Posts Tagged ‘Wikipedia’
“November 16 is a significant date for Métis people and all people in Ontario. On this date in 1885, Métis leader Louis Riel was executed for leading the Northwest Resistance in defence of Métis rights.
Today, Louis Riel is recognized as a statesman, having played a pivotal role in the history of Métis people, as well as the formation of Canada. We commemorate Louis Riel Day annually to honour and celebrate Riel’s contributions, as well as the wide-ranging contributions the Métis people continue to make in Ontario.
Acknowledging Louis Riel’s contributions helps recognize and build respect for the history, culture and identity of Métis people. We will continue working with Métis partners to uphold Riel’s legacy and create new opportunities for Métis people as we continue on the journey of reconciliation together.”
Louis Riel’s life was rather more interesting than that of the average Canadian statesmen. Today is the anniversary of his execution on 16 November, 1885.
Riel’s historical reputation has long been polarized between portrayals as a dangerous half-insane religious fanatic and rebel against the Canadian nation, or by contrast a heroic rebel who fought to protect his Francophone people from the unfair encroachments of an Anglophone national government. He is increasingly celebrated as a proponent of multiculturalism, although that downplays his primary commitment to Métis nationalism and political independence
— Louis Riel, Wikipedia
Follow @MetisNationON on Twitter
Do you remember NAFTA?
Canadians exercised our democratic right to fire Brian Mulroney and his entire political party (save 2) for inflicting NAFTA on Canada. We said NO to NAFTA.
In decimating the Progressive Conservative Party, we replaced Mulroney with a new Liberal Prime Minister. PM Jean Chrétien took office with a decisive majority, because he had:
“…campaigned on a promise to renegotiate or abrogate NAFTA; however, Chrétien subsequently negotiated two supplemental agreements with the new US president.”
No one doubted that the majority of Canadians emphatically said NO. We did what we are supposed to: we changed the government to make our point. Yet it didn’t help. NAFTA is alive and well in Canada.
[And people wonder why so many Canadians don’t vote.]
It’s no wonder governments seek to negotiate trade agreements in secret; citizens might vote them out if we knew what they were doing. Even our protests might slow them down.
In spite of onerous non-disclosure agreements, information about the dreadful secret trade agreement ACTA (the so-called “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement”) kept leaking out. I blogged extensively about ACTA in my interweb freedom blog. Enough was known about it to frighten Europeans into taking to the streets. The result was that ACTA was rejected emphatically after European citizens took to the streets to tell their governments “NO!”
The ACTA agreement crumbled, or so the world thought . . .
The agreement was signed in October 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. In 2012, Mexico, the European Union and 22 countries which are member states of the European Union signed as well. One signatory (Japan) has ratified (formally approved) the agreement, which would come into force in countries that ratified it after ratification by six countries.
Although many people believe the world rejected ACTA, Canada has not. Some of the worst of the laws that erode civil rights that are being forged by Canada’s “majority government” are in service of the ACTA trade agreement. ACTA is alive and well in Canada.
And now the The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership is coming.
Governments and special interests pursue these treaties in secret because the terms are detrimental to citizen interests. They then use the existence of such “trade treaties” to justify draconian changes they then make to our domestic laws. We are told they “have to do it” because of the treaty commitment. Funny how the Harper Government doesn’t “have to” live up to Canada’s Kyoto commitment.
Make A Difference
The Inter-Continental Day of Action, 31 January 2013 is gearing up across Canada, the United States and Mexico to protest the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement (TPP), the latest in the dizzying proliferation of “trade agreements” that sacrifice the public good in the interests of servicing the objectives of corporations.
Find your local event, or start your own!
In Canada we can write or call our Member of Parliament (MP) to let them know when they are making a mistake. I expect the legislation drafted as Bill C-60: Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 — An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 21, 2013 and other measures has other problems threaded throughout its 128 pages but the mistake that concerns me is the bit about Crown Corporations in general, and in particular, the CBC.
To make it easy for Canadians, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting set up an online form letter. I’m one of the 71,393 Canadians (so far) to use their form letter to tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper and my own MP, Harold Albrecht, not to threaten the CBC’s autonomy by passing Bill C-60.
I haven’t heard back from the Prime Minister’s Office, but today I heard from my own MP, Harold Albrecht.
Thank you for contacting my office to express your concerns regarding Bill C-60 and the CBC. I appreciate your input on this matter.
Crown Corporations, such as the CBC, receive appropriations from Parliament, and our Government would like to see consistency in wage and benefits among all Crown Corporations and the civil service. This means that any individual doing the same type of work at the CBC should be receiving the same amount of money if they were doing the same job in any other Crown Corporation or Federal Department.
This is what Bill C-60 is seeking to secure. This mandate will make certain that we have the correct instruments in place to protect taxpayer dollars at the bargaining table if it is necessary. We have a responsibility and commitment to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and will work closely with Crown corporations to ensure this happens.
I would like to ensure you that the measures in Bill C-60 do not affect the funding or the independent operation of the CBC, or any other Crown Corporations.
I thank you again for contacting my office to express your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact my office with any future concerns or inquiries.
Harold Albrecht, MP
While I am sure Harold is sincere, his government has missed a couple of key points, so I decided to help matters along by writing him back to clear a few things up.
Harold Albrecht, MP
House of Commons
Thank you for your response. While I do understand your position, it fails to take into account two very important considerations.
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has no equivalent to Mr. Dressup.
Nor is a Camera Operator a Letter Carrier. A Letter Carrier follows a set of rules laid down from above, while a Camera Operator has achieved a level of technical expertise which is used in conjunction with a certain degree of creativity.
Although I have not myself worked at CBC, I have written television drama professionally, and I very much hope that there is no job like that at the Bank of Canada.
Canadian commitment to the CBC (and the NFB) has helped grow our cultural heritage. No one is suggesting that CBC is perfect, but direct government intervention to micromanage it is not the way to go.
The second crucial consideration is the other reason CBC was established, to ensure all Canadians have access to Canadian News — which does not simply mean a regional version of American News.
Public broadcasting is important to ensure Corporate agendas don’t trump the public good, which is why Canada is not the only nation in the world delivering public broadcasting to its citizens. Even the United States – the world leader in commercial broadcasting – has independent Public Broadcasting.
For the better part of the first two years I was writing the Stop Usage Based Billing blog, the only national mainstream media outlet in Canada that reported on our peculiarly Canadian UBB issue was CBC. Unlike its self interested commercial competitors (which worked to keep the issue away from Canadians), CBC’s mandate is not just the the bottom line, but to keep Canadians informed.
While it is appropriate for the Federal Government to disburse funds to CBC, if government dictates how the money will be spent, journalistic independence will be lost and news will become propaganda. If the news media is controlled by government, there can be no free press.
You must appreciate that while your government has a responsibility to spend taxpayer dollars wisely, this can be done without compromising press freedom. The Broadcasting Act gave CBC total autonomy in staffing decisions to ensure a free press, which is a necessary component of democracy.
Your assurance that the measures in Bill C-60 will not affect the funding or the independent operation of the CBC, or any other Crown Corporations, rings hollow in light of your government’s rejection of the Peggy Nash motion asking the finance committee to study the measure. If we are to have accountable democratic government, legislation requires sufficient scrutiny.
Bill C-60 will do remarkable damage both to Canadian culture and Press Freedom. For these reasons, as well as others echoed across the news media and the Internet, I ask you, as my duly elected Member of Parliament, to please vote “no” to Bill C-60.
Laurel L. Russwurm
I didn’t go into the inappropriateness of Omnibus Bills in a democracy ~ this one contains so much disparate material that Peggy Nash wanted it split into six parts.
Since I’m not an expert on Crown Corporations, I limited myself to addressing the CBC issues.
Maybe I should have suggested it would be wise to consider why these Crown Corporations were established as independent entities in the first place. The CBC is not a branch of the Civil Service, nor should it be.
Bill C-60: An attack on CBC’s autonomy by Karl Nerenberg on Rabble
Will Bill C-60 influence Bank of Canada’s independence? Flaherty should explain by Kevin Carmichael, Globe and Mail
Ottawa kicks the CBC, a wounded critter on a short leash by John Doyle, Globe and Mail
Maybe it’s because of movies I’ve seen, or possibly because of my interest in history, or both, but Remembrance Day has always been important to me.
When I was a kid I borrowed the vinyl LP “Billy Bishop Goes To War” from the local public library. More than once.
This masterpiece of Canadian theatre has everything that a good war story ought to have. Humour. Drama. A valient hero. Politics. And tragedy. Later I bought my own copy, which I played for my child on Remembrance Day.
One of the most haunting songs I’ve ever heard is Chris DeBurgh’s “This Song For You.”
All are powerful works of art, each carrying the clear message that wars should be avoided.
On past Remembrance Days I’ve written about copyright in The Eleventh Minute, the Eleventh Hour, the Eleventh Day and the tragic monument at the University of Toronto: In Flanders Fields….
Sadly, the wrongs that I wrote about have not yet been righted. Earlier this week my friend Satipera shared this powerful article from the UK which looks closely at the wearing of the poppy Robert Fisk: Do those who flaunt the poppy on their lapels know that they mock the war dead?
I very much doubt that a single Canadian politician anywhere in the world will be without a poppy today. Yet who, more than they, hold the responsibility for the continued sacrifice of a new crop of young Canadians soldiers engaged in a war because … ?
“Since 2001, 158 Canadians have died in Afghanistan and another 6,700 are collecting disability payments from Veterans Affairs, about 130 of them under the age of 25. ”
— Tamsin McMahon ~ National Post: “Canada’s newest veterans having trouble accepting the label”
Canada has been involved in an almost invisible war for nearly a decade. It is barely spoken of, but young Canadians fight and die and I can’t tell you why. I suspect they can’t, either. Unlike the glamorous Great War, or the Second World War, the only citizens who are really involved and affected are the Canadians whose children are overseas, fighting and dying. Has a decade of this fixed anything? Has anything good come of this war? A war that Canada is supposed to be withdrawing from by the end of this year. Will we really withdraw?
I can’t begin to count the times in my life that I’ve heard it said that our soldiers fought for our freedom. But there is much less freedom now than there was when I was young.
The erosion of civil rights that the blood of our soldiers was to have bought for us was never more clear than in the events around last year’s G20 Summit in Toronto.
Today, Canadians across the country are organizing and participating in the “Occupy” movement.
And Byron Sonne is on trial in Toronto. He’s fighting for his freedom, and ours.
Where did our freedom go?
“Airfield to Salute” photograph by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aramis X. Ramirez
Wikipedia: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan–Troops deployed to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Regional Command South gathered on the flightline of Kandahar Air Field to salute fallen Canadian servicemember Sapper Sean David Greenfield on February 1, 2009. Greenfield, who was deployed as part of the 24 Field Engineers Squadron out of Petawawa, Ontario, was killed in action in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province on Jan. 31, 2009 ISAF photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aramis X. Ramirez (RELEASED). ~ This file is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made during the course of the person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
freebyron poppy cc by laurelrusswurm
Once a nation honored for our commitment to peacekeeping, today Canada’s international reputation is in tatters thanks to Tom Flanagan.
EVERY Canadian needs to see this CBC interview video clip. You can watch it on YouTube:
Tom Flanagan, described by Wikipedia as a “political scientist”, a man who previously served as Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s Chief of Staff, characterized by the Walrus as The Man Behind Stephen Harper, is currently employed as a Professor by the University of Calgary. Far from being a media novice, Flanagan has run federal political campaigns.
Yet this week Professor Flanagan said the unspeakable live on air in the CBC’s Power & Politics interview.
“I think Assange should be assassinated, actually, [laughs], I think Obama should put out a contract or maybe use a drone or something.”
—Professor Tom Flanagan, CBC’s Power & Politics interview, November 30th, 2010
CBC Interviewer Evan Solomon tried very hard to give Professor Flanagan the opportunity to backpedal, but instead of retracting or making light of his statement, Flanagan reiterated it:
“I woudn’t be unhappy if Assange disappeared.”
—Professor Tom Flanagan, CBC’s Power & Politics interview, November 30th, 2010
It is one thing for ordinary citizens to discuss the pros and cons of the #Cablegate issue, or even to think this is a reasonable response to #WikiLeaks. It is quite something else for a man with such close connections to the Canadian Government to advocate assassination.
This from a man saying that WikiLeaks is irresponsible. But what Wikileaks does is bring government and corporate malfeasance under public scrutiny. Professor Flanagan advocated assassination as a valid method for government to handle opposition. Not a method I would connect with democratic government.
Flanagan is often described as a member of the “Calgary School,” which is a small group of conservatively inclined professors at the University of Calgary, including Barry Cooper, David Bercuson, F.L. (Ted) Morton, and Rainer Knopff. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Fraser Institute and a founder and former president of Civitas, a national conservative discussion society in Canada.
Terrorists assassinate people with opposing viewpoints.
Who is Julian Assange?
Julian Assange is a man on Time Magazine’s shortlist for “Person of the Year” because of his dedication to the concept of government transparency. He created the WikiLeaks website.
What is Wikileaks?
WikiLeaks is a website that publishes “leaked” documents, making the “secret” information available to anyone who cares to read the information online.
Wikileaks makes information that governments want suppressed available to citizens. WikiLeaks publishes information that is “leaked” by concerned citizens with access to this information. Citizens concerned by paths and actions their governments are taking. Government Policies that are being undertaken in secret.
I believe that the reason for making these things known is to allow the public the opportunity to form an opinion. Perhaps I am naïve, but I think that is eminently reasonable in a democratic nation. Transparency and dissent must exist in a democracy. If they don’t, democracy hasn’t got a prayer.
Tom Flanagan is/was an unelected Canadian power broker who may or may not have the ear of the Canadian Government. As an ordinary Canadian I have no way of knowing. What I do know is that he is employed to impart his wisdom to some of Canada’s brightest young minds at the University of Calgary.
His statements are not only overwhelmingly arrogant, they embody “above the law” thinking.
I would think that someone who actually teaches political science at the university level would have at least a nodding acquaintance with the cautionary tale of Thomas Becket, and appreciate the danger of anyone in public life making such statements. That was, after all, one of the classic political gaffes in recorded history.
Clearly, the public outcry following these irresponsible statements was enough to convince Professor Flanagan to recant. And today he
regrets his “glib comment”
But because of Tom Flanagan’s strong ties with the Canadian government, his words and statements ring with far more authority than that of the average Canadian history professor. His words taint Canada’s international reputation.
At the very least, this calls for strong government censure. Perhaps even criminal charges. Does Canada actually support assassinating whistle blowers?
The Canadian Government must speak up.
As a Canadian I am appalled.
The WikiLeaks website has been suffering problems,possibly friom huge traffic, possibly from a DDoS attacks.
You can also attempt to access Cablegate cables directly, but of course that site is also having problems.
Julian Assange at New Media Days 2009 Photo by New Media Days / Peter Erichsen
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (cc-by-sa)
Canadian Flag CC-by lothlaurien.ca
OGG conversion via TinyOgg
NOTE: The original video I linked to has been taken down; so I’ve replaced it with another copy of the same.