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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

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.

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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.

Ukraine cannot just be Ukraine: it's an object of great power meddling

Photo: tandalov.com/flickr
Ukraine cannot just be Ukraine: it's an object of great power meddling. With massed citizen actions calling for change, the Americans wanted to shape the new government, bypassing the European Union.

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Ukraine power play: What's at stake?

Photo: tandalov.com/flickr

"Yats is the guy ..." high-ranking American State Department official Victoria Nuland explained on the phone to the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. Their conversation was made available on the Internet by Russia, and got wide attention mainly because Nuland  also said: "F..k the EU."

A former central banker ready to apply austerity policies to his country, Arseniy "Yats" Yatsenyuk is now the interim Prime Minister of Ukraine, until the May 25 elections are held. Former President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country, and was deposed by parliament late in February.

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Taking ideology out of politics

Photo: Chicca Silva/Flickr

I miss hearing from those clowns in Italy: not the ones at the papal conclave, the ones in the election a few weeks ago. They were serious clowns.

Especially Beppe Grillo, the comic who heads the party that got the most votes. He wants a referendum to take Italy out of the euro because it's like a shovel with which you keep digging the hole you're in deeper. It may have sounded good in theory but in practice it's been used by bondholders in the north to torture populations in the south. Lots of people think that but he says it.

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Italy's Five Stars shocks Europe

Beppe Grillo. Photo: Claudio Manent/Flickr

Comedian Rick Mercer talks politics with more vigour and zip than any other public voice in English Canada. Rick's Rant on the Harper government's campaign to mute and throttle science stands out only as the most recent example.

Imagine Rick teaming up with a social media guru, and forming a political party that walked away with one voter in four in its first national election try?

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