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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tim Harper: Asbestos hypocrisy sticking to PM (in the Toronto Star)

"'Harper has been outed from the asbestos closet,' says [Kathleen] Ruff, a senior human rights adviser to the Rideau Institute.

"'For years, he only spoke of how much he loved and adored asbestos when he was in that riding. As long as an issue remains hidden, you're dead. But now it is out there.' ...

"Last week, NDP MP Romeo Saganash reminded Industry Minister Christian Paradis that asbestos is being removed from MPs' offices and asked whether he would prefer to have the allegedly less carcinogenic chrysotile installed in his office.

"'Or would he rather continue to export his hypocrisy to Third World countries?' Saganash asked."

Full article: Tim Harper: Asbestos hypocrisy sticking to PM.

Friday, June 17, 2011

David Goutor: This is no time for the NDP to ‘grow up’ (in the Toronto Star)

David Goutor is assistant professor of labour studies at McMaster University.

"It is often taken for granted that moving to the centre is the “realistic” or “pragmatic” route for the NDP. But a lot of the party’s established positions do not look at all that unrealistic in light of recent events. Considering how the NDP achieved its success this spring, the practical benefits of giving up on its principles are very hard to see."

Full article: This is no time for the NDP to ‘grow up’.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Toronto councillors campaign to ban ‘barbaric’ shark fin soup (in the Toronto Star)

"Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale), a past president of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto, told reporters at City Hall that she and her sisters stopped eating the traditional dish about a decade ago.

"“We are not going to bring up a fish — a shark that’s 150 pounds — from the ocean, cut off the fins and throw the rest of it back” to sink and die, she said.

"“That is just unsustainable, it’s not ethical fishing,” she said."

Full article: Toronto councillors campaign to ban ‘barbaric’ shark fin soup.

Not to mention that many shark species are now endangered...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thomas Walkom: Canada set to repeat Afghan aid flop (in the Toronto Star)

"Initiated by Afghanistan’s King Zahir Shah as a way to bolster his government’s prestige, the [Helmand and Arghandab Valley Authority (HAVA)] project soon got caught up in the politics of the Cold War.

"By 1950, the U.S. was bankrolling the scheme as a way to win the hearts and minds of Afghans and bring them firmly into the West’s camp.

"Between 1950 and 1965, the massive irrigation project, situated near Kandahar, received $80 million in U.S. aid — a staggering sum for those times.

"Ironically, the project — the one Canada is now rebuilding — just didn’t work...

"... fearful of losing prestige, Washington kept pumping money into HAVA. Even after the Americans left, following the Soviet invasion of 1979, the scheme continued in fits and starts.

"In 2001, Afghanistan’s then Taliban government completed a HAVA power project that had been started by the U.S. A few months later, the Americans bombed and destroyed the plant. Now it’s our turn."

Full article: Walkom: Canada set to repeat Afghan aid flop.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tim Harper: G8 legacy is deceit, pork barreling and promotions (in the Toronto Star)

"The language leans toward the bureaucratic, but this we know: Clement [Tony Clement, now President of Canada's Treasury Board] won approval for the funding by misleading Parliament — officially, “not informing” Parliament of his intent.

"He provided no rationale for the need for such a large “legacy” fund, leaving no paper trail to determine how he came up with his final gift list and doling out funds in a secretive cabal like he was the Godfather of the G8.

"For his fine work, Clement was promoted from industry minister to Treasury Board president, the guy who will protect you, the taxpayer, from superfluous and useless programs and cut $11 billion in fat from the government. ...

"Toronto’s G20 legacy is still unfolding, but it will include heavy-handed police tactics, unnecessary detention of law-abiding citizens, a city under siege, vandalism, small businesses denied compensation, an international black eye and the back of the hand from the Harper government.

"We didn’t even get a gazebo."

Full article: Tim Harper: G8 legacy is deceit, pork barreling and promotions.

David Olive: American recovery banking on recklessness (in the Toronto Star)

"Nor do fat CEO pay packages reward investors. J.P. Morgan Chase Jamie Dimon, who has fought most successfully against effective regulatory reforms, pocketed more than $20 million in pay last year. His bank’s shares have lost 14.9 per cent of their value in the past decade.

"By contrast, Robert Wilmers, longtime CEO of Buffalo-based regional bank M&T Bank Corp., a traditional commercial bank, was paid $2 million last year. This quiet crusader for meaningful bank reform has rewarded M&T shareholders with a 12.6 per cent gain over the past 10 years.

"As Wilmers noted in M&T’s 2010 CEO letter to shareholders, the pay of America’s highest-paid bank CEOs now equals 516 times average U.S. household income. That figure was 97 times in 1989."

Full article: Olive: American recovery banking on recklessness.

Conservatives misled Parliament over G8 costs: Auditor General (in the Toronto Star)

Conservatives misled Parliament over G8 costs: Auditor General.

Why am I not surprised?!

Why I did it: Senate page explains her throne speech protest (in the Toronto Star)

Why I did it: Senate page explains her throne speech protest.

She's good! Are we going to have to wait for the next generation to start our country - and in fact our planet - heading in the right direction?!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Christopher Hume: Misuse of natural resources is stealing our kids' future (in the Toronto Star)

Stewart Elgie is a University of Ottawa professor who chairs Sustainable Prosperity, a green economy think tank. He says we are "stealing from our kids".

"... Elgie’s report, Advancing the Economics of Biodiversity in Canada, to be released Monday, argues that market forces could be the answer to the country’s environmental crisis, not the cause.

"He uses the example of coal power, which generates one quarter of the electricity used in Ontario, as well as much of the province’s air pollution: “The cost of air pollution to the health system is $9 billion annually,” Elgie notes. “But we don’t pay that cost, so we think coal is cheaper than solar and wind power.”

"The same logic applies with water. As he says, “Charging the real price of water would help conservation enormously.” In Britain, where water costs three times as much as it does in Canada, people use one third as much as we do.

"And let’s not forget other natural features we take for granted — trees, swamps, wetlands, fields and so on."

Full article: Hume: Misuse of natural resources is stealing our kids' future.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rick Salutin: The strange, and very political, death of hope (in the Toronto Star)

Salutin: The strange, and very political, death of hope.

Rick puts his finger on one of today's major problems - but he's a little weak on possible solutions. Still, in this he's no different from the rest of us - and maybe this is the important first step...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The two degree window is closing: New energy report urges immediate climate action (in TckTckTck)

Posted on June 2, 2011 by Heather Libby in tcktcktck.org:

The two degree window is closing: New energy report urges immediate climate action.

Thomas Walkom: Mission accomplished? Not in Afghanistan (in the Toronto Star)

"In 2001, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan to bolster one side in a long-running civil war. Canada’s troops joined in a few months later.

"A decade later, that civil war rages on.

"The side we supported, now the government, remains almost as weak as it was in 2001. The side we opposed, the Taliban, remains almost as strong.

"And the Americans, who at one point vowed to destroy the Taliban, are now reportedly in peace talks with them."

Full article: Walkom: Mission accomplished? Not in Afghanistan.

It is not without cause that Afghanistan has been called "the graveyard of empires".

GAO Says F-35 Costs to Hit $1 Trillion (in "Today in the Military")

GAO Says F-35 Costs to Hit $1 Trillion.

Stephen Harper, did you see this?!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Carol Goar: Vigilance, not violence, at summits (in the Toronto Star)

"In Canada, we haven’t moved on a year after our conjoined summits — G8 in Huntsville, G20 in Toronto. The memories of violence in our streets remain raw. We’re still waiting for someone — the Prime Minister, the public safety minister, the head of the RCMP, the premier of Ontario or the chief of the Toronto police force — to take responsibility for what happened. ...

"It is too early to say that French President Nicolas Sarkozy got it right. He hasn’t hosted his country’s G20 summit yet. It is scheduled for November.

"But he did demonstrate that a country on high security alert — the Deauville summit came 25 days after the U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden — can protect world leaders without trampling on the rights of its citizens or allowing its police to run amok."

Full article: Goar: Vigilance, not violence, at summits.

Heather Mallick writing about Bradley Manning (in the Toronto Star)

"The real question is why the leaks didn’t happen sooner. At some point the U.S. government has to admit responsibility for putting a boy into conditions that threatened his sanity, even after admitting that this was a very bad idea. It alone was responsible for storing its secrets in the security equivalent of a 7-Eleven store at 3 a.m. It was responsible for leaving these secrets with a wraith it no longer trusted with a gun."

Full article: Mallick: Pint-sized casualty of America’s wars.