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The Oil Barons Are In Charge

Northern Reflections - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 06:41


The conventional wisdom, Linda McQuaig writes, is that ordinary people don't understand the science of climate change:

It’s we ordinary people, with our self-absorption or resistance to change, who are the prime culprits in the world’s failure to act against climate disaster.
But that's backwards:

By focusing on the alleged failure of ordinary people to tackle climate change, we take our eyes off the real culprits behind the drapes — the fossil fuel industry and lickspittle governments, the best example being the one in Ottawa.

Big Fossil is the wealthiest and most powerful lobby in world history. Any serious attempt to tackle climate change would involve it giving up future profits that are truly staggering.

That’s because, according to the International Energy Agency and other authoritative sources, at least two-thirds of the world’s fossil fuel reserves will have to stay in the ground if there’s to be any hope of meeting the widely-agreed target of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius. (So far we’ve warmed the planet by just 0.8 degrees and that seems to be working out just fine, right?)

Since Big Fossil owns the rights to those reserves, leaving them in the ground would mean it would have to walk away from trillions of dollars — about $20 trillion, according to U.S. environmentalist Bill McKibben.
Governments around the world are going to war to protect those oil reserves. Or, if they're not at war, they're bending over backwards to do the oil bobby's bidding:

Stephen Harper’s government has undermined international climate negotiations, gutted Canada’s environmental review process, targeted environmental groups with harassing audits and championed unbridled oilsands development.
 
Its craven devotion to Big Fossil has made it a perennial recipient of the Fossil of the Year Award, disdainfully issued each year by the Climate Action Network, a global association of more than 850 environmental groups.
Stephen Harper is his father's son. He works for the oil companies -- not thirty-three million Canadians. The oil barons are in charge.


We'll be in Ottawa for the next couple of days. I should be back on Monday.

Well Worth The Read

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 06:01


I'm going to spend much of the day trying to finish off the bulk of my flooring project, so I shall merely offer some reading recommendations for your consideration:

In his Star column today, Tim Harper discusses the taint that will reside over every federal election henceforth if the 'Fair' Elections Act becomes law without significant amendments. He also discusses why former auditor-general Sheila Fraser's condemnation of the act is so significant.

Says Fraser:

“Elections are the base of our democracy and if we do not have truly a fair electoral process and one that can be managed well by a truly independent body, it really is an attack on our democracy and we should all be concerned about that’’.

As well, if you haven't yet done so, read Alison's latest post in
which, amongst others things, she reveals that Elections Canada has decided not to release its report on the Conservative robocall scandal until after the next election.

Finally, check out Kev's post in which he calls for a dramatic act of Parliamentary disobedience as a means of dealing with the Harperites' voter suppression act.Recommend this Post

The Fair Elections Act and the Robocall Conspiracy

Montreal Simon - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 01:41


As I've mentioned before, one of the reasons Stephen Harper's Cons are rushing their Unfair Elections Act through Parliament, is that they want it to become law before Michael Sona's robocall trial begins in June.

And with good reason. Because the bill would make it harder to go after those who would try to steal an election.

And that robocall scandal just got a whole lot more interesting.
Read more »

Parliamentary Civil Disobedience

Trapped In a Whirlpool - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:57
It is clear that Bill C-23, Harper's so called Fair Elections Act will pass pretty much as is sometime this summer. No matter what minor concessions they make will be but for show, there is just too much in this bill that subverts democracy for anything short of it's complete and total death to suffice.
Read more »

Sheila Fraser and the Shameful Cowardice of the Cons

Montreal Simon - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 18:30


When Sheila Fraser was the Auditor General and exposed the Liberal sponsorship scandal, the Cons were only too happy to quote her every word.

They couldn't say enough good things about her.

But not today. Today they were running for cover.

Because today she was calling their so-called Fair Elections Act an attack on democracy. 
Read more »

Another reason to fight the Fair Elections Act

Creekside - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 17:49


Duff Conacher, Founder of Democracy Watch, on the Fair Elections Act. 
Democracy Watch has a list of "10 really unfair measures in the so-called 'Fair Elections Act' " and a letter you can send to federal leaders here. C'mon, guys, surely we can do better than just 36,000 letters.  

The Cons' contention that the universally negative response to their Bill C-23 is uninformed and hysterical took a big hit today when former AG Sheila Fraser weighed in : 

Ex-watchdog Sheila Fraser slams bill as attack on democracy
'It's just astounding to me,' former auditor-general says of Tories' proposed election law overhaul"Elections are the base of our democracy and if we do not have truly a fair electoral process and one that can be managed well by a truly independent body, it really is an attack on our democracy..."Ok, on to my point ...

Fraser has a similar list of complaints to Conacher and also mentions another shortcoming I haven't seen much discussed - that the chief electoral officer will now have to seek prior Treasury Board approval to enter into contracts with people with specialized or technical knowledge.

In June 2011, EC investigator Alan Mathews was looking for Pierre Poutine among VOIPs and proxy servers - a field he knew nothing about. As he said in his ITO : "I relied upon [Simon] Rowland, a subject matter expert in the area of call center systems, telemessaging and telecom product development and network engineering." 
That subject matter expert was the one who provided this analysis
"So it's not just what was reported so far -- that the Poutine account and Prescott account were accessed by the same IP within 4 minutes of each other during the middle of this night. It's also that on three separate occasions, someone with both the Prescott and Poutine account passwords used the same browser window to log into both accounts."I'm guessing if Elections Canada had to go cap in hand to Tony Gazebo at the Treasury Board for permission to hire that guy and his "specialized or technical knowledge", it never would have been approved and we never would have heard anything about it.
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