On the Left Side

village-officiallyVillage officially most age-friendly place in the Cowichan Valley

10075980Site C dam a threat to $8 billion in ecological values

Colorado Fracking Boom Photo EssayGAO Report: Drinking Water At Risk From Underground Fracking Waste Injection

AP185129025261-795x498
MintPress Interview On BBC Radio: Media Bias On Gaza Coverage

140728_pol_kerry_israel2_16x9_992US Fuming Over Israeli Criticism of Kerry

BN-DW252_0728un_G_20140728122352U.N. Secretary-General Escalates Criticism of Gaza Operations

Lisa-GoldmanThe Gaza war has done terrible things to Israeli society

Elizabeth MayRift over Gaza blog post rocks Green Party

Angela Merkel
Germany to Reject EU-Canada Trade Deal

fire faucetFracking in Nova Scotia should be put on hold to allow for more study

Duncan City Hall Citizens satisfied with Duncan's direction

Atwood-HarperCRA smacks PEN Canada with audit in latest of Harper government's attack on charities

israeli_strike.jpg.size.xxlarge.promoGabor Mate-Beautiful dream of Israel has become a nightmare

cvrd_logo3Cowichan Residents Urged to Conserve Water

10029938Vaughn Palmer: B.C.’s LNG clock ticks as price in Asia plunges

ChomskyNoam Chomsky, America's Real Foreign Policy

hospital-insetNBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack on Children

201471812341502734_20Canada's oil sands linked to health woes

gaza_children_massacres_0Open Letter to the NDP: It's time to condemn Israel's massacres

06697825-700x500The NDP’s simmering civil war over Gaza

question-period-20130531Elizabeth May backs Green Party motion condemning 'illegal' Israeli settlements

students-walkout-cartoon610pxWhy BC Libs Push to Privatize Public Education

Premier ClarkBC debt hits new record high as Public Accounts released
By Bob Mackin

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 12.27.19 PM.jpgMalaysian passenger plane ‘with 295 people aboard shot down’ in Ukraine near Russian border

mike_de_jong_p2963690Provincial debt jumps $4B- Gee!
The BC Liberal's told us they were good at running the economy.

 

19363ea9-c1c7-4168-b4af-3dee225866dbNorthern Gateway facing legal doom: eight new First Nations lawsuits (VIDEO)

Sharia Law in Pakistan's Swat Valley and North-West Frontier ProvinceWill you stand with Malala?

imagesMedical and Health Associations Opposed to Incineration

UnknownBroken Ground-David Suzuki Foundation

AP0508150192731-638x440Chevron Admits The Truth: Oil Shale Will Use Huge Amounts Of Western Water

Shale-oil-highly-volatile-experts-confirm
Oil From U.S. Fracking Is More Volatile Than Expected

imagesA Look Back at the Town That Didn’t Back Down to Fracking

'The mother narrative to all this is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots.'
It's simple. If we can't change our economic system, our number's up

o-BC-CLASSROOM-570What B.C. Public School Classrooms Look Like Without Stuff Boughts By Teachers

Archives

SaskPower To Uninstall Smart Meters Due To Safety Issues

Imagine this happening in BC! The BCNDP Opposition had raised concerns about safety and the overall approach taken by BC Hydro under direction of the BC Liberals.  Now this…

REGINA – SaskPower has announced that they are removing all the smart meters that were installed in the province.

The minister responsible for SaskPower Bill Boyd said the utility company will be taking out all 105,000 smart meters around Saskatchewan.

“I think the concerns about safety are paramount here, the concerns are significant enough, anytime families are at risk in Saskatchewan, actions have to be taken and that’s why we’ve directed SaskPower accordingly,” said Minister Boyd.

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales Declares Israel Terrorist State

I doubt that Israel recognized the ability of the Palestinian’s to survive the onslaught as long as they have.

Throughout the world revulsion at the slaughter of defenseless residents is causing calls for big changes in the mid east.

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The President of Bolivia Evo Morales (AFP Photo)

Bolivia has declared Israel to be a “terrorist state” and renounced a visa exemption agreement with the country in protest over the ongoing Israeli military offense in Gaza which already killed more than 1,300 dead and left over 7,000 wounded.

Canceling the 1972 agreement which allowed Israelis to travel freely to Bolivia “means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state,” the country’s President Evo Morales announced.

Morales explained that Operation Protective edge clearly shows that “Israel is not a guarantor of the principles of respect for life and the elementary precepts of rights that govern the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of our international community.”

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Feminist Therese Casgrain Disappears From Public History Under Harper Government

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

 

This shows the smallness of Steve Harper. What the hell is going on that we allow ourselves to be governed by this miserable  piss-ant!

Our structures are failing us. Canada’s democracy is not much more than an elected dictatorship.

Check out this story by Canadian Press reporter Dean Beeby

 

The Therese Casgrain Volunteer Award, was started in 1982 by the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau.

It honoured Canadian activists such as June Callwood until it was eliminated — unannounced —by the Harper government in 2010.

An image of Casgrain and her namesake volunteer-award medal also disappeared from Canada’s $50 bank note in 2012, replaced by the image of an icebreaker on a new currency series.

image

An image of the so-called Famous Five women was removed from the same bank note.

“It was a very difficult thing for the family to see the award disappear all of a sudden,” Michele Nadeau, Casgrain’s granddaughter, said in an interview. “It was a great disappointment.”

PM Harper, mean spirited, out of sync with Canadians

PM Harper, mean spirited, out of sync with Canadians

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, which had administered the Casgrain award, was instructed in 2010 to create a Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award in its place, to be handed out in a ceremony each year presided over by Stephen Harper.

PM Pierre Trudeau

PM Pierre Trudeau

Casgrain fought for the right of Quebec women to vote, which they finally won in 1940. She also became the first female leader of a political party in Canada, heading the CCF in Quebec, and was appointed to the Senate in 1970 by Trudeau.

A spokesman for Employment and Social Development Canada, the successor department to Human Resources, says the Casgrain award was reviewed in 2010 following the fall speech from the throne, which announced plans for a new volunteer award.

“Discussions took place with the Casgrain Foundation and it was decided that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada end the … program, rather than re-orient and re-launch it,” Pierre Nolet said in an email.

“There was no public announcement of its end. The spirit and objectives of the Therese Casgrain Volunteer Award were retained in two national categories of the PMVA (Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award).”

web-money-1016Nadeau, however, says her family and the Montreal-based Therese Casgrain Foundation, which she heads, were not consulted about whether the award should be eliminated.

“We were informed of a sort of internal review that was done by the Human Resources Department, and they decided to discontinue. But we were never consulted.”

“Basically, we were advised that at some point the award would be discontinued. … Members of the family, the grandchildren, etc., the great grandchildren, were rather upset.”

Mulroney yanked it first

Mulroney yanked it first

The Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards, launched in 2011, honour 17 Canadians from across the country each year. The awards ceremony was held Feb. 27 this year in Toronto, with Harper personally presenting a medal and certificate to each winner, and having his picture taken with them.

The Casgrain Award was killed once before by the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney in 1990, but was revived in 2001 by the Chretien Liberals.

Two members of the Therese Casgrain Foundation sat on the selection committee for the two volunteer awards handed out each year, but Human Resources handled all the administration. Much the same group of public servants now administers the new prime minister’s award.

Former PM Jean Chretien-reinstated the award.

Former PM Jean Chretien-reinstated the award.

The department gave the Casgrain family two commemorative packages about the Casgrain award and its 31 recipients after the demise, including a book and a copy of the medal.

A $51,000 focus-group study commissioned by the federal government in late 2010 found strong resistance to naming a volunteer award after the prime minister.

“They (participants) were uncomfortable with the notion that through the reference to ‘Prime Minister’ there was the possibility that the awards might be perceived to be political in nature,” said the Harris-Decima report.

“Not-for-profit organizations shared particularly strong feelings about this issue.” Few participants felt ‘prime minister’ conveyed any sense of prestige.

Another volunteer award begun in 1995, the Caring Canadian Award, is handed out by the Governor General each year.

Other elements of Canada’s past have gone uncommemorated in recent years, notably the 25th and 30th anniversaries of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, signed into law in 1982 under Pierre Trudeau.

In 2012, Harper suggested “divisions” around the patriation of the Constitution kept the government from commemorating the 30th anniversary, a reference to the fact Quebec did not sign the deal.

Former Enbridge Lobbyist Named New Head of B.C. Government Communications Branch

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

During the Dog Days of Summer few are paying attention to the political scene, but that is often when they sneak through programs, reports and in this case a shocking appointment that will not be glossed over no matter how hot it is.

Ms Premier Christy Clark may have actually set a new low with this latest scheme.

It will be interesting to see how the media responds to this sleazy move.

BTW, Has anybody seen Mark Marrisen lately? Is there a connection?

Carol Linnit from Desmog Canada broke this story and we are glad that she did.

desmogca_logo

Exclusive: Former Enbridge Lobbyist John Paul Fraser Named New Head of B.C. Government Communications Branch

The newly appointed head of the B.C. government’s communications branch is a former lobbyist for Enbridge Inc., the company that hopes to build the $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline stretching 1,200 kilometres from the Alberta oilsands to Kitimat on the B.C. coast.  READ MORE

Forum Research Poll
Trudeau’s Liberals Open Up Wide Lead Over Conservatives-NDP Trail

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

This is encouraging news for Justin Trudeau and his Liberals. They have stretched their lead over the Conservatives and the trailing NDP.

It is still a long time until the scheduled October 19th, 2015 Federal Election but the trend continues to show Trudeau pulling away from the Harper led Conservatives.

Both Harper and Mulcair could still be replaced as it is becoming clear that their respective parties will not advance with them remaining as leader.

Will they step down or toppled when their MP’s see that they may not stand much chance of being re-elected with their present leaders. Their may well the rank and file members shaking the bushes. Of course denials will be as common as Wednesday, for a while anyway.

Harper may have simply run out of time. In politics the longer that you are in office the more friends you have, and the more enemies.

Under Harper’s leadership Canada has veered sharply to the right and embarrassed many Canadians on the international stage.

Steve has been punching over his weight for a while now and the majority of voters have rejected his attack on the environment, public services and blind loyalty to his oil and gas corporate backers.

Prior to Trudeau opening up the lead there was chatter that the NDP and Liberals should join forces or engage in some sort of strategic voting to rid Canada of the Harper Conservatives.  That no longer seems to be the case.

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Both Steve Harper and Thomas Mulcair are control freaks allowing little if any free expression from their caucus members. It is all framed, stamped and approved or it is not tolerated. Little wonder that voters see them as all the same.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s numbers are only at 3 percent but her popularity will most likely see her re-elected. Whether she manages to see additional Greens elected is unknown.

Harper runs close to his parties popularity but Mulcair leads his party creating a vaccum that could result in a major NDP meltdown after the votes are counted.

Mulcair, a former Quebec Liberal, has shifted the NDP away from their traditional progressive posture. He runs the NDP with an iron fist resulting in little limelight for the subservient whipped NDP MP’s who trail the leader in support.

Will that change? Will NDP MP’s rebel or continue to be whipped into supporting Mulcair’s conservative approach.

Canadian’s could finally be in for some lively politics if NDP’ers and Conservatives read the tea leaves and move to dump their leaders in time to bring in new leadership. That ball could be kicked into play sooner rather than later.

For the Conservatives and NDP that is their only hope.

In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1624 Canadian voters, the Liberals have opened up a convincing 16 point lead on the Conservatives (44% to 28%), while the NDP has ticked downwards to less than a fifth (18%).

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This is in comparison with this time last month, when the Liberal lead was a more modest  8 points (June 18, Liberals – 39%, Conservatives – 31%).

Few will vote Bloc Quebecois (5% of total, 20% in Quebec) or Green (3%) or for any other party (1%). The Liberal vote is strong among Boomers (55 to 64 – 53%), in Atlantic Canada (53%) and Ontario (50%).

The Conservative vote is common to the oldest (35%), males (34%) and Albertans (55%). There is a significant gender gap among Conservative supporters (34% male, 23% female) which does not exist with respect to the other two main opposition parties.

Trudeau favourables up, Harper, Mulcair steady Justin Trudeau has the approval of close to half of Canadian voters (46%) and this represents a slight increase since last month (43%). His net favourable score (approve minus disapprove) is +9, up from +5 last month.

Tom Mulcair has the approval of 4-in-10 (40%), stable from last month (38%), and his net is at +10, up from +4.

Stephen Harper has the approval of one third (33%), and his net is a very negative -25.

Trudeau has slight edge as best PM Justin Trudeau is seen to be the best Prime Minister by 3-in-10 (30%), up from just more than a quarter last month (27%). Stephen Harper trails with just more than a quarter (27%), stable from last month (28%). One eighth see Tm Mulcair as the best Prime Minister (16%) and this hasn’t changed since mid-June.

Read more

Once And For All

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-
Political Blogger

Like so many of you I am reading and observing the Palestinian onslaught from afar.

The positions seem to be so absolute, so tightly held that it is a challenge to grasp the sense of it sometimes.

This Uri Avnery piece was sent to me recently and makes as much sense as anything that I have read or heard. It was published in Haaretz two weeks ago but still is relevant today.

IN THIS war, both sides have the same aim: to put an end to the situation that existed before it started.

To put an end to the launching of rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, Once And For All!

To put an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt, Once And For All!

So why don’t the two sides come together without foreign interference and agree on tit for tat?

They can’t because they don’t speak to each other. They can kill each other, but they cannot speak with each other. God forbid.

THIS IS NOT a war on terror. The war itself is an act of terror.

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

Neither side has a strategy other than terrorizing the civilian population of the other side.

The Palestinian fighting organizations in Gaza try to impose their will by launching rockets at Israeli towns and villages, hoping that this will break the morale of the population and compel it to end the blockade that turns the Gaza Strip into an “open-air prison”.

The Israeli army is bombing the Gaza Strip population and destroying entire neighborhoods, hoping that the inhabitants (those who survive) will shake off the Hamas leadership.

Both hopes are, of course, stupid. History has shown time and again that terrorizing a population causes it to unite behind its leaders and hate the enemy even more. That is happening now on both sides.

SPEAKING ABOUT the two sides in a war, one can hardly avoid creating the impression of symmetry. But this war is far from symmetric.

Israel has one of the largest and most efficient military machines in the world. Hamas and its local allies amount to a few thousand fighters, if that.

The closest analogy one can find is the mythical story of David and Goliath. But this time we are Goliath, and they David.

The story is generally misunderstood. True, Goliath was a giant and David a small shepherd, but Goliath was armed with old-fashioned weapons – heavy armor, sword and shield – and could hardly move, while David had a new-fangled surprise weapon, the sling, with which he could kill from a distance.

Hamas hoped to achieve the same with its rockets, whose reach was a surprise. Also with the number and efficiency of their tunnels, which are reaching into Israel. However, this time Goliath too was inventive, and the Iron Dome missile batteries intercepted practically all the rockets that could have harmed population centers, including my neighborhood in Tel Aviv.

By now we know that neither side can compel the other side to capitulate. It’s a draw. So why go on killing and destroying?

Ah, there’s the rub. We can’t talk to each other. We need intermediaries.

A CARTOON in Haaretz this week shows Israel and Hamas fighting, and a bunch of mediators dancing in a circle around them.
mediators

They all want to mediate. They are fighting each other because each of them wants to mediate, if possible alone. Egypt, Qatar, the US, the UN, Turkey, Mahmoud Abbas, Tony Blair and several more. Mediators galore. Each wants to gain something from the misery of war.

It’s a sorry lot. Most of them pitiful, some of them outright disgusting.

Take Egypt, ruled by a bloodstained military dictator. He is a full-time collaborator with Israel, as was Hosny Mubarak before him, only more efficient. Since Israel controls all the other land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian border is Gaza’s only outlet to the world.

But Egypt, the former leader of the Arab world, is now a subcontractor of Israel, more determined than Israel itself to starve the Gaza Strip and kill Hamas. Egyptian TV is full of “journalists” who curse the Palestinians in the most vulgar terms and grovel before their new Pharaoh. But Egypt now insists on being the sole broker of the cease-fire.

BN-DW252_0728un_G_20140728122352

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The UN Secretary General is rushing around. He was chosen for his job by the US because he is not outstandingly clever. Now he looks pitiful.

But not more pitiful than John Kerry, a pathetic figure flying hither and thither, trying to convince everyone that the US is still a world power. Gone are the days when Henry Kissinger commanded the leaders of Israel and the Arab countries what to do and what not (especially telling them not to talk to each other, but only to him.)

What exactly is the role of Mahmoud Abbas? Nominally, he is the president of the Gaza Strip, too. But he gives the impression of trying to mediate between the de facto Gaza government and the world. He is much closer to Tel Aviv than to Gaza.

And so the list goes on. The ridiculous figure of Tony Blair. The European Foreign Ministers trying to get a photo opportunity with their neo-fascist Israeli colleague. Altogether, a disgusting sight.

I want to cry out to my government and to the Hamas leaders: For God’s sake, forget about the whole sorry lot, talk to each other!

THE PALESTINIAN fighting capabilities are surprising everyone, especially the Israeli army. Instead of begging for a ceasefire by now, Hamas is refusing until its demands are met, while Binyamin Netanyahu seems eager to stop before sinking even deeper into the Gaza morass – a nightmare for the army.

John Kerry's efforts described as pathetic

John Kerry’s efforts described as pathetic

The last war began with the assassination of the Hamas military commander, Ahmad al-Jaabari. His successor is an old acquaintance, Mohammed Deif, whom Israel has tried to assassinate several times, causing him severe injuries. It now appears that he is far more capable than his predecessor – the web of tunnels, the production of far more effective rockets, the better trained fighters – all this attests to a more competent leader.

(This has happened before. We assassinated a Hizbollah leader, Abbas al-Mussawi, and got the far more talented Hassan Nasrallah.)

In the end, some kind of cease-fire will come into being. It will not be the end Once And For All. It never is.

What will remain?

THE HATRED between the two sides has grown. It will remain.

Hatred has grown-Will it remain?

Hatred has grown-Will it remain?

The hatred of many Israelis for Israel’s Arab citizens has grown considerably, and this cannot be repaired for a long time. Israeli democracy has been hard hit. Neo-Fascist groups, once a fringe, are now accepted in the mainstream. Some cabinet ministers and Knesset members are outright fascist.

They are acclaimed now by almost all the world’s leaders and repeat parrot-like Netanyahu’s most threadbare propaganda slogans. But millions around the world have seen day after day the terrible pictures of devastation and death in the Gaza Strip. These will not be eradicated from their minds by a cease-fire. Israel’s already precarious standing in the world will sink even lower.

Inside Israel itself, decent people feel more and more uncomfortable. I have heard many utterances by simple people who suddenly talk about emigration. The choking atmosphere inside the country, the awful conformism of all our media (with Haaretz a shining exception), the certainty that war will follow war forever – all this is leading young people to dream about a quiet life with their families in Los Angeles or Berlin.

In the Arab world the consequences will be even worse.

Something to hope for.

Something to hope for.

For the first time, almost all Arab governments have openly embraced Israel in the fight against Hamas. For young Arabs anywhere, this is an act of shameful humiliation.

The Arab Spring was an uprising against the corrupt, oppressive and shameless Arab elite. The identification with the plight of the forsaken Palestinian people was an important part of this.

What has happened now is, from the point of view of today’s young Arabs, worse, much worse. Egyptian generals, Saudi princes, Kuwaiti emirs and their peers throughout the region stand before their younger generation naked and contemptible, while the Hamas fighters look like shining examples. Unfortunately, this reaction may lead to an even more radical Islamism.

WHILE STANDING in an anti-war demonstration in Tel Aviv, I was asked by a nice young man: “OK, assuming that this war is bad, what would you do at 6 o’clock after the war?” (That was the name of a famous World War II Soviet movie.)

Well, to start with I would drive away all the mediators and start to talk directly with fighters of the other side.

2women

Fire the mediators and have the Israeli’s and Palestinian’s talk face to face.

I would agree to put an immediate end to the land, sea and air blockade of the Gaza Strip and allow the Gazans to build a decent port and airport. On all routes, effective controls must ensure that no weapons are let in.

I would ask that Hamas, after receiving international guarantees, remove in reasonable stages all rockets and destroy all tunnels under the border.

I would certainly release at once all the Shalit-exchange prisoners who were re-arrested at the start of the present crisis. An obligation undertaken under pressure is still an obligation, and cheating by a government is still ugly.

I would recognize, and call upon the world to recognize, the Palestinian Unity Government and do nothing to impede free Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections, under international inspection.

A worthwhile goal

A worthwhile goal

I would undertake to respect the results, whatever they may be.

I would immediately start honest peace negotiations with the unified Palestinian leadership, on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative. Now that so many Arab governments embrace Israel, there seems to be a unique chance for a peace agreement.

In short, put an end to the war Once And For All.

I Support BC Teachers!

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Can BC restore sovereignty and regain control of its destiny through democratic reforms

Mid Summer Musings

Can BC restore sovereignty and regain control of its destiny through democratic reforms that make our public institutions accountable to the people they purport to represent?

Kevin Logan - Cowichan Conversations Contributor

Kevin Logan – Cowichan Conversations Contributor

By Kevin Logan

In BC conflating Environmentalism and Politics is a mainstay. Is it possible to restore environmentalism in BC to be freed of partisan politics and more in tune with the actual environment? Here is where environmentalists can learn a lot from the rich and much longer history of the labour movement.

Much like labour the environmental movement has hitched itself to a political party. This approach did not and has not served labour well as a force for progressive change, but rather doing so allowed electoral politics to marginalize the agenda of the majority of the populace otherwise known as working people..

Interest groups, or lobbies like labour and environmentalism are much more able to forward their cause as independent, partisan-free organizations whose sole intent is to leverage whoever is in power to make gains for their constituency. In this vein it is of course crucial to be political, however if such a group is already committed to a political body it impedes their ability to properly leverage gains regardless of who is in power and what industry dominates the economic and political landscape.

Environmentalism in BC has not only marginalized progressive environmental policy and the desires of BC’s majority by embedding itself in the Green Party, but in so doing have adopted green party politics. It is obvious to anyone paying attention that the Green Party in BC is an enabling mechanism for the dominant industries and political players most all of which are antithetical to what are commonly understood to be green values and policy objectives. At least as they are advertised. Simple adjustments like electing environmental leaders through democratic reform of their organizations could be one small step to avert such dichotomy.

As it is self appointed leaders of green organizations dominate in BC and what we see are the brownest industries on earth undertaking an agenda that is everything but green advanced under an unelected social license machine that markets itself as a green. This is not incidental or new or just an inconvenience. Nor is it a tactical tool of major industry such as greenwashing, but rather it is a well-honed, long practiced underpinning of both our corporate and social fabric. As a result those that exploit oil, gas, timber, minerals and other resources are inextricably linked to the green movement and its lead organizations. It’s not simply a synergy or an alignment of convenience but rather it is one in the same.

This result is not unlike the history of the labour movement in BC despite labour having a more democratic footing and elected leadership – which only proves that democratic reform is but one step in the right direction. The two movements have much in common and face similar challenges which is why it has always seemed odd to me that labour and environmentalism have been pitted against each other often resulting in political failure for progressive people, policy and politicians.

The old saw “Economy vs Environment” that has brought BC’s progressive forces to their knees is a false political construct, one foisted upon us by regressive forces. Its akin to suggesting to someone their car does not run because of the “air vs gasoline” problem. While it is true that a combustion engine depends almost entirely on the air/gas mixture, these forces are not opposed but rather they are required to work in harmony to achieve just the right balance in order to best perform as a finely tuned machine.

Its pretty clear to me that we are not going to be scrapping the combustible engine that is our “global economy” despite it setting the world on fire, but we in BC can work to ensure the economy and environment balance is that of a well performing machine. That sort of tune up is what BC needs and may still be within our grasp.

One step in that direction is to restore lobby and Interest groups autonomy through law. This could include or rather should force them to be non partisan, while providing a framework for forwarding policy objectives and political goals that is much more defined so as to level the playing field and neuter the abuse undertaken by the powerful and privileged who manipulate perception and public opinion with front groups whose true agenda is often far removed from their public mandate.

From there political party reforms are required .These could reinforce this notion by banning ‘Lobby and Interest Groups ‘from holding membership blocks in political parties while simultaneously ending their ability to finance parties. This cold be achieved by simply funding parties solely with public dollars and capping their election marketing campaign expenditures. All of which could level the political playing field by offering each party the same access to the public with the same capacity to spread their message.

And of course no parties should be run by Hill and Knowlton or other major corporate lobbies, and especially not their election campaigns, all of which should be clearly banned in law.

The Toronto Star has just published a piece that a well respected journalist couple have decided to run on the issue of the status of political parties that is worth a read.

Regardless, serious reforms are required, this is becoming evident to the majority now. However fundamental change is never easy, and often we see where such changes result in even worse setbacks especially if the general trajectory is downward, which seems to be the case in North America. And certainly when they are about stripping power and privilege from those we have allowed to gain such immense power and privilege. Such entitlement is not easy to erase or even correct.

egaThese are the circumstances that give rise to organizations like Tides and its offshoots such as Dogwood. There have always been groups that pander to power – shoulder to the wheel – while working to inspire hope and change amongst the faithful and downtrodden, progressive thinking populace. Its a necessary component to political stability in a “capitalist” society run by oligarchs.

Labour has long been down this road and has long fulfilled this role, in BC and elsewhere. Environmentalism seems to be their junior partner now as the house of labour allowed itself to become stagnant and often irrelevant in our fast changing world and labour market. So we see a partnering now, not one that delivers political victory but rather one that continues to sustain the oligarchical system, while working to maintain stability and manufacturing consent.

If BC is to survive the global corporate onslaught currently being ushered in by the oligarchs we need to get busy reforming the long established mainstays of our political culture, which ranges from FN political bodies through environmentalism and labour as well as our political parties.

These are all public institutions made up of British Columbians, therefor change is within our grasp. Doing so may allow us to avert simply being manipulated by a small minority who wear these institutions like sock puppets in surround sound in order to to implement their strategy and devise a rhetorical narrative that drives the plunder of our Province.

Time is short and resistance is no longer a luxury but instead has become necessary for our collective well being.

Join the Blue Dot Tour

Rafe asks: Is ‘lying’ too strong a word for Clark Libs’ LNG fibs?

Rafe-Clarks-LNG-fibs-piling-up

 

Rafe Mair has struggled with our Premier’s lack of ‘truthiness’ when it comes to the straight goods on LNG. If it were not so serious it would be downright hilarious. Most are not prepared, especially on big issues, to face fabricated stories from the make believe ‘Christy Clark World of Pretend.’

Here is Rafe Mair’s attempt, plus video and some independent analysis from straight talking experts in the LNG field.

 

Bob Williams on Voice of BC- Vaughn Palmer

Bob Williams

Bob Williams

Bob Williams was the intellect and a driving force behind the BC NDP government that ran from 1972 to 1975. In that short time that Dave Barrett government accomplished more than any government before of since.

Mr. Williams is a Board Member of Vancity, one of North America’s largest credit unions, and is the former Minister of Resources in the B.C. government.

Corky Evans

Corky Evans

With Vancity, Mr. Williams was instrumental in supporting the founding of the subsidiary Vancity Capital Corporation, which provides mezzanine financing to small- and medium-sized businesses.

As Minister of Resources in the government of former Premier Dave Barrett, he played a central role in preserving Whistler and establishing the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Dave Barrett Premier of BC 1972-1975

Dave Barrett Premier of BC 1972-1975

In recent years, Mr. Williams—who was responsible for the forestry portfolio as a cabinet minister–has developed a new vision for re-building BC’s forest industry.

This vision is built on the idea of de-centralizing management of our lands and forests to the regional level in order to free and empower the creative capacity of the people in the regions, create full and meaningful employment, and more vibrant regional cities.

Corky Evans longtime political favourite introduces this video that includes a number of politicians, commentators and pundits.

Watch the Vancouver Sun’s Legislative columnist Vaughn Palmer interview Bob Williams here.

Muslim Double Standards Abound

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

This piece by Tarek Fatah appeared in the Toronto Star’s Middle East Forum last week and was sent  to Cowichan Conversations as a comment. Upon reading it I determined that while it is a good comment piece it should be elevated to a post.

It offers readers a fresh perspective and draws upon the thousands of deaths in the Syria conflict and also in Pakistan pointing out that there is an absence of coverage, awareness and outrage resulting from the horrendous experiences there. It is worthwhile for so many of us trying to get are heads around what is happening in the mide-east.

528If there is a God, he has some explaining to do.

On the one hand he tells us Muslims in the Qur’an that we are “the best of peoples, evolved for mankind”, but then showers us with leaders who bring out the worst in the human soul.

If the murderous spree some of my fellow Muslims have embraced is not enough, their hypocrisy of playing the victim card makes the rest of the world cringe in anger, if not outrage.

As I write, Muslims around the world have taken to the streets and social media to protest Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, that has resulted in the deaths of nearly 200 Palestinians.

Undoubtedly the death of 200 Arabs, many of them civilian women and children, is tragic and worthy of condemnation.

However, just next door to Israel almost 200,000 Arabs have been killed by fellow Arabs in Syria, but that tragedy has triggered no public demonstrations of anger in Islamic capitals, let alone in Toronto.

Let us examine two military operations by two countries against what they describe as Islamic terrorists belonging to radical jihadi movements.

While Israel’s Operation Protective Edge is making the lead story around the world, few are aware of Pakistan’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb (Strike of Prophet Muhammad’s Sword) underway against the Taliban inside Pakistan.

Israel’s military operations have killed about 200 and displaced about 17,000 Palestinians from their homes in Gaza.

Pakistan’s military operations, on the other hand, have killed over 400 and made over 900,000 Pashtun Pakistanis homeless and destitute in their own country.

While the 17,000 Palestinians are finding shelter in United Nations Relief and Works Agency structures, nearly one million Pakistanis are facing a catastrophe that has triggered neither media coverage, nor international aid or protest.

On Monday, a day after an Israeli missile killed 18 family members of the Hamas police chief in Gaza, Iraqi men in Baghdad slaughtered 28 Iraqi women.

There was plenty of fury over the dead family, almost none for the women, for they were alleged to be residents of a brothel, as if that mattered.

Allah’s “best of peoples, evolved for mankind”, clearly live by a double standard, the one that triggers mammoth support for Palestinians but absolutely none for Pashtuns.

Here’s why. It is not the race or religion of the victim that counts, but the identity of their tormentor.

As long as it’s an Arab army annihilating fellow Arabs or a Muslim military murdering fellow Muslims, too many Muslims simply shrug away our responsibility and say, “leave it to Allah” as the Qur’an supposedly commands.

However, if the Muslim falls victim to the “kuffar” — meaning the Jew, Christian or Hindu — then many of our clerics take to the pulpit and deliver fiery, end-of-times lectures, using the tragedy as a reason to ignite hatred against the other, in most cases “The Jew”.

I wonder if God has heard this mosque sermon by a prominent Pakistani cleric.

“And a time is about to come when Allah would bestow such a success on Islam that there would not be a single Jew left on the face of the earth. … And when the last Jew will be killed from this world, then peace would be established in the world …”

It would appear the depth of hatred many of God’s “best of people” disseminate, needs his attention.

That is, if he is listening at all ?

The Israeli Attack on Gaza – You Will Not See This On the MSM

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Lead CBC News story the other day told that an Israeli soldier had been killed and the Palestinian’s continue to fire rockets. They eventually got to the part of the story where 52 more Palestinians were killed and score more injured.

Obama and Harper both roll over in fear of the political reaction if they dare to tell the truth about the reality of the slaughter that is still underway.

There is one big difference this time and that is that word is getting out in spite of our political leaders. In Canada Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair are wilfully lying through their teeth in their unquestioning obedience to one of the biggest lies in the world today.

palestinian-loss-of-land-1946-2010
Of course Israel deserves security but their continued ‘ethnic cleansing’ and outright theft of Palestinian land is far and beyond their security requirements. It is not anti-Semitic to call a spade a spade. The extreme right-wing Israeli’s are dictating the agenda and direction pursued.

The Palestinian people have endured decades of abuse, loss of land, and right to exist under the Israeli’s insatiable occupation of stolen lands. All the while our politicians, terrified of losing votes, roll over and perpetuate the lie.

There are very large Natural Gas finds off the Palestinian Coast but that too is being stolen by the Israeli’s. That is what is behind much of the driving force propelling this charade over Israeli security.

This time ‘Social Media , Alternate News Sites, Comediens and Bloggers are often beating the MSM to the punch. It is not happening overnight, but it is happening and it is growing.

There is not an impenetrable wall of Israeli solidarity. A substantial and growing number of Israelis and Jews worldwide are decrying the violence, the illegal occupations of Palestinian land, in their names.

Jews have made our world a kinder gentler place through their contributions to Arts, Music, Theatre, Comedy, Literature, Medicine and Law and that truth must not be lost because of the fanatical right wing Israeli extremists. It must be an unbearable burden for so many.

It is mainly the Israeli extremists driving this murderous mission, but still the MSM obediently mislead and ignore so much of what is happening today. Jews and Israeli’s who oppose this madness and speak against the genocidal mission of the Israeli extremists are labeled as ‘Self Hating Jews.’

Israelis watch bombings of Gaza from Sderot hillside

Israelis sit on a hill to watch air strikes on Gaza, some bring drinks and snacks as they cheer the explosions a few miles away. Photograph: UPI/Landov/Barcroft Media

For a real look at the intimidation, intolerance and hatred being spewed by the militant right wing Israelis check this out.

The Israelis and the Palestinians must reconcile and repatriate much of the stolen Palestinian land. The UN must be allowed to do its’ job without being blocked by the US and their allies.

Look at the map again. Ask yourself if this is right or wrong.

Finally, take a few minutes to read this important post from ‘Storm Clouds Gathering’ (SCG) and gain insights through their coverage that includes live video that you will never see on the MSM.

 

So Many Problems in the Peace River Country Over Gas Extraction and Nobody Seems to Care.

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

 

This personal report had been making the rounds of listserves and recently was released for public viewing.

Leona Green is fighting back and speaking truth to the ‘Natural Gas’ establishment, government officials and opposition politicians.

The following information took over two months to compile by contacting many residents all over the Peace area.

The extraction of natural gas is steaming ahead at an alarming rate in all areas of the Peace. I have interviewed many landowners and the answers and problems related to gas extraction are all the same. Multiply the cases listed below by many hundreds and imagine the devastation.

UnknownWilma Avery (permission granted to use her name). Severely gassed in 2011 by a gas plant seen from her kitchen door. Sent from Dawson Creek to Prince George hospital where she spent two week, three days in ICU. Diagnosis, chemical pneumonia.

Doctors advised one more gassing would kill her. Now surrounded by one gas plant,three gas wells, one transfer station and one pipeline.

Has managed to sell her farm for half value. Was able to sell only as there is a gravel pit on the property. Leaving the area the end of August. Still suffers from a chronic cough, nausea, sinus infections and vertigo, all due to gassing.

Julie (real name withheld). Surrounded by seven gas wells, one transfer station,two pipelines, one effluent pond (fracking waste) with collecting station. Unable to sell her farm, no one wants to live there. May have to walk away for her health. When officials were asked what if the pond leaches toxins onto her land, the person shrugged his shoulders and walked away..

frackingFaith (real name withheld). Lives near a large gas plant and several wells and pipelines. Plants are equipped with warning sirens in case of equipment failure. She heard the siren loud and clear and ran to call the emergency number as she was supposed to do.

She received a recorded message telling her to leave her number and they would call back (they never did) Not knowing which way to go, she got in her vehicle and headed for town. She was unable to find any information at all as did anyone else and to this day no reason was found for the warning siren.

Many stories from residents of the symptoms from natural gas exposure: severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, extreme fatigue,weakness and memory loss are only a few of the complaints. Many stories of residents listing their property for sale and after many months of trying to sell have given up and just accept their fate. One man told me he had been gassed so many times he could no longer work and has just given up.

fracking-300x225The Montney Basin, persons living and working there, similar problems. One person informed me that the gas there is 28% H2S as told to her by family members who work there on the rigs.

The gas plant which is being constructed by me and which puts me in the (kill zone) has over one hundred and thirty residences just in the (kill Zone) Emergency Response Zone.

It would be impossible to evacuate everyone in the event of an accident.This plant has been approved without an environmental assessment certificate which is typical of all projects in this area.

All natural gas in the Americas, north, south, east and west is sour. It contains sulphur …..has hydrogen sulfide —-sweet gas is an industry prompted illusion. Brief exposures above 200 parts per million can cause severe effects including death but turning it around …. months of exposure to one to five parts per million of doing the same thing. Hydrogen sulfide, when is in a bit of moisture turns to hydro sulfurous acid and then if it is further oxidized it becomes sulfuric acid.

Sulfuric acid is one of the mineral acids that will eat metal and that is why it eats pipes. And that is why everything that is conducted in hydrogen sulfide corrodes and when it corrodes it leaks…so there is no leak proof system. Every well, plant, transfer station, pipeline, etc. leak.

imagesI am told that the gas extraction is greatly needed to fund our medical system and educational system. Our medical system here is third world.

Not enough staff for our hospitals and not enough doctors. A waiting list of 80 persons waiting for abed in the care home. So they are being housed in our over crowded hospitals and cared for in their own homes by worn out care givers.

The Peace River Regional District gave the school district one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to keep our school busses running.

We have muddy gravel roads, heavy industrial traffic twenty-four seven. Among the highest taxes in the province, rent and home ownership out of sight for the average family.

Food costs, twice the cost of Prince George. Property taxes in Dawson Creek so high that there are businesses closing down. Lots of office and stores empty! There is only one store where women can purchase clothing, all the rest closed up.

As a wildlife rehabilitator of over forty years and always had all my pens overflowing, I now have no wildlife to rehabilitate. Most of it is dead in the ditches. The rest are hiding out heaven knows where! I could tell some pretty awful stories of the fate of most of our wildlife here but I will not go into that this time. That is another whole story.

I have been told, not confirmed, that there has been the discovery of a gas basin in the Quesnel area, even larger than the Montney basin. If there is any truth to it, I pity the folks there!

Leona Green
Dawson Creek/Arras

Is Rula Jebreal Right About U.S. Media Bias Against Palestinians?(Video)

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There will never be a chance of peace in the Mid-East until news media organizations actually cover and report the realities that are taking place.

Is Rula Jebreal Right About U.S Media Bias Against Palestinians?

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal points to the overwhelming bias in U.S. media against the Palestinians, calling NBC to account for having tried to remove an Arab-American reporter from Gaza after he reported the Israeli navy’s deliberate killing of children on the beach…

Read More-includes video

iPolitics–Is Mulcair Just Another Harper With a Beard?

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

In the quest for power Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has abandoned previously held NDP principles and shifted right to the mushy-middle side of the political spectrum.

This has become evident through his refusal to follow NDP policy regarding Israeli-Palestinian disputes.

It has been further demonstrated through his National Office failing to respect local members right to nominate candidates of their choice to represent them in the 2015 election.

That has left many NDP supporters wondering if the NDP is where they want to be. Others have already turned and walked away.

New Democrats for ‘Fairness and Transparency (nd4ft) posted this piece where Anne McGrath promised  hands off  fair and open nominations.

In truth and reality the National Director, Anne McGrath has banned two long time members, Paul Manly and Laurie Gourlay from seeking the Nanaimo-Ladysmith nomination to run in the 2015 Federal Election.

She has refused to give reasons in writing and Kenneth Pearce, President Nanaimo Ladysmith NDP EDA has told Head Office that they want that decision reversed.

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That brings us to another iPolitics piece by Andrew Mitrovica on the growing discontent and alienation within the ranks of the National NDP.

For a growing number of angry, disaffected NDP supporters, Thomas Mulcair is fast becoming Stephen Harper with a beard.

That’s what we’ve learned since iPolitics began probing the internecine war gripping the NDP in the wake of senior party officials’ decision to ban aspiring NDP nominee Paul Manly from seeking the nomination in a B.C. riding, where he and his steeped-in-orange parents are very popular.

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Andrew Mitrovica

In my column last week, I told you about the charges and counter-charges, distortions, misinformation, smears and innuendo being tossed about by top NDP HQ operatives – including the party’s National Director Anne McGrath — over Manly’s so-far-unexplained disqualification from the nomination in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

This fracas is instructive for a number of reasons. The prickly issue at the core of the dispute – the thing that is fraying party unity and triggering hard questions about Mulcair’s leadership – is the set of vague, carefully-coded reasons NDP brass have proffered to Manly, his parents and supporters for why this accomplished environmentalist, filmmaker and musician has been barred from the party’s nomination in traditionally NDP-friendly British Columbia.

There’s little doubt that Manly was summarily blocked from contesting the nomination, in part, to shield Mulcair, B.C. caucus members — including peeved MPs Libby Davies and Jean Crowder — and the party from losing support during the next election campaign.

The irony is that the NDP is already bleeding voters from within its own ranks because of Manly’s ban, and it’s only getting worse. Many NDP members and supporters — in and outside B.C. — are emphatically telling Mulcair & Co. that Manly’s dismissal is causing them to abandon the party or to seriously consider leaving it.

Other New Democrats are expressing their displeasure with the secretive vetting process that led to Manly’s dismissal as a potential candidate — one strikingly reminiscent of the paranoid mentality at work in the Harper regime.

As you know, this nation’s control-freak prime minister surrounds himself with kids in shorts pants to ensure that everyone knows that it’s the ‘boss’ who calls the shots. Harper’s minions mete out his orders and discipline with fanatical zeal and little sense. The tactics ensure ‘rebels’ who speak their minds immediately understand that dissent – however measured or defensible – will not be tolerated.

“Manly’s sharp criticism of the party, Mulcair and his would-be caucus colleagues made him radioactive in the eyes of the party brass. He was also deemed a ‘loose cannon’….”
Well, it’s apparent that some equally obsequious zealots populate the NDP leader’s inner circle. And, like Harper’s disciples, the members of Mulcair’s shadow privy council are ready, willing and able to quickly disappear even long-time, loyal NDP supporters because what they say (or might say) doesn’t reflect well on Mulcair.

Manly’s banishment has also laid bare the visceral discord over Mulcair’s apparent ambivalence on events in Gaza. Just read this pointed letter of protest written and signed by nine long-standing Jewish NDP supporters in Toronto to Mulcair in which they demand that he not only finally speak out against “the repression of Palestinians” but also “rescind” Manly’s ban.

They’re not alone. Among the many other disenchanted party members is a “deeply dismayed” Vancouver rabbi and a “long-time and dedicated NDP member” who also recently wrote to Mulcair, urging him to “reverse (the federal NDP leadership’s) action preventing Mr. Manly from standing to be the candidate from Nanaimo-Ladysmith and its attempt to distance the party from meaningful and forthright action regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

The awful images of the disproportionate toll being exacted on Palestinians – children, in particular – in Gaza have shocked and disturbed much of the world. Yet in the face of this humanitarian catastrophe and Israel’s overwhelming and destructive ground invasion, Mulcair has remained largely silent. Instead, he has dispatched Paul Dewar, the party’s foreign affairs critic, to urge both sides to “de-escalate.”

The frustration among a lot of NDP supporters with Mulcair’s telling silence runs so deep that the following poem is being circulated by party members, who are urging that it be forwarded to every New Democrat MP and their staff:

Read More

Please Read This Powerful Letter by Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian Medical Doctor who is in Gaza

The slaughter of Palestinian’s trapped in Gaza continues unabated. Millions of protesters have hit the streets in cities throughout the world decrying this inhumanity led by war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli’s in Israeli and Jews throughout the world have joined with others of all faiths and raised their voices against this madness.

#freepalestine-#freeisrael
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Please read and share this powerful letter by Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian medical doctor who is in Gaza right now:

Dearest friends,

The last night was extreme. The “ground invasion” of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying – all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.

The heroes in the ambulances and in all of Gaza’s hospitals are working 12-24 hour shifts, grey from fatigue and inhuman workloads (without payment all in Shifa for the last 4 months), they care, triage, try to understand the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. HUMANS!

Now, once more treated like animals by “the most moral army in the world” (sic!).

My respect for the wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst of pain, agony and shock; my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless, my closeness to the Palestinian “sumud” gives me strength, although in glimpses I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry, smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protect ourselves in an endless embrace – but we cannot afford that, nor can they.

Ashy grey faces – Oh NO! Not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding, we still have lakes of blood on the floor in the ER, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out – oh – the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes,cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away … to be prepared again, to be repeated all over.

More then 100 cases came to Shifa in the last 24 hrs. Enough for a large well trained hospital with everything, but here – almost nothing: no electricity, water, disposables, drugs, OR-tables, instruments, monitors – all rusted and as if taken from museums of yesterday’s hospitals. But they do not complain, these heroes. They get on with it, like warriors, head on, enormously resolute.

And as I write these words to you, alone, on a bed, my tears flow, the warm but useless tears of pain and grief, of anger and fear. This is not happening!

An then, just now, the orchestra of the Israeli war-machine starts its gruesome symphony again, just now: salvos of artillery from the navy boats just down on the shores, the roaring F16, the sickening drones (Arabic ‘Zennanis’, the hummers), and the cluttering Apaches. So much made in and paid by the US.

Mr. Obama – do you have a heart?

I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa. Disguised as a cleaner, maybe.

I am convinced, 100%, it would change history

Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.

But the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and planned another “dahyia” onslaught on Gaza.

The rivers of blood will keep running the coming night. I can hear they have tuned their instruments of death.

Please. Do what you can. This, THIS cannot continue.

 

Mads Gilbert MD PhD

Professor and Clinical Head

Clinic of Emergency Medicine

University Hospital of North Norway

My Name is Reuven Moskovitz-Holocaust Survivor

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Rafe: With fracking, tankers “world-class safety” is a weasel word

It is great to read more from Rafe Mair once again. He is still on the mend but has come a long way and is reading and writing once again.

I had believed every word from our Premier but Rafe has set me straight! I feel so much better now. Enjoy.

BC Premier Christy Clark touts “world-class” safety for fossil fuel projects (Canadian Press)

BC Premier Christy Clark touts “world-class” safety for fossil fuel projects (Canadian Press)

Many times I have referred to Premier Clark’s demand that Enbridge and others have “world-class” cleanup processes in place. To repeat myself, these are “weasel words” and mean absolutely nothing. “World-class” firefighting procedures doesn’t mean the building didn’t burn down.

I was delighted to read Stephen Hume’s column in the Vancouver Sun of July 17, where he talks about “weasel words”, especially the term “world-class”, and other matters. This particular article is about fracking and in his surgical way, Hume carves up the government for it’s utter lack of process and covering each and every one of their tracks by use of the words “world class”.

Government naively accepts industry’s word on safety
We have seen a similar absence of investigation by the Clark government into the risks of LNG, be it in pipelines, plants, or tankers. This government is now known for two things: an utter lack of preparation and lying through their teeth.

Read More Rafe

NDP Continue Blocking Members Seeking Nominations

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Long time New Democrat Laurie Gourlay, MLA Doug Routley’s-Nanaimo-North Cowichan’s Constituency Assistant, was blocked from competing for the nomination in Nanaimo-Ladysmith. He was the second and one of 14 across Canada.

Gourlay seemed surprisingly at ease after being rebuffed for his role in promoting Vancouver Island separation from BC and the establishment of a new Province of Vancouver Island.

Here is his opinion piece that ruffled the somewhat jumpy and trigger happy NDP National Director and one presumes Thomas Mulcair as well.

Laurie Gourlay-NDP Loyalist rebuffed by Federal Party

Laurie Gourlay-NDP Loyalist rebuffed by Federal Party

He told me yesterday that National Office was concerned that his call for separating from BC may cause a flare up in Quebec and that could hurt the NDP in the upcoming election.

That is quite a leap. Gourlay and a great many others support or are at least interested in separate provincial status for Vancouver Island. Nobody, least of all Gourlay, has called for separating from Canada.

I was struck with Gourlay’s entrenched loyalty to the National Office.

He relayed to me that they want to put together the best possible team to knock off Harper and form a first national NDP government. He seemed to be at peace with their decision, although hoping for a reprieve.

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP Executive was approached by New Democrats for Fairness and Transparency spokesman Ilan Goldenblatt who urged them to reject the power play from the National Director Anne McGrath.

As a result and with strong local objections to the Ottawa controllers, Kenneth S. Pearce President Nanaimo Ladysmith NDP EDA has essentially called on the leaders to back off and let the local riding membership decide who it is that they want to represent them in the upcoming 2015 election.

Paul Manly was chopped as well for criticizing the NDP when they failed to speak up for his father, Jim Manly, a retired United Church Minister and former NDP MP. Manly was arrested and jailed while a passenger on the MV Estelle that attempted to delivery goods and supplies to blockaded Gaza.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair-My way or the Highway

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair-My way or the Highway

Ironically NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, who supports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in spite of his continued criminal acts of war including the present slaughter being waged against the Palestinians, is out of step with the NDP policy on the Mid East.

Prime Minister Harper must be delighted to have Mulcair in sync with him  supporting Netanyahu and showing complete disregard for the  beleaguered Palestinians who are being slaughtered by the massive Israeli military offensive.

The NDP Policy Book states clearly:

New Democrats believe in working with partners for peace in Israel and Palestine, respecting UN resolutions and international law, supporting  peaceful co-existence in viable, independent states with agreed upon borders, an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and an end to violence targeting civilians.

There are another 12 , so far, who have been rejected by the National Director Anne McGrath, across Canada which underlines the centralized power grab by the inside controllers of what used to be a lively, progressive, democratic party. It really presents a lose-lose situation.

PM Harper can't believe his luck.

PM Harper can’t believe his luck.

This ham-fisted handling by  ’Mulcair’s Inner Circle’– who are operating on Mulcair’s behalf has stirred up a hornets nest that would not have been the case if they had just respected  the local members judgment and not interfered in who they could choose.

Something has to give. The NDP National Office has to back off fast or the damage could spell the end to the NDP’s dream of achieving the office of the Government of Canada.

Laurie Gourlay and Paul Manly should receive an immediate apology from both National Director Anne McGrath and Leader Tom Mulcair. They should also be reinstated  and be allowed to continue in their pursuit of the nomination, if they are still interested after this absolute cock-up!

NDP Leader John Horgan Has Been Preparing For Change in British Columbia

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

John Horgan is a man on a mission to bring a balanced and progressive style of government to beleagured British Columbia. It is no small feat, but if there is a more capable and motivated political leader in Canada today, I am hard pressed to know who that might be.

Horgan combines a no nonsense approach with a heart on his sleeve response to the social side of the spectrum. He could be described as being as ‘Hard as Steel and as Soft as Butter.’

He has been travelling throughout BC for months now to show his face, listen to the concerns of voters and let them see and talk to the man who wants to be BC’s next Premier.

In Williams Lake Horgan was interviewed by the Williams Lake Tribunes Monica Lamb-Yorski.

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BC NDP leader John Horgan says he will be ready to announce his new caucus soon.— Image Credit: Monica Lamb-Yorski Photo

NDP leader John Horgan will be ready to introduce a new caucus in about two weeks he confirmed during a stop in Williams Lake Friday.

“I’m putting together a new shadow cabinet, giving my colleagues new responsibilities on how we are going to hold the Liberals accountable,” Horgan said. “I will also propose how we can advocate for economic development in places like Williams Lake, the north and the Interior.”

While in Williams Lake, Horgan met with trade union members at a reception on Friday evening, and earlier he met with Tsilhqot’in Chiefs Roger William and Joe Alphonse, West Fraser and Tolko to discuss the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision on rights and title.

“My message on the decision is that this is an enormous opportunity,” Horgan said.

“In my 20 years of being in B.C. politics, whether it be in government, the private sector, or as an MLA, everybody you talk to in industry wants certainty.”

Read More

Israel Is Captive To Its ‘Destructive Process’

This analysis by Chris Hedges is well worth the read.

Chris Hedges_Credit_National InstituteBy Chris Hedges
TruthDig.com

Raul Hilberg in his monumental work “The Destruction of the European Jews” chronicled a process of repression that at first was “relatively mild” but led, step by step, to the Holocaust. It started with legal discrimination and ended with mass murder. “The destructive process was a development that was begun with caution and ended without restraint,”

Hilberg wrote.

The Palestinians over the past few decades have endured a similar “destructive process.” They have gradually been stripped of basic civil liberties, robbed of assets including much of their land and often their homes, have suffered from mounting restrictions on their physical movements, been blocked from trading and business, especially the selling of produce, and found themselves increasingly impoverished and finally trapped behind walls and security fences erected around Gaza and the West Bank.

“The process of destruction [of the European Jews] unfolded in a definite pattern,” Hilberg wrote. “It did not, however, proceed from a basic plan. No bureaucrat in 1933 could have predicted what kind of measures would be taken in 1938, nor was it possible in 1938 to foretell the configuration of the undertaking in 1942. The destructive process was a step-by-step operation, and the administrator could seldom see more than one step ahead.”

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Paul Manly Has Posted His Appeal Letter to the NDP Written May 27th.

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

This post was made available by Paul Manly on Facebook and it is reproduced here to keep Cowichan Conversation followers up to date. It clearly shows that he understands the issue on which he was being judged…

I join with a great many others in calling on the National Director Anne McGrath and Leader Thomas Mulcair to reconsider and retract their decision to deny Paul Manly from seeking the nomination to represent Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP in the next Federal Election.

It is understood that vetting processes need to be undertaken, but the leaders of the party also need to see the fullness and impacts of their decisions as members and supporters see them.

Failing to act appropriately will cause incalculable damage, yet rescinding the ruling and allowing the NDP members of Nanaimo Ladysmith to choose who the wish to represent them would demonstrate the strength of leadership required for the NDP to move forward in a positive manner.

 

Paul Manly

Paul Manly

Hello Friends and Supporters

I have decided to post the appeal letter I wrote to the NDP Executive on May 27th, the day after I was informed that my candidacy had been denied.

Ann McGrath has been sending out a form letter to everyone who has written to her about my candidacy denial. Her letter is a smear on my character. It uses examples of vetting problems from the recent Ontario election campaign in which several candidates made sexist comments.

She states in the letter “To protect the confidentiality of prospective candidates, the Party does not release information from the vetting. However, I can assure you that the issue being cited in stories and social media about Mr. Manly’s rejected application is not accurate. The rejection is not related to the NDP’s position on the Middle East.”

I have written and asked Ann McGrath numerous times to have the reasons for my candidacy explained to me in writing and she has refused saying that the “process is confidential”. The confidentiality agreement is meant to protect me as a candidate under the privacy act. I am the one who has provided pages of confidential material which the process digs through.

It should not be used to hide the reasons for the refusal of my candidacy from me. This is tantamount to a secret tribunal. This is what authoritarian governments do, pass judgement on individuals but refuse to show those individuals what they are accused of.

This goes against the foundational principles of natural justice. The NDP need to clean up their act and Ann McGrath needs to come clean with me.

I deserve to know the reasons why my candidacy has been denied and my supporter deserve to know the reasons as well. I should be given those reasons in writing.

Other quotes in the media by NDP officials are also meant to impugn my character such as; “As you can imagine, the goal is for candidates to be as honest as possible,” said George Soule. I have been thoroughly honest with the NDP in this process. They have no basis to say otherwise.

I wrote the following letter of appeal based on the two conversations I had regarding my candidacy. The first conversation covered only one issue of concern for the person I was communicating with – Israel and Palestine, nothing else.

We had an extensive conversation on the subject. The second conversation was to inform me that my application had been denied “in relation to what I said and did when my father was in Israel.” This is the only information I had to base my appeal on. Read my letter of appeal and judge for yourself.

If the NDP doesn’t want me as a candidate or as an MP because I was quoted in the Vancouver Sun as saying “Mulcair is ‘muzzling’ MPs on Israel issues” while my father was in an Israeli prison then they should put it in writing.

If the NDP has other reasons to deny my candidacy they should put them in writing and send them to me. They should stop smearing me immediately!

(I have redacted the name and position of the person I spoke with to maintain ‘confidentiality’)

Here is the letter…

May 27th, 2014

To the Table Officers of the Federal NDP

Re: Candidate Application Appeal – Paul Manly

On Monday May 26th, at 10:22 am, I received a phone call from (Name removed), (Position Removed) for the New Democratic Party of Canada to tell me that I would not be accepted as a candidate for nomination in the federal riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

I understand that the National Director may deny or revoke approval of a prospective candidate for nomination for any reason that might negatively impact the political and strategic goals of the Party.

I was told verbally that the reason my candidacy was rejected was related to how I reacted when my father, a former NDP MP, United Church minister and long time NDP activist took part in a humanitarian mission to Gaza and was arrested and held incommunicado in an Israeli prison.

It’s my understanding that I can appeal this decision within two business days and explain why I would make a good candidate. This letter constitutes that appeal.

I have been an active member of the New Democratic Party since my youth. I was chased off my first porch dropping leaflets for the NDP in 1972, the year Dave Barrett became the first NDP premier of British Columbia.

I was a member of the Young New Democrats in my teenage years and campaigned alongside Tommy Douglas to help elect my father. In fact I spent my sixteenth birthday dinner with Tommy Douglas after a long day campaigning.

I have been involved in and volunteered for every provincial and federal NDP campaign for the ridings I have lived in since. I have actively worked on provincial and federal NDP campaigns in the Nanaimo area (including both the north and south federal ridings and three provincial ridings) since moving back to the island in 2002 and I am well known to local NDP organizers and members.

I am a filmmaker and community organizer. I have a large support base that reaches well beyond the local NDP membership and traditional supporters. I have been actively organizing on issues related to protecting our drinking watersheds, local environmental stewardship initiatives, protecting health care, democratic reform, resource extraction, pipelines and tanker expansion, labour rights and trade issues. Based on my track record, I have campaign endorsements from prominent members of this community and beyond. I have included a selection of them here for your consideration.

I have worked with all three local First Nations, Snuneymuxw, Snaw-naw-as and Stz’uminus, and with the Hul’qumi’num’ Health Hub, the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group and the Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre and I have support and endorsements from prominent members of each of those communities and organizations.

I have worked with local mental health organizations, people with disabilities, and disadvantaged youth and I am known for my compassionate approach towards people who have been marginalized in society. I have organized with local health works to oppose cuts to health care, lay-offs at seniors centers and detrimental changes to operations at our local hospital.

My volunteer work with the Council of Canadians has given me the opportunity to gain a great deal of knowledge on national issues that affect all Canadians. I have been active with the Mid Island chapter for eight years and in 2012, I was elected to the national board of the Council of Canadians as a BC Yukon representative.

I was recruited and actively encouraged by members of the local NDP executive and the labour council to seek the nomination for Nanaimo-Ladysmith. I have broad support in this community. I have been signing up many NDP supporters who are not usually party members as well as people who have revoked their membership in other parties because they want to actively support my nomination campaign, work with me and help defeat the Harper government. I have the ability to bring together a broad coalition of voters and win this riding for the NDP.

As a media producer and media consultant I have trained people, including local politicians and know how to message, track, redirect questions, stick to the key campaign points and not get led into other topics or distractions by media questions or opponents.

My agenda is transparent. It is easy to see the issues I am concerned with and have been active on by visiting my company website www.Manlymedia.com my YouTube channels – Manly Media and Canadians Nanaimo – and my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The issue that my candidacy is being judged on arose from a one-week period in October 2012, when I was asked by my parents to support actions by my father, which were not outside the spirit of the NDP policy on Israel and Palestine, UN resolutions and international law.

Israel and Palestine are not a focus for me; my track record clearly shows this. This is the one instance in my forty-two year history of actively supporting the NDP where I openly criticized the caucus. It happened during a time when my father, a former NDP MP, long time NDP activist, United Church minister and man of conscience, about to turn 80, using medications after two major heart by-pass surgeries, was being held incommunicado in an Israeli prison after being taken prisoner in international waters while taking part in a humanitarian mission to Gaza.

I was working on behalf of my family and it was a very stressful time. I was not a member of caucus, nor held any other party position and was not breaking any rules. I understand that as a candidate and a caucus member I will be bound by a set of rules to ensure that the campaign does not get de-railed and that caucus confidentiality and solidarity are respected and upheld.

I am aware of the pivotal point in history that we are in. This country cannot endure another four years of the Harper Conservative government. The NDP has a very good chance of forming the next government. I understand that as a candidate I will need to stand by NDP policy, a policy book I whole-heartedly support.

I understand that as a candidate I will need to focus on and stand by the main campaign platform and strategies set out by the organizing team and not create distractions by free-lancing and detracting from the main campaign messages and strategies. And I understand that once elected I will need to maintain caucus confidentiality, caucus solidarity and support for the leader.

I want to be part of the NDP team in this election and I know that working together we can win the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding for the party.

I hope you will reconsider this decision and accept my eligibility as a candidate.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely
Paul Manly

Public Education Does Not Exist For The Benefit Of Students

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The NDP and the Middle East-An Open Letter to Nathan Cullen

Dorothy Field-Contributor

Dorothy Field, Writer, Artist, Poet, Contributor

Dear Nathan Cullen,

I’m writing to you because I think you are still a man we can trust, not just an NDP hack. I am in despair about the NDP’s silence on Israeli rocket attacks on Gaza.

First, let me say, though I shouldn’t have to, that I write as a Jew who strongly believes we must be both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian. If not, we are part of the problem, not part of the solution. By pro-Israeli, I mean I support Israel’s right to exist, not these horrendous policies.

Nathan Cullen MP

Nathan Cullen MP

I will also say I’ve written to Mr. Mulcair several times on this issue in general with no response. Very recently I’ve written to my MP Murray Rankin and to Paul Dewar. No response.

How did the NDP, the party I’ve supported all my 43 years in Canada, the party I’ve volunteered for and donated to, become this Harper-clone on an issue of the most fundamental human rights and justice?

You know, I think, that Netanyahu’s horrific rocket campaign has little to do with the three murdered Israelis. He is using that as an excuse to drive Hamas into the ground. Look, whatever we feel about Hamas, it was fairly elected.

Netanyahu

PM of Israel- Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu is beside himself that Abbas and Hamas have finally come to an agreement. This is the same old Israeli policy — smash the Palestinians on whatever pretext is at hand whenever the Palestinians appear to be getting their shit together.

Harper’s blanket support of Israel, as you know, has little to do with justice, and more to do with some millennial hope of rapture, at least that’s all I can figure out. Netanyahu is a ruthless thug, we here in Canada under our fearless leader Stephen Harper offer unconditional love, and the NDP stays silent.

Many of the finest Israelis work their lives away to try to build bridges to the Palestinians. Read Uri Avnery. Check out the web-sites of B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights, and Committee against House Demolitions, among many others.

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

They get no play and no hearing. Of late, I’ve also seen reports of many meetings of Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Israelis trying to build bridges. That heartens me. The only possible good that could come out of this tragedy would be for Israelis to rise up and dump Netanyahu, but I’m not keeping my fingers crossed. Israel is no more monolithic than Canada. We need to find ways to publicize and support the opposition to Netanyahu and his cronies.

If I sound semi-hysterical, I am. As a Jew, to sit silent while Netanyahu flies the flag of revenge and violence, both in total contravention of Jewish ethos, under the sham of righteous victimhood is unbearable. In fact, I fear that Israeli policy, as it continues to incite world-wide anti-Semitism, may bring Israel down. Part of me thinks that may be a good thing. Part of me despairs, knowing that we may still need a land where Jews can find refuge.

PM Stephen Harper

PM Stephen Harper

This is a complex issue but at this particular moment, it’s very simple. Palestinians are dying in the hundreds. Unlike the Israelis, they have no bomb shelters. I grieve any death to this appalling tragedy. The one Israeli death so far is one too many but the casualties are clearly disproportionate.

Not only are Palestinians dying, their homes are being destroyed, along with schools and hospitals. I understand the depth of Jewish fear. I understand that many are so troubled that they can’t even bear to read the few papers that would actually tell them what’s going on. I also know that Netanyahu and his ilk make sure to keep the fear level as high as possible as justification for their brutality.

In North America, the Jewish right wing has taken full control of the dialogue. You would hear from many more progressive Jews on this issue except that they are silenced out of fear of being maligned and branded “self-hating” within the Jewish community.

They also fear criticism of Israel will bring Israel down. I say, we must stand up to Netanyahu just as we must stand up to Harper. It’s our duty as caring and ethical human beings.

Please, Nathan Cullen, do your work within the NDP to shift this egregious policy.