Another week in Toronto, and another scandal involving our sideshow of a mayor, Rob Ford.
This latest one, in case somehow you have not heard, involves an apparent video of the mayor allegedly not only smoking crack cocaine but also using homophobic language to disparage Justin Trudeau and describing the players of the high school football team he coaches as "just fucking minorities".
Adrian Dix and the NDP have been defeated in an election that was widely expected to yield a comfortable win for the centre-left party. Over the course of the month-long race, B.C. politics threw off the political intensity often associated with battles of left and right. Instead of attacking the B.C. Liberal record, Dix and the NDP chose a strategy of passive precaution, waiting for the other side to falter.
It began with mild embarrassment. The developer-friendly Waldorf hotel, which maintained its vaguely artistic credentials despite hosting a chain Lebanese restaurant and a hair salon, was sold to a condominium company in spite of itself. Even Mayor Gregor Robertson seemed bemused, even sheepish. "To lose such a historic building would be a big blow," he muttered, eyes lowered, shuffling his John Fluevogs hither and thither. "We need to do what we can to protect it."
One way to make a problem go away -- at least temporarily -- is to ignore it. It's also the way to make problems grow over time.
For most governments, ignoring problems away isn't easy. It requires a thick skin in the face of criticism, a disengaged electorate, a compliant media, and a lack of immediate consequences. Sadly, those four conditions exist in Canada.
In Stephen Harper's Canada, the art of wilful ignorance has reached new heights, muzzling independent voices where they can, while attacking those who dare challenge the PMO’s control. But to dumb down the dialogue and maintain policy based solely on populist ideology, you have to go after the information sources.
If it were not so terribly serious, one could almost be amused by the latest sad battle cry of Toronto's deeply confused politicians, calling on the province to give them subways that they ultimately want no one, at all, to pay for. To paraphrase Dire Straits, they seem to want to get their money from nothing and their transit for free.
Members of Cheyenne Fox's family are demanding that Toronto police fairly look into her sudden, tragic death at twenty years of age and treat it like a homicide -- challenging the all- too-familiar neglect by police departments to investigate any suspicious First Nations woman death or disappearance -- as asserted by Operation Thunderbird.
Cheyenne Fox was a member of the loon dodem from Sheguiandah First Nation in Ontario (Manitoulin Island) and is from a very politically active family. She is survived by a young son.
In the fight against global climate change, we are currently approaching the endgame.
The time for compromise has come and gone. A certain temperature increase is inevitable -- already "locked in" -- but if we are to have any chance of preventing runaway global warming and the destruction this would entail, then we need to start saying no right now to the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. Either we stay below the two-degree warming threshold or we don't. Politicians who only get us partway there are no better than those who don't even try.
This is what Trevor Jang, a Wet'suwet'en youth said to Enbridge CEO Al Monaco yesterday at the Enbridge AGM in Calgary.
When Trevor was 16, he won the Canadian Aboriginal Writing Challenge which Enbridge sponsors. At the time, he didn’t realize who Enbridge was. After a photo shoot with company representatives, his photo was used in an Enbridge print ad displayed across Canada. He came to the Enbridge AGM yesterday as part of a delegation which included his chief, Chief Na’Moks of the Tsayu Clan of the Wet'suwet'en.
In a perceptive article entitled New research council mandate shows Conservative's hostility to free market, National Post columnist Andrew Coyne takes aim at the government's recent announcement of plans to shift the focus of the National Research Council from fundamental scientific research to an industry-orientated one.
At rabble.ca we get a lot of visitors -- up to 450,000 a month, and we have over 18,000 Twitter followers. That’s a lot of folks. Who are you? In 2011 we had a visitors' survey and now we are doing it again. We are hoping to get 100 more people responding so we have opened the survey back up until May 20. Yes, you can still get prizes! We are offering Canadian music CD prize packs, rabble tote bags, or some rockin' bike lights. Congratulations to Marion P., Jody S., Beth L., and Chris C. who have won already!
Our survey just takes a few minutes and can be found here:
France's National Assembly and Senate have voted to extend the country's military intervention in Mali. A resolution passed both houses of parliament on April 22. Not a single vote was cast in opposition.
Three days later, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 2100, creating a policing mission beginning July 1, 2013. The mission is called by its French acronym MINUSMA. Its projected size is 11,200 soldiers and 1,440 police.
Since we got first involved in the Downtown Eastside Local Area Planning Process (LAPP) in the spring of 2011, low-income community members and groups have been hanging our hopes for broad-sweeping housing policy change on the outcome of the 2013 B.C. provincial election. The most important part of our participation in that planning work has been our push to prevent a mass displacement and homelessness crisis in the DTES.
True confession time, people.
I commit sociology.
And not just as a one-off.
You might say -- all right, I will say it -- that I'm a repeat offender. In fact, I'm practically addicted. Scarcely a minute can go by without my synapses looking for their next fix.
That might not be a politically correct admission. After all, this is tough-on-crime Canada, where such wanton disregard for Father-Knows-Best-ology and doing the "right" thing (and not in that perilously-close-to-committing-sociology Spike Lee kind of way) seems almost, well, unpatriotic.
This past weekend, Québec Solidaire's econmic platform, the Plan Vert was officially launched. The campaign is a response to Liberal (and now PQ) Plan Nord, premised on resource extraction and exploitation of Québec’s north. It focuses on investing in the following initiatives:
- transitioning Québec toward green energies- the mass development of public transportation (especially outside of the large cities)- the mass transition toward energy efficiency and social housing- developing cooperatives and collectively-run businesses- taking back control over natural resources.
In the last section of his Republic, in which Plato outlines his designs for the ideal society, the great philosopher famously banishes poets from the city, the polis. The problem is, you see, they're a bunch of fakers. They pretend to know everything and anything, but in reality, they're know-nothing scoundrels. They drink, they fight, they carry on -- and they'll corrupt the public with their chiasmuses and villanelles if we're not careful. So, sorry poets: you're out.
New mining royalties in Quebec
May 15 2013
Bertrand Schepper, Laura Handal
On Monday, the Parti québécois government announced a new mining royalty regime. Its hybrid proposal combines aspects from two types of royalty systems: profit-based and ad valorem royalties.
Bean leaves, bedbugs and biomimicry
May 15 2013
Pesticides may offer quick, easy and effective methods for dealing with pests, but they come with all kinds of problems. Maybe we can learn some lessons from nature and our ancestors.
Eby and Heyman offer answers to NDP heartbreak
May 15 2013
What happened to the B.C. NDP? Last night, two monumentally impressive successes in a night of failure and defeat offer some explanation: the key riding wins of David Eby and George Heyman.