Far more disturbing than what’s in Bill C-51 is the fact that most Canadians don’t seem to care about it. I don’t know if they’re scared, or uninformed, or think Earth will soon be knocked off its axis by a rogue planet sending us all hurtling into the sun so nothing matters anyway. In any case, here are a few reminders.
Free speech is important. Once you allow speech you don’t like to be criminalized, you’re allowing the government to create a list of illegal ideas. That list will expand no matter which party is in power. Once a state outlaws a few kinds of speech, it gets all jacked up and has to keep that buzz going and before you know it they’ve snorted up a whole pile of them and have you cornered at a party talking your ear off about politics.
The herring battle on the central B.C. coast heated up Thursday with warnings from Heiltsuk tribal leaders that further commercial herring boats will be physically blockaded if the Department of Fisheries and Oceans re-opens the catch further.
“We have a small fleet of boats getting ready to go out on to the water if the [herring] fishery is opened by DFO,” said Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett with the Heiltsuk Tribal Council.
Chuck Strahl has flunked the test. The rookie chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) — the part-time review agency over Canada’s spy service, CSIS — has, regrettably, but not surprisingly, failed to disabuse anyone of the notion that he is little more than a loyal Conservative apparatchik. The former Tory cabinet minister was appointed SIRC chair last June by his former political boss, Stephen Harper. Immediately, questions were raised about whether Strahl, given his political pedigree, would or could exercise any independence when it came to keeping tabs on this nation’s scandal-prone spy service. Today, we have the answer after a series of unprecedented and disturbing revelations about the alleged criminal conduct of not only CSIS, but also the top man at SIRC whom Strahl replaced.
Rick Mercer slammed Jason Kenney for possibly making a false claim that the Canadian navy was confronted by a Russian fighter jet in the Black Sea. The statement was adamantly denied by NATO earlier this month.
Since then, both have stuck by their versions of the story.
The defence minister claims the Russian fighter jet buzzed over the HMCS Fredericton at a low altitude as a sign of aggression, but is unable to provide details of the event. On the other hand, NATO claims no such event took place, reports the National Post. NATO says the Canadian ships were actually overflown by surveillance aircraft at high altitudes.
Canada's military, though modest in size, is of great political value to the Harper government.
Ever since taking power in 2006, Stephen Harper's Conservatives have bemoaned a "decade of darkness" under the Liberals. They've missed few opportunities to drive home the message: those other guys just can't be trusted to protect Canada.
Now, in the coming election, they will try to extend their own reign to a decade and more — but is the darkness dispelled yet? It's a tricky question as the team at the top undergoes yet another round of changes.
The war is ramping up. The economy continues to sag. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives hope to ride to electoral victory this fall on the first of these, the war against Islamic State militants in the Middle East. But the stagnating Canadian economy could confound them. That the economy is weak is well-known. The plunging price of oil has savaged Alberta and ricocheted across the country. Nationally, the official unemployment rate was up slightly last month to 6.8 per cent. The real unemployment rate, or what the Canadian Labour Congress calls the underemployment rate, is roughly double that. Theoretically, the low price of oil should give a boost to Ontario’s manufacturing sector. In practice, that hasn’t happened. The reason? The slump that began in 2008 was so persistent that much of the province’s manufacturing capacity either shut down or moved away. As a result, recovery is not just a question of restarting stalled assembly lines. New factories will have to be built, a process that, at the very least, takes time.
An admission from Canada's defence minister that he doesn't know how an expanded ISIL mission into Syria will end is proof that Conservatives lack a clear exit strategy, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair suggested Wednesday.
Canada’s automotive trade deficit topped $10-billion last year and threatens to deepen as more assembly plant closings loom and free-trade agreements with the European Union and South Korea take effect.
A surplus of $15-billion with the United States was wiped out by a deficit of more than $25-billion with the rest of the world, which led to the eighth successive overall auto trade deficit that contrasts sharply with trade surpluses in the automotive sector every year between 1982 and 2006, says a new report from the Automotive Policy Research Centre.
WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg police officer who came into contact with a missing teen days before her body was found in a river has been suspended without pay.
Tina Fontaine, 15, was in a vehicle pulled over by two officers more than a week after she was reported missing last summer, but she was not taken into custody. Her body was found nine days later in a bag in the Red River.
Hundreds of government e-mails opened through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests show the provincial government's management of the grizzly bear hunt under fire.
The memos show B.C. wildlife managers re-started the grizzly hunt last year without actual counts of the bears in one region — and with a government grizzly specialist complaining that “arbitrary” grizzly bear maps had not been updated in 30 years.
“The problem is no one [ever] updates anything in this ministry. We draw an arbitrary line based on our best guess and it remains fixed for 30 years,” wrote wildlife biologist Pat Dielman in December 2013.
The emails also show B.C. bureaucrats bristling at critics as they pushed through the controversial re-opening of the grizzly hunt in two territories, named the Cariboo and Kootenay hunting regions, in central and southeast B.C.
WASHINGTON — The multimillion−dollar campaign to market Canadian oil in the U.S. was hard to miss.
The Maple Leaf was plastered on the walls of subway stops in Washington, D.C., and it popped up in all sorts of American publications with messages like, "America’s Best Energy Partner," and "Friends and Neighbors."
Documents obtained by The Canadian Press offer a peek at the behind−the−scenes strategic considerations in 2013, as the federal government conducted a $1.6−million U.S. ad campaign that grew into a $24−million, two−year program that wraps up this month.
The records, released under the Access to Information Act, reveal the websites to be shunned as advertising outlets; the Internet search words that would trigger a Canadian energy ad; the coveted locations for billboards in Washington, D.C.; the rejected proposals; and the U.S. ad salespeople who angled for a slice of the publicity pie.
Scathing report on health of Canada’s waters accuses Ottawa of wilful negligence Council of Canadians report describes Great Lakes as “a dumping ground for our toxic waste, and more recently, as a carbon corridor to transport tar sands bitumen, fracked gas and fracking wastewater.”
A civil liberties group says newly disclosed Canadian Security Intelligence Service records on protest surveillance bolster its formal complaint that spies went too far in eyeing environmental activists.
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has asked the Security Intelligence Review Committee to consider the documents — which reveal CSIS deliberations on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline — as it investigates the spying allegations.
The association filed a complaint with the review committee in February 2014 after media reports suggested that CSIS and other government agencies consider opposition to the petroleum industry a threat to national security.
Barrick Gold Corp. has tapped former foreign affairs minister John Baird and former top U.S. lawmaker Newt Gingrich to serve on its advisory board, the company said in regulatory filings.
Mr. Baird and Mr. Gingrich, a former Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, will join other political heavyweights including former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on the miner’s international advisory board.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer says the federal government will need to either pour more money into its defence budget or scale back its ambitions in order to put Canada's military on a sustainable footing.
A new report by the PBO says the Defence Department's force structure is "unsustainable" at current funding levels.
More than one-third of households in Nunavut lack access to safe and healthy food — a level that is four times the national average, according to a new Statistics Canada report.
The report “Food Insecurity in Canada,” released Wednesday, found an average of 8.3 per cent of Canadian households did not have access to the variety or quantity of food they need due to a lack of money during the years studied, 2011-2012. That amounts to 1.1 million Canadian households.
However, the territories faced “considerably higher rates of food insecurity” than the provinces, the report found. The Northwest Territories had the second highest level of food insecurity at 13.7 per cent. Among the provinces, the Maritimes fared worst with Nova Scotia topping the list at 11.9 per cent.
A strong majority of Canadians don't take part in politics beyond voting and don't trust their federal parties or MPs, a new report suggests.
What's more, four in 10 Canadians said they hadn't had a single political conversation in the past 12 months, according to Samara Canada, a non-partisan charitable organization that works to improve Canadian democracy.
The owners of Canada’s largest private broadcaster, CTV, and the country’s television regulator have been locking horns for months as the TV network complained about a series of regulatory decisions. Now those tensions appear to have boiled over.
Sources say that when the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decided last week to unbundle cable packages, Kevin Crull, president of Bell Media, which owns CTV, became furious and intervened in the way the network’s journalists covered the news.
OTTAWA — Conservative MPs denied Green Party Leader Elizabeth May a chance to speak Tuesday about Canada’s expanded mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the House of Commons.
As the leader of an unrecognized party with two MPs, May needed the unanimous consent of the House to respond to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's address outlining plans to extend Canada's mission in Iraq by as much as a year and to expand airstrikes to include Syria.
May hoped to speak after NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had both articulated their parties' opposition to the mission's extension. But she was thwarted by a few Conservative MPs who screamed "no" when Speaker Andrew Scheer asked for unanimous consent.
It's come to this. The police protection of the controversial herring fishing, on B.C.'s central coast. Heiltsuk Nation had opposed the return of the large fishing boats for weeks, warning federal fishery officials, that the fishing could wipe out the fragile herring stocks in their traditional waters.
But when DFO quickly re-opened the commercial fishery of herring near Bella Bella on Sunday, it still came as a shock. Band members sped out in boats to intersect with the large fishing vessels.
“It was heart breaking,” said Carrie Humchitt, a traditional fishing co-ordinator with Heiltsuk Nation on Monday. "There was no advance notice. It took us by surprise. I went there right away to protest the kill-fishery happening without our consent."
OTTAWA - Conservative MP Michael Chong is calling for stronger parliamentary scrutiny of intelligence agencies — putting himself squarely at odds with his party and the Harper government.
In a statement, Chong says proposed new anti-terrorism measures create a need for greater oversight of security agencies by a parliamentary committee of MPs who are directly accountable to Canadians.
The government bill, tabled in response to the daylight murders of two Canadian soldiers, would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service the power to thwart suspected terrorist plots — not just gather information about them.
It would also make it easier for the RCMP to obtain a peace bond to restrict the movements of suspects and extend the amount of time they can be kept in preventative detention.
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