Sunday, 27 February 2011

Harper government supports gross incompetance and rape

Canadian Soapbox: More on Conservative appointed judge who let rapist walk the street...
Harper appointed someone to the position of judge whose experience was only with corporate law and litigation, not criminal law. Now that judge is letting men who sexually assault or rape women go free.
Does the Harper government support rape, or, was his appointment of Dewar just gross incompetence?

Friday, 25 February 2011

If you can't find a gravy train, make your own

Aptly put, by someone who commented on this Toronto Star article:
City to spend $3 million on consultants.
These consultants will duplicate work of city staff and the auditor general.
This money could go to stop the TTC cuts and cuts to other services.

On another note, Rob Ford was the lone person on city council vote against accepting provincial funding for an anti-HIV/syphilis initiative.

Rob Ford's Gravy Train amount: $3,000,000

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Rob Ford hones his skill at not answering simple direct questions

What It Sounds Like When Rob Ford Answers Questions at Council - Torontoist
Transcript of 5 minutes of council meeting - Joe Mihevic asks if one of Rob's campaign promises was to cut water efficiency programs, yes or no. Rob spews out his campaign talking points, but never answers the question.

We are doomed.

A Facebook comment on this news item:
would say "Un-f*cking-believable" but it is Rob Ford, so I believe that
this is how he acts and will act as mayor. Anyone who expected
otherwise (like the Oh-just-wait-and-give-him-a-ch
ance people), please jump off a cliff now so we don't get this ass voted in again in 4 years time.

Rob Ford: Reckless and irresponsible

Ford unfazed by looming budget hole - The Globe and Mail
“We talk about what’s in front of us,” Mr. Ford said. “You can’t talk
about 2014 or 2015. We’re talking about 2011 and that’s before us, and
that’s the proper procedures before council. … I’m only focused on

For a mayor, this is totally irresponsible. To not be planning ahead is to be asking for trouble in the future. We know that Ford is doing this so that next year he can say "Oh, look, we are short all this money. Okay. I guess we'll have to cut all these services and programs that make Toronto a great city to live in.

There is no Gravy Train. Ford just wants to slash all the services so there are few left. Same thing Mike Harris did. Same thing Stephen Harper is doing. Destroy.

Councillor Gord Perks, who tried unsuccessfully to pass a property-tax
increase, argued Mr. Ford is setting the city up for a slash-and-burn
exercise to balance next year’s books.

“It’s reckless and irresponsible, what he’s doing.”

Toronto Star: Council rejects 2011 tax hike, will consider one for 2012


Challenging Mayor Rob Ford’s pledge to freeze taxes for 2011, Councillor Gord Perks on Wednesday proposed an increase of 0.16 per cent in residential taxes — amounting to less than $5 for the average homeowner — and 0.052 per cent in non-residential taxes.

The twin hikes, he said, would have raised $3.5 million, enough to prevent many of the proposed cuts to TTC bus routes, keep a threatened library branch open, and allow for enhancements to student nutrition and anti-bedbug programs.


Councillor Joe Mihevc told Ford that the tax freeze, the elimination of the $60 vehicle tax and the depletion of reserves would “basically make it almost impossible to balance the books next year.”

Rob Ford's Gravy Train amount: $3.5 milliion (not hiking property taxes by a small amount)

Jabba the Ford - does not compute

Jabba The Ford - This is not the Budget you are looking for,…
He is hard at work creating a huge mess in the near future.

Rob Ford's Gray Train amount: $50 million (eliminating the vehicle registration tax)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Stephen Harper's worst enemy

Straight Goods - Stephen Harper's worst enemy - When Ministers lie and deceive, they do so at the Prime Minister's orders.
... is himself.
Read the article at the link.


Hold on — we're somewhere between Russia and the good old Canada of
yore? That's some accomplishment in five years. Look at Stephen
Harper's record.

  • He silences whistle-blowers and punishes dissenters.
  • He treats Parliament with open contempt and brazenly lies when found out.
  • He suspends Parliament at the first sign of political risk.
  • He makes a mockery of the accountability and transparency he loudly demands of everyone else.
  • He makes lying to parliament just another tactical device.
  • He fakes his budgets by refusing to cost new initiatives.
  • He transforms vital watchdogs of democracy into mushy lapdogs.
  • He unleashes ministers to attack judges who make unwelcome decisions.
  • He personalizes attacks on his "enemies".
  • He blithely smears other parties, groups and individuals as anti-Semitic.
  • He is impervious to the democratic spirit that has galvanized hundreds of millions of people to stand up for freedom.
  • He makes major economic decisions on the basis of their impact on his electoral fortunes.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Where's the Gravy Rob (again)?

Looking for the gravy -
Rob Ford is not finding any gravy train (anything near like he said there was).
Of course I knew that there wasn't any gravy train, and those of you with any intelligence at all knew that. As for the rest of you...


Worse, with every cut, the mayor seems to add more pressure. Since
taking office, Ford has added more than $100 million to the bottom line
by killing the vehicle registration tax and promising a property tax
freeze in 2011.

To balance his first $9.4 billion operating budget this year, the
mayor relied on $230 million in revenue windfalls and then depleted the
city’s surplus and reserve funds — a combined $370 million — to avoid
major service cuts.

Ford only needed to find $57 million in efficiencies to make the
numbers work. But next year, he will need to come up with $774 million
to balance his books. And with all of the city’s emergency savings
spent, the mayor has no safety net.

“I have no idea what they can do. All I know is they have taken a
problem we were starting to manage and made it much, much worse,” said
Councillor Gord Perks, a key player in former mayor David Miller’s
administration. “Rob Ford sold Torontonians on a fantasy. He argued that
money comes down to city hall and vanishes, and it’s simply not true.”

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Rob Ford's new TTC subway fantasy

Newsstand: February 17, 2011 - Torontoist
Rob Ford's really maybe if seventeen unlikely things fall into place doing it: the mayor's office put together a private financing proposal for the Sheppard subway extension.
City hallers speaking on behalf of the mayor say he doesn't want to
burden tax payers with the cost of a subway, so he's proposing private
investors foot the bill in return for a cut of future development in the
area. But critics, like Shelley Carroll (Ward 33,
Don Valley East), charge that development along Sheppard would have to
be dense and tall—radically changing the existing neighbourhoods—if the
plan is to work, not to mention that there would still be pesky
repayments to those private investors. Design, building, and (maybe)
maintenance would all be handled by the private party. No word on who
that party might be, or what else we can sucker them into doing for us
in return for as yet non-existent money.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Crooks and Liars: Harper's Conservative government

Walkom: Oda's attempt to mislead is part of Tory strategy -
They invent facts to support their aims. Not news to 2/3 of Canadians, but the article is worth reading.

Globe & Mail: Opposition steps up pressure for Oda resignation over altered document
“The Prime Minister condoned forging documents and condoned misleading the House,” NDP Leader Jack Layton told the House of Commons. “How can Canadians trust a Prime Minister who would have such contempt for this place?”

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Ontario Liberals put an election-hold on wind power

Ontario scraps offshore wind power plans -
It looks like the Ontario Liberals have put a hold on off-shore wind power projects for no other reason that to win a few NIMBY seats in areas where the wind power projects were to be built. The anti-wind power people have made numerous unsubstantiated claims, which especially hold no validity with the wind turbines being placed 5km offshore.
There are thousands of on-shore and offshore wind turbine installations around the world, especially in Europe, which have proven that there is no validity to the anti-wind power side's claims.

We need to start taking green energy seriously to reduce our reliance on energy sources that are actually harmful to the environment.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Toronto G20 protests - More police to be investigated for brutality and illegal arrest

Police open criminal investigation into G20 arrest -
According to her statement of claim, Gray was protesting peacefully near
the temporary detention centre on Eastern Ave. on June 27, 2010 — the
final day of the G20 summit — when an officer shot her with two rubber
bullets, causing her to fall to the ground. She was then forcefully
arrested by two other officers and taken to the detention centre, where
she remained for 30 hours with minimal medical attention

Shades of the Mike Harris Agenda

Doug Ford denies 'get a job' quip during protest -

Standing on a hallway desk, OCAP leader John Clarke denounced
council’s proposed cuts to bus routes and Mayor Ford’s privatization
plans, saying Ford was advocating a “re-run of the Mike Harris agenda.”

Other protesters criticized federal cuts to immigration settlement
services — council voted not to write a letter to the federal government
protesting those cuts — and an alleged shortage of beds in homeless
shelters. City spokesperson Rob Andrusevich said no such shortage

“This year they’re only delivering the first blow,” Clarke said.
“Much worse is to come. The vision that Ford has of this city is a
police force and a few privatized services operated by non-unionized
cheap labour. If we’re gonna stop that, we better fight . . . if you
don’t fight back, they will crush you.”

Fox news makes stuff up - no surprise at all

FOX NEWS INSIDER: “Stuff Is Just Made Up” | Media Matters for America
And this is why Stephen Harper stacked the deck of the CRTC and is pushing for changing our broadcast regulations so he can have his own station of lies - Fox News North - be able to broadcast bald lies and propaganda.

If Ford wasn't such an idiot at math, we might not be facing such a shortfall

CBC News - Toronto - Toronto facing $774M shortfall in 2012
If, they had kept the land transfer tax, the vehicle registration tax, increased the property tax this year by 2% and allowed a 10 cent increase in TTC fees, we might not be facing such a shortfall in 2012. Instead, Ford and council will have to increase taxes and fees by much more to make up for his idiocy in the 2011 budget.

Rob Ford's Gravy Train amount: $204 million (abolishing the land transfer tax this is how much money it brought into the city in 2010)

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Bill Blair: big liar or most useless police chief ever?

YouTube - Bill Blair: "I have not seen any videos of Officers using excessive force".
watch the video
This is mind boggling. I've seen numerous videos filmed during the Toronto G20 protests that show police officers using excessive force. Most of these were put on the Internet the same day they were taken. ... Cops on horseback, in a tight group, trampling a non-threatening protester, cops coming up behind people sitting on the ground and beating them on their heads with no warning, and much more.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The shaping of a New World Order

The shaping of a New World Order - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
What is happening in Egypt, and other nations of the region, could result in a major shift in the world order.
Read the link for Mark LeVine's views on what is happening and what could happen.

Democracy in Israel is in real danger

The death of Israeli democracy - Features - Al Jazeera English
What little democracy there is in Israel is in further danger of erosion.

Excerpts from the article (link above):
"A country that must force people to call it democratic, on pain of imprisonment, is not a democracy."

the Knesset is debating one of a slew of anti-democratic bills. Some of
the legislation targets Palestinian citizens of Israel - people like
this man and his wife, who is quick to offer me coffee and her opinions.

the Admissions Committee law passes, for example, this young couple and
their three children could find themselves barred from living in
certain communities and villages, even those built on public land. If
the Nakba Bill is approved, organisations that commemorate the 1948
expulsion of Palestinians will be ineligible for public funds. This is a
"watered down" version of the bill. The original version sought to
imprison anyone who publicly marked the Nakba Day. Other legislation
aims to silence individuals and groups that criticise the government.

Israeli Democracy Institute (IDI) says that such bills pose "serious
threats" to the country. Explaining that the death of democracy is "a
gradual process," the IDI, a non-partisan think-tank based in Jerusalem,
warns: "People who are concerned but are waiting for the 'moment of
real danger' to abandon their routines and take steps to defend
democracy are making a mistake. The moment of real danger is now."

Some critics might say that Israel was never a democracy in the true
sense of the word. Arab citizens of the state were under martial law
from 1949 to 1966. A year later, the decidedly undemocratic occupation
of Palestinian territories began.

Knesset member Dov Khenin, of
the Jewish-Arab party Hadash, puts it like this: "In Israel there is a
specific democratic space. It's not big, and in connection to the topic
of Arabs, it's even smaller. But the space is important to us because
it's the space we're standing in."

He gestures to the room in
Jaffa, where he is giving a talk under the banner of "The Danger of
Fascism". There are about 20 people present - a sad number considering
what is at stake.

"What has happened in recent years - and it's a
process that's very dangerous - is that the space is being attacked and
clamped down upon," Khenin continues.

"One of the attacks is coming in the form of racism," he says.

He explains that while Arab Knesset members have always been regarded with suspicion - the vicious verbal assault Haneen Zoabi faced in the Knesset
after she participated in the flotilla comes to my mind - the
government is "now attacking not just the Arab Knesset members but all
the Arab population".

"The process is spreading," Khenin adds.
"And if we look at the past two years, it's not just the Arab
population, [the government is] also attacking Jews who think

The Anti-Incitement Bill criminalises those who publish anything that
denies Israel's Jewish and democratic character. Because I have authored
articles calling for a bi-national democracy, this one could land me in
jail. (And, if I'm already headed for the clinker, I might as well
state the obvious: A country that must force people to call it
democratic, on pain of imprisonment, is not a democracy).

And the
Knesset is considering the creation of committees that will investigate
the funding of left-wing civil and human rights organisations - most of
which are critical of the Israeli occupation. Critics have likened the
move to a political witch-hunt as right-wing groups will not be
investigated. They also point out that such an investigation, which is
the responsibility of the legal branch, would exceed the Knesset's

So the question remains: Will Israel become out-right fascist?

'Sliding towards fascism?'

At an October protest
against legislation commonly referred to as the loyalty oath - a bill
that would require non-Jews seeking Israeli citizenship to pledge
allegiance to a "Jewish and democratic" state - Gavriel Solomon, a
prominent academic and peace activist, likened Israel to Nazi Germany,
circa 1935.

That was the year that the Nuremberg Laws - racist
legislation that led to the systematic and deadly persecution of Jews -
were created.

"There were no [concentration] camps yet but there were racist laws," he said. "And we are heading towards these kinds of laws."

to Al Jazeera by telephone, Solomon softened his message, remarking
that: "The question was really if we are not sliding towards fascism."

though we very clearly have people like [Avigdor] Lieberman [the
foreign minister] who are not sensitive to the issue ... there [are]
enough people on the right not to allow such Lieberman laws to go
through," he says, pointing to members of Likud like Dan Meridor.

But Haaretz
recently revealed that right-wing activists are working in Jewish
settlements to recruit Likud voters who would push Meridor out of the

And rightists are taking other moves to silence dissent. Haaretz reports that they have successfully shut down the Facebook pages of several left-wing groups.

on how these right-wingers spin their projects - are they trying to
silence dissent or are they taking necessary measures for Israel's image
and security - the Israeli public may be willing to march lockstep with

A recent poll, conducted by the Geocartography Knowledge
Group, found that more than half of Jewish Israelis are willing to limit
press freedom if the media poses a threat to the state's image. And
nearly two-thirds would clamp down on freedom of speech for the sake of

"We need to understand that fascism isn't an expression of power, it's an expression of weakness."

points out that not long before Netanyahu became prime minister he
called Palestinian citizens of Israel a demographic threat. "And now
he's head of the government," he adds.

And because the death of
democracy is tied up with the occupation, "a people who oppresses
another people cannot be free," Khenin says, paraphrasing Friedrich

Worth Repeating: CRTC Becoming Conservative Central

Let Freedom Reign: It's not just the courts Harper is stacking with partisan hacks: CRTC becoming Conservative central.

NDP heritage critic Charlie Angus noted that the job notice for the vacancy listed a range of qualifications that Pentefountas does not have.
"This appointment stinks," he said.
"This government has intervened and undermined again and again at the CRTC. In the case of Mr. Pentefountas, they not only broke the vetting process, they did it with the direct intervention of the PMO. So now we have the political strings of the prime minister directly at the senior level of the CRTC."

Harper government would like to be able to lie to you even more

Globe & Mail: CRTC plan to lift ban on false news prompts political investigation

NDP MP Charlie Angus noted that the proposed change precedes the start of Sun TV, a network that has been shepherded in large part by Kory Teneycke, the former director of communication to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“We all know our Prime Minister well enough to say we don’t have to be in the realm of conspiracy theory here,” Mr. Angus said at a news conference on Monday. “We can draw our conclusions and they are pretty clear.”

Behind the scenes, officials say the timing is purely coincidental, the PMO had nothing to do with it, and that the CRTC simply realized it eventually had to answer the concerns of the regulatory committee.

But Mr. Angus persuaded the Commons committee on Canadian heritage to initiate a study of the CRTC proposal. And he urged Canadians to let the commission know how they feel about it before the Wednesday deadline.

“What’s disturbed us with this [proposed] regulation change is that it’s happening very quickly and there’s very little awareness of it,” Mr. Angus said.

“It seems astounding that the CRTC would consider such a move at a time when we see the growing backlash in the United States to the poisoned levels of political discourse in the American media.”

Thursday, 3 February 2011

This may be why the Conservatives overturned the UBB ruling by the CRTC

Canadians demand more than “truthiness” | NDP
The Conservatives may have overturned the CRTC ruling on User-Based-Billing to take our minds off another CRTC decision that they WANT to stay - to allow misleading or inaccurate news to be published so long as it did not "endanger the lives, health or safety of the public." The Conservatives want this so their new Fox News North station can broadcast lies to the public, like Fox News does in the USA, where the news publishing standards allow this already.

Internet billing decision in the right direction

Ottawa to reverse CRTC decision on Internet billing -
Due to immense pressure from citizens across the country and from all the opposition parties, the Canadian government said it will overturn the CRTC ruling that would have forced the smaller ISPs to impose usage-based billing.

Now, all we have to do is to force the big ISPs to go back to having unlimited plans like they used to and to stop gouging consumers for internet usage.