Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Visit to the Art Gallery

It was a grey early winter day and I'd decided to wander over to the art gallery for a little bit of culture and to see what intellectual stimulation there might be had from talking about art.  There was a showing of important pieces that could provoke some discussion and maybe get some new thoughts about a particularly troubling harper painting that just creeped me out. 

What do you think this is all about, your first thoughts?

It's ugly, mainly because it reminds me of the Édouard Manet (1862) Le déjeuner sur l'herbe – originally titled Le Bain and doesn't seem to have much to say but for the shock value.  I mean, there seems to be no purpose in having a naked lady except for men to stare at like she's a wishful piece of strumpet to take advantage of but they seem blase about the fact she's there like that.

Notice how both look at the person staring at the painting, that's you and me and how comfortable the setting is for them but itchy, creepy for us.

How do you put the focus of both into the context of their surroundings?  Why do you think the painter wanted to put all that detail in?  What is going on in the background?  What's the backstory?  Reminds me of  Michelangolo's The Creation of Adam (1512) by the arm placement, the sense that there's a connection between one and the other and where there's a direct relationship, a transference of power.
How have the artists conveyed the relationship between power transference? 

I'd like to hear what you think?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

TPP Without Consent

So far Canadians are getting little information on why we should join the TPP other than the impediment that the milk marketing, poultry producers are causing.  We've seen this before with the border policy that erupted into huge threats over sovereignty, of US agents coming across the state lines to arrest Canadians under American laws. 

What countries need are not more of these agreements but protectionism and higher barriers to free trade without restrictions to create home jobs, secure wealth of our own resources for Canadians and not foreign interests, and decentralize the decision making power that is being vested in globalized corporations. 

Don't expect the wealth to be shared by the working poor.  Free Trade works well for wealthy countries and those with products in high demand or a large labor pool used under extremely oppressive conditions.  Poor countries are infiltrated with money and foreign owners who then restrict the ability to develop resources internally.  Profits rise to the few owners, capital is exported to banks and horded well out of reach of the local economy.  It's no surprise that any country suffering austerity cuts is also a partner in these deals which are made without the consent of the populace.

Buying local and knowing your food source is healthy for your family and your economy.  Have a look at the Northumberland homepage where this statistic is from: 
  • If every household spends just $10.00 a week on local products it will add $16.4 million to the local economy.
Just recently CBC's Evan Solomon debated the ramifications of food prices and the milk subsidies in The House Brian Lee Crowley, Managing Director of the MacDonald-Laurier Institute and Yves Leduc, Director of International Trade at the Dairy Farmers of Canada spoke to the supply management structure benefits and faults. No doubt the pundit Lee Crowley who just wrote the paper on the topic is being used as the factual support needed to sell a bad economic idea.  Here's what a commenter had to say:

Supply management is not a bad thing when the alternative is eliminating Canadian producers.
I like to use this analogy when the issue of competitiveness comes up: When a family of children are sitting around a table and you only have so much food to go around to each one, should the biggest kid at the table be allowed to take all he wants or should it be portioned out so everyone gets a fair share and those smaller children be allowed to thrive as well?

Milk prices may be high but so are potatoes, sometimes more than meat.  And we see nothing but U.S. produce in every Loblaws on display first because that's where they want it put.  

Support your local economy and don't be fooled by the imports that are cheap Dollarama food.  If milk should not be subsidized, then why is oil being given a free ride?


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Food Subsidies Important Compliment to Canadian Agriculture

When I shop for meat and vegetables, I look first for local, organic and home grown rather than supporting the USDA beef from feed lots or pesticide laden, enhanced products from abroad.  Remember too, that in season foods are fresher.  Buying spinach, for example, can be tricky when the source is California, where water is scarce and dirt may be on the leaves which means it's possible to get diseases from poor cleaning.  Similarly, openly displayed bean sprouts carry huge amounts of bacteria for those who eat it raw. 

But it's getting harder to get Ontario grown foods in the supermarkets, and indeed, we're being encouraged through lower prices of foreign imports to buy more out of country foods.  Wallmart is undercutting local prices and can afford to thrown away spoiled goods which green grocers cannot.  But I have a rabbit and chickens that are quite happy to get scraps; being frugal and conscious of waste, I often take day olds for volume freezing and soup bases. 

So, that's my outlook and I wish that mainstream papers would cover these views much more that simply pushing the big business interests.  Read the comments of the Star and Globe to see how we're not being served by Canadian agricultural policies.

The US agricultural sector has always been massively subsidised so this is not a problem caused by Obama but by the Mulroney government in the first place agreeing to NAFTA and allowing our agricultural products, not covered by "supply management" to be wiped out by subsidised US goods. Try finding Canadian made food products in your local supermarket. US subsidised agriculture especially corn and corn based fructose has wiped out mexican farmers , many of whom as an unintended consequence are now illegal immigrants to the US trying to make a living. Supply management makes some products more expensive for the consumer but getting rid of them will make us entirely dependednt on the US food supply and then watch prices rise.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dangers of Bill C30 Misuse by Harper's Conservative Spying

Anyone who reads the national newspapers and writes a blog or posts comments online via twitter or facebook already knows the sockpuppets, strawman sockpuppets and meatpuppets that troll your content.

Harper's bully boys have been called out as shills for overposting on any issue that doesn't back a point of view on the Con party agenda.  They work like spammers.  Check out the regularity of their posts.

click on posters name to view posting frequency.
Anyone who posts each minute is using the platform as a forum conversation to steer perception towards a view in line with their party affiliation and may be a shill.  But to be fair, in the messages to the user section, one can see that a real discussion by readers furthers the conversation.
Users post rebuttals or agreement

There are, however, abusers of the comments section who can trail your i.d. and send messages via your facebook, twitter, blog account.  The Globe's policy is not to delete comments because once posted, they become part of the public record.  Legally, they are protecting themselves before you.  So be careful not to say any slanderous comments.

One type of spam or malware is called clickjacking.  The whole interactivity of the net leaves spying, malicious endangerment of your accounts and misuse wide open.  If we had a government oversight that worked ethically, there wouldn't be a concern.  We'd feel protected.  By the Harper government spies, lies, tampers with the poll results, phones voters to lie to them.  You know what Rob Ford does to whistleblowers. The list goes on.  Now bill C30 will make it even easier to knock us down for good.

If you doubt how nefarious the gatekeeping of information can be, then check out what search giant Google has been up to by crossing the line of fairness.  Look up #search neutrality, #google bombing for example.  For Immigrants to Canada, google page rank will push results for "for profit" suppliers of fast tracking into tar sands Alberta.  For CO2 emissions for Alberta or water use, page rank will push results to Cenovus or Capp.  To avoid the industry self promotion paid for information, use Google Scholar.
look at the number of citings for verity of source

You already know how misinformation is destroying public perceptions of climate change, of tar sands, by counter strategies like climate denial and ethical oil propaganda, of NDP or Liberal policies by slander.  See astroturfing.  So in the general sense, we will lose the capability to get truth from the internet through all the noise of misinformation.  Thank goodness for the CBC for its wonderful reporting, Al Jazeera for a non western point of view, and UK Guardian for its science and environmental reporting.

For an example of lack of information on the environment, look at the UN site which would always post information about World Watch Institute.  Underfunding results in statistics not being made available.

If it wasn't for Twitter, I would never have discovered this article by Senator Tom Banks.  You must read it.

The interactivity of the internet also forces us to have to reveal issues we believe in that will be used against us by a corrupt government.  That's why bill C30 is a danger.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blackberry's Status as Leader is Being Deliberately Underplayed by Feds

A Canadian made product that has been a leader in the world for its standards of superiority in design and use is being squashed by the Conservative policies against our own businesses. Michael Geist, columnist and leading proponent of legal issues regarding the telecommunications industry in Canada points out in his article the completely wrongheaded  path towards economic success for local business that is impacting RIM.  Blackberry is a world class product, yet the press continues to squash its virtues.  Instead, the headlines read a negative bias.  Conservatives hate Canada, the environment, Canadian made goods, the workers who produce here, Ontario and success by our own hands.

Given that RIM remains profitable, it seems premature to suggest that the government can or should do much of anything to assist it. The company faces mounting criticism over its product lines and its failure to address the competitive threats from Apple Inc. and Google Inc. — business issues that lie beyond the expertise or mandate of government policy-makers.  (Geist)
Anyone who thinks that a free, unregulated economy can thrive in an unequal global marketplace is a fool.
While RIM’s current problems can’t be solved by government policy, some of its shortcomings may be a product of Canadian policy. Indeed, RIM is the quintessential Canadian technology company, reflecting the market’s strengths and weaknesses. If the government wants to avoid a Nortel repeat, part of the solution lies in addressing the problems that plague Canadian telecom policy. 
Caterpillar.  Yes, you know it.  There is an unwritten but very visible tendency to push our economy down to meet the market of corporations not placed in Canada.  Canada is open for business to plunder, to dominate.  It's easier for government to walk away from responsibilities to respond to its voters.  Corporations can lobby directly to the government, are easily satisfied with moving the agenda of WTO global interests forward.

RIM was never shy about trumpeting its perceived competitive advantages. For years, co-founder Mike Lazaridis promoted the data efficiency of RIM’s BlackBerry, while emphasizing that wireless spectrum is a finite resource. From RIM’s perspective, efficient use of data makes its devices more attractive to wireless carriers, which incur lower costs when compared with bandwidth-hogging devices such as the Apple iPhone.
Unless you buy an unlocked phone and are a nerdy geek who knows how to circumvent the phone company drain on your pocket, you'll be paying big money to run your business.  Another way in which Canadians cannot be competitive is our slavery to the telecoms.  More money for Rogers and Bell.  And by business writing it off, it's really a subsidy to those companies, just like gas expenses for business.
The emphasis on spectrum scarcity and the value of currying favour with telecom carriers is very much a product of the Canadian marketplace. Bell, Rogers, and Telus dominate our wireless market, resulting in longer consumer contracts than those found elsewhere, among the highest roaming fees in the world and expensive wireless data costs. Moreover, the government has retained foreign investment restrictions in the telecom sector long after most other developed economies dropped them, and it is years behind the United States in conducting spectrum auctions that could yield new competitors.
The deliberate crap contract plans by these big three just underline how dishonest the whole business is.  Who can cut through that constant blabbergab of nonsense, their use of voicemail, outsourcing of calls for tech support, their poor customer relations.  All these are signs of a business model that only works one way.  That they don't care because they don't have to compete.  That we are stuck with being irrelevant slaves to their product.

Buy Canadian. 
Demand an end to the CRTC cronyism to the Conservative government ownership of telecommunications.
Realize that if you feel like you're being screwed by the gov and your phone product - you are. 

twitter:  @mgeist

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wikipedia Entry on Vic Toews Edited on Open Record Details

A twitter post and blogger pointed out that the wikipedia entry on Vic Toews was altered and wondered why parts were deleted for no good reason.  Here's what the previous version removed.

Early life and career

Toews' parents, Victor and Anna Toews, moved from Canada with their two eldest children to Paraguay in 1952, where Toews was born in FiladelfiaParaguay. Victor's father served on a missions assignment as a teacher and minister. The family returned to Canada in 1956. He speaks German (his mother tongue), Spanish and English.[2] He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from theUniversity of Winnipeg (1973), and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Manitoba (1976).[3] He joined the provincial Ministry of Justice in 1976 and became a Crown attorney the following year. He was promoted to Director of Constitutional Law for Manitoba in 1987, and advised the Manitoba government on the Meech Lake Accord.[4] He was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1991.[5]
Toews became a lecturer at the University of Manitoba in 1987, and taught classes in labour law and employment law. He left the civil service in 1991 to become an associate counsel for Great-West Life Assurance, and was given a leave of absence in 1995 to enter politics.[6]

To access previous revisions, one must be a registered user, fill out the form for the dates and year for the search.  All edits are traced either user name or IP address.  My reason for looking was that I knew there might be an issue of dual citizenship and whether that might have been the reason for the delete.  The current version is here.  The greatest difference is regarding political history and less emphasis on early private history.  I believe the edits were made by an active wiki writer who goes by the name of Bearcat
(diff← Previous revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

 Sorry, this is not a more interesting spy novel plot with my uncovering the RCMP playing games through my stellar sleuthing.  There is no plot to hide a secret cabal of intrigue.  Just a followup of a question.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Electric Cars - Change for the Better in Ontario

Canadians ready for electric
Ontario roads and streets are dingy, pot holed filled around many parts of the city at this time of the year due in a large part to the excessive trucking of merchandise coming from the border.  Thanks to the push to sell cheaper and cheaper from state side without support for local economies and jobs.  Congestion is costing Ontario billions.

Living close to the QEW, the smog of diesel vehicles is growing with no end as is congestion in the corridor.  There's no easy answer for living in an urban megalopolis to deal with congestions,  but there is a chain of responsibility with regard to oversight and cost of implementing change that needs looking at.  See the discussion on the Agenda here for excellent analysis.  Our car mess is a federal responsibility.

My quick 3 solutions are:
light rail must be a transport method for heavy goods
  Ontario must push for local electric car manufacture and infrastructure,
 and municipally, we ought to have bike lanes.  Cycling to work is an urban trend in Toronto and growing.  But clearly, electric bikes and bikes need to have designated separated roadways.

Time for a switch to electric, especially in big transport and alternative shipping to light rail.

We also need to move to production of electric for car makers with heavier costs to gas driven vehicles in the form of taxation.  LNG and Canadian made Peterbuilt trucks are a good move towards lowering emissions amongst other toxins.  All UPS, FedEx and courier vehicles should be run electric or LNG.  They ought to be Canadian built and locally serviced and parts manufactured.  Fewer shopping trips for price comparisons and retail therapy might lessen the need for mega malls, wallmart sized parking lots and the encroachment of land space for crap plastic consumption.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Canadian Conservative Government and Cruelty to Animals Survey

Climate Gate and Climate Deniers - Followers in Canada

One might think we are living in medieval times when it comes to our attitude to global warming.  So many variations of opinion are muddying current understanding that each view may be as bizarre as the next if one reads the background on the climate wars through the prism of each viewer.  Nobel laureate scientists,  environmentalists, climate deniers, geoengineerers are fighting either to close debate or are working under the radar to make changes for us.

Climate deniers say environmentalists are using scientists to instill fear about global warming in order to perpetuate political control.   Environmentalists are blaming climate deniers for being lobbyists for big oil.  And big money philanthropists, the ones least spoken about in the media, are making environment change with hocus pocus wizardry.

Climategate is the neologism for a politically motivated, special interest group that is making a concerted, organized campaign against the scientifically proven and very clearly exhibited warming of our planet that is caused by human activity.  A third thinks that the solution is to manage the weather or look for another planet.  Each points a finger of "crazy" at the other.

To look for yourself, see the three opposing viewpoints.

U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change

The first website considers the dangerous repercussions caused by over development and examines the scientific evidence of changing environment including warming, weather patterns, extreme weather, melting ice at the poles.  The second emphasizes a magical thinking view that nature has its own means of self regulation and that over time there have been similar fluctuations in global temperature extremes.  The site is a parody of the first at the outset, but the scientific (alchemist) examinations of CO2 emissions are written by scientists with dubious respectability in the field. The third uses science to make nature predictable and changeable.

Funders for the deniers are amongst the big oil philanthropic duo Koch Brothers and Microsoft's Bill Gates Corporation for geoengineering.  The media spin on Gates' donations say that he offered computers to this endeavour.  The reporter didn't corroborate or investigate the truth of that, but it is easily disproven.
Geoengineering is opposed by many environmentalists, who say the technology could undermine efforts to reduce emissions, and by developing countries who fear it could be used as a weapon or by rich countries to their advantage. In 2010, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity declared a moratorium on experiments in the sea and space,except for small-scale scientific studies.
Why GeoEngineering poses the most threat to global warming
The least covered aspect of science about climate change deals with geoengineering.  Most opposition to climate manipulation comes from the countries most immediately affected, like Brazil and Africa.  Brazil has the most resources and internet capacity to campaign against it.

An IceRocket search will provide adequate background for the pros and cons, an example follows.  Note the page rank and number of references for its veracity.
3 days ago by Rusty
... the following video compilation is an accurate depiction of what is happening, this is an important historical/scientific document relying on primary sources and hard data rather than selectively chosen scientific papers funded by the billion dollar foundations and organisations who funded geoengineering ...
How is Canada an important player in Geoengineering? 
Our wide open spaces, tundra, arctic and controlled through suppression Aboriginal population (key opposition) make it possible.  Another location is the atmosphere and the oceans.  However, the secret document at the end of this post lists not the Canadian indigenous peoples but Madagascar as a group to be consulted.  What follows are snippets from the 82 page document.

As well as Gates, other wealthy individuals including Sir Richard Branson, tar sands magnate Murray Edwards and the co-founder of Skype, Niklas Zennström, have funded a series of official reports into future use of the technology. Branson, who has frequently called for geoengineering to combat climate change, helped fund the Royal Society's inquiry into solar radiation management last year through hisCarbon War Room charity. It is not known how much he contributed.
Professors David Keith, of Harvard University, and Ken Caldeira of Stanford, [see footnote] are the world's two leading advocates of major research into geoengineering the upper atmosphere to provide earth with a reflective shield. They have so far received over $4.6m from Gates to run the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research(Ficer). Nearly half Ficer's money, which comes directly from Gates's personal funds, has so far been used for their own research, but the rest is disbursed by them to fund the work of other advocates of large-scale interventions.
According to statements of financial interests, Keith receives an undisclosed sum from Bill Gates each year, and is the president and majority owner of the geoengineering company Carbon Engineering, in which both Gates and Edwards have major stakes – believed to be together worth over $10m.
Another Edwards company, Canadian Natural Resources, has plans to spend $25bn to turn the bitumen-bearing sand found in northern Alberta into barrels of crude oil. Caldeira says he receives $375,000 a year from Gates, holds a carbon capture patent and works for Intellectual Ventures, a private geoegineering research company part-owned by Gates and run by Nathan Myhrvold, former head of technology at Microsoft.
The continued increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases has profound implications for global and regional average temperatures, and also precipitation, ice-sheet dynamics, sea-level rise, ocean acidification and the frequency and magnitude of extreme events. Future climatic perturbations could be abrupt or irreversible, and potentially extend over millennial time scales; they will inevitably have major consequences for natural and human systems, severely affecting biodiversity and incurring very high socio-economic costs (Section 3.1). (from Canadian Natural Resources.)
Enhanced weathering on land however will have clear local impacts as it requires large mining areas and associated transport infrastructure. In addition, the mineral resources required will only be available in certain locations, therefore reducing the opportunity for choosing between alternative sites. Based on historical experience, large mining activities could have serious social implications. In addition, land space is needed for weathering to happen. 
Second, the distribution of impacts of geo-engineering are not likely to be even or uniform as are the impacts of climate change itself. Regarding impacts on climate, this appears to be mainly an issue arising from SRM. Regarding other impacts, CDR could have local and possibly also regional impacts that could raise distributional issues. Such impacts are explored below in this chapter. Where distributional effects arise, this raises questions about how the uneven impacts can be addressed for instance through proper governance mechanisms.
Third, as with climate change, geo-engineering could also entail intergenerational issues. As a result of possible technological “lock in”, future generations might be faced with the need to maintain geo-engineering measures in general in order to avoid impacts of climate change. This mainly has been identified as an issue for SRM. However, it is also conceivable that CDR-techniques entail similar “lock in” effects depending on emission trajectories. Conversely, it could be argued that not pursuing further research on geo-engineering could limit future generations’ options for reducing climate risk. 

How does one sort through the smog of climate reality?

Follow the money trail to see who is being secretive about their funding and documentation.  Documents disclosing the strategies of climate deniers were sent anonymously to DeSmogBlog and can be read in full by following the links here.
These documents are available over at DeSmogBlog. Several people are going over them, and so far they appear legit. You can read some relevant discussions at DeSmogBlogDeep ClimatePlanet 3Greg LadenClimateCrocksShawn Otto, and Think Progress. John Mashey at DeSmogBlog has more info that also corroborates the leaked documents, and to call it blistering is to severely underestimate it.
 How do you know if the media is showing bias?
You might be able to spot deniers or the effect of their propaganda in several ways.  Media  qualifying their remarks by such provisos as attributing a point of view to one organization like the Suzuki Foundation or Greenpeace, thereby branding it with the "wingnut" slander or "lefty" tar brush (wink understood).

Why is there so little science news?
Science is being muzzled by governments world wide in order to maintain a status quo.  We never hear about the impact of oil and gas on the environment, toxics, climate, air, water, food supplies, from scientists in Canada unless the information is filtered.
Science, one of the world’s top research journals, published Miller’s findings in January. The journal considered the work so significant it notified “over 7,400″ journalists worldwide about Miller’s “Suffering Salmon” study. Science told Miller to “please feel free to speak with journalists.” It advised reporters to contact Diane Lake, a media officer with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Vancouver, “to set up interviews with Dr. Miller.”
Obama has made attempts to restore science to its rightful place, while our government has completely reversed all our free speech on environment.  We must agitate to have more news stories on environment and science in newspapers, more scientists in federal agencies.  Why control science?  visibility, media,

Advanced Science Serving Society will be holding a meeting in B.C. this week on the issue of why governments control science, its visibility and media gatekeeping.  Let's see how it is covered and who addresses the story well.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Where is Harper's Report From the Trade Mission to China?

Not to be missed is Aaron Wherry (@aaronwherry) article on the blowup in HOC of the incompetent PC ministers' comments while he was in China.  Yes, there was hell to pay.  And a great deal of smoothing over necessary for the repeated indiscretions of the incompetents that run amok without their "talking points" scripted for them.

But each time there is a crisis that gets media attention, we know there has been some underhanded machination at play that doesn't make the headlines and isn't subject to scrutiny in the press.  Questions I'd like to hear asked would be:

Prime Minister, you did not meet with a prominent dignitary on your trip. Notable, though, was China’s decision not to have Harper meet with Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping, who will travel to the United States next week to meet U.S. President Barack Obama. Why is that?

Prime Minister, who did you take with you and why did you not take any agricultural representatives? Was it to present export opportunities for our agricultural products or to encourage Chinese immigration to B.C. which will result in an over burden of non producing elite class second home owners in the area?  Is this the future Canadians want?

A representative from immigrant services organization S.U.C.C.E.S.S. was also part of Harper's trip and is still overseas.
Speaking in Vancouver, CEO Thomas Tan said the organization went to China for two reasons: first, to make S.U.C.C.E.S.S. more visible to Chinese who are thinking of immigrating to British Columbia; and second, to look for Chinese organizations interested in implementing projects S.U.C.C.E.S.S. has developed in Vancouver.

Read more: 

Prime minister, we have a shortage of jobs in B.C. Why are you importing Chinese temporary workers instead of employing Canadians and supporting our work force?

Speaking in Vancouver, CEO Thomas Tan said the organization went to China for two reasons: first, to make S.U.C.C.E.S.S. more visible to Chinese who are thinking of immigrating to British Columbia; and second, to look for Chinese organizations interested in implementing projects S.U.C.C.E.S.S. has developed in Vancouver.
The organization has two programs Tan said could be applicable in China: its health care management system for seniors and its caregiver training programs.
Canada has a reputation in China for its good health care system, Tan said. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. blends that system with the Chinese cultural component in its approach to senior care. "That's the uniqueness of our care home here," Tan said.
The other program S.U.C.C.E.S.S. would like to export is its live-in caregiver training, which would train people in China to become caregivers in Canada.
Exporting the programs would bring in management fees that would help S.U.C.C.E.S.S., a non-profit, become more sustainable.

Read more:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Farmers and Small Businesses Will Be Buried By Loosening of Regulations

When Galen Weston got himself into hot water for criticizing small farmers for spreading contamination, Sylvain Charlebois, a Guelph professor was quick to come in and do damage control. Weston, owner of Loblaw, the largest food retailer in Canada,  made the remark before a group of 600 food industry executives at the Canadian Food Summit in Toronto.  He said: 
“Farmers’ markets are great … One day they’re going to kill some people, though,” he said, quickly adding: “I’m just saying that to be dramatic, though.” 
Who knows who the execs were, as details don't seem to matter in reporting anymore, but anyway.  No doubt, they were like minded Used to be that balanced reporting would have added that fact, and maybe included a quote from a wounded party that might shed light on the further implications of what is going on.  But since that's not happening, it must be another coverup.  Anyway, Weston was quick to notice the gaff and apologized, but apparently, even more smoothing of perceptions was needed along with some pushing of the upcoming legislation that will threaten farmers and small entrepreneurs in the same way as all the government's deregulation policies.  Part of the one for one idiotic strategy, the softening of regulations, which ones, pick and choose, silliness will make a mockery of real business enterprises.  You may be sure that it will work well for some, and badly for others.

What's going on in the Food and Drug Industry?
TorontoCanada's food and consumer products manufacturers welcome the initiatives recommended today by the Red Tape Reduction Commission as they will spur industry growth, improve Canada's outdated regulatory system and ultimately help bring more innovative products to Canadian homes.
Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) is pleased that many of its key recommendations are included in the report concerning increased transparency; addressing the many regulatory delays manufacturers face when bringing new, innovative products to market; more proactive communication with business; improved efficiencies to move goods over the border; and greater reliance on electronic services.

FCPC specifically recommended that the government publicly report on how long it's taken to move products through the regulatory system and is pleased that the Commission included this in their final report.
 FCPC is encouraged with the government's commitment to the "One-for-One" initiative and is calling on the Federal government to move swiftly on the recommendations announced today.
So food industry executives will be engaging in trade deregulation with the US and internationally while busting the milk marketing board at home to do to the dairy farmers what they did with the wheat board.  No more monopoly.

Farmers feel threatened by Weston's slight against farmer's markets.
The fact that Weston and Loblaws play the middle man between farmers and processors and the consumer does not give them the right to use scare tactics against those who choose to go the direct route.
Farmers markets give consumers the ability to not only purchase the freshest possible foods, far, far fresher than any corporate giant can ever offer, but it also provides a real face and location behind those products rather than the paper trail which is only possible with the giants.
Also, the middle man’s profit is wiped out.
Farmers selling at these markets are putting their face and reputation behind each and every sale, either at the market or at the farm door.
They are the ones who picked or harvested the fruits and vegetables that very morning, at the peak of freshness and when field ripened, not green and allowed to ripen in transport.
They themselves make the products they sell in their own kitchens, the very same ones as their families eat and they offer to guests, plus they are usually chemical and preservative free.
They see the very plants and animals which provide the produce they sell, know their history and their health and would no more sell a potentially dangerous item than feed it to their family or friends.
Have a question? They are more than eager to help.
Loblaws does not have the righteous handle on food safety, nor does any food agency. The number of food recalls which are announced in the media are proof of that as are the sicknesses or deaths which often precede the recalls.
To infer that they do is highly irresponsible… or a case of a food giant looking to add another $700 million to its sales sheet.
 What all this amounts to is a preliminary to absolution of the milk, dairy, eggs, turkey marketing boards in Canada because of a $1.00 discrepancy with the U.S.

Montreal economist William Watson recently compared the average retail price of four litres of milk and found the average price in U.S. cities so far this year was $3.85 (in Canadian dollars). In comparison, according to Statistics Canada, four litres of milk in Canada will set a consumer back between $4.50 (in Regina) and $6.79 (in Charlottetown). All other cities surveyed are within that range. (Statistics Canada does not provide a cross-country average.)
The Fraser Institute, a Conservative think tank, further demonizes farmers as greedy cartels.
Canada’s cartel-like supply management boards should be abolished and for the same reason other cartels are already illegal: they cement an undesirable nexus between politics and money; they promote crony capitalism, lock out competition and in the case of supply management boards, collude to raise prices on an essential human need: food. 
 That is the background to the remarks made by Weston because, indeed, one of the purposes of the conference was to strategize and prepare for the new trade deals in the future.  Charlebois conceded:

For industry, particularly for smaller enterprises trying to develop new markets both domestically and globally, the role of the Canadian food safety regulatory regime has become somewhat of an impediment to innovation and successful commercialization. The overall regulatory and policy framework within which the Canadian food industry operates itself interferes with our ability to effectively support industry in innovation, marketing and commercialization. Most Canadians wouldn’t know how difficult it really is to start a business in the food industry, mostly as a result of the array of food safety policies.
 So basically, the one for one scheme will mean big business will trade a one for one.  Food safety and successful commercialization.  Big agribusiness.  Small farmers swallowed by big agribusiness.  One for one.

China and Tar Sands Ownership Costs Canadians Their Rights

Tar Sands industry opened the door for foreign interests to swallow up Canadian sovereignty just as the banksters did in the US with their infiltration of the White House. Process is laid out here
as we are now going to have our natural resources like water being directed by what industry wants with impunity (pretty much what's already happened) to the shock of all. You will see that the Keystone will be a go, despite the destruction to the environment and protests from the stakeholders. And a network of pipes will travel to the four corners of Canada, including the Port of Churchill, through Hudson's Bay, pipelines through the east. China wants to process bitumen and control market pricing. The advantage is to own the factory, not just have a share in the profit. Thanks a lot conservative voters. Your x on the ballot just changed the course of Canada.

Patronage positions are being handed out to all key posts in the private sector which can accommodate facilitate the oil transport process.  Watch out where you live, because you're going to see a big downturn in property values if you planned on living anywhere near the big honking portlands.  
"Mr. Flaherty’s riding association also includes Tim O’Connor – a director of FarmTech Energy Corporation, the ethanol company looking to build a plant at the port to export corn and ethanol."

Flaherty can hold his nose on this one until he's Conservative blue in the face but it won't stop smelling.

These guys must think voters are fools to ne played with. Sadly, maybe they are.
The tories clearly don't limit their pork to their obscene Senate appointments - now it will be every Port Authority from Victoria to St.John's.
 Hey, the people of Oshawa voted for Diamond Jim, now they have too live with him and his decisions. As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Maybe next time around at election time they'll remember this... or not, since ethics and accountability have never seemed to matter to the Oshawa electorate.
Its no longer who you know to get ahead. You just need to be a card carrying conservative.
Huh, who would have thought considering this was the "ethical" government at work.
Oshawa councillor Nester Pidwerbecki said he fears the seven-member board of the port authority – filled mainly by the federal government – will approve the construction of the plant, despite the unanimous opposition of city council.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
Of course industry will win out Citizens of Canada no longer have any rights!

Your environment is as good as dead.
"also president of the Conservative riding association"

"We don't think as a party that patronage has any place in the Parliament of Canada." Stephen Harper, Calgary Herald, March 22, 1995 ...
Its a shame the article didn't also reference the $100,000,000 that Finance Minister Flaherty allocated in one of his previous budgets for his friends at Farmtech so that they can build a corn based ethanol plant at taxpayer expense.
The list of patronage appointments makes clear that when Canadians go to the polls, they will hit a brick wall of very entrenched lobbyists who are cleared for entry through the back door.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tar Sands are Not Sustainable Growth, But Quick Buck Exploitation

Conservatives Care about Incremental Transitioning
 The TransCanada Oil Oligopoly of global foreign investors have banded together to rip up as much damage to the province of Alberta as they can before the Conservative plutocracy is stopped by a reality check this coming election.

Andrew Nikiforuk's Tar Sands Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent  is a scathing report on the damaging project that has completely transformed the Canadian economy and social contract.

Why should Canada embark on this irresponsible greed?  To keep oil business wealthy and to make our economy a slave to big business while in the meantime allowing for a communist agenda to subvert all environmental criticism.  Misrepresentation and untruths abound.

Alberta's bitumen apologists swear that "work is progressing to return the disturbed land to a natural state after development, and it will be done right."  The province's former ambassdor to the United States, Murray Smith, even assured our number ne oil market that the industry will achieve "100 per cent long-term restoration of the lands it makes use of."  Why, major tar sand companies have even planted 7.5 million tree seedlings.  The Mining Association of Canada says reclaiming open pit mines can be done with a "vision worthy of a Group of Seven artist." (Tar Sands, 94)
The tar sands are too big, too destructive, too caustic to soil to rehabilitate.  Nothing will grow there again.  But the plans just keep growing bigger to lay waste more.
Even at that, the mines make up only a small part of the wreckage created by the megaproject.  The Alberta government has leased an additional 23,000 square miles of land (and another 30,000 square miles await global investors) for in situ projects, including steam-assisted gravity drainage.  The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, which encompass 9,000 square miles and include Jasper, Banff, Yoho and Kootenay, could fit int this planned industrial zone about six times.  As noted, SAGD development will slice and dice the land with thousands of industrial well sites, seismic lines, pipelines, and roads.  This fragmentation will transform the forest into a bitumen park, exterminating the population of woodland caribou and decimating songbirds home from their winter in the tropics.  Seismic lines, which make a forest look like and engineered spiderweb, typically need more than one hundred years to fill in with trees again.  Yet the government has no tight guidelines for reclaiming forest ruined by SAGD. (Tar Sands, p95.)
Coverup of a tailings pond with sand and grass.  What about the toxins below ground?
These are the facts with real concrete specifics, unlike the vague unrealistic and false statements coming from the Minister of the Environment.

And don't believe that oil is good for the people of Alberta which the Conservative oligopoly likes to pit against all the "have not" provinces against.  They are not doing so well as the lies tell us.
Albertans are losing funding for schools, hospitals, jobs etc. as the money is going to the oil industry. Services such as plumbing and construction are now very expensive and hard to find as most of the workers in this trade are working in the tar sands. The irony of this is that their gas prices are increasing too because most of the oil is shipped to America or elsewhere. The energy security propaganda we hear about from the industry is absolutely false. There have also been many complaints from workers about unsafe, unhealthy and abusive situations. As a result of all this there have been increased rates of gambling, suicide and crime in nearby communities. Long term sustainable economies such as forestry, commercial and recreational fishing, ecotourism, hunting, farming and housing are also taking a hit.   Blog source
Across Canada, we've seen the destruction of B.C. loss of forest industry and tourism slowly becoming a gas and fracking hellhole.  Large sections of coastline which are needed for fish spawning grounds are becoming overbuilt with industry.  Farming in the prairies is taking a hit for growing industry servicing and mining acquisitions.  Quebec has lost so much in manufacturing, the Atlantic provinces to fishery manufacturing loss.  The oil industry is keeping the dollar high which kills off export for any other endeavor across the provinces.

Make sure to keep up the criticism and take action for a change.

Conservatives Threaten Canadian Culture of Environmentalism

Conservatives want to imitate US gun culture
The only good environment holds for a Conservative is that it be exploited for gain.   They would take Jasper Park and make it an ugly mechanical mess of boardwalks, concession stands, empty pop cans and cigarette butts.  Woods are not for the animals but for gun toting hunters. 

Today's Globe story runs a complaint by Dalton McGuinty that our beer store model is out of date.  I would argue the truth of that and support microbreweries as a better way to distribute beer.  As I also approve of the growing number of outlets for locally produced wine, like Magnotta which are sold in plazas and Loblaws.
To this end, local businesses that are associated with agriculture must be protected from encroachment of policies that favor anti-environmental positions and promote destruction of lands that are growing our grains and grapes for alcoholic products.
See the link here to the Canadian culture of environmentalism that has been part of our ethic to preserve our lands for product growing of our own produce.  Conservative policies spell destruction of locally producing microbreweries, because they run counter to small business models of efficiency by showing preferred taxing models for big business.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Must Read For Analysis of Harper is a Fascist Bag of Tricks

Read this blog for a full summary of a lot of the points I had already been thinking about but for which I didn't know the backstory fully.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Canadian Consulates Closing in US Our Biggest Trading Partner

Eight out of twenty-two consulates in the United States will be shut for a purportedly cost saving measure.  One does wonder, if the ones left will be staffed by Conservatives.  It does seem to be related to a Harper chill after the cancellation of the Keystone and a snub against the too Liberal Obama who would see the China visit as openly shifting allegiances.  Harper's also betting that the Keystone will be a go once the GOP Republicans push it through with all their money and clout.
And if anyone wants to say that this back turning really isn't intended as such, then not at all.  Harper's very calculating about optics and messaging.  All that flag waving and whatnot, the open handed gestures that are de rigueur.  Here are some comments to this latest action.
Clearly you have never been in business before! My company: for every 1 Canadian order we get, we get 100 USA orders are 30 European orders... And you know how many from Asia???


That's right, not one... Asians don't buy things from us, they never will. They just sell us stuff.. That is not a business relationship. We must stand with the USA to ensure our economic survival, without them, we're so done!
Canada is "shifting focus from the US struggling markets".... Tsk Tsk ...Has Harper begun to believe his own propaganda or was this little slip of the truth sneaked into the article to throw the stupid public off?

By all reports, the US economy is growing at a much faster rate than Canada's.

Harper is "shifting focus to China" right now ... to benefit his Conservative pals in the US congress and senate ... and to benefit his pipeline investors who in turn will fund his next election.
Cozying up to China and expanding trading partner offices in every region that can be exploited by Canadian businesses is far more important than supporting where Canadians may be looking for services.  Here is a list of the countries that now have Canadian offices.

Canada's New Investment Strategies - Prisons

Libyan torture prison built by Canadians
It just takes a big accident, a trouble maker to break the law and headlines reveal a nefarious underground story that the media has left out of the eyes of the public.  Yesterday, it was the horrific crash that killed 11 temporary immigrants.  Today it is the Ghadaffi abetting woman in Mexico who worked for SNC Lavalin.  Yes, Canadian companies are finding profits in amoral ways and influencing the politics of Canada.  CBC News ran an article on this company here and I've gathered some comments from people in the know.
Quinton denied reports that SNC-Lavalin was concealing the project.
"It is one of the thousands of projects we work on yearly, not all of which are announced by press release."
Quinton pointed out the project is mentioned in SNC-Lavalin's upcoming annual report for 2010.
"We are proud to be able to deliver such a necessary project and hope that it will become a model for others in the region. What would be the alternative to building a state-of-the-art facility according to the standards of human rights?"
What follows are quotes taken from readers' comments.  They said it so well and many are more informed than I, so here goes.  No attribution given out of respect to their privacy.  You can look it up from the link above.
SNC Lavalin is also one of the many corporations that have Direct input into Canadian politics, through their involvement on the NorthAmerican Security & Prosperity Partnership ; NAFTA , along with Power Corp.

This odious propaganda about free trade around the world will bring democracy just keeps getting exposed for the lie it is, it is all about capitalism and ensuring a small % of citizens have the largest % of influence.

Capitalism is the nemesis of Democracy
 it should be remembered that all jails are built by governments to be used to detain its citizens. The more people detained, the more likely that the government is repressive. When a government starts passing legislation that imposes stiff sentences for minor social 'misbehaviour', takes the imposition of sentences out of the hands of judges, and concentrates the financial supports on punishment rather than rehabilitative programs, then we have the beginning of tyranny.
 As an engineer I am disgusted that SNC Lavalin would put aside any ethical concerns in favour of doing business with a long lasting brutal dictator. It's one thing to build an airport which one can argue doesn't affect people in a negative way, but building a prison for Ghadaffi is helping to build more repressive infrastructure to imprison people who dare complain about their own lack of human rights. And the assertion that the prison meets human rights standards? Give me a break- beatings, torture, murder can happen anywhere a dictator wants it to, even in a "human rights approved prison". So much for professional standards and ethics. I hope the Libyan people burn that prison down.
If SNC didn't get the contract some other foreign company would have gladly accepted it. Libyan Airlines also uses several CRJ900 aircraft from Bombardier so do we condemn them as well? (was this an inducement to win the contract?)
  The difference between Gadhafi and Kim could probably be summed up by paraphrasing the famous old Cold War saying as, "He may be a bastard, but he's a rehabilitated bastard" (referring to Gadhafi).

Having said that, I personally think it's reprehensible that SNC would be involved in helping Gadhafi upgrade his security infrastructure, "rehabilitated" or not. I realize SNC is an engineering company, and engineers tend to be less squeamish about ethics than other people concerning business deals. Still, I think SNC should rightly be feeling some heat over this particular contract.

 Takeaways - Harper's government can be proud of its fascistic methods for wealth creation and its ability to twist a despicable enterprise into a positive.  Beware of the company they keep.
I look at these people and they appear like you and me, but deep down, there is no morality or ethics in them.  How did this happen?  And why did we let it happen?