FreeAnons was founded by people with a mission to support those incarcerated by the State for crimes related to freedom of information and activism. One of those people was Jeremy Hammond. Another person was Nancy Norelli, a criminal defense attorney from Florida. For over 5 years Nancy acted as probono legal counsel for FreeAnons, which was her intent from day one.
As the amount of work grew, so did the ranks. Enter Sue Crabtree and Pamela Drew. It seemingly didn't take long for things to change. A public dispute over ethics and website hosting with a Board member resigning stating a lack of transparency to the community. In the same time period, a question about pledging support for activists who were then abandoned became public, resulting in statements pulling back the curtains somewhat. Members of the community arrested for computer crimes in projects endorsed and promoted by FreeAnons were given lip service and forgotten, leaving it to them to fight the wall of FA and their supporters. All of these issues were met with character assassination, innuendo, wholesale denial of verifiable facts and subtle threats from members of the FreeAnons inner circle.
An inner circle that Nancy was no longer allowed into. As legal counsel, it's fairly obvious disclosure and open communication with clients is necessary. Her legal opinion was being downplayed or ignored. On July 13 this year, Nancy found she was locked out of the twitter account she started. What followed was a fable about Nancy betraying her founding partner Jeremy Hammond, along with rumors used in every other incident.
There is no question the mission of FreeAnons has changed over the years. Brand has become the mission. There is nothing FreeAnons does that is exclusive or particularily well executed, beyond rabble rousing and retweeting. Do they deserve the community's trust and support?
Nancy Norelli joins us to examine and explain today's FA
There will be three Provincial elections in Canada in 2018. New Brunswick votes on September 24th. Quebec votes on October 1st. But it is June 7th that will likely run away with the most ink, the most rhetoric and the most coverage for the entire country. Ontario will go to the polls on June 7th and Canada's most populous province and biggest economic force has a decision to be made.
Kathleen Wynne has had anything but a smooth ride and there are plenty of reasons why - real and imagined. For all of 2017, polling had her Liberals on the way out come election day. Corporate media has been only too happy to convey this scenario. But the end-of-year polling showed a virtual dead heat with the Progressive Conservatives. The PCPO leader, Patrick Brown, has lost the early momentum and paid for the occasional candidate that revealed too much of their personal convictions, reinforcing the lingering party image. The Ontario NDP leader, Andrea Horwath, will lead her party for the third election on her watch. Will she be "out-lefted" by the Liberals?
The pre-writ games have started with the New Year and it's gonna be interesting, inflammatory and intriguing.
Dave Glover hosts Canada's Only Holistic Political Chat - The Drive Time weekdays at 4-7pm EST on https://northumberland897.ca/ and he returns to The View Up Here to discuss what it is that Ontarians have against Kathleen Wynne, what the election issues may be and what the alternatives to Liberal government could actually hold in reality with today's Ontario
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect on January 1, 1994 between the United States, Canada and Mexico. The agreement created the biggest economic trading bloc in the world. NAFTA was the first multinational trade liberalization agreement, becoming a template for all that have followed. Phrases such as Investor-State Dispute Settlement, the loathed ISDS, became common practice going forward around the world.
For 23 years the discussion about benefits, handicaps, gains, losses, jobs and market share have remained mostly along lines of interest depending on who was speaking. Subsequent global accords such as the WTO have not only made use of NAFTA precedents, but also hemmed in the agreement on some fronts. Canadian governments of Chretien, Martin, Harper and Trudeau have fought in arbitration both for and against but never have any of them stated any intent to leave the agreement. Mexican governments of Salinas, Zedillo, Fox, Calderon and Nieto have seen massive overall improvements in their nation's health and it would be hard-pressed to find negative aspects of it in the big picture. American governments of Clinton, Bush and Obama stuck by the agreement, despite never ending special interest opposition and the biggest overall losses of the three nations by far.
Enter Donald Trump. Proclamations don't carry much force in international trade. Personal opinions (especially ill-informed ones) don't change trade agreements. The warning signs from individual US states and next-door allies fall on deaf ears as long as the cameras are rolling with the Dotard. Bluster and ignorance about procedure could actually leave the US weaker with a renegotiated NAFTA, leaving it altogether risks nothing short of a global recession. But the Narcissist King says it sucks, so it must right? uhh...no
Will NAFTA be improved, remain as is, or be sacrificed for one man's vanity?
Public Education and Post-Secondary Education in Alberta have been riding the roller coaster oil economy of the last 45 years. Only the last 2 of those years have been under a government that was NOT the Progressive Conservatives. Don Getty was the beginning of the funding and ideological decline. But it was his successor Ralph Klein that made a legacy out of immediate political gain for long-term generational deficits in every core service, most of which have not been restored to this day. Ed Stelmach, Alison Redford and Jim Prentice did more harm than good despite the messaging.
The 2 years of Notley government has, at best, stopped the decline of education in Alberta. The hole is deep after decades of cuts, yet over that time schools outside the public system have become the highest supported via tax dollars in Canada. The resource economy has put Alberta at or near the top for a long time in education but without renewal in many ways it may end.
Enter Jason Kenney and his crusade to blame nearly 5 decades of decisions on the Notley government in the last 2 years. Apparently everything was great before those commies fluked into office. In May the United Conservative Party will hold its first convention to approve policy, a draft of which has created concern from many corners.
Jay Gamble was born in London, Ontario and did his B.A. and M.A. at the University of Waterloo. He came to Alberta in 2000 to study Canadian Prairie Literature at the University of Calgary where he earned his Ph.D. Jay currently teaches in the English department of the University of Lethbridge and is the Coordinator of the Global Citizenship Cohort. A single father of two boys, he is also a published poet (Book Of Knots, BookThug, 2015) and goes by @DrJayDrNo on twitter. He is recognized as Jason Kenney's favourite communist professor (lol). Jay joins us to discuss the UCP Education "Devolution" Plan in waiting
Public-Private Partnership. Sounds benign, doesn't it? An arrangement to allow for more infrastructure at the public's disposal, with lower financial cost compared to the whole process of design, building and operating by the Crown. We heard a lot about things to acheive more for less starting in the '80's with Reagan and Thatcher. It sounded pretty good to Brian Mulroney, but it was the Chretien majorities that made short-term political gains of "economic management" into an infrastructure deficit that lined up suitors to play their role in the P3 scam. As the federal money dried up, Premiers Harris and Klein among others closed, privatized or simply surrendered public assets to corporate players. Because private delivery was more competitive and less expensive, the story went. Neo-liberalism.
A change in governments means a change in priorities. People needed all those things nobody built for 15 years, but where was the money to come from? Have no fear, corporations will save the day by "investing" in public works. With 30 to 40 year term contracts and no renegotiation. With free control over delivery of services. With guaranteed margins of profit. With zero accountability compared to Crown works.
Ontario is paying for its P3 habit and there's no end in sight. The Wynne Liberals wear it now but they are hardly the only ones guilty. As the election nears, can any party provide relief?
Rick Barnes has been a union and social justice advocate in BC and Ontario. In the 1990's he worked for the NDP government in various roles. In 2000, he went on to work for BCPWA and AIDS Vancouver before relocating to Ontario in 2006 to work in Co-operative Housing. Today, Rick is retired and volunteers for a wide range of social justice groups in Ontario and across Canada. He can be found on twitter at @queerthoughts. Rick joins The View Up Here to discuss Ontario's P3 Habit and the pain to come.
The last 35 years have brought drug usage increases as a cycle, usually with the development of a new form of a familiar drug. Crack Cocaine. Crystal Meth. Extacy. Dabs. These drugs and their associated forms have always been criminalized. Not so for pharmaceuticals. Prescriptions for opioids have multiplied by three in the last 15 years. North America has the highest consumption rates for these drugs in the world, seemingly by design. The public relations exercise of Oxycontin being removed from the Canadian market and replaced with Oxycodone to deter abuse was done so generic makers could not begin to produce Oxycontin when the patent expired. But the continuously expanding demand had been established.
Synthetic opioids filled the void. Fentanyl has been around for 50 years but it was never meant to be an additive to street drugs. Demand will create opportunities for profit and that is happening on a massive scale. From scraping the gel from patches to a proliferation of pill-pressing operations and illegal importation, the progression has been rapid.
This epidemic has outdone every one before it, including the AIDS outbreak. Opioid deaths have increased exponentially. The statistics demonstrate this. Reaction from governments have varied from inaction, to new legislation and programs, to the familiar 'thoughts and prayers'. Canada has done more than most, but only after a change of power in Ottawa. Bill C-37 became law last year but the wheels of government turn slowly, never mind the money needed for it to make a difference.
Where is all the money going from this selling of death? How is it being laundered? The Globe and Mail has done stellar work on this front, courtesy of Kathy Tomlinson and Xiao Xu, on how Fentanyl money is affecting the hyper-inflated Vancouver real estate market by taking advantage of lax laws. Will a crackdown crash the BC economy where real estate is 25% of GDP? Once again, money vs people.
Reality Leigh Winner wasn't one to break the rules. Always a straight-A student, driven to learn on her own eventually working in three additional languages. She chose to enlist instead of accepting a full scholorship at Texas A&M. A Senior Airman in the US Air Force as a linguist who was awarded commendation before her Honorable Discharge. Two years at the Defensive Language Institute led to assignment at Ft. Meade, Maryland with the NSA. But one tour was enough.
In February 2017, Reality took an analyst position with Pluribus International, a contractor to the NSA and was assigned to Ft. Gordon, Georgia. She had an obsessive workout regimen, teaching yoga and spinning at the same Augusta gym she worked out at. Then came that day in June 2017. Eleven FBI agents with a search warrant showed up. Reality was arrested and charged with one count under the Espionage Act 1917.
Reality has remained in custody since that day. She has been refused bail twice based on a stereotype the Department of Justice uses regularly on whistleblowers. The Trump administration shows no signs of ending the practice, quite the opposite. Despite questions regarding Miranda rights, 6th Amendment issues, false characterization, lack of flight risk and exhaustive classification standards, Reality remains in custody.
Billie Winner-Davis is Reality's mother and has been the most visible spokesperson for her. She believes public awareness is key in getting justice for her daughter. Kevin Gosztola is the Managing Editor/Publisher of Shadowproof Press, co-author of "The US vs Private Manning" and has more direct coverage on the case of US v Winner than anyone else. They both guest on this episode of The View Up Here Global to discuss Justice for Reality.
The last thing any political party wants a few months before an election is to have to hold a Leadership contest. Especially one that is pushing polling that says they will form the next Government. Thanks, Patrick Brown. He tried his best to create a true three ring circus, but just didn't have the effort. Bullet dodged by the party.
Tanya Granic Allen (Church Lady) brought the regressive revisionism that seemed more appropriate to lead her Synod than a political party. How dare people seek to move Ontario past the 1940's. Her showing turned out to have a large effect by the time a winner was chosen. Caroline Mulroney played what could be a cautionary tale for Chelsea Clinton. Yes. people recognize your name. No, it didn't help. At least Church Lady spoke about her "policies", more than can be said for the suddenly concerned daughter of a Prime Minister not exactly missed by most. She's not here for you. Christine Elliott, after finishing 2nd to Patrick Brown and Tim Hudak in previous leadership contests, seemed to have an advantage in being a known quantity to Ontarians. Considering she won the popular vote and the most ridings, how did she not win the Leadership?
Doug Ford. Yes, that Doug Ford. Now poised to lead the Official Opposition into an election campaign without a seat at Queen's Park. With enough luggage to fill a cruise ship. With all those quotes and video clips from the last decade to bring up. With what some are calling nowhere to go but down.
This is truly a 3-way election now. A minority government seems a real possibility. With so many pressing issues for Ontarians on the table, how much real talk will be in the campaigns? Dave Glover returns to discuss the whirlwind circus leadership debacle, the consequences of Doug Ford and the possible strategies of Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath against him. People love a circus it seems.
Team Trudeau made a lot of big promises on the campaign trail in 2015. Promises to "set things right", to promote "transparency", to create things for the future that will be "clear and straightforward". To fix the autocratic methods of the previous government. Sunny Ways, my friends. At what is more or less the midway point of their mandate, the record on delivering compared to promising is nothing to be overly excited about.
The Harper gang made their priorities and more or less rammed them through without dissent being tolerated from within or without. Despite claiming to be pro-Canada and pro-Big Oil, the environmental approval process was a gong show. In nine years, not one pipeline was built or even given final approval. But wait friends, Sunny Ways was here. Travel the country having town halls and staffers running about collecting the input from Canadians. We listen, we pay heed, we are not the Harperites. Uh huh. Anyone who took part in the Electoral Reform circus knows this is a ruse, plain and simple.
The official title for C-69 is an "Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts". Sounds straightforward, right? This government said omnibus bills were a thing of the past. C-69 is 412 pages. It makes changes to 31 existing Acts. Because of its sheer size and scope, informed critique is slow to reach the public while the government seeks to sell it. The idea seems to be to give new names, new legislation and new branding to a system that will remain essentially the same. The derided NEB is replaced by the Canadian Energy Regulator. The CEAA 2012 is replaced by the Impact Assessment Act.
The View Up Here presents this backgrounder episode to inform on C-69 and set the stage for future episodes on its changes, eventual passage and decisions.
Once upon a time, it was accepted that as the world's only superpower, a certain degree of predictability and consistency would be reflected in international US policy to validate the various indulgences carried out around the globe. Not to say this often bipolar behavior did anyone any good. Ask the Balkans, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Central America, Qatar, Palestine, Syria, Iran, North Korea etc etc.
The 6-time bankrupt Master Businessman in charge has decided that a constant antagonistic competition needs to exist for the honor of having his fleeting attention, seemingly dependent on how much you tell the Boss that he is brilliant. Enter the Rex Tillerson issue. Proof positive that the qualities that apparently mean so much - corporate power and success, connections across the globe, extensive personal knowledge of foreign officials - mean squat when you tell the truth about the Boss. Loyalty to the Donald is more important than loyalty to the nation.
Mike Pompeo has been named to replace Tillerson at State, going from Top Spy to Top Diplomat. A former Tea Party congressman, veteran, lawyer, proven Islamaphobe and Christian supremacist. But he agrees with the Boss. To replace Pompeo at the CIA, Gina Haspel has been nominated. Despite commanding dark site torture facilities and destroying video evidence against court orders, this is the type of ideologue the Boss wants despite the message it sends to allies and enemies alike. General H.R. McMaster had to go as National Security Advisor because he wasn't a full-time sycophant. Enter John Bolton, a Bush holdover Dominionist who never met a war he didn't like, who now gets a job that doesn't need confirmation.
Stanley Cohen has represented many clients who ran directly into policies supported and implemented by this new wave of cronies. The View Up Here welcomes Stanley back to discuss these nominations, their chances of confirmation and the mayhem to come.
June 7 approaches, the Budget has come down and Queen's Park nears dissolution of the Legislature. Cue the campaign rhetoric, cue the media scrambling, cue the on-line partisan blusterstorm. So what are the "strategies" for the campaign? Depends who you ask.
Sitting government always has the advantage of using more information with credible sources from the civil service itself. The pre-election budget from the Wynne government is a very well constructed document which on its own would lead someone to believe things are not that bad. According to the media and opposition parties, that's not accurate. Considering the incumbents are starting from so far behind, what can they do themselves to close that gap, to get their message across?
The PCPO and Doug Ford can be counted on to insist everything is wrong, everything has been wrong for a long time and change is all that matters. Considering that an actual costed platform is not a priority to Team DoFo, will that be enough? Will the volatility, history and tendencies of the Leader be their undoing? Will the use of social media to communicate the PCPO plan work considering the current ongoing and unending criticism of this method of governance in Washington DC?
Andrea Horwath consistently polls highest in traits such as trustworthiness, believability and having a positive presentation. Yet the ONDP has the fewest candidates confirmed, the least money to work with and the least press coverage by a fair amount. What can they do to make the case for something other than red or blue business as usual?
A majority government is not assured for any party and that will likely not change throughout the campaign. So what scenarios are possible? At what cost to whom? There are many possibilities and Dave Glover returns to The View Up Here to discuss these options and a whole lot more.
The View Up Here kicks off its fifth year and Season 9 with a definite listener favourite returning to guest once again - Stephen Lautens. As usual, Mr. Lautens picks his content and this episode is very timely indeed.
Is there any going back? Weaponizing social media and opinion in an Age of Ignorance. With the inescapable presence of seemingly unlimited choices of "news" and "information", the phrase "more is more" has taken on new meaning. No matter where you sit on the spectrum, no matter what you want to be true, what makes you feel correct, in this current environment a source can be found to validate those views. It's moved beyond the chat room and the sub-reddit into the mainstream marketplace.
Fake News works both ways. You need someone to lie and someone to believe the lie. Throw in the incentive of profit and the ever elusive marketshare. Truth becomes a commodity to be shaped, massaged, refocused or simply fabricated. If it sells, it is valid in the new information universe. Not only do we have the tried and true methods of misinformation to suit an agenda, we have the mass gathering and sale of user data for anybody who can pay. Facebook, Google, Cambridge Analytica, SCL and AggregateIQ come to mind. Seemingly individual accounts are part of botnets run by who knows who for who knows what. Entities with a human face are automated algorithmic recorders of reaction and response. To what end? To sell goods, of course. But also to sell entire ideologies, many of which are presented as never before despite complete rejection in the past.
Have people really become that lazy and dependent on being told what to think? Is it because of "convenience" or because their preferred messaging affirms their views regardless of validity? Because it makes them feel they are righteous? The View Up Here and Stephen Lautens venture down the rabbit hole.
Depending on who you ask, episodes like this are not nearly enough or any like it are too many. In reality, that call is mine and mine alone. So here we go... The Rant Up Here ... version number I have no idea.
Rant #1 - As if the "Electoral Reform" scam was not enough, we were told that at least the weakening of the electoral system courtesy of the Unfair Elections Act would be corrected. Bill C-33, an Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act, was given first reading in November 2016. Since then, not a goddamn thing. Past Chief Electoral Officers testified in committee on the timelines to be kept to make any revisions applicable to the 2019 vote. By most counts, that time is very near if not already past. But wait! There's more! Bill C-76, the Elections Modernization Act, was given first reading on April 30, 2018. Let's take everything from C-33, add a pile more to it, and start all over again.
Rant #2 - It takes a lot to become a legendary boondoggle in Canada. But the Phoenix Pay System has reset the standards spectacularly. Six years in the making, barely two years running and the state of paying Canada's employees has never been more dysfunctional and the opposite of the money saving system it was sold as. I'm not going to talk the money blown nor the fractional reactionary "fixes". I'm going to go over the Auditor General report on what the Trudeau government has done or not done. The next one on the CPC implementation will be released soon and expect it to be even more damning.
Rant #3 - In just the past few weeks, an inventor has been sentenced to life for raping, killing and dismembering journalist Kim Wall and burying her at sea. Victims of Bill Cosby have been vindicated as a guilty verdict awaits his sentencing. A dysfunctional man uses a vehicle to murder 8 women, 2 men and attempt murder on 13 more. Because he can't get any. When will misogyny be addressed?
Considering the lack of reporting by corporate media on the state of Civil Liberties in Canada, you could assume things are just fine. But that is all it would be - an assumption. A carefully crafted one that has been molded since Day One of the Trudeau government.
Remember how the Liberals would "fix the problematic elements" of Harper's C-51? As we near three years of the mandate, C-59 is crawling its way through Parliament doing pretty much what C-51 did. Ignoring evidence, voting down amendments, not listening to testimony or case study from around the world where such laws have failed before. But fear not, Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale says All Is Well. LOL it most certainly is not.
Hassan Diab is a Canadian citizen, professor, husband and father. He has spent the last decade being the subject of a wild goose chase by France for a terror attack decades ago. He spent 38 months of near solitary confinement in a French prison, without being charged with anything. This year, a French judge finally threw the case out and ordered Diab returned to his family in Canada. But how could this happen? Where would such falsely incriminating evidence come from? Why would it waste a decade of his life? Well...ask the Canadian Department of Justice. They were the ones who lied, obstructed and denied his rights as he was extradited to France.
RightsCon is coming to Toronto in a couple weeks. Over 2000 participants from more than 140 countries, delivering nearly 300 sessions with participation from over 700 governments, NGOs and corporations. Everything about what is coming for rights, technology, connectivity and the risks involved.
The ICLMG will be part of it, and National Co-ordinator Tim McSorley returns to The View Up Here to discuss RightsCon, the Diab travesty and his recent days of live-tweeting C-59 in Committee. Know the State of your Rights, Canada.
Remember that accepted axiom that the passage of time would make humanity smarter? The sum of our experiences recorded for posterity in ever increasing detail and totality would inevitably lead to better outcomes? Are you tired of waiting? Do you sense it is now moving further away instead of nearer?
Post-truth Conservatism, the name of a misleading practice, is now a force to be reckoned with. Throw in the Identity Politics tactic and we may appear to have ushered in the science of confusion, by design. Moral science has a net-positive impact on our societies and institutions. Education, Health Sciences, Public Safety, Environment, Economics and Sociology were the big ticket items that were supposed to benefit from our scientific prowess. The long rumoured Science Economy was going to save us. Yet now many see that concept being suppressed, for short term profit and power at the expense of society. The more things change...
Ideology-based politics combined with a tribal mindset delivered by post-truth media to an ever-increasingly fractured public leads to...today. Corporate cabals write the laws and psychological campaigns groom the citizen to maintain consent under the guise of research and transparency. Dissent is treason. Exposure is criminal. And the flag waves in the breeze. Beyond the facade, what are the longer term impacts of the suppression and manipulation of science?
The View Up Here welcomes back Graham Chivers to discuss these issues. An advocate of science-based policy, he seeks greater public safety and a healthy environment for everyone. By applying forensic design analysis, Graham seeks to deliver insights on risks where no paper trail likely exists. Graham is a mechatronics expert with over 25 years of design technology and advanced manufacturing experience.
Isn't it a good thing this was a short campaign? It may not seem like it to most Ontarians but considering recent history, it was. So what was learned this time? As usual, it depends entirely upon who you ask. That part is completely in line with recent history as well. Some things did not change over the writ period at all in the "public sphere".
Kathleen Wynne started the campaign as someone on the way out. A scandalous regime that had spent Ontario into the ground. That perception still holds out there, reality being something else for the most part. Considering her concession speech days before the vote, it looks like the perception is in stone for a decade or so. Is it based on empirical data, a cost/benefit analysis? No, it's based on feels.
Andrea Horwath started the campaign polling as the "most trusted" and "most premier-like" of the three leaders in contention and has remained there without much contest. And that is exactly why her opponents have attacked her directly except for a few manufactured candidate plays. But radicals. But Rae Days. But socialism! The refusal to look at Ontario when the Rae government arrived and when they left without bias is still there. Are these criticisms based on a cost/benefit analysis? No, they're based on feels.
Doug Ford's campaign has been about feels from start to finish. The faux populist has nothing else. No costed platform. No press questions. Ducking out of back doors. By far the most questionable candidates of any party. The 407ETR data. The OPP investigations into nominations. Appointing candidates by the handful. A large lead squandered.
How is it feels and not facts? Well who stands to gain the most? Who evokes feels for monetization? Corporate media. At least it's not a surprise anymore. Soundbites, live hits and GIFs do not serve democracy. But they generate revenue. Let's talk politics as an industry.
On June 17, 1958, the Second Narrows Bridge being built over Burrard Inlet collapsed. Nineteen men died. It has remained Vancouver's worst industrial accident. Sixty years later, all that remains are a few old faded photos and a sign declaring the bridge as "The Ironworkers Memorial".
It turns out a young draftsman had filmed the entire project being constructed. He arrived five minutes late to the site on the day of the tragedy. Had he arrived on time, he would have died. Peter Hall's 3000 feet of 16mm colour film was put away the day after the bridge was officially opened and had never been seen. Until now.
"The Bridge" takes Peter's fascinating footage and tells the story of the men whose lives were irrevocably changed that day. It provides a unique look back into a major formative event in Vancouver's history. "The Bridge" is a collaboration between Peter Hall and award-winning documentary producer George Orr. The film will debut in Vancouver on the 60th anniversary of that terrible day. A truly lost treasure of history has been discovered and brought to the public to inform modern-day Vancouver and provide a lasting memorial to the nineteen who lost their lives. George returns to The View Up Here to discuss the project and how once discovered, he could not deny telling this story.
Film trailer - https://vimeo.com/262614399
Facts, Kinder Morgan and the Trans-Mountain Expansion. Very rarely shall the three intersect, by extensive design.
Some factors, like climate, fade from the narrative because...well, they are inconvenient facts for proponents of TMX. Others such as a multi-year failure of Kinder Morgan to finance the project have been made moot by the Federal bailout plan. Corruption and incompetence of the National Energy Board continues to be found, yet the Trudeau government breaking the promise of a new process seeks to bypass these facts. Fuel prices will increase due to NEB approved tolls, yet stories of cheaper gas upon completion abound. There are no untapped markets. US refineries are the best price out there for this heavy high-sulfer inferior product, as planned all along. Yet TIDEWATER shall set you free, let the good times roll. Stranded Assets are two words you will be hearing more and more. What about everyone's favourite part of NAFTA - Chapter 11 Investor-State Dispute Settlement?
Who is afraid of these facts? The Trudeau government, the Notley government, Kinder Morgan, corporate media and lobby groups such as CAPP.
Who is NOT afraid of these facts? Robyn Allan.
Robyn Allan is an independent economist and has held many executive positions in the public and private sectors. Robyn is a past Economic and Financial Advisor to the Barrett Commission, expert witness on economic and insurance issues related to the Northern Gateway project, and expert intervenor on economics, risk and commercial need at the NEB Trans-Mountain Expansion hearings. Until she resigned over what she termed fundamental flaws in the process. An author and investigator, her work has been carried by The Globe & Mail, The Tyee, National Observer, Financial Post, Vancouver Sun and many others.
Involved in bringing truth to the Kinder Morgan issue from the start, The View Up Here proudly welcomes Robyn Allan for some facts on TMX.
Canada enjoys a reputation at home and abroad as a generous nation. The legendary acceptance and support of the red maple leaf internationally was built over decades, with a general performance from governments to match the image. Those Canadians are fair and understanding folk. They are willing to help. How long has that reputation been riding on history rather than recent actions?
Globally, according to recent studies, it seems Canada is not pulling its weight at home or abroad. Despite hearing how the economy is leading the G-7 club in growth, how well we survived the 2008 crash compared to others, how our history will not allow us to forget those less fortunate, social spending has been on a steady decline in Canada since the 1990's.
With a rapidly aging population, a near zero net birth rate and immigration being used to decrease the average age of the workforce, the logical and prudent steps required with social programs to enable and support a 21st Century Canada are not keeping pace. Neoliberalism has established itself as the way forward but statistical evidence says otherwise. Productivity, physical and mental health and educational opportunities are all part of the same picture. They take a steady and constant hand to improve a nation's overall health. Not a hand that offloads, downsizes and cuts funding for more than a generation. Canadians hear talk of Pharmacare, Child Care, Dental Care, Guaranteed Income. But other nations have moved past the talk into delivery, with positive results.
Why the disparity within Canada itself? Why do politics become the method of discourse instead of evidence and solution? Why has inequality increased in scope and pace? What cost will Canada pay in the future for neoliberal decisions today?
The View Up Here welcomes back Greg Fingas, a lawyer/blogger/freelance political commentator from a progressive humanist viewpoint, to discuss Canada's social program outlook
The legendary "Alberta Advantage". This narrative pushed an Alberta that enabled the entrepreneurial, can-do image that supposedly made the province special. Where taxation was so low, so far under the average of the rest of the country, that any hiccup in world markets for carbon based energy would create a black hole in the provincial ledger.
Fear not, King Ralph Klein will defend the Alberta Advantage. By firing teachers, nurses and any other provincial employees he could find. By blowing up hospitals and not replacing them. By refusing to repair or build schools. By refusing to invest in transportation infrastructure. By refusing to collect realistic royalties for one-time natural resources. By refusing to speak the words Sales Tax. When the writing was on the wall, Ralph got out before it all hit the fan. This mythology stayed until the end of the PC Dynasty and exists to a degree in today's Alberta.
The latest oil crash happened before the Notley government took the reigns. Now they take the blame for deficits that keep Alberta running with over a million more residents than Ralph's dreamland had. If Alberta had a level of revenue of the closest province to them in taxation, it would bring in over $11 billion more every year. The deficit would be gone with room to spare.
Public Interest Alberta is a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on education and advocacy on public interest issues and the spaces, institutions and services in Albertans' everyday lives. "Revenue Reno" is their campaign to bring the discussion on chronic systemic underfunding of Alberta's public services into the light. PIA Executive Director Joel French joins The View Up Here to discuss the inevitable result of not changing course and the possibilities available with commitment to them, politics be damned.
There were a lot of big promises in that 2015 LPC Campaign, weren't there? Such as electoral reform. Such as eliminating the National Energy Board and having new project hearings. Such as a new "relationship" with Indigenous Peoples. Such as "fixing" C-51. See a common theme here? Well, add another one to the growing pile. After promising to renew and replace Canada's 1982 Privacy and Access to Information laws, we get Bill C-58 which amends those 35 year old laws instead of replacing them.
Why have corporate media ignored this issue so consistently except for the odd cursory update of its progress on the Order Paper? Why have only the usual suspects of independent media kept it current? TVUH will look at what there is to fear for the mainstream media.
The 'consultation' started like they meant business, in the spring of 2016. Stakeholders, academics, expert groups and the Commissioners of Information and Privacy gave input. Then a funny thing happened. Bill C-58 hit the floor of the House on First Reading and effectively ignored all of that consultation. As Suzanne Legault neared the end of her term as Information Commissioner, she repeatedly called out C-58 as inadequate and regressive. Her replacement Caroline Maynard has not changed that position in any real effect. Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien has not been a fan of C-58, also using the terms regressive and not helping regarding any current backlogs or deficiencies.
Time allocation, wholesale rejection of a lengthy list of Committee amendments and near invisible passage to the Senate is where we are now. Sunny ways, friends. The Red Chamber seems determined to take this bill apart, calling all the same detractors to tell them about its failures. Will it be sent back to the House with huge amendments? Will the threat of Proroguement kill it and many other bills? Would we be better off where C-58 is concerned?
For the second time since the start of the Trudeau government, the Federal Cabinet has been shuffled. Canadians can expect this being the team that will lead the LPC into the next election. There are no such things as surprises at this level anymore, by design. After all, message control is as much a part of governing as actual execution and delivery in this day and age.
Cabinet grows by five to 35 members but maintains gender parity. Message #1.
Eleven Ministers were moved to new portfolios and/or had their duties altered, but nobody was dropped. Message #2.
Some new buzzwords and some old ones reused. Border Security. Organized Crime. Trade Diversification. Seniors. Interprovincial Trade. Message #3.
British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario MPs get the majority of new exposure, all regions that need shoring up before next year's vote. Yet Atlantic Canada, a clean sweep in 2015, loses clout. Message #4.
Despite the purposeful release of Ministerial Letters in short order previously, don't expect it this time, especially if that P word gets used as many are predicting. There is a definite possibility that Parliament will be prorogued before returning in the fall. This would accomplish clearing the Order Papers of languishing bills that may suddenly seem not so important to a Government nearing the next election and allow for the initial reveal of the LPC campaign via a new Speech from the Throne. Sunny ways priorities, after all.
The View Up Here will examine all the players, their roles and the possible effects on a Government's primary goal. Getting re-elected.
Did you think the Trans-Pacific Partnership died when the US withdrew? Did you think it would stay dead? Not by a longshot. The other eleven signatory nations treated the abandonment of the deal by Drumpf to be merely a temporary circumstance. Carry on! There are plenty of industries and corporations that want their deal. Especially the ones who have a presence and something to gain all around the Pacific Rim.
Enter the Comprehensive & Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. New name. New acronym. Same old "free trade" aims. Out of more than 5500 pages, a whopping 21 clauses are now excluded from the original TPP. That's it. The rest remain under a new amended name. In fact the only official reference to the CPTPP is in the agreement signed on May 8, 2018 in Santaigo, Chile which basically says...
Canadian industry lobby groups, the CPC and the LPC government are all anticipating the retread deal flying through Parliament. Bill C-79 was tabled before the summer break, which will provide the necessary ratification of CPTPP.
But why hasn't it been covered to any effect in the corporate media? To help avoid the protests and organized opposition that happened in all 12 nations the first time around. The rubber stamp is quietly poised.
The View Up Here will review all the problems in the TPP (it's been over 2 years since the last episode on it) and discuss the inevitability of its enactment under its new name. For better or worse.
There is no question that Canada's seat of democracy, the Parliamentary Precinct in Ottawa, was already overdue for renovation and restoration when the official process started in the 1990's. Studies, inspections, proposals, hearings and predictions play their part in all major spending programs and this huge group of projects certainly fulfilled that norm. And like all long developed and eventually delayed public works, the pricetags keep rising. To date, almost $5 Billion has been spent or budgeted for the massive undertaking. Successive reports over the last 15 years from the Auditor-General have kept a better eye on things than most heralded spending programs.
With the end goal of making the buildings of Parliament prepared into their second century while not interrupting the governance of Canada, the road has been long spanning over a decade so far, with at least another decade to go. The Wellington Building has been completely renovated to house MPs and their staff, Committee rooms, a library, support services and restored to its original grandeur. The West Block is nearing the end of over 6 years of complete refit and expansion to host the House of Commons for the next decade. The iconic former Union Station and Government Conference Centre after 4 years of work will host the Senate until Centre Block is finished. The East Block is in dire need of repair and restoration but it will have to wait for a while. The first new building on the Hill in over 100 years, although mostly underground, the Visitors Welcome Centre will eventually link the 3 Blocks of Parliament and be the public entrance to all of them, maybe by 2030.
Now the big question mark looms. Centre Block. There can be no further delays and it will be completely empty by the end of 2018. There is no question it will take over a Billion dollars and a decade to complete. The View Up Here provides a big picture on restoring Parliament.
By any measurement you wish to use, Feminism and its causes have never been more prominent than they are today. Over the past few years with the utilization of social media, attention on spousal abuse, sexual assault of all kinds, open misogyny, institutional bias, consent, behavioural norms and more have been broken open with the advent of the "hashtag".
#WhyIStayed highlighting spousal abuse, #YesAllWomen and #EverydaySexism revealing misogyny, #TimesUp calling for real change now, #ImWithHer expanding to victims and their stories, #MeToo showing the proclivity of the issues and many more have forever changed the discourse around cultural standards.
2015 was a watershed year for Canada and its institutions in the global feminist awakening. The Jian Ghomeshi case. Sexual assault in Parliament. The demented behaviour directed at female politicians such as Catherine McKenna, Kathleen Wynne, Sandra Jansen and Rachel Notley to name a few. The discussion is here and it isn't going away, nor should it. But like all things, the conditions around the issues continue to change for many reasons. Controlling the message has never been more prominent than it is today, by all sides.
To amend a famous quote, First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then they CO-OPT you when the tide has completely turned. There is nobody in public life these days that will not declare themselves a feminist. Not doing so is uncool, an invitation to be left outside of advancement with a likely high cost. But declaration is not action. Support is not change. The hypocrisy is becoming more nuanced.
Julie Lalonde is an internationally recognized expert educator on violence against women, institutional gender-based bias, womens rights and activism. A winner of the Governor General's Award for her efforts, Julie returns to The View Up Here to discuss the progress, changes and co-option of Feminism in 2018 Canada.
The 2019 CPC Convention in Halifax has come and gone. So has Maxime Bernier regarding the Party. Inevitable? Yes, likely, but the other inevitabilities are not remotely new in any way shape or form from the Party of Harper that insists Harper is history. But then, maybe Emperor is in the rear-view mirror considering the passed resolutions to re-open the legality of abortion and remove birth-right citizenship, issues kept closed by Harper for a decade.
Make no mistake, this is not a united party with a clear path forward. Before the gavel could open the festivities in Halifax, Maxime Bernier announced he was leaving the Party effective immediately, stating the CPC had become just another bought-off gang of tools. It did garner big coverage, but with Supply Management being somewhat prevented from hitting the Plenary floor, the intent from the Party to eliminate All Things Max seems clear. An emerging issue in one riding in the entire country is now deemed part of policy based on nationalism it seems. Birth-right citizenship, something dating back to the Roman Empire in practice, is now not acceptable to the delegates. Courtesy of two well-organized Anti-abortion groups, Canadian Life Coalition and Right Now, the legality of abortion is back as a problem for the delegates. 27 of 30 changes were passed in Plenary, most of which do not look forward but back to Conservative Unicorn Land, be that the 2000's or the 1860's.
Speeches to the delegates extolled the virtuous Conservative world, according to Raitt, Ford, MacKay, Kenney, Gerstein, Marshall and Scheer. Meetings were held on information collection and usage relating to CIMS, C2W click to website and C2G CIMS to go. All powerful tools (weapons?) in modern campaigning. Electoral Districts were told 50% of rebates would be clawed back to CPC HQ. Sounds democratic eh?
The View Up Here looks at why the answers from Halifax create so many new questions.
A big promise of the Trudeau Liberal campaign in 2015 was a complete rewriting of the Federal Environmental Review process. There was no question the 2012 Canadian Environmental Assessment Act was a failure. When you have panels of review agencies resigning over conflicts of interest, it's time to start over. The courts cancelled Northern Gateway, with just cause due to the flawed review process. As citizens began to impede the road for Energy East, the re-opening possibility of Keystone XL south of the border let TCPL return to their preferred plan while Big Oil sycophants claimed "Trudeau did it". Then Kinder Morgan, the Bricklin of the oilpatch. Nothing says the existing system is broken better than the full stop put on TMX for the same issues that killed NGP.
The badly needed replacement legislation, Bill C-69, has 412 pages, removes 2 Acts from the books, establishes 2 new Acts and amends many more. The bill has been advanced with Time Allocation twice, has adopted approximately 130 amendments of 320 proposed, defeated six further amendment votes and gone on to the Senate where things are not as comfy for the Liberals.
What guaranteed failure of the old environmental regime was the regulations written to enable it. They delivered flawed processes with an unacceptable level of science, consultation, scrutiny or diligence. It was written for applicants, not Canadians. And what progress has the government made on new regulations? Anyone? Bueller?
This Prime Minister said no omnibus legislation on his watch. Bill C-69 is omnibus legislation. He and his Ministry said environmental regulations would be developed in parallel with this bill moving forward. There is zero evidence available to confirm this, yet the bill is now 2/3 the way to becoming law. A shiny sales pitch is not proof of a good product. Many opponents from all parties remain against it. The View Up Here looks at where C-69 is and needs to get to.
Welcome to Season 10 of The View Up Here. And here we go...
New Brunswick heads to the polls on September 24th to elect a new Provincial Government. The 39th general election has five parties in contention, but only two are considered to have a chance to lead the next Legislature. At dissolution, the Liberal Party led by Premier Brian Gallant held 25 seats out of 49, the slimmest of majorities. The Progressive Conservative party led by Blaine Higgs, a former 20-plus year employee of Irving Oil, is the only other party that can possibly win a majority by any estimate. The spectre of a minority result is a real possibility, bringing three other parties and their leaders into the main picture.
David Coon leads the New Brunswick Green Party sitting as the only MLA for them and has consistently spoken out against the hegemony in place for decades. Kris Austin leads the New Brunswick People's Alliance, a populist party less than a decade old that threatens to steal PC votes more than anything else. Jennifer McKenzie leads the New Brunswick New Democratic Party, which has not elected an MLA to Fredericton since 2005.
The issues of the campaign are not new by any measure, nor are they lessening. Net migration out of the province, an aging population, shrinking tax base and narrowing of economic power. Promises abound regarding promised spending on health care and economic stimulation from all but the PCs who have chosen their lead issue to be... Carbon Tax. PC Leader Higgs has pledged to join the court case with Ontario and Saskatchewan against the national carbon emissions plan.
What else is not new, for decades, is the power of the Irving family. Oil & Gas, Forestry and Media are three sectors under complete Irving control. A private empire, the Irvings own the largest oil refinery in Canada and dictate their will no matter who is in power. So who is for New Brunswickers and who is for the Irvings? TVUH takes a look.
On October 1st, Quebec holds its 42nd General Election and for the first time in 50 years the main issue is NOT independence. Things have changed somewhat into "Quebecois Values" being the signature theme of the campaign. As the stumbles, provocations and three televised debates have passed, what was once a seeming inevitability of a majority Coalition Avenir Quebec victory has become a real horse race with the incumbent Quebec Liberal Party.
What is new in QCpoli?
Language. Generational division. Social safety net. Values. Always issues in Quebec, but a little different this time. Political evolution? Let's not get carried away.
The View Up Here welcomes back Polly Ticks (@PTicks) for her fifth guest appearance to discuss Quebec politics today and where this road is heading.
The View Up Here has a Triple Shot this week. Three events, three different results in three different environments and the same old problems in each of them.
The Dead Stop - New Brunswick will carry on with an interim caretaker Government as a result of election results as the four parties in play continue to try and make a deal to be in on the new Government. Brian Gallant is still Premier until he presents a Throne Speech to see if he can carry confidence of the House. By tradition and convention, that is his right as the Lieutenant-Governor has affirmed. But it has done nothing to limit the gamesmanship in the media from party leaders. Blaine Higgs continues to insist his PC party should get first crack while Kris Austin and David Coon pimp out their three seats apiece as Kingmakers.
The New Start - For the first time in a half century, Separation is not a front burner issue in Quebec government. Coalition Avenir Quebec roared to a majority win running on "Quebec Values" not independence while steady-as-she-goes federalist Liberal power was rebuked outside of metro Montreal. The Parti Quebecois is without official party status as leader Jean-Francois Lisee lost his own seat and resigned after the worst showing since 1970. Quebec Solidaire broke out of its Montreal base and finished ahead of the PQ, in effect becoming the de facto separatist party in the province with a strong left mindset.
The Big Game Reset - The new NAFTA is here, but its called the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) and was pulled out of the fire just in time for the outgoing Mexican government to ratify it before power changes hands and moves decidedly to the left, avoiding any re-opening of the deal. When that is the big deadline motivation, how great could the deal be? Get ready for the non-stop partisan chatter out of Ottawa for the foreseeable future. Yippee.
The more things change...
Your host has attended his first Trump rally in Canada. Featuring co-stars Jason Kenney and Doug Ford taking marquee billing to preach to the approximately 1500 extras from the live version of King Of The Hill. Complete with MAGA hats (both America and Alberta), Trump jerseys, Trudeau Sucks t-shirts, a damn good honkytonk band and two cash bars running full out.
This was in Calgary after all, the Nurmburg of the CPC. Drawing 1500 people with national advertising provided by corporate media in a city of one million isn't exactly a wave of change. But don't tell them that. Not surprisingly, it was pretty easy to notice certain tendancies in the crowd (choir?). Hank and Peggy Hill were out in force. As were some Bobbys, a few dozen Luannes, more than enough Dale Gribbles, a Bill contingent and of course Boomhauers were well represented. I hope they all appreciate the emails that will be coming their way after surrendering their names to gain entry.
There was only one topic for the night. The advertised topic was that Job-killing, Tax-grabbing, Business bankrupting, Investment-phobic, Socialist, Tree-hugging Dreamland CARBON TAX. The one nobody voted for. The one that won't change anything except taxpayer's pockets. But the actual message was much simpler. Much easier to instill and provoke the minions to action of some sort. FEAR.
Was there mention that Big Oil supports it? Was there any detail of what it actually does? Was it stated provinces decide how to spend it? Of course not. THEY made this tax so WE must destroy it. Details like climate change mitigation were simply not in the script. Let's just make money like it's 1948 again and Leduc No.1 was just discovered.
Campaigning never ends in Canada anymore and it's clear what the message is. Carbon Tax is the tool to avoid an actual platform, misinformation is the medium and fear is the lever for all parties right of centre. Get used to it.
Freedom. The most bastardized "noble" word there is. In the 21st century what does it mean to you? What does it mean to Governments? What does it mean to corporations and institutional investors like pension funds and hedge funds?
The USA, with cultural dominance over much of the globe, has sold a version of freedom that implies the individual is protected from the over-reach of the State. Don't worry citizens, your rights to expression are above the State. Oh, by the way, we have also de facto granted that right to multinational corporations and any other corporate entity that is involved in the revolving door command structure policy with the State. When it comes to which group takes priority when they go against each other, look no further than social media.
Last week, Facebook and Twitter conducted another purge of what they consider counter-productive to their mission. Profitability and control. Over the last 40 years, freedom has become measured as the freedom to consume. Now citizens are increasingly being told what they can consume by diktat. Hundreds of pages and accounts, massive archives of content and millions of followers don't seem to matter against the freedom of the corporations, supported by the State. This is indeed the definition of Fascism.
The Guest List has multiplied, so bios on here are out the window lol...
The medium of independent journalism is under attack and the guests bring expert commentary to The View Up Here
If you don't know what this two word policy of the present and foreseeable future is about, you will soon. With "once in a century" storms happening every decade or less, with the insurmountable amount of scientific evidence growing every day, with banks around the world refusing to finance new fossil fuel infrastructure, the writing is on the wall. Humanity must break the carbon energy addiction, and fast.
Despite the status quo/denial gameplan from political parties on the right, the reality is already taking place on the ground. It was the Harper government that was first to legislate an end to coal-fired electricity generation in Canada. The Alberta NDP government accelerated the timelines as part of their Climate Leadership Plan. Generating Utilities sped things up even more. In their business models coal is over ASAP, not 2030.
Four provinces in Canada use coal-fired electricity. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The only one to start a Just Transition program is Alberta. In 2013, 52% of Alberta's electricity was coal-fired. By perhaps 2022, it will be zero. Complete towns are at stake. No plant, no miners. No miners, no community, no municipal taxbase. The other motivator is automation of carbon energy jobs which will only accelerate.
Few other places on earth have started this process, none without problems despite best laid plans. There are no case histories. It involves Ministries and Departments from multiple governments. Blue Green Canada hosted the 3rd Annual Just Transition conference in Edmonton on October 23, 2018 involving everyone affected, involved and interested. The View Up Here reports on it.
Remember the 2015 election campaign? Remember how Justin Trudeau said Omnibus Legislation has no place in a democracy? There were a lot of promises made about fixing Canada's justice laws and modernizing the courts. And the bills from the new Government came rolling out. Bill C-28 was aimed at the punitive and inflexible Victim Surcharge regime from Harper and the CPC. Bill C-38, meant to proclaim into force Bill C-452 from 2015 which addressed human trafficking. Bill C-39 sought to remove unconstitutional and superceded sections from the Canadian Criminal Code. Generally, all were needed reforms with vast agreement in principle from directly involved groups.
But 2 1/2 years in and none of them got very far in Parliament for one reason or another. Needing to demonstrate progress as the 2019 election nears, the Government did what their predecessors did regularly by design. They tabled Bill C-75, which combined all three previous bills and had amendments on 12 existing Acts, coming in at over 300 pages. Recent judgements from the Supreme Court highlighted issues not previously addressed. Once again, like electoral reform to reel in the "Fair Elections Act", suddenly omnibus bills seemed not so bad.
Well, not according to most outside of government. Law Societies across the country, University Law faculties across the country, Civil Rights organizations and Provincial governments were not impressed. Despite the usual "consultations" and review, over 300 amendments were proposed in House Committee. Government members of the committee supported a great many of the changes, a rare occurence.
Can C-75 be made palatable enough to become law before the next election? Will it make anything better? Does it make some factors worse as many insist? Do the Trudeau Liberals need to say they delivered on this promise?
Law and order? Try Political Messaging instead. The View Up Here examines C-75
It's that time again. Back by semi-popular demand, The View Up Here Triple Rant. After all...when in Rome...
Tony - Despite best efforts of the CPC and corporate media, there is no denying the abrupt and complete derailment of a career politician with the highest civilian security clearance in the land. At his own...um...hand. From releasing it on US Midterm Day after sitting on it for a week, to minimizing it, to retracting that, to being sent to the backbenches to off the bench in 48 hours. And the corporate coverage was sombre and regretful with no meme-like graphics or theme music. Followup looks to be not forthcoming unless absolutely necessary. Compare this to a recent circus over a single event from more than a decade ago that involved contact above the shoulders but was grounds for resignation from the planet.
The Bunk Debate - Considering the history of The Munk School, established by the billionaire family of the founder of Barrick Gold, free market extremism has always been standard fare. Never an institution to miss out on a trend, it's Steve Bannon vs David Frum to ponder "populism". You can almost see the pendulum moving right, can you not? When the author of "Axis of Evil" plays the reasonable entrant it's a one way street. But please, corporate media, never mention the Aurea Foundation. Those millions to neoliberal slogan tanks aren't important.
The Anything But Resistance - Where does one start? A high school dropout drug dealer, a divinity school dropout, a corporate puppet, a groomed insider convicted of impaired driving and a seperate vehicular homicide and a failed waiter that was the worst Speaker of the House in history. What is this motley crew resisting? Reality? Intelligence? Progress? Facts? Full marks to Rogers Communications owned Macleans and the novelist Pompous Wells. It's not a failed pitch, just the next step in what will not relent until Election 2019.
Trans-Mountain Expansion. Three words that evoke many different reactions from many different people. Despite a custom designed "approval" process meant to ignore all evidence to question it and promote easily disprovable benefit scenarios, the Federal Court of Appeal revoked the Federal Cabinet certificate of approval for the project this past summer. Which was immediately followed by the Government of Canada taking on all responsibility for it by handing Kinder Morgan an over 600% gain on their "investment".
Remember the campaigning Justin Trudeau insisting the process was flawed? There was no social licence for the project. There was no suitable economic case for it. There was a facade of meaningful consultation. The Federal Court of Appeal decision agreed. But a funny thing happened after the change in government. A Ministerial Panel delivered an opinion that said the existing flawed process was just fine now. Kinder Morgan held Ottawa hostage with excuses rather than the truth. TMX was never and will never be economically feasible. The choice for Ottawa was pay a very high political price or pay a very high monetary price. We know what they chose, but it is a long way from the bill being totalled.
Ottawa has told their National Enegy Board they want an opinion report to approve by February 22, 2019. All indications are they will get it. Despite strong evidence TMX may well end up in the same place it sits now. Halted for failed process.
Robyn Allan is an independent economist and has held many executive positions in the public and private sectors. She was an expert intervenor on economics, risk and commercial need at the NEB Trans-Mountain Expansion hearings and was an expert witness on economic and insurance issues for the NEB Northern Gateway process. The View Up Here welcomes Robyn back to discuss TMX and the risk to Canadian taxpayers on this future white elephant against facts and logic.
Dwight Eisenhower was the last career military man to hold the office of President of the United States. The 5-star General knew the business of war. On January 17, 1961 in his final Presidential address after 8 years in which the Cold War raged, a dire warning was given to the American people and by proxy to the world.
"We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military-Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." Truly prophetic words given little notice at the time. Perhaps if White House staff had not convinced "Ike" to change his speech from calling this rising force the "Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex" as he planned, it may have drawn more attention.
Its unabated growth continued through to the end of the Cold War. Then 9/11 and the Global War on Terror ushered in our 21st century perpetual conflict model with no decisive direction on mission or goals. Only endurance. As theatres of operations expanded, so did demand for assets. The military was good at buying physical assets but was poor on retaining human assets. They started going in droves to the corporations selling the physical assets. Drawn by higher salaries, saner deployments and expanded career options it was an alarmingly simple choice for many.
Jonathan Nichols was in the US Army for almost nine years working in PSYOP efforts, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Propaganda analysis, atmospherics, psychometrics and threat analysis are all a part of Jon's toolset. Highly marketable skills in today's world. So why is he a contractor instead of a career soldier? What is the cumulative effect of developed expertise leaving the military to become an indisposable supplier to it? At what cost monetarily, strategically or command-wise? Jon returns to TVUH to discuss the Permanent War Complex.
The First Ministers Conference. A wonderfully Canadian creation where Provincial and Territorial Premiers try to use their 13-to-1 advantage to extort/persuade/embarrass/browbeat the Federal government into delivering on aims not necessarily in the "national interest" despite all claims to the contrary. There is no real purpose to these gatherings in reality. Federal governance is determined by the House of Commons, where all voters in Canada have a say (in theory). Provincial and Territorial governance is determined by voters in those specific jurisdictions only under the same premise. Nothing at these events could not be accomplished via teleconference, administrative co-operation and/or smaller meetings based on actual solutions being proposed and debated.
But that would do little to tackle the main purpose, which is politics. Where else can a Premier get the national spotlight to pitch their specific pet project or peeve to the voters at home and from coast-to-coast. The premise of common goals allows all attendees to speak on their angle and try to convince everyone it is a national cause. Which is the true purpose of the First Liars Conference.
Rachel Notley spending tax dollars for her TMX propaganda campaign en francais. Doug Ford threatening to not show because...he's Doug Ford. Scott Moe hating everything and proposing nothing. Blaine Higgs leaving no doubt where he worked for over two decades. Brian Pallister trying to head off the next hydro dam PR disaster because it's an opportunity you see. Rookie Francois Legault making it clear he represents Quebec and everyone else can pound sand, with a smile.
The end-of-conference communique, which was signed by all 14 parties, looked conspicuously like the original Federal agenda despite the apparent unacceptability of it for most of the week prior to the event. Show's over, carry on subjects. TVUH breaks it down.
One of the biggest planks in the 2015 Liberal election platform was "Electoral Reform" which was a multi-faceted pledge. We know what happened with the part concerning electoral systems - Sweet F**k All and Canadians will remember that. But the other part of the pledge was correcting the damage done by the "Unfair Elections Act" of the Harper regime. That process started in 2016 with introduction of a bill to address the issue but went absolutely nowhere until this past spring. In April 2018, Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould introduced Bill C-76 The Elections Modernization Act.
This bill consisted of all the measures in the original bill that was paralyzed on the Order Paper plus issues that had come to the fore since early 2016. The US elections and the Brexit vote showed something previously unseen on the scale it was deployed. Messaging was no longer primary, data was. Motivated by cost-benefit analysis and efficiency political and special-interest entities had a new way to pinpoint what methods would work with specific target audiences. The effect continues to develop across the globe as controls on their effects race to catch up.
At over 300 pages including explanatory notes, Bill C-76 was highly detailed to counter the regressive law from the Harper era. Drawing over 300 amendment proposals from the House of Commons, progress was slow and acrimonious moving to the Senate near the end of October. Amidst warnings of being too late to be implemented for the 2019 election with much more delay, Conservative Senators did all they could to make that prediction come true. Despite the delays, grandstanding and misinformation programs, Bill C-76 received Royal Assent on the last day possible before Winter Recess.
So it's back to the future for voters rights and Elections Canada independence and an open future for fighting external influence on Canada's elections.
The View Up Here welcomes back attorney, activist and agent of change Stanley L. Cohen for a 2018 year-end discussion about the year that was and the trajectory going forward into 2019. In what seems to be the norm now, old phrases have taken on new meaning and new purpose. Never before has caveat emptor had more impact as it now seems the only rule is there are no rules. Our discussion will focus on a few of these weaponized catch phrases, their historical meaning and their new deployments.
Anticipatory Obedience - Timothy Snyder has helped place this phrase in the modern lexicon. History demonstrates the consequences of this trait of human nature, the warnings of it at the end of every cycle it runs and the seemingly natural return to it despite the same old warning signs plus new ones. A psychological weakness or a learned behavior?
Vichy Journalism - John Pilger has used this phrase to great effect recently, and the words themselves should be warning enough. But it is no longer a weapon of political manipulation for politics sake. Now the function is profit driven while striving for the same result. A typical systemic "win-win" with very clear winners and losers. Determine who and what fit on both sides of that equation, if you dare.
Tradition Is The Democracy Of The Dead - G.K. Chesterson coined this phrase and its meaning remains contested by all sides. At what point and in what processes does adherence to "what we've always done" become limiting to progress, to evolution, to a better tomorrow? At what point is tradition used to drown out logical advances to protect the status quo and its machine from giving up some of its might?
What is the common exploit, the common trigger process used to advance these historically detrimental paths? Feels. The truth remains - Feelings Are Not Facts. But everyone has them and they're open to manipulation.
Up The Rebels!
A new year brings new expectations, new hopes, new priorities and... the same old disappointing circle-jerk of posturing and manouvering for power and narrative control? Can recent history give expectation of much else? One would be described as optimistic, to put it kindly, in hoping for some sort of return to a fact-based process regarding anything requiring consent from the citizenry.
After all, it only makes sense from a "business" perspective that the drive to get feelings to dominate facts will roll on with as little opposition as possible. It's where the money is. It's where the data is. Once you accept facts, it kind of ends the revenue stream in "alternative facts" and the opportunity to capitalize on feelings. Everyone has them and everyone is succeptible. So what does 2019 have in store?
The View Up Here will remain the same. Facts and credible information matter here. But it's a noisy marketplace of "ideas" out there. We will try to give some hints for what 2019 brings for this show, where we will be looking regarding guests and topics and listener input is invited. Bring it.
It's another TVUH Triple Shot. Three things in the last week or so that deserve being "addressed" on the show. Well, at least I think so and since I produce the show... guess what.
The Retirement - After seven Federal election wins, twice Minister with two different governments and his largest margin of victory in 2015, Scott Brison has retired effective immediately as Minister and MP. A trailblazer for the LGBTQ2 community who was part of reforming Canada's sexual orientation laws out of the 19th century. The first openly gay Minister in Canada's history. But that means another Cabinet Shuffle, in an election year. Three moves and two rookies added to make up for the loss of one, which generates its own storylines depending which brand you ask. And what about the trial of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, which Brison will have to testify at? Is it a factor in the timing here?
The Refugee - Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun became internationally known in a hurry. A Saudi citizen, she flew from Kuwait to Thailand to escape her family. Having flown without suitable "escort" the Saudi Embassy told Thai officials to seize her passport and deport her back to Saudi Arabia. Then a funny thing happened. Social media around the world made her a symbol against the Kingdom. The UNHCR requested Canada to accept Rahaf as a refugee. Canada said yes. Not to sell the LPC brand. To sell the Canada the world expects.
The Raid - On December 15, 2018 the BC Supreme Court granted an injuction in a CIVIL SUIT to bypass proper process and allow Coastal GasLink access to Wet'suwet'en Territory. Because saying NO is not allowed in this nation of "reconciliation" when corporate gain is involved. On January 7, 2019 the RCMP performed their historically primary function. Colonialism. Is this a "new relationship"? Is this implementing the TRC? Is this UNDRIP? No, it's the same old Canada.
The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland is the largest annual gathering of the world power structure. Representation from over 100 governments, over 1000 corporations, leaders of international agencies and NGO's, cultural leaders and hand-picked rising stars of developing global trends. A global brand with huge opinion influence and media presence, politics are always paramount in presentation. But there is more than photo-ops. The WEF has access to the best statistical datasets anywhere. Their annual pre-conference report contains far more information than corporate media will ever allude to, never mind reveal.
"Is the world sleepwalking into a crisis? Global risks are intensifying but the collective will to tackle them appears to be lacking. Instead, divisions are hardening. The world's move into a new phase of strongly state-centered politics, whether domestically from political rivals or externally from multilateral or supranational organizations, resonates across many countries and many issues. The energy now expended on consolidating or recovering national control risks weakening collective responses to emerging global challenges. We are drifting deeper into global problems from which we will struggle to extricate ourselves."
That is the first paragraph of the Executive Summary of the World Economic Forum report for this conference, titled 2019 Global Risks - Out Of Control. At nearly 150 pages it is a sobering, thorough and refreshingly propoganda free study. It is clear how the magnitude of categorical risks has changed in the last ten years. No matter what issue you look at - Food, Health, Human Rights, Economics, Governance - they all have one thing in common that plays in the picture. Climate. Three of the top five risks by likelihood and four of the top five by impact are all climate based.
I won't cover every issue in the report, but I guarantee you will learn more than watching TV news.
So tell me Canada, how is that shiny new 21st Century working out so far for you? All the promise and none of the institutional improvements delivered? Surprise! It's called neoliberal status quo. Change is bad apparently, especially for those with traditional power and privilege to lose. In fact, lets use that influence to create new levels of mistrust, confusion, distraction, hopelessness, division and violence. As long as any direct link to the manipulators is denied or obfuscated, carry on and cash those cheques. Those manipulators include governments, political parties, corporate media, celebrities de jour and anyone who sees the chance to get rich on misinformation. False prophets, false conflicts, inflated outrage and innocent victims are the landscape. By the way, none of those victims ever seem to be from the forces encouraging this agenda so strongly.
Nora Loreto is an author, freelance journalist, community organizer, activist, podcaster, mom and proponent for systemic change. She has paid a disproportionate price for her views and ideas on how to move forward from the entrenched 20th Century hegemony. Her long history of direct involvement and documentation of society's built-in restrictions to keep change out has given Nora perspectives not overly appreciated by the power structure.
The View Up Here hosts Nora to discuss some of her work from 2018 and why so much of it signals the systemic weaknesses in today's society. Far more than a snapshot of the events and time of occurance, Nora's work brings much deeper questions about how the root issues seem to do nothing to prevent further chaos, instead encouraging the increasing pace of it. The Sainte-Foy massacre. The Yonge Street attack. The new-age snake oil salesman Jordan Peterson. The incredibly new low in governance from Doug Ford that is in fact a natural progression.
Tune in for No More with @NoLore
Why does Canada seem to get the definition of such basic things backwards compared to most other places? Take for example the word scandal. Perhaps it is the definers of such terminology that cause such confusion. Heaven forbid the "esteemed" corporate media would be playing a role in such misinformation. Why oh why would the gatekeepers of information play such tricks? It's called narrative control and clickbait monetization.
After maximum free exposure and fanfare from said corporate media, the advertised as behemoth United We Roll convoy came and went. From the definition of a safe space rally in Moosomin, SK fully stocked with an old-stock choir, the current elite of the regressionist political class did their best to create the definitive Us vs Them scenario to support the diesel brigade on their quest to Ottawa. Reports of 400 big rigs descending on the Capitol Region turned out to be 10% of that. Once there the circus commenced complete with neo-nazis, xenophobes and Conservative politicians calling for the forceful elimination of Them. This is the true dread happening, but not according to corporate information purveyors.
An undeniable fact is the influence of corporations on all governments of any stripe. It's how business is done. Yes, missteps get made and heads roll. But not much changes. Hypocrisy and revenue opportunity create their own circuses. Those who once called Jody Wilson-Raybould a liar now lobby for her sainthood. Nothing short of resignation of the Government will do. How convenient. But remember this is but a circus. Truth is an inconvenience not to be waited for. There is advantage to be manufactured.
Mr. Neil has had a rather quick immersion into the cdnpoli milieu, by his own description. He joins The View Up Here to speak on the naivete of Canadians in general and the ruthlessness of those who capitalize from it, be they politicians or pundits. Join us for Dread and Circuses.
One month in, no solutions, no real answers, no single timeline, no media focus, no point. Remember when the headlines screamed "illegal interference"? Well, since Jody Wilson-Raybould told committee flat-out that no laws were broken in her view, the revenue generators didn't drop it, they just switched to "improper". Remember when Michael Wernick was a "Liberal party hack"? Oops, it was Harper who brought him into the Federal government, lauded him for rock-solid ethics and that reputation on the Hill still holds. Remember when it must have been Gerry Butts who was overstepping and carrying out the evil agenda? A question - how many of Harper's Short Pants Brigade ever resigned over the myriad of overstepping in that PMO? That's right - zero.
Politics makes impossible bedfellows when the enemy of my enemy is my new friend. I hope Elizabeth May regrets some of her recent statements that ignore convention, tradition and practice. Who exactly is this Charlie Angus? Not going to say anything regarding Lisa Raitt, Michael Cooper and Pierre Polievre because they have no shame when soundbites are involved.
From illegality, to impropriety, to misogyny, to racism all of corporate media's efforts moving the goalposts have done scant little to move the public as national polling shows. Never mind the night and day difference in coverage between Quebec and the Rest of Canada. Postmedia, anyone?
Now it's gone to the "SNC-Lavalin is evil, so never mind the details of what happened just take the light off Jody of Arc". And what of the former Minister's performance at Justice? Why did she order staff to sit on a report to Privy Council? Remember that Ministerial Letter? Results show this was not an over-achieving minister by that measurement.
Let's get back to relevant facts, please.
Well, well, well. It seems the Conservative Party of Canada has gotten a little upset about the exact same tactics they used with zero regard for convention during the Decade of Emperor being used against them by the Trudeau Liberals. Payback is indeed a bitch. It is unfortunate the CPC can't demonstrate the same level of maturity shown by their victims of procedural shenanigans, but who is really surprised?
As Parliament returned for the last session before this fall's election, Budget Day was not like previous ones in many ways. A circus was seemingly ended in-camera by the Liberal majority on the House Justice Committee, to which opposition merely decided to shift the venue for petty behaviour to the House itself. But then when all you have is a narrative rather than actual new information, I guess civility takes a back seat to faux outrage and petulant posturing.
Remember that pledge to run TWO years of deficits? Well, it's now at least six more according to Minister of Finance Bill Morneau. But worry not, debt-to-GDP ratio is now the only statistic that matters because that one favours the government's projections. Paying keen attention to voter demographics, Budget 2019 seems geared to seniors and milennials. Not that the measures are not welcome, they're just a little half-hearted. Pensions, home ownership and a pharmacare teaser lead, while the lack of closing tax loopholes or protecting workers from bankruptcies seem to be missing.
There is some progress regarding systemic issues like poverty and water advisories, but the age-old question of not enough done or too much cost are never far away. Is this an election platform? Isn't the last budget before a vote always the primary campaign tool?
The View Up Here offers a look not dictated by the professional pundit class. Just to be different, what the hell.
On April 16th, Alberta heads to the polls in the first big election of 2019. But which Alberta will emerge afterwards? Will it be the Alberta that recognizes Climate Change, the duty of government to supply services and protect the rights of all citizens? Or will it be the Alberta of days past with unconditional subservience to corporate will and mid-20th century social policy?
The dire warnings from the usual suspects of socialism run amok under Rachel Notley simply haven't come true. Yes, poverty has been halved in 4 years. Yes, the infrastructure deficit lingering since Ralph Klein has been attacked with positive results. Yes, deficit spending is not going away anytime soon. The "impending financial doom" warnings simply don't hold up to hard statistics. Alberta still has the lowest tax burden by a wide margin in Canada. Nobody is lowering Alberta's credit rating, like Ontario's. And yes, detractors on the left have pointed out the failed promises with accuracy. But the sky has not fallen, in fact it's gotten sunnier for a lot of people.
Corporate media is ready for the coronation of Prince Jason, despite his trainwreck of a leadership campaign being investigated by the RCMP. Despite candidates dropping like flies. Despite every sliver of policy announced being a throwback to anywhere between 1948 and 1992. Despite every campaign appearance by Jason Kenney mysteriously having the Facebook Live feed drop as soon as its question time.
And in this mess, Stephen Mandel, David Khan and Derek Fildebrandt try to attract some attention wherever and however they can. Some constituencies in Alberta will have up to 8 names on the ballot, yet it is two parties that get all the notice. This opening episode on the Alberta Election will look at what the parties have promised so far and what they have warned Albertans about everybody else. And the band played on...
Everything old is still old. Unless you are Jason Kenney. Then it's brand new and somehow it will work despite never working before. Trickle-down economics right out of the Randian book of failure. Thatcher's failed Big Society offloading. ALEC inspired labour exploitation endorsed by anti-union forces. More Harper style Law & Order that will end up in court on Constitutional grounds. Attacks on rights for students at all levels from elimination of Bill 24 protections for LGBTQ2+ youth to threats of post-secondary funding dependent on allowing far right propaganda on campus without protest.
That doesn't even touch the proposed "war room" to defend last century's industry, the threatened unwinnable challenges on the Federal government that will do nothing but cost money and the multiple promises that "maintaining current funding" is not a funding cut. Despite 15,000 new students in Alberta entering the system every year. Despite the aging population needing increased access to healthcare plus population growth.
As multinational Oil & Gas companies get out of the oilsands to prevent stranded assets, they need more subsidies and gifts apparently. And there is no need to end coal-fired electircity generation, according to these visionaries. If you think repealing the Alberta carbon levy regime is going to prevent or change anything, like the Federal plan being imposed, you must be a UCP mark. But then that plays into the poor Alberta false reality, but it will be Albertans who pay not the corporations increasing profit margins. But hey, P3's will be back big time. They still don't save any money and cost much more in the long run but this is a campaign for the literal survival of Alberta. Just ask the guys being investigated by the RCMP for illegal donations and vote rigging. As if the Ontario mess isn't warning enough, this one will go down to the wire.
In Alberta, April 16 is drawing near at the same rate the incumbent NDP of Rachel Notley cuts into the polling lead of the UCP and Jason Kenney. By the day. Amazing what facts are capable of doing to public opinion. The last episode of The View Up Here before the Alberta election has three parts in an effort to gather viewpoints and bring some needed perspective to some issues that are primary to all Albertans beyond the partisan foolishness. And since corporate media seems to be busy....
First, the second half of the UCP election platform (prior to any midnight editing) to expose a few more of the hidden gems within it. From the Harper rerun crime measures to the attempts to disguise cuts to and privatization of government services. The common theme being so many issues raised publicly from even being mentioned in the platform. OOOH LOOK, SQUIRREL.
Second, an interview with David Climenhaga. Award-winning journalist, author, post-secondary instructor, poet and Alberta politics blogger. He is proprietor/editor/writer of AlbertaPolitics dot ca https://albertapolitics.ca/ which has been informing readers since 2007. We discuss the campaign, the issues, the risks, the lame debate and even the odd theory or two.
Third, an interview with Sandra Azocar. A life-long advocate for a fair and equal society, former child protection worker, former Vice-Presdient of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and, since 2012, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare http://www.friendsofmedicare.org/ established in 1979 to protect and enhance public delivery of healthcare. We discuss the state of healthcare workers, homecare, the logic of pharmacare and the seeming lack of mention during the campaign of the single largest expense in every Government budget - Health Services.
As this showpage description to The View Up Here's 10th season finale is being written, Albertans are voting for their Provincial government for the next four years. Maybe, depending on RCMP investigations. Review and analysis for the topic on this show will depend on those results, so there's not much to say except... Tune in for the TVUH take whether Alberta will be moving forward or backwards, by a lot.
But there is another election, in Prince Edward Island, on April 23rd that could make history on two distinct fronts. Incumbent Premier Wade MacLaughlin and the PEI Liberals have been trailing the PEI Greens and their leader Peter Bevan-Baker in polling for six months without pause. New leader Dennis King of the PEI Progressive Conservatives is also in the mix and could hold the balance of power if a minority result occurs. But indications are Canada may very well get the first elected Green party government in history, a sign of the times we live in.
The second historic event regards a referendum also on Election Day in PEI. It will be a simple Yes/No question on adopting a Mixed Member Proportional voting system, which would make this the last First Past The Post election in the Province. What sets this process apart from recent voting system change efforts is this time it is a clear proposition to voters. The question itself on the seperate ballot is laid out in the "Electoral System Referendum Act" so there is no room for confusion. This Act also includes specific and complete information on what the MMP system would be, how the voting process would change and what the results of it would bring. In other words, PEI has defined everything that BC refused to do.
All kinds of history to be made. We will look at the resultant history of Alberta's election and ramifications and the impending history of Prince Edward Island's two ballot election in one week.