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Harper and Merkel: Partners in austerity

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Canada this week as champion of an austerity policy stance that is failing Europe.

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France and Greece celebrate electoral push back against austerity

Socialist Party supporters in Bastille Square cheered the end of the Sarkozy era in France. (Photo: democraticunderground.com)
France celebrated the defeat of Sarkozy over the weekend. Similar scenes took place in Greece, as the left rode a wave of anti-austerity sentiment.

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Columnists

The future of the 21st-century European left

Photo: philippe leroyer/flickr

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Hannah Arendt decried a modern world of loneliness with people absorbed by work and consumption. Where was civic life, public space, the "venture into the public realm," participating with others in trust?

Arendt identified what has become a major problem for the European left: political apathy and indifference to civic duty, as revealed by voter turnouts of less than 50 per cent in the recent European parliament election.

Columnists

Fighting the right-wing plague that struck Europe

Photo: Marine Le Pen. Credit: Blandine Le Cain/flickr

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A plague of extreme right-wing parties has struck Europe, as evidenced by results of the recent European Union Parliamentary elections.

The extreme right prevailed in France, Great Britain and Denmark, EU countries that have largely escaped the economic disease that afflicted the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain): soaring unemployment, sovereign debt crises, imposed austerity.

Columnists

Europe disenchanted: After the European Parliament elections

Photo: European Parliament/flickr

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The great French poet Victor Hugo speaking to an international peace conference in 1849 called for the establishment of a United States of Europe. With the blood hardly dry after World War II ended in Europe in 1945, a group of French thinkers, notably Jean Monnet, drew up plans for European economic co-operation.

Columnists

Harper on Russia: America's useful idiot?

Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

Stephen Harper's acutely embarrassing behaviour regarding the crisis in Ukraine -- demonizing Vladimir Putin and upping the rhetoric -- must be welcomed in the U.S. which created the crisis in the first place and apparently believes it still has something to gain by isolating Russia. But it is not clear that Harper even realizes -- or cares -- what the larger game is.

And that game may include a Russia-driven shift in global currency allegiance that could devastate the economies of the U.S. and Canada.

Columnists

How the gas industry is exploiting the crisis in Ukraine to push fracking

Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout/flickr

The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the U.S. Congress -- one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) -- that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin's fossil fuels, and enhancing U.S. national security.

Columnists

Ottawa situation report: Harper does the chicken hawk

Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

Embassies around the world routinely prepare situation reports or sitreps: assessments of host governments and their leaders. Foreign offices request these reports be updated prior to bilateral consultations or international meetings.

In advance of the emergency G7 meeting held in Holland on Monday March 24, an Ottawa embassy sitrep was circulated among European Union foreign ministries. This portrait of PM Harper and Canadian foreign policy under his direction is reproduced below.

Background

Columnists

What's really at stake in Ukraine

Photo: Sharon Drummond/flickr

It's difficult to know which is the more disturbing aspect of the crisis in the Ukraine -- the deliberate obfuscation of the truth by Western leaders like Stephen Harper (and their complicit media) or the truth itself: the casual acceptance by the West of an illegal, coup-installed regime in Kiev populated by neo-Nazis and anti-Semites. But you don't have to choose between them -- you should be very concerned about both. Democracy is impossible without an informed citizenry and given the effective collusion between the Harper government, the Canadian media and the geo-political interests of NATO we seem doomed to remain uniformed.

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