Posts Tagged ‘stephen’

Canadian Conservatives Condone Torture

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Canada “does not condone torture,” said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, defending his orders to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to begin using information that may have been derived from the use of torture.

“Information obtained by torture is always discounted. But the problem is, can one safely ignore it when Canadian lives and property are at stake?” Toews said in question period.

So, in other words, while he does condone the use of torture, he just doesn’t want it labelled as such.

Opposition MP Jack Harris accused the government of “showing utter contempt” for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with a “sudden passive endorsement” of torture.

“Instead of moving forward,” Harris said in the House, “this government is moving Canada backwards. The public safety minister has directed CSIS to use information that is extracted through torture. As long as there is a market for information derived from torture, torture will exist. Why is this government getting Canada into the torture business?”

Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said he’s concerned such a ministerial directive was issued “without real discussion with Canadians about its implications.” “The law in Canada has been pretty clear that information based on torture, first of all, is not reliable and, second of all, is not permissible.”

Amnesty International was quick to condemn the move, stating that information obtained under torture “has no place in the justice system, full stop.”

Once again, the Conservative party has adopted another of American’s failed policies. Following our neighbors to the south, we’ve expanded the prison industrial complex, extended the horrendous war on drugs, and now we are complicit in torture. What’s next from Harper and his cronies?

Maybe we’ll start bombing foreign civilians with remote controlled planes while letting giant corporations decide who wins the next election. Either way, when the Conservatives are behind the wheel, the country keeps heading places most Canadians don’t want to go.

Looking Ahead It’s Not Hard to be Optimistic

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Channel 4’s provocative Brave New World series, where Stephen Hawking and other prominent thinkers describe the phenomenal technologies we are in the process of unleashing, really paints a well-founded picture of the future.

And WOW! Talk about a solid dose of optimism!

Films like these just unleash the imagination, setting one free to dream about the fanciful future that is well on its way.

The world today is already awesome – the best that humans have been able to create so far. But, as long as we remain free and alive, the world we’re set to create will be even more mind-blowing.

All the more reason for us to try harder to get along now, so that we are more likely to be around to experience the splendid potentials that await us all.

Conservatives Cramming Crime Bill Down Canadian Throats

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

(‘Looks good, but do we really need a sink _and_ a toilet? Get rid of one or the other – and presto – room for one more guest!’)

Canadians are renowned for resilience in the face of adversity, able to bear freezing winters for the brief but sensational summers. It is this willingness to take the good with the bad which leads Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party to believe Canadians will stomach their new Omnibus Crime bill.

Bill C-10 – the government’s new crime legislation – lumps together nine previously introduced bills which never passed, now repackaged into one all-encompassing document.

However, you can forget taking any time to discuss the matter – the Tories have decided to limit discussion to just two days! This means the opposition parties will have their work cut out for them, trying to call attention to all the bill’s glaring problems in such a short period of time.

First, there’s the plan to crack down on Marijuana cultivation, imposing new mandatory minimum sentences for minor offenses. Come on, Harper, in a nation that boasts the highest pot usage in the developed world, you’re alienating a good chunk of the population (not that most pot-smokers are likely to vote Conservative).

But forget the votes. Instead, consider how the whole drug prohibition strategy has proven itself to be a complete and utter failure. Why throw more money into that hole? Just look at the thousands who’ve been slain along the Mexican borders – they’d still be alive if drugs were legalized and the criminal gangs were no longer fueled by the billions they earn off the black market.

If the Conservatives really cared about protecting society, they’d take a rational, proven approach, like decriminalizing all drugs. Portugal did it, and it’s been a resounding success 10 years on. Screw the DEAs and drug gangs… let them find new jobs!

But sound policies are not what Harper stands for. Instead, the priority seems to be to appease trade partners – like the US, who’ve been steadfast in their funding of the failed war on drugs for decades.

And where will all these newly criminalized Canucks be housed? Why, in Canada’s new super-prisons, of course. Taking another page out of America’s playbook, privatized prisons can be huge money makers offering juicy kick-backs, provided the population is willing to tolerate having minor offenders locked up with hardened criminals.

Last but not least, this new crime bill will let police gather information from ISP’s without the need for a subpoena. Right, because we’re all sure to be safer when law enforcement has access into the private lives of every single Canadian.

Meanwhile, the world’s economies are teetering on the edge, and crime across the nation is at a 20 year low, but Harper and his party seem intent on dropping a few billion bills to see a larger percentage of Canadians get imprisoned.

Sadly, the financial costs of bill C-10 may very pale next to the long term societal damage to be incurred should Canada continue to follow in America’s footprints – a path the Conservatives seem hellbent on sending us down.

Harper Plans to Veto Palestine’s Statehood Bid

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Next week, the UN is set to vote on the establishment of a recognized Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. While the vote would be mostly symbolic, Palestinians hope the elevated stature would give them more clout in future negotiations with Israel.

Israel opposes the move, worried that their illegally occupied Palestinian territories would now be officially illegal in the eyes of the International community. Should this happen, sanctions would likely be issued by a world that opposes Israel’s incessant human rights violations.

Ever the staunch supporter of Israel, the United States made clear their intentions to veto the upcoming vote. No surprise there.

But now Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his opposition to Palestine’s bid for UN recognition, saying “We view this unilateral action on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to be not helpful, and we will be opposing it at the United Nations.”

But why? What specifically does the Conservative government hope to gain by emulating the United States? Another economic recession? A war machine running out of control? A corporately controlled electoral system? Mounting animosity from the rest of the world?

The American Empire is in decline and Israel is finding itself all alone in the world. It is a mistake to hitch our wagon to these dying horses. Come next election, Canadians will hopefully show Stephen Harper and his Conservatives the error of their ways.

Canadian Conservatives Consider Bolstering Big Brother

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

(Big Harper is watching you.)

Not one to shy away from the motto “Freedom is Slavery”, Stephen Harper and his conservative cronies have been drafting a new bill intent on making it easier for law enforcement agencies to peer into the private lives of Canadian citizens.

The bill deals with “lawful access” rules, giving police expanded influence for compelling Internet service providers to disclose customer information without a court order. The bill would also ban telcos from admitting that they have provided any such information.

Oh, great. That’s exactly what we need. More sweeping police powers. Why not install CCTV’s in everyone’s home while you’re at it, Mr. Harper?

No, actually don’t. That was just sarcasm.

We Canadians are doing fine already. Crime rates across the nation have been dropping for over a decade now. Sacrificing our precious civil liberties won’t likely help this trend.

The Conservative’s lawyers and lobbyists might be able to draft a bill that dances around the problem of being unconstitutional, but they’ll never prevent it from being unnecessary.

WTF? Why is Canada Supporting Israel?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

At the latest G8 Summit, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood alone in his refusal of peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis on the basis of the 1967 borders, a stance that reaffirms Israel’s own position.

So now, of the 8 big nations, Canada is the most pro-Zionist country of them all? Seriously?

What a bummer. Talk about a blight on Canada’s reputation.

Doesn’t our Conservative government know of the daily atrocities committed by the state of Israel? Haven’t they heard that the Israel-Palestine issue is tantamount to Apartheid?

Surely Harper is aware that pressure from the international community is the only way to end the plight of the Palestinian people, so why does he always take a position that will only prolong their suffering?

As a Canadian, I do not support the actions of Mr. Harper or his Conservatives. And I’m sure, once given a clearer picture of whats going on in the Middle East, most of my fellow citizens would agree.

ColbertPAC Morphs Into SuperPAC

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

(Suck it, Federal Election Commission!)

Like a Phoenix from the ashes, Stephen Colbert’s newly founded ColbertPAC was axed by execs only to rise again from the sea of red tape.

Lawyers from The Colbert Report’s parent company Viacom were afraid that using resources from the popular fake-news show would be a violation of federal election law, which says corporations cannot donate to PACs. However, thanks to last year’s ‘Citizens United‘ ruling in the Supreme Court, corporations can now donate unlimited funds to political issues in the form of a SuperPAC.

Slap a new cover letter onto the old forms designed for actual people, and voila, a corporation is free to further any political agenda it may have. Sounds a bit sketchy, right? Surely this could easily benefit powerful business institutions at the expense of the population, so how could US lawmakers enable such an egregious affront to democracy?

Sadly, the answer is that they’re only doing what their predecessors have been doing for years. Legislation like Citizens United are just the latest in a century’s worth of incremental power grabs. Big business has been systematically buying more and more influence over the American political system for so long that they now have more control than ever before.

As frustrating and scary as it is to see corporations exert such tremendous influence over the electoral system, we cannot be too critical of regular Americans for allowing their political and economic institutions to run amok. Sure, the US people ultimately accountable for their government, but they’re up against some powerful and complex forces.

We can, however, remain hopeful that, as the dehumanized face of corporatism reveals itself to the American public, they will come together to enact revolutionary changes to their country. Until then, we can support boat-rockers like Colbert, and let the unfettered United States of Corporations serve as a example for us to try and avoid.

Stephen Colbert: Saying ‘Retard’ is Gay

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

(Careful Colbert, many a young padawan have lost limbs that way.)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Master Yoda eloquently described the relationship between fear and pain. “Fear,” said the great Jedi “is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Fake news host Stephen Colbert showed his own Yoda-esque wisdom this week interviewing Special Olympics chairman Tim Shriver. When the discussion turned to the names we call people with intellectual disabilities, Colbert nailed the root cause behind the use of these and other slanderous terms: fear.

Hurling insults serves as a defense mechanism to make others who act or think differently appear “inhuman,” says Colbert “because you look at someone who [seems different] and it scares you a little bit. It scares you and you’re like ‘Uh, that might be my child’ or ‘That might be me’. And so you say the [derogatory name] to go like ‘Get away from me’ because I don’t want that to be part of my person-hood.”

Later, responding to the accusation that he is now policing the use of the word, Shriver says he doesn’t want to be a cop, but rather, a teacher, and the issue isn’t about stripping away the freedom to be “humiliating, degrading and hurtful.” Instead, the goal is to inform people to “be aware of the option you have to stop.”

Anyone who still chooses to use these kinds of words, not as lighthearted insults, but meant with real hateful intention, are ultimately saying more about themselves than the person they target with their slander. They are announcing to the whole world ‘Look at me! I’m insecure and frightened, so that’s why I’m lashing out!’