The time is upon us once more. Festivus for the rest of us. There are two main parts to Festivus. The Airing of Grievances and the Feats of Strength. Since this is internet radio, we will be sticking to the grievances part.
Last year we were fortunate to get a Wednesday on December 23rd, the official day of Festivus. This year we are two days early. Grievance #1.
Twitter 2016 has become an arbitrary uber-corporate, ass-kissing, rule hiding, archive punishing, like it or lump it pile of fecal matter. Their "mission statement" is a complete fabrication, spun to attract investment and the users can eat it. Grievance #2.
This time of year, for most, involves family in likely close proximity. Enough said. Grievance #3.
Does your job suck? Of course it does. If you have one. Grievance #4.
Speaking of sucking, that brings to mind people. All of them, pretty much. Grievance #5.
Bring it, god dammit. Let's make our own Festivus Miracles. Nothing is out of bounds (at this point).
Infrastructure - an all encompassing word used to describe just about anything that is for use by the public at large. Mass transit, roads & highways, hospitals, schools and sports/leisure facilities are the things that spring to mind. Sunny Ways promised to deliver these things for Canadians, to stimulate economic growth and put in place the foundations for a better future. Sounds good, doesn't it?
Infrastructure is also the assets in place, built with public funds and owned by the public, administered by all levels of government. Real equity in tangible developments used by all. Airports. Highway systems. Water ports. Educational facilities. Health care facilities. For decades, the public financing model worked. It still does but it's not satisfactory for neoliberals. Mulroney opened the door and airport privatization was an issue in the 1993 election. That led to the "Airport Authority" model that introduced user fees, improvement levies and for-profit ventures on Federal lands. Water ports followed suit within a decade.
The Advisory Council on Economic Growth now wants to continue what the CPC started, on steroids. Harper made piles of money available, the only catch being it had to be a P3 project thereby preventing public ownership and transparency. Bay Street darling Minister of Finance Bill Morneau will set up the Canadian Infrastructure Development Bank, a P3 clearing house by any other name. Previously announced public funding will now be a minority stake in new projects, with institutional investment funds becoming the de facto owners. Morgan Stanley was brought in to advise on airport privatization. Credit Suisse AG was asked to study water port privatization. They want to sell what we paid for and own to entice more privatized ownership of new projects. Asset Recycling is a trojan horse and guess who will pay? Not the investment fund managers on the Advisory Council. Can you say taxpayers
What does the word "promise" mean to you? Is it something said to capture the moment with no intention of keeping your word? Do you let your proclamation be spread far and wide to people looking for an answer or commitment, knowing it's never going anywhere? Or are you just trying to buy some relief, hoping that when you get called on it enough time will have passed to claim that's not what you really said? If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may be a politician.
In 2014, allegations of sexual assault in the Canadian Armed Forces reached epidemic levels. The Chief of Defense Staff promised swift action, stating that the CAF would not tolerate such behavior. Surveys and reports would be done, programs put in place, this would stop. Fast forward to 2016. New reports, new Chief of Defense Staff, same problem.
Before becoming Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould stated that BC would not accept pipeline projects destroying the environment, traditions, ethos and First Nations of the province. Kinder Morgan's Trans-Mountain expansion has been approved. Minister Wilson-Raybould? Crickets.
The Electoral Reform Committee broke all the rules being established. Canadians were given ample opportunity to be heard on the issue. They took advantage and came forward. They made their preference clear. To everyone except PM Trudeau and Minister Maryam Monsef apparently. Since the answer is not preferred, we need more consultation until the right answer appears.
Drain The Swamp is now officially Fill The Swamp. The richest Cabinet in US history is on the way, despite the working class claims on the campaign trail. Quelle surprise. And despite the claims of new tone, the CPC look south for ways to be irrelevant as 14 toadies stumble to replace Emperor.
As promised (lol) Polly Ticks (@PTicks) returns to discuss these issues and more. Join us!
The long and winding road. The one where the end never gets closer but the billboards and neon signs along the way keep telling you how spectacular the final destination is. The destination that keeps getting moved further and further into the future. Just keep going, just keep trusting, it's coming. No, really. Every newspaper you open, every TV channel you watch tells you it's just around the corner, that incredible result that the world will be envious of. All brought to you by your intrepid BC Liberals and Princess Christy Flim-flam, who are only interested in the best for British Columbians of course.
LNG, which once meant Liquid Natural Gas now means Logic Never Given. Pacific Northwest and Woodfibre are nothing but elaborate public relations campaigns that will almost certainly never be built. Rich Coleman can continue his Sham-Wow impression but when the corporate interests that will have to spend those billions fall silent, the writing is on the wall.
Site C, the mega-project which never made sense, now tries to justify an estimated 70 year deficit period for BC taxpayers while producing a product with no demand at a staggering loss. BC Hydro has all but abandoned trying to justify the madness. Now they just release estimates and data as quietly as possible. But the Clark government keeps spending on it.
Kinder Morgan continues to misrepresent, misinform, misguide and outright lie regarding the Burnaby Mountain expansion, which is actually a tripling of pipeline capacity. Municipal authorities continue to vow refusal of the project. The Second Narrows of Burrard Inlet are woefully ill equipped for a 3 fold increase in tanker traffic. But the band plays on.
The View Up Here is proud and honored to welcome back Guest #1 - Franke James. She has spent years producing original artwork inspired by social and environmental justice. Her artwork and books span print, television, radio and online mediums in Canada, the USA and many other parts of the globe. Outspoken on environmental issues, Franke's work has come into conflict with the Harper government, resulting in bureaucratic pressure forcing cancellation of a 20-city European art exhibition. Her experiences as an artist being censored by government for an opposing point of view and message led to her third book "Banned On The Hill" which chronicled the fight through eight "visual essays". The book has become an introduction for anyone to the world of censorship and surveillance and how to fight back by creating a larger circle of eyes.
In 2014, Franke received the BCCLA Liberties Award for Excellence in the Arts for her focus on social and environmental justice and her fight for free expression. In 2015, Franke received the PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize for courage in the freeing of ideas and information from restraint or interference. Ms. James has no intention of easing up anytime soon. Between exhibits of her work, participation in events and campaigns such as The Great Climate Race and always being available to help or advise, Franke has taken that same determination and worked with her sister to bring attention and demand for change to the treatment of persons with intellectual disabilities. Teresa Pocock's story has brought the Ontario government to face the injustice within their health system, with others to come.
We will review Franke's journeys since being Guest #1 and address the issues of today and tomorrow regarding climate, social justice, human rights justice and anything else this dynamic, lovely lady wants to cover.
It's time for a general update of All Teh Things. Every so often, the opportunity presents itself to provide progress (or lack thereof) reports on those nagging things that governments like you to forget about.
Throw in a little irony and sarcasm and you have the perfect conditions for a review of the CPC "leadership" contest. Twelve of them, differentiated by degree of Harper/Trump/Thatcher/Reagan dogma they swear by and not much else. Where this supposed party "renewal" is, I haz no idea.
The Phoenix pay system disaster continues to consume time and money at an alarming rate. Lawsuits are on the way against the Federal government. Yet zero public discourse over the real problem. A lack of accountability, process and common sense within the upper civil service and Cabinet.
The Canadian Senate is nearing capacity with the nomination of 21 new selections under the newly established Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments. Is this new selection process less partisan? Is it truly open to all Canadians who meet the requirements? Well, yes...and no. Who are these 21 selections? We take a look.
And finally, a preview of next week's special anniversary return of Franke James to The View Up Here. It is long overdue and I am looking forward to it.
2017 starts with a bang on The View Up Here. Hacking, Propaganda & The Blame Game with Jonathan Nichols (@wvualphasoldier). Jonathan was a tactical PSYOP soldier in the US Army and a propaganda analyst as a civilian contractor for them. He deployed three times to the Middle East from 2008-2012. Since 2010 he has also worked in a variety of roles related to intelligence collection as it relates to cyberwarfare. He was a seminal source for Malcolm Nance's book "The Plot To Hack America: How Putin's Cyberspies & WikiLeaks Tried To Steal The 2016 Election".
What are the allegations against Russia? How are those allegations being confused in the media reporting on it? Why has a targeted phishing operation on the DNC turned into cries of the Presidential election being hacked? There is zero evidence that a single American vote was not counted correctly due to voting machine intrusions.
Why has the explanation to the American public become so contradictory? The massive US Intelligence Community has failed to demonstrate through evidence to the American public that "Russia" hacked anything. The recent claims of using "network defenders" to positively identify sources and their networks does nothing of the sort. The outgoing administration has done nothing to discourage what can only be called "fake news" such as a power grid hack that did not happen.
It is impossible in this day and age for the US government to conduct their intelligence activities without the private InfoSec community's involvement. Weakening encryption, over-prosecuting with the NDAA, lying about the severity and content of leaks and using the Bully Pulpit has created an atmosphere of mistrust between two forces that need each other. This adversarial relationship does nothing to help get things done.
Tune in and join us as we seperate fact from fiction from suggestion from propaganda.
We are back on the BC Series with Grant G (@Realmediavoices) returning with more of The Straight Goods. The fantasy world of LNG being the saviour of British Columbia, and the Clark government, has never been further from reality. But you would never know that listening to the hype coming from Victoria and the corporate media.
First it was Japan being the customer to be fleeced after the Fukushima disaster. Premier Clark boasted of being able to gouge them for all they could. Then Shinzo Abe was elected, Japan is back to nuclear power and that market is gone. Then it was China, the emerging energy market of the world. Surely they would line up to be taken advantage of. China is the world's largest producer of renewable energy, has 25 nuclear power facilities under construction and has built or is building 5000 plants that can use natural gas or coal. Both of which, due to fracking, they have in ample supply. Let's try India then. Well, it turns out that BC LNG is about the most distant energy source as you can get, is overpriced for India, and competitors have BC beat before they even start.
The global glut for LNG is expected to last until 2025 at the earliest and prices reflect that. And that's for operational suppliers, which BC is not. Expecting billions of investment for a dirt cheap commodity? Think again Christy. Minister of Fantasy Rich Coleman has no more tales to spin. The BCLiberals are out of markets, investors and time. Projects with controversial approval will likely never happen, Some principals are trying to sell them off before even being built.
The trillion dollar saviour is a dime store novel. BC energy resource revenue has dropped like a stone. Hiking ICBC rates ain't gonna cut it. The time for change has come and not a moment too soon.
Get some background at Grant's site http://powellriverpersuader.blogspot.ca/
Fourteen months into their mandate, the Trudeau government made the first changes to the original Cabinet lineup that was announced in November 2015. There were some promotions with the public explanation being just rewards for jobs well done. But a closer look says there is a little more to it than that. There were some demotions with the public explanation being these changes were out of necessity rather than a direct result of poor results. Again, all is not what the government wishes it to appear as. Gone are two Ministers with the most tenure in the entire Liberal caucus, not just from Cabinet but the House altogether. Gone is a rookie MP as Minister who wears responsibility for the biggest internal failure to date in the Trudeau government. And the other shoe has yet to drop as a shakeup to Parliamentary Secretaries is yet to come with up to 10 positions in the mix.
The big winner would appear to be Chrystia Freeland, moving from International Trade to Foreign Affairs, replacing Stephane Dion whose 21 years in politics comes to a less than stellar end. Rookie MP Francois-Phillippe Champagne moves into International Trade which seems to fit his well known desire to become a political lifer. Somali immigrant rookie MP Ahmed Hussen becomes Minister of Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship, replacing John McCallum who is poised to become Ambassador to China. Patty Hajdu moves from Status of Women to Labour, replacing Phoenix Pay System sacrifice MaryAnn Mihychuk. Rookie 29 year old MP Karina Gould becomes Minister of Democratic Institutions replacing Maryam Monsef who is seemingly demoted to Status of Women after wide agreement she dropped the Electoral Reform ball.
Gender parity has returned to Cabinet as Prime Minister Trudeau retains all three of his portfolios. Quelle surprise. Join us for the public picture and the less obvious motivations of this supposed minor makeover as the spring sitting of Parliament approaches.
The entire world has been subjected to the "American Exceptionalism" campaign since the end of the Second World War. Friend or foe, American culture has had a hand in the development of attitudes, accepted norms, achievement models and values both aesthetic and monetary all over the globe. During the Cold War it was a very powerful weapon against communism portraying the implied freedom, comfort, happiness and ease of everyday lives which stemmed from the democracy and openness of the American way of life.
As the 1960's rolled on, cracks appeared in this narrative. Not in the target nations abroad but at home as Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, assassinations and political treachery became the true narrative for most Americans that had never seen these things enter the dreamscape before. Now there were two separate markets, domestic and international, created by proximity to the reality. Since this weapon was controlled by government the global market got the same programming without pause and by the end of the 20th century, it played a large part in the fall of the Soviet Empire. That is when control of the program was ceded to corporate interests who used it to monetize the globe.
The new masters of the dream bought every thing they could find, including politics. The rise of globalist neoliberalism turned the weapon upon all of the world to advance their interests. The methods turned to the domestic market. The "nation" was now represented in a "family" model, the first structure most people experience. Right and wrong in the family dynamic as propaganda is as old as time itself. Authority is bestowed and unquestioned, or else. The command structure is accepted, not challenged or questioned. Decisions are beyond lesser family members. Comply or be cast out.
Welcome to the 21st century, America. You bought it with little opposition. Enjoy.
Canada's 42nd General Election was one of strategic voting, ideological salesmanship and a slogan that worked for Justin Trudeau. "Sunny Ways" would replace the darkness of Emperor Harper. No promise was mentioned more, over 1,800 times to be precise, than the commitment of replacing First-Past-The-Post winner take all elections. However, that promise has been abandoned by the Liberal government. The reasons for doing so are scant at best, political upon examination and dishonest in execution.
Despite a precedent setting Committee composition to explore the issue, engage both electoral experts and everyday Canadians, then generate a report to the House, a seemingly choreographed program of discounting the entire undertaking became painfully obvious. The plan then shifted to a deliberately confusing on-line survey that somehow neglected to mention a single method of electoral process. The scene was set. Justin Trudeau declared electoral reform was not possible as promised.
Real Lavergne, President of Fair Vote Canada, joins us to discuss what role the politics of electoral reform played in this broken promise. The data collected from the ERRE Committee and many other places show without a doubt that Canadians will not simply forget about a better way to elect our Parliament. So where do we go from here? Forward, with old fashioned citizen-led initiative momentum building. We will look at the organizations, the campaigns, the determination to grow the electoral reform movement.
A petition to the Government of Canada on-line, E-616 is up https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-616 More resources are up here https://tinyurl.com/Keep-the-promise-on-PR
It's up to us, Canada, we can do it.
How times change. Despite the official storyline remaining constant, no matter the evidence, the statistics or the facts to the contrary. Especially in the British Columbia of Christy Clark and the BC Liberals.
For over a decade, the story of how BC is going to need massive new amounts of electricity supply and generation have been trumpeted by government and the BC Hydro utility itself. The first campaign was all about conservation and efficiency. Well, it worked and still does as technology rapidly changes and consumers make smarter choices. Problem is, for BC Hydro, it is working too well. Those programs have been defunded and forgotten despite the market as a whole still utilizing them.
Billions of dollars continue to flow out from BC Hydro and Victoria every year for...who exactly? Accounting chicanery and slick public relations can no longer obscure the mess that grows by the day and has no sign of stopping. What is the motivation for this? Well, it's not need. It's flat-out greed.
Norm Farrell (@Norm_Farrell), journalistic investigator extraordinaire and publisher of In-Sights (In-Sights) returns to explain this racket in a manner that everyone can plainly understand, except apparently those perpetrating it.
The BC Series is back and painting a clear picture. Christy and the BCLibs need to be held accountable.
Martin Gottesfeld, 32, is a human rights advocate and a senior systems engineer born and raised in Andover, Massachusetts. He was arrested on February 16, 2016 and is being prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by infamous US Federal attorney Carmen Ortiz.
Marty faces allegations that he conspired with memebers of Anonymous to organize an online sit-in of the Boston Children's Hospital public website, in no way affecting patients or exposing private information. At that time, an international campaign was underway to stop the torture and save the life of 15 year old Justina Pelletier, who was admitted to BCH a year earlier for treatment of mitochondrial disease. The Pelletier family were victims of a "parentectomy" by the hospital, making her a ward of the state and beginning a 16 month cycle of neglect, mistreatment, transfers and isolation. After the global negative publicity of this abduction by BCH, of which there is a history of such events, Justina is back with her family and they are suing Boston Children's Hospital in a civil action for negligence of care and conspiracy to remove custody.
Marty has dedicated years of his life fighting for the rights of institutionalized children. He has never profited from his activism in any form. Marty's family and friends have launched the #FreeMartyG campaign to set the record straight and call on the public to show their support for him and his work. His wife, Dana Gottesfeld, joins us to discuss Marty's work, his prosecution and the efforts to free him.
This episode will cover an ongoing criminal case involving alleged sexual crimes against children. We provide this notice so that listeners are aware of the subject matter.
There are counties all over Canada within commuting distance to a city. Many have a history of political dominance by a clique, either family or business based. Influence spreads from City Hall to local media, local police, local events and up the political power structure as the voice of the community. Like Hazzard County where Boss Hogg has his fingers in everything that happens. As long as things seem to carry on, the illusion can continue as the clique reap the benefits. The federal riding of Simcoe-Grey is one such Hazzard County. What happens when a Mayor leaves office under a cloud, teams with a spurned clique, the contacts from their time as Boss Hogg, and takes over the local political body of a Federal party with the blessing of HQ? They install people in positions for loyalty not talent. Control matters, not ethics.
But one of the minions goes off the rails. After a joint agency investigation, there is an arrest and charges laid regarding sexual child exploitation. The initial work of the police and the press is unhindered. They do their jobs as expected by citizens. But the more questions asked, the less answers given. The more assistance offered police, the less it is accepted. The more media is solicited, the less open they become. The further up the ladder of power it goes, the more resistance to the process increases. Never mind the lives destroyed, Amy MacPherson joins us to explain this Simcoe-Grey disaster, the secrecy and the priorities of power. Above all else.
In the historical timeline of British Columbia media, there is one word to describe George Orr - Legendary. From radio reporter for CKNW, to on-camera reporter for BCTV, to reporter/editor/producer for CBC Vancouver and CBC Newsworld, to host of Studio BC on the Knowledge Network. A winner of Jack Webster Foundation awards and a fellowship for broadcast journalism, George returned to BCIT where he once graduated to become an instructor of broadcast journalism and a mentor for a new generation.
Still involved in documentary production as a love and a hobby, George set his sights on a new pursuit that surprised more than a few. Provincial politics. It was time to do what he could having the most impact on the issues that trouble British Columbia. George joined the BC Greens and approached the party heirarchy to stand as a candidate in his home riding. He did all the right things, talked to all the right people, developed an election strategy and offered his media experience and contacts to elevate the party's profile. Then the BC Greens said he was "not suitable" to run for them. Just like that, with no real explanation.
I was honored to interview George and discuss the evolution of media, the ever-changing landscape of information and politics, how the relationship between media and government has changed, his vision of where BC may be headed and his rejection by the BC Greens. Make no mistake, George is still confident things can be redirected, but the time is short.
The remainder of this episode will look at the BC Greens and assess their policy, their role and possible fates in the upcoming May 9 election. Credible alternative on the ascent, or bit player in danger of irrelevance? Will Andrew Weaver be a target of the BC Liberal money machine? Will strategic voting or values-based voting decide who forms government? Will a true political voting statement guarantee a Clark victory?
Pat Stogran has spent a lifetime serving Canada in one capacity or another. Not that he has never found issue with the way Canada operates in reality, as compared to the assumptions or accepted beliefs. To the contrary. From disagreeing with the political aims of policy while being Canada's first commander in Afghanistan and seeing the results. From doing as much as he could in a no-win situation as Canada's first Veteran's Ombudsman, hired by a government that had no intention of correcting that system's wrongs. These situations required guile, adaptability, the skill to get around obstacles as necessary, and a core value system that said what's right is right, damn the politics of the power structure. And the willingness to call a spade a spade, which may have been more costly on a personal level than expected, but having principles against the machine has its price.
But Pat Stogran has one more campaign in him and he thinks it is the most important one of all. He has joined the leadership contest for the New Democratic Party. Apolitical for his entire career, by necessity above all, the time has come to draw attention to what he sees as the unending repitition of rewarding mistakes and ignoring progress and betterment for all Canadians. He believes common sense, decency and good governance are under attack in Canada. His goal is to revolutionize domestic affairs to stop the victimization of Canadians. Make transparency and responsibility more than buzz words. Stop throwing money at problems and actually fixing them. End the institutional crisis with electoral reform to make government represent citizens again, not parties. A national vision that has strategy and goals, not just political tactics to gain and keep power.
Pat has made it clear that the more callers to the show, the more input, the better. This is all about Canadians and where this country is headed. It's about all of us.
British Columbia's government has taken every opportunity to claim credit for the apparent solid economic performance in the last couple years, but the economic outlook is considerably more muted going forward as the province's General Election 41 nears on May 9th. And the BC Budget tabled on February 21st carried on the illusion touting the 5th straight balanced budget. Where is the surplus going?
More than half of British Columbians surveyed in a recent poll reported they were living paycheque to paycheque. Household debt levels are at record highs. Over 100,000 citizens needed the help of food banks in 2016, up 3.4% from 2015. Child poverty remains stubbornly high and BC is the only province without a real poverty reduction plan. Public education is underfunded and is only seeing an increase due to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision against past measures. Instead of tackling poverty and investing in public education, the BC government has earmarked $1 billion of the surplus to pay down the public debt faster and another $400 million for the so-called Prosperity Fund that was supposed to be funded by revenues from LNG, which look likely to never happen.
Iglika Ivanova is a Senior Economist and the Public Interest Researcher for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - BC Office. Her work investigates issues and trends in health care, education and social programs, and examines the impact of public services on quality of life. She also looks into issues of government finance, taxation and privatization and how they relate to the accessiblilty and quality of public services. Iglika joins us to discuss BC's economic realiity, why the annual bi-partisan budget consultation continues to be ignored at peril to the future and to explain the shift from fairness to regression in taxation over the current government's tenure.
Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC, now CSE) remain the envy of agencies in other countries. The powers granted to these agencies in Canada have increased by a magnitude as in other nations. But those other nations have effective oversight of their activities, via committee or public boards that review and release their findings on a regular schedule. Not so in Canada.
While on the campaign trail, Justin Trudeau talked about changing that, like he talked about changing a lot of things. For the vast majority of those promises, Canada is still waiting. Now, C-22, An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, has passed second reading and ignored all evidence, testimony and past transgressions in favor of a Harperesque misnomer that makes oversight worse, not better. Sunny ways, suckers.
Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) is the currency in the new global surveillance world. In Canada, the public is at a huge disadvantage and the government is doing nothing to change that. In fact they are seeking to make it worse and permanent. We will discuss past incidents of rights violations en masse and the zero consequences for CSIS and CSEC.
Tim McSorley, National Coordinator for the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) joins us to discuss the deficiencies and risks to Canadians of C-22
Over Fifteen years. By almost all political measurement standards, the shelf life has expired on the BC Liberals. Some efforts have tallied a list of demonstrable failures by this regime, and it nears 120 in total. There is a huge gulf between the claims and boasts made compared to the empirical evidence to counter them. But in this 21st century spin cycle of mis-information, photo ops, bribing people with their own money when politically convenient and using the power of the state, the band has played on for a decade and a half.
The writ has been dropped for the British Columbia general election on May 9th. Discontent is at an all-time high against the incumbents, with plenty of good reason. Take your pick - Site C, VanRE, #bced, Health Department firings, Quick Wins, LNG, BC Hydro, BC Ferries, BC Rail, the list goes on and on. Current polling would indicate the Clark era is over. But we've seen this before. What is different this time around?
Bill Tieleman may be one of the busiest people in BC in the next four weeks. His insight and opinion is in high demand to decipher what will be a critical campaign for the future of the province by many outlets. The View Up Here is fortunate to have Bill drop by, spare us some time, and address some pressing issues.
The race is on for BC's future, today.
What happened to BC public education over the last 15 years? How did it get this bad without pause? Where has this direction come from? The BC Liberals of Christy Clark. Any illness, any chronic decline, any problem that causes systemic dysfunction, requires a complete diagnosis.
First, the causes. Let's go back to the start. Bills 28 & 22 that stripped collective bargaining from the BC Teachers Federation. The 10 years plus court battles it sustained. The simultaneous decline in the funding of education. School Boards trapped by law to absorb the pressure and take the heat. Downloading the costs of supplies and activities no longer funded onto parents and Parent Advisory Councils. The 2014 BCTF strike and the infamous clause E80, dictating class size & composition. The political failure of "Parent Bribes". The change to Per-Student Funding to continue the slide.
The effects followed fast and furiously. 240 school closures in the Liberal era. Forced competition between communities to keep their schools open Delays of a decade or more for the schools seismic upgrades program. Lead showing up in the drinking water. Years of neglected maintenance everywhere in the system. Overcrowding of existing schools going unaddressed. The abandonment of true Special Needs education where the numbers showed it necessary. The creation of wide-spread inequality in education delivery and outcomes.
Is there a cure? It should be obvious by now what does not work and who will continue the same treatments. What is needed is a new therapy, a new regimen to begin to heal this, a diagnosis to stop the bleeding.
Sarah Millar (@waitinginBC) is a working mother, activist, organizer of parent advocacy for education, photographer and Huffington Post blogger who has devoted her energies to assessing this disease. She brings a full diagnosis and possible treatment prescriptions for May 9th to The View Up Here.
Of all the scandals, the systemic neglect, the misspent money, the cronyism, the deaths within the public welfare system and so much more, by far the most destructive and longest lasting disaster for BC would be the completion of Site C, the third of four dams on the Peace River first proposed in the 1950's. Site A, the W.A.C. Bennett dam, opened in 1967 under fire for mostly the exact same complaints now plaguing Site C. In 1980, Site B, the Peace Canyon dam opened while payouts from the destruction caused 13 years earlier from Site A were being paid. Site C was rejected in 1982 and 1989 after BC Utilities Commission hearings determined it was not needed.
But the BC Liberals changed all that, in a steady orchestrated campaign of false need, false gains and false predictions. After the BC Rail giveaway and the BC Ferries debacle, why should the most powerful asset BC Hydro be left without being used for gain at the expense of future generations? Nowhere is the revolving door between the BC Liberal party and a Crown corporation turning faster than that picture. From deciding to skip BCUC approval for the first major project ever, to using BC Hydro as a cash cow, to managing the public relations from Victoria, to allowing massive environmental penalties to go unpunished, to ending conservation programs, Site C is indeed a legacy project selected by the Clark regime.
A $10 billion cost for something with no market, no profitability, no open process and no foreseeable point other than "we did it" while the citizens of BC pay in perpetuity for something they never needed. Farmland being expropriated, wildlife being displaced, First Nations being ignored and BC Hydro being bankrupted, all for a political goal of uselessness.
Thanks to Mike Clarke (CBC) Roy Hales (ECOreport) Larry Pynn (Vancouver Sun) Sarah Cox, Judith Lavoie and Carol Linnett (DeSmogCanada) for all the work used on this episode.
As this episode airs, there are six days to go before British Columbia decides on the composition of their next Legislative Assembly. There is no shortage of reaction, insights, comparisons, polling, messaging appearing positive but mostly negative, and any other angle that may draw attention. And this is what the modern electoral cycle has become. Attention is the commodity that matters the most. Not issues. Not history. Not platforms. Electioneering is indeed an industry in the 21st century with an ever expanding multitude of ways for campaign money to be spent. It is fertile ground for research, demographic data collection, focus group messaging, But as this "science" evolves, so do the demands for accuracy relative to funds spent. There's the rub.
EKOS Research Associates, Mainstreet Research, Forum Research, Ipsos, Insights West and many others are immersed in this always evolving industry. As things roll on, it's not just about selling their services to potential clients. It's about their own image, credibility and delivering value on their work. When the story about pollsters getting predictions wrong is as big as the actual results, you know we have entered a new era.
When the BC Series kicked off on The View Up Here, it started by talking about corporate media's influence over smaller, independent sources that weren't reliant on advertising revenue or subservient to ownership pushing their preferred political viewpoints. This show has done its best to give those independents a venue hitting topics from a different perspective. We come full circle to look at how politics are now changed forever.
Returning guests Grant G of the Powell River Pursuader and campaign/media/opinion veteran Bill Tieleman join once more, and Bob Mackin of The Breaker News guests to break it all down.
Same month, opposite ends of the country, a very similar scenario on a different scale.
On May 30th, Nova Scotians elect a new Provincial government. There are three parties in play, A majority is a moving target for the incumbent party and a coalition against them may be the result of the voting. Sound familiar?
The platforms and the stump speech talking points are repeated ad nauseum by all three parties. The Liberals led by Premier Stephen McNeil speak of a work in progress, steady as she goes, only they can deliver prosperity and the elusive, vague "jobs". The Progressive Conservatives led by Jamie Baillie focus on the failures of McNeil, the shrinking employment, the health care disarray, the animosity between government and everyone involved in public education. The New Democrats led by Gary Burrill are also all over the failures of McNeil, but only as long as it takes to propose a different direction than the other two. People over balanced budgets. Public investment instead of "economic stability" that the numbers just don't bear out. Sound familiar?
We look at the common issues between Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Why is this pattern spreading across the Western world? Will Nova Scotians have a different response than the still as yet unresolved BC election provided?
Grant G of The Straight Goods joins us to discuss the latest in the BC election recount and verification process, and what might be forthcoming in any coalition government.
It has been 600 days since Canada went to the polls and deposed the Emperor Harper. Oh rejoice. Oh deliverance. We shall be saved. The mercurial Justin is here to save us. Because it's 2016. Canada is back. Our rightful place on the world stage will miraculously be awarded back to this lower middle global power because Justin said it would.
Well, in reality....Despite mentioning it over 1,800 times on the campaign trail, Electoral Reform is dead. By design. Despite promising veterans a fair deal, Ottawa has restarted the Equitas law suit to prevent just that. By design. Despite saying that First Nations and Indigenous persons are long overdue for proper treatment, Ottawa ignores tribunal decisions to fund children while retracting the UNDRIP promise and dragging their feet on the long anticipated MMIW inquiry. By design. Despite railing against the Phoenix Pay System in opposition, it was brought in with immediate and catastrophic failure, costing an additional $200 million so far and it still doesn't work. By design. Working on a deadline from the Supreme Court, Assisted Dying legislation was passed with much dissent from groups with direct interest. It has resulted in confusion, trepidation and a reported 10% approval ratio. By design.
Were there far too many promises made on the election trail? Aren't there always? But it's the level of promises broken that draws attention. It's the level of rhetoric in favour of things when a vote is coveted compared to the indifference to things once in power. We will review this government at the close to half way point, which will give some hints to what coming episodes will focus on.
Sunny ways, suckers.
Finally. The Conservative Party of Canada has a new leader. From a starting grid of no less than 14 candidates down to one. After 13 rounds of voting. After irregularities that resulted in over 1,300 party memberships being erased. After an assumed celebrity entered the field without even being a member of the party and immediately polled in the lead. After the same celebrity candidate declared understanding French to be a detail and attending debates to be inconvenient. And finally after that candidate simply folded up his tent and went back to Boston.
Was the long drawn out affair all about a membership drive? There is some merit to that. Nearly 260,000 members were eligible to vote for a new leader. A minimum doubling of the books in card carrying members. That worked.
Was the long drawn out affair all about trying to figure out where so much of Canada tuned them out? To propose new ideas with some appeal? Well, that may have been the idea but it certainly didn't happen. Brad Trost espoused on 19th century puritanism. Maxime Bernier said capitalism was all we needed, until he questioned Supply Management. Micheal Chong did not much. Chris Alexander continued to demonstrate what a false resume looks like. Kellie Leitch will live on well past her days on YouTube with that outstanding SNL Digital Short classic titled "Magda talks to ghosts". Erin O'Toole did his best Harper impression. Pierre Lemieux was another Brad Trost, but French. Steven Blaney still looked like there were trenchcoats after him. Rick Peterson, Deepak Obhrai, Lisa Raitt and Andrew Saxton took up stage space.
The winner is the man referred to as the worst Speaker of the House. Ever. Someone who has a 100% rating from pro-life, pro-Israel, pro-gun and pro-Christian groups. The more things change, the more they stay Harper for the CPC.
Let's break it down, a post-mortem indeed.
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) was enacted by the US Congress in 1986, in large part as a reaction to the movie "War Games" which portrayed a scenario where unauthorized computer access allowed manipulation of the national defense network. You would think as technology evolved, so would the law. To recognize the changing ways in which internet users can connect, share, communicate and voice their opinion as guaranteed by the Constitution. You would be wrong to assume this. CFAA has devolved from its goal of protecting federally maintained computers and networks to becoming a tool of persecution, intimidation, manipulation and extortion on a global scale. Not only are there criminal provisions which are abused to the maximum extent by the US Department of Justice, there are civil provisions which have allowed corporations to demand a form of monetary punishment for exposing their faults. This is a side to computer law that has not been endorsed by any other nation in this manner besides the United States.
Aaron's Law is the name given to efforts to correct this abuse of justice, after Aaron Swartz. Three versions have been introduced in Congress with no success and a fourth version is coming. CFAA continues to destroy lives and families based on an unlevel playing field. We welcome a panel of guests to demonstrate the need for Aaron's Law.
Remember when elections gave answers? Even in minority results, there is 400 years of Westminster tradition and precedent. Well, surprise! Enter the BC Liberals, a Lieutenant-Governor on the last 6 months of her term, an unabashedly partisan Clerk of the Legislature and a completely unobjective mass media. Throw in Bill Bennett and Rich Coleman, the poster boys for personal advantage, and the overwhelming bias becomes crystal clear.
There is nothing illegal in what Christy Clark is doing. But then it's not illegal to make promises and not fulfill them, either. The issue is the morality of doing so. The perception that you just don't give a flying.... The impression that what's in your own interests is all that matters. On this issue, Clark and the BC Liberals surpass all others perhaps in Canada's entire history.
Craig James has a long history of questionable involvement in the democracy of British Columbia. His address to the House prior to the Throne Speech ranks as one of the most egregious acts of a Clerk ever. Anywhere. Judith Guichon has 6 months remaining in her appointment by Stephen Harper as the Queen's Regent in Victoria. She has a long history of service, but none in a soup kitchen or Indigenous Rights protest. Will she make the proper decision for all the people? In BC, corporate media and the duty to inform are an oxymoron. How comforting that pundits in Toronto can tell everyone to calm down and obey from Bay Street. Then we have Christy Clark herself, in jeopardy of losing her job as the knives come out in her own party.
Net Neutrality is the principle that internet providers (ISP's) should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, internet freedom groups and 3.7 million individual comments won strong net neutrality rules from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Those rules prohibit internet providers from blocking, throttling and paid prioritization fast lanes for sites that pay and slow lanes for everyone else.
The protest idea of sites, forums and individuals going black for a day to show support and demonstrate what an internet without neutrality would look like came in concept from Aaron Swartz. The first Day of Darkness was a direct response to his death and the actions of the US Department of Justice against him. The most common reasons given to demand net neutrality remains in place revolve around censorship and the blocking of content by ISP's. It is a righteous cause, free speech and expression are supposedly guaranteed by the Bill of Rights in the US and by similar conventions around the world. The list of internet heavyweight content providers and services that are on side with the protest show the depth of the forces to maintain net neutrality.
But there is an obvious result of removing net neutrality that seems to be lost in the discussion focused on rights of the individual. It would result in the complete monetization of "truth". Citizens United has shown what happens when money equals voice. You want to be heard? How much money do you have. Is your position truthful? How much money do you have. The promotion of "truth" has a price tag, whatever it may be. You think opinion is sold as truth now? Just wait.
Jonathon Nichols (@wvualphasoldier) returns once more to help work our way through what the real motivations to remove net neutrality may be and the line it would cross.
There is no denying that sexual assault of any and all types continues to be a cancer upon our societies. Governments of all stripes wax poetic about real change in the way these crimes are investigated, prosecuted and punished. So where is the change? The only number that goes down consistently is the percentage of assaults reported to authorities. Victim support organizations report of ever increasing numbers of survivors and reluctance to trust the police, the courts and our governments to fix this societal issue.
The judicial system is supposed to be unbiased and informed on all criminal matters. Former Federal Court judge Robin Camp and Nova Scotia Provincial judge Gregory Lenehan demonstrate this is not necessarily the case. Law enforcement is supposed to respect complainants and deliver proper investigations. Formal complaints against police demonstrate this is not consistently done. Governments claim to want to stop the culture of sexual assault. Male Liberal MPs are accused of harrassment of female NDP MPs, so the internal investigation is confidential. Senator Don Meredith resigns for abusing his position and having sexual relations with a minor. Female politicians walk the walk but scant little progress happens over partisanship aims. Rona Ambrose sat in Privy Council for 9 years, but says now is time to fix things when in opposition and heading out the door. Judges insist they can police themselves. Defense counsel groups insist changes to the Criminal Code are not the answer.
Julie Lalonde is an Ottawa-based women's rights advocate and public educator. She works with various organizations dedicated to ending sexual violence, engaging bystanders and building communities of support. Julie has won numerous awards for her work including the Governor-General's Award in Commemoration of the Person Case. The View Up Here welcomes Julie to examine this societal illness.
The right wing echo chamber has been apopleptic since May 2015 in Alberta. The 44 year dynasty of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta finally came to an abupt end with the election of a majority New Democrat government. The finger pointing and revenge plans for those deemed responsible for voters actually choosing something new were out in short order. The parachuted operative from the Conservative Party of Canada, Jim Prentice, managed to piss away what was thought to be the safest right wing throne in Canada. All was going to plan to take over the resistant PCAA, since the CPC controlled Wildrose would never form government. Cue the rogue merger with the majority of the Wildrose MLAs crossing to the PCAA government side. It didn't quite work out.
The Reform-Conservative movement is convinced their return to ascendancy begins in Alberta, just like last time. The method is a common one. Distill politics into a two party dichotomy, label the other side communists and socialists, use fear and the stupidity of the target voters and wind it up until the donations and empty rhetoric bring results. Absolutely nothing new at all.
The merger document is in place, the registration of a new party is underway and the circus is just beginning. Three leadership candidates so far have entered the ring. From social dark ages proponents to neoliberal vulture capitalists to talk-a-lot-say-nothing power seekers, it's pretty much what was expected. But not all is well on the right in Alberta. The Alberta Party is trying to poach neoliberals that smile. Alberta Together is a vehicle of PCAA insiders that will not give up. By no means is this song and dance a ticket to government for any of them. This will be the first episode of what will be many over the course of 2017 to highlight the Reform/Alliance/HarperCon campaign to steal Canada back starting in Alberta.
A major platform of today's so-called Conservatives is "Law & Order" but their commitment is really just to the "Order" part of the slogan. They hate "The Law". For the past number of years Conservatives in western democracies have been at war with the law. They have been at war with the courts, with precedent and judicial conventions, with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada and the Constitution in the United States. They hate the limits the law rightfully places on them being able to do whatever it is they want to do for their agenda.
Whether it is mandatory sentencing, discriminatory practices like travel bans or wearing of religious dress, prostitution, assisted dying, Senate reform, citizen privacy or the inability to legally torture prisoners. All issues that precedent and citizen's rights as guaranteed by the highest laws of the land should make abundantly clear to an over-reaching State.. In reality, the law is something Conservatives (especially in North America) try to skirt around, fight against in court at public cost or simply ignore when it gets in their way.
Quite bluntly, W T F is their problem? The View Up Here welcomes back Stephen Lautens once more - lawyer, author, occasional columnist, "pundit" and social media "master" - to discuss and analyze this desire to pervert the law to serve their agenda of "Order" that by statute is illegal most of the time.
Tune in as we examine why Conservative Order conflicts with Law as a purpose, not a mistake.
The United Nations Committee to End Racial Discrimination (CERD) has been in existence for over 50 years under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the CERD 93rd convention is now underway in Geneva, Switzerland. The purpose of CERD 93 is to examine reports on many nations regarding Human Rights compliance with data, testimony and submissions from government agencies, international NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, domestic agencies on the ground and the people who are leading the efforts in their nations. Every member of the UN is subject to review and recommendations from CERD on a rotating basis, with results from the last committee recommendations being entered into the next review phase. Canada is one of the members subject to review at CERD 93.
Looking at this round's reports and the recommendations for Canada from its last review, it is clear to the UNHCR, CERD, international NGOs and stakeholders that Canada has problems. But as far as successive Canadian governments and the corporate press are concerned, Canada is still that mythical defender of Human Rights envied around the world. It is simply not the real picture. And nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the legal, economic and social condition of Indigenous Peoples throughout Canada. All the evidence is there for the world to see, just not Canadians apparently.
Russell Diabo is the editor and publisher of an online newsletter that covers First Nations political and legal issues, the First Nations Strategic Bulletin. He is a member of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake, QC and has been an activist on First Nations issues since the age of 16. A member of the Defenders of the Land Network, Russ works with Idle No More and the Unsettling150 campaign for a National Day of Action this past July 1. Russ is a delegate for CERD 93 and he joins us to discuss Canada's false global reputation and what comes next.
How many avenues of obstruction, denial and secrets does it take for a determined, secretive government to spend at least 9 billion dollars on a project they admit will not break even for 70 years and may never be needed? Site C has been testing the premise since 2013, when the Clark government decided to avoid rejection for a fourth time by the BC Utilities Commission and push ahead with this boondoggle of massive proportions.
Avenue #1 - Talk a good game about the environment and species at risk, then scheme behind the scenes to impose measures that would never be considered in an open process. Ignore the loss of prime farmland and wetlands. Then get caught. Repeatedly.
Avenue #2 - Claim consultation with First Nations, but do nothing of the sort in any real manner. Renting a hall for one night and giving out free coffee while you tell residents what is already decided is not consultation. It is dictation with no actual co-operation and is now the basis of the opposition to the project by the new BC government.
Avenue #3 - Withhold info on the costs, the bidding process, the construction timeline, the non-compliance with conditions laid out in permits, the information control from BC Hydro and the Clark government and that mystical "jobs" buzzword.
Sarah Cox is an investigative journalist, writer, strategist and soon-to-be author who spent 10 years working for conservation groups in BC and Alberta. Her work took her to BC's Peace River Valley and she became so smitten with the place that Sarah wrote a book to be released in the spring about the devastating impacts Site C would have on the valley and the people who live there. Sarah is a regular contributor to DeSmog Canada, focusing on the spin that clouds the debate on energy and the environment. She loves to explore and can be found hiking, backpacking, kayaking or cycling on weekends. The View Up Here welcomes Sarah to speak the truth on Site C.