes can no longer hide in the grass. The serious journalists are starting to do some real journalism. I so appreciate Duffy being free to talk about the ‘old club’….especially the part about Toronto..”the thought control center”.
  • Maritimers have the energy of an old sloth and will believe all the crap that is fed them by these lying urinalists,because they are to [sic] lazy from years of Alberta’s transfers and welfare to seek out the truth. They hate the Conservatives because like the old proverb goes, “you always bite the hand that feeds you”, and the Conservatives to these folks, represent Alberta, where most of the good hard working ones from these parts, have long moved to. For years the slimey liberals stole from the west and handed it out to these ungrateful people, here is the result.
  • The MSM with its socialist statist legions are now running into reality. This is the response to the dike blowing. Trying to paper over the cracks in the artificail [sic] Universe the entitled elitists created in defiance of the Human condition. Including all known laws of physics. The dogma crafted so painstakingly turns out to be a steaming pile of lies.  The world they imagined is collapsing from bowing to fairy tales, while natural Law comes back like a lion with issues. To rend the tale barrers[sic].  In the world of the MSM all must be the same in ideas as well politics. Every Women I meet always told me if you wash all the cloths together you get a grey. The brilliance goes away. So with us they want a collective of hive minds not individuals to speak down to. People with reality based ideas scare the MSM.

Yes, am sure the socialist-statists at CanWest, TorStar and CTVGlobemedia are positively quaking in their wingtips at the sudden imposition of such cold, hard reality (as always, irony is a leftist plot).

Kady O’Malley bends the laws of physics as only a lion(ess) with issues can:

There’s nothing remotely wrong with a senator delivering a partisan speech, notwithstanding the response it incites in certain PEI Liberals. That said, there is also nothing wrong with the Guardian having described it as such, no matter how vociferously the senator in question might dispute that interpretation. What is, frankly, ridiculous is to suggest that this is in any way similar to what may or may not have gone on behind the scenes at the Telegraph Journal, which, as far as ITQ can see, is a rather shameless attempt to feed the “biased media” meme that launched a thousand Finley-penned fundraising letters — not that there’s anything particularly wrong with that, either.

Apples, oranges — hey, it’s all fruit right?

Low. Hanging. Fruit.

Look, it seems obvious to anyone with half a brain (ie, those who don’t hang out in comments at SDA) that the leading luminaries of the partisan Canuckistanian right graduated with honours from the Humpty Dumpty School of Fallacious Argumentation (in this instance, showing off their degrees in false dichotomy). Yes, it may come as a surprise to the residents of KKKate’s bizzaro world, but some of us deluded consumers of MSM ‘bias’ (BIAS!!!1) actually demand something slightly more convincing than boisterous online agit-prop or half-baked assertions based on disingenuous denials from someone who, as a former journalist, knows what bullshit smells like. That Duffy now gleefully shovels it (and the base rewards him and his Conservative cronies with fauxtrage and hefty cheques) proves that Prime Minister Stephen Harper knew what he was doing when he called The Duff up to the big leagues.

The fact remains that the primary goal of these erstwhile right-wing media critics isn’t to improve the reporting of professional journalists. Rather, it’s to silence and, ultimately, destroy them — by any means necessary. In other words, the end game isn’t to garner a retraction or correct the record; they simply want another MSM head on a pike to (temporarily) satiate their collective blood lust (while the Conservative Party of Canada reaps the subsequent financial windfall).

But hey, if Duff wants to play footsie with a crowd that thinks his constituents “have the energy of an old sloth” and are “lazy from years of Alberta’s transfers and welfare” more power to him. It’s not like he has any actual accountability to the “ungrateful” people of Prince Edward Island, what being an unelected Senator and all (hey, remember when the Harpercons wanted to reform the ‘undemocratic’ Senate? Good times.)

See, that’s the difference between the so-called ‘liberal media’ and the knuckle-dragging, junior-league propagandists of the wingnutosphere: accountability. Sure, sometimes it takes some poking, but if Teresa Wright and her editors believe an error was made, they will duly issue a correction. Imagine that.

Oh, wait, I forgot: ethics are a Liberal plot, too — likely imported from overseas by that brie-scarfing Ignatieff interloper (just visiting!)

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Dear Canuckistanian Noozpaper Editorz

Unbiased private citizen Kyle Simunovic told me to tell you that WHINY SOCIALIST MP Charlie Angus  smells like fresh goat feces on a hot summer afternoon. Also, I hear that our glorious leader, Stephen Harper, farts rainbows and pisses Dom Pérignon. And doesn’t hate teh Joe Sixpack (unlike a certain WHINY SOCIALIST MP who shall remain nameless).

Signed,

SO not a Conservative staffer (no, srsly!)

h/t Impolitical via Twitter

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

The Return of ‘Lawful Access’

by matttbastard

Well, isn’t this lovely:

The Conservative government is preparing sweeping new eavesdropping legislation that will force Internet service providers to let police tap exchanges on their systems – but will likely reignite fear that Big Brother will be monitoring the private conversations of Canadians.

The goal of the move, which would require police to obtain court approval, is to close what has been described as digital “safe havens” for criminals, pedophiles and terrorists because current eavesdropping laws were written in a time before text messages, Facebook and voice-over-Internet phone lines.

The change is certain to please the RCMP and other police forces, who have sought it for some time. But it is expected to face resistance from industry players concerned about the cost and civil libertarians who warn the powers will effectively place Canadians under constant surveillance.

Constant surveillance–how so?

The concern of critics is that unlike a traditional wiretap that cannot commence without judicial approval, lawful-access legislation in other countries has forced Internet providers to routinely gather and store the electronic traffic of their clients. Those stored data can then be obtained by police via search warrant.

“That means we’re under surveillance, in some sense, all the time,” said Richard Rosenberg, president of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. “I think that changes the whole nature of how we view innocence in a democratic society.”

Um, yeah, just a li’l bit.

Oh, and, via Michael Geist, it seems our loyal opposition is also doing its part to represent the best interests of the nation by, um, once again proposing its own lawful access legislation–a bill even more odious than the government’s’:

…Liberal MP Marlene Jennings has reintroduced her lawful access private member’s bill, called the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act.  The Jennings bill is a virtual copy of a failed Liberal lawful access bill that died in 2005.

[…]

[T]he Jennings bill would require ISPs to disclose customer name and address information to law enforcement without court oversight.

The Magical ConservaLiberal Unity Pony drops yet another stinking, steaming load on our heads; I love the smell of bipartisan turdblossoms in the morning.

Cough.  Anyway.

From what I can tell, the only substantive difference between Van Loan’s proposed piece of legislation and the one then-Public Safety Minister Stockboy Day tried to surreptitiously impose in 2007 without any public input (before backpeddling quicker than you can say ‘Ogopogo’) is the apparent requirement of judicial approval (which, as noted, may not provide much in the way of protection for a citizen’s private online information–and  Jennings’ PMB offers, um, none).  Otherwise, the state will, in essence, be forcing ISPs to fulfill the darkest fantasies of the tinfoil-adorned black helicopter set.

And, as Impolitical (h/t) notes:

The dangers of such powers being placed with law enforcement and the potential for abuses have been made abundantly clear by the experience Americans have had with the Bush administration and the revelations from whistleblowers in the last year.

Two examples:

Am in full agreement with Geist here:

…Van Loan should commit to active consultations with the privacy community before introducing the legislation; renew the government’s pledge for full court oversight (including for customer name and address information); and there must be full hearings on the bill that place the burden on law enforcement to demonstrate that there is a problem with the law as it currently stands.

Bottom line: this is not a path any purportedly ‘free’ society should hastily embark upon.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Dear Michael Ignatieff

"We will be watching like HAWKS!" Considering the Iraq support and torture apology, I believe him.

FUCK yo’ couch.

love,

matttbastard

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Federal Budget 2009: No Room For Women at the Table

by matttbastard

Following several days of strategically-timed leaks to the press, the Stephen Harper Party has finally tabled its stimulus budget, which, according to the Canadian Press, “submerges Canada in a sea of red ink after more than a decade of clear fiscal sailing.”  Indeed, it seems that Jim Flaherty has finally embraced his inner Keynesian, after years of hiding it beneath Milton Friedman’s long shadow:

The Tories are doling out nearly $20-billion – or half the stimulus package – to spur immediate spending on infrastructure projects and home construction.

Nearly $12-billion federal dollars will be made available for “shovel-ready” public works projects across Canada that can be commenced quickly, but there’s a catch. Provinces and municipalities will have to contribute nearly $9-billion more in order to get the roads, bridges and sewer upgrade work started.

Cost-shared projects the Tories are eying include: revitalizing Union Station in Toronto, the Evergreen transit line in Vancouver, road upgrades in Quebec City and the Summerside wind energy project on Prince Edward Island.

[…]

Infrastructure spending alone won’t keep all the building trades in Canada busy though and Ottawa has allocated $7.8-billion for other construction activity – to renovate and upgrade housing.

This includes $3-billion it expects to spend giving out tax breaks for the temporary home renovation credit as well as $1-billion in outlays to fund renovations and retrofits of social housing. Ottawa will also spend $400-million on new home construction for low-income seniors, $400-million on first nations reserve housing and $200-million for building northern residences.

Of course, all that spending (and tax cuts) comes at a cost (er…you know what I mean):

Ottawa is forecast to add $85-billion to the debt between now and 2012-13, eroding much of the debt-reduction achievements of the past decade. Current and former governments have shaved $105-billion from the national debt since the late 1990s by using surpluses to retire obligations owing.

Yet out of all the ‘pragmatic’ concessions made by the Harper conservatives that fly in the face of their purported ideological ‘principles’ (a practice the Harpercons have been perfecting recently) there’s still one policy area where old habits die harder than Bruce Willis, as the NDP (which, along with the Bloc, has already vowed to vote down the budget) points out in a press release (h/t The Regina Mom):

The budget…contains no mention of childcare spaces and maintains the attack on women’s ability to pursue pay equity complaints.

Via Antonia Zerbisias, YWCA Canada has also issued a press release with its response to the latest bird-flip to 51% of the population:

“The government has set up some very inclusive spending with this budget for First Nations, seniors and people with disabilities, but we don’t see an awareness that Canadian women are very vulnerable in hard times,” says YWCA Canada CEO Paulette Senior. “Two-thirds of Canadians working for minimum wage are women, many taking any work they can find to hold family and community together.  Government stimulus spending must take this into account.”

[…]

The hole in this budget is child care services. For Canadian women and their families, child care is missing, and it is vital,” says Senior. “Everything we know about building strong families says child care services are essential. And that goes double for women needing to leave violent situations. They need affordable, quality care for their children so they can go out and work. Childcare not only creates jobs but it supports women and their families. Now is the time.”   The budget announced $200 million for social housing in the north, a much needed investment.

Unlike the November economic update there was no mention of pay equity in the budget.  “We are very sorry to hear a resounding silence from the government on this issue,” says Paulette Senior. “Especially as job stimulus spending is concentrated in employment sectors heavily dominated by men. The government needs to rethink its position on this equality issue and take the advice of its own task force.”

Keep in mind that, according to CUPE National President Paul Moist, “[m]any of these measures have a shelf-life of only two years.”  Anyone who believes that we have witnessed the birth of a new era of post-partisan Conservative governance needs to stop downing so many goddamn Hope and Change cocktails and reset their GPS (hint: we’re still flying north of the US border, kids–even under NAFTA obligations, Obama’s transformative reach unfortunately stops at the customs desk).  Still, it’s all-too-telling that, even in the short term, demonstrative apathy (or, depending how you look at it, antipathy) towards the women of Canada is one principle that the Tories are entirely unwilling to sacrifice at the alter of (temporary) expediency.

And, if anyone really thinks that we’re going to see this budget get killed, as Mark Taylor recommends, or even substantively modified before passage,  Brodie Fenlon of the Globe and Mail puts things into perspective with the following lede:

The fate of the Harper Conservative’s massive stimulus plan and its minority government now rests in the hands of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, as does the future of the fledgling Liberal-NDP coalition.”

In other words, progressives and coalition supporters shouldn’t even bother inhaling, much less holding it in.  Still, if the spirit of futile optimism moves you to act despite the long odds (as, um, it always does to yours truly), contact info for Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is as follows:

Ottawa Parliamentary Office

Room 435-S, Centre Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Tel: (613) 995 – 9364
Fax: (613) 992 – 5880
Email: Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca

Alternatively,  folks who are more new media saavy can send their thoughts via Iggy’s 1337 Web 2.0 hub.

Related: Various reponses from First Nation leader Phil Fontaine, James Laxer, and Marc Lee of the Progressive Economics Forum, who dismisses the “leakiest budget in Canadian history” as “more of a communications strategy than a serious budget for tough times.”

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Dear Conservative Party of Canada

Stop fucking lying:

“Our objective is to get a majority of senators in the Senate who support reform. That is our objective. Once reform is passed, everyone will be standing for elections,” [a Conservative Party aide] told reporters at a background briefing yesterday.

“Our government will continue to push for a more democratic, accountable and effective Senate,” Harper said in a statement that accompanied the list of appointees.

“If Senate vacancies are to be filled, however, they should be filled by the government that Canadians elected rather than by a coalition that no one voted for,” he said, referring to the Liberal-NDP coalition agreement that was signed before Harper sought prorogation of Parliament earlier this month to avoid a confidence vote.

Despite the overwhelming ignorance of a majority of Canadians, we do not ‘elect’ a government; we elect a Parliament by voting for local candidates who, if successful, become Members of Parliament, followed by the formation of a government–which may or may not represent the  party that had a majority of its MPs elected to Parliament.  If a group of MPs (say, a coalition of opposition MPs who represent a majority of seats in the House of Commons) can gain the confidence of the House, they have every right to form a government, regardless of election results.  You know this, and yet you continually lie (yes, lieEd Broadbent sure called it earlier this month) in the process of stating your case as to why you should remain in power.

By now it should be more than apparent that you could give a flying monkey fuck about anything (including the welfare of the nation) apart from clinging to power and furthering your radical right-wing agenda by any means necessary. But what’s truly sad is the fact that, during the course of their report, Tonda MacCharles and Bruce Campion-Smith apparently felt that correcting a blatant falsehood was unnecessary.  When the press colludes with the PMO to spread disinformation, even unwittingly, is there any wonder why the people of Canada are so ignorant of the democratic process?

Look, I know that Goebbels is said to have once famously (and  perceptively) quipped that if you “repeat a lie a thousand times it becomes truth”; but one would hope that our nation’s elite would have higher standards with regards to whom they are channeling their PR strategy through.

With vexation and disgust,

matttbastard

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers