Category - Canada

Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Bill

The Canadian Press, By Alexander Panetta, February 24

Washington – U.S. President Barack Obama made good Tuesday on a threat to veto a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, bringing the two sides in the long-running controversy to a rare point of agreement: their battle is far from over.

”The president’s veto of the Keystone jobs bill is a national embarrassment,” said the top Republican in the House of Representatives, John Boehner.

”We are not going to give up in our efforts to get this pipeline built — not even close.”

[…]

Even the White House concurred that the issue is far from settled. It pointed out that Tuesday’s announcement was a step in a long, winding process — not a final destination.

The president cast the veto as a matter of procedural principle. In his letter to Congress, Obama said the bill he was scrapping had improperly tried to usurp presidential authority.
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Movement afoot to have Vatican repeal edicts on ‘heathen’ natives

The Canadian Press, By Chinta Puxley, February 10

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission is weighing whether to ask the Vatican to repeal the Papal Bulls of Discovery that granted 15th-century explorers the right to conquer the New World and the “heathen” aboriginal people that called it home.

Chair Murray Sinclair says the commission examining the impact of Canada’s residential schools is looking carefully at the 1455 and 1493 Catholic edicts as part of its final report.

Many argue the proclamations legitimized the treatment of aboriginal people as “less than human.” Crown sovereignty in Canada can be traced back to those papal bulls and neither Canada nor the United States has repudiated them, Sinclair said.
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Supreme Court rules Canadians have right to doctor-assisted suicide

The Globe and Mail, By Sean Fine, February 6/7

Canadian adults in grievous, unending pain have a right to end their life with a doctor’s help, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

The unanimous ruling, by establishing that the “sanctity of life” also includes the “passage into death,” extends constitutional rights into a new realm. The courts have used the 1982 Charter of Rights to establish gay marriage and to strike down a federal abortion law. The new ruling will change the way some Canadians are permitted to die.

In a brief, powerful opening paragraph, the court explained why it was creating a new constitutional right to autonomy over one’s death in some circumstances: Those who are severely and irremediably suffering, whether physically or psychologically, “may be condemned to a life of severe and intolerable suffering” by the government’s absolute ban on assisted dying. “A person facing this prospect has two options: she can take her own life prematurely, often by violent or dangerous means, or she can suffer until she dies from natural causes. The choice is cruel.”
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CSE tracks millions of downloads daily: Snowden documents

Global sites for sharing movies, photos, music targeted in mass anti-terror surveillance.

CBC News, By Amber Hildebrandt, Michael Pereira & Dave Seglins, January 28

Canada’s electronic spy agency sifts through millions of videos and documents downloaded online every day by people around the world, as part of a sweeping bid to find extremist plots and suspects, CBC News has learned. Details of the Communications Security Establishment project dubbed “Levitation” are revealed in a document obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and recently released to CBC News.

Under Levitation, analysts with the electronic eavesdropping service can access information on about 10 to 15 million uploads and downloads of files from free websites each day, the document says. “Every single thing that you do — in this case uploading/downloading files to these sites — that act is being archived, collected and analyzed,” says Ron Deibert, director of the University of Toronto-based internet security think-tank Citizen Lab, who reviewed the document.

The Intercept: Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads
The Globe And Mail: Canadian spies scoured file-sharing sites to track jihadis, document shows

Canadians told to prepare for lengthy battle against terrorism

The Globe And Mail, By Sean Fine, January 11

Toronto – Canadians need to gird for a long battle against terrorism while maintaining their unity and not singling out any religious groups for blame, Mayor John Tory and federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver told several hundred people demonstrating on a cold Sunday afternoon at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto.

“We must look evil in the eye and call it by its name – jihadist terrorism,” Mr. Oliver said at one of several rallies in Canada held in a gesture of solidarity with France, after Islamic terrorists attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the shooting of a policewoman and two hostage-takings left 20 people, including three gunmen, dead. Those attacks followed separate terrorist incidents in Ottawa and St-Jean-Sur-Richilieu, Que., in October in which three people, including one armed attacker, were killed.

Addressing terrorists directly, Mr. Oliver said they should know that they cannot divide Canadians. “You will not succeed because we are united by our determination to protect our values, our freedoms and our citizens, be they Christian, Jews, Muslims or Hindus. We will defeat you. We will ultimately win because we are in solidarity and we are strong.

He suggested the battle could last decades. “We need continued support and endurance. With that we will triumph over evil. . . and our grandchildren will live in freedom and peace.”

Urban Inuit: Nomads from the Arctic find new home in Canada’s capital

The Inuit migration south to Ottawa has picked up speed, a challenge for those used to traditional life

Al Jazeera, By Leyland Cecco, November 23

Ottawa, Ontario — Dion Metcalfe pulls up his shirt to reveal an inukshuk tattooed onto his stomach. The stone cairn, used to guide or mark a path in the North, is coupled with a compass and the names of his family.

“My Inuit name is Aalla; it means stranger,’’ he says as his fingers trace the Inuktitut syllabics.

For most of his life, Metcalfe has been a stranger. Born to an Inuit father and Dutch mother in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on Canada’s east coast, the family moved to Ottawa when he was six months old. His father went to a residential school, a system notorious for its abuse of students, and what he suffered there he inflicted on his son. Metcalfe grew up bullied at school and at home, caught between two cultures.

Long known as nomads of the Arctic, the Inuit have been migrating to southern urban centers for nearly a half-century now. To outsiders, the Arctic is a barren polar desert, but the Inuit communities thrived there for thousands of years, braving winters with little daylight, and in some areas, temperatures that dipped below -50°C. Dog sleds were once used both for day-to-day travel and hunting, these days largely replaced by planes and snowmobiles. Because of the uniquely isolated nature of life in the North, myths about Inuit lifestyle, such as kissing with noses, still persist.

Trans-Pacific Partnership talks going on in Ottawa

CBC, By Kristy Kirkup, July 3

Trade officials from Canada and other Asia-Pacific nations are meeting behind closed doors in Ottawa to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive free-trade proposal that could create one of the world’s largest trading blocks.

The TPP currently comprises 12 countries, including Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

The discussions between trade officials are taking place in Ottawa from July 3 to 12. Federal ministers are not participating in the talks.

“No ministerial meeting will occur on the margin of the officials’ meeting in Ottawa,” said Claude Rochon, a spokesman for the department of Foreign Affairs. “This is a working-level technical meeting, held by the TPP negotiating leads and a small number of focused working groups, that meet as required to continue to advance negotiations.”

Canadian Government Conditionally Approves 731-Mile Northern Gateway Tar Sands Pipeline

Climate Progress, By Katie Valentine, June 17

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper conditionally approved the Northern Gateway Pipeline Tuesday, a major hurdle for the 731-mile twin pipeline system that will carry tar sands oil from Alberta to the west coast of Canada.

The approval is contingent on Enbridge meeting the 209 conditions for the pipeline — some of which addressed environmental concerns but none of which addressed climate change — set forth by the National Energy Board in December. If Enbridge meets those conditions, Northern Gateway will transport up to 525,000 barrels of oil per day from Edmonton, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia.

The Canadian government singled out discussions with First Nations as one of the major conditions that Enbridge needs to meet for the pipeline to be built.

“Consultations with Aboriginal communities are required under many of the 209 conditions that have been established and as part of the process for regulatory authorizations and permits,” a federal release states. “The proponent clearly has more work to do in order to fulfill the public commitment it has made to engage with Aboriginal groups and local communities along the route.”

Also: Hottest Spring On Record Globally, Reports Japan Meteorological Agency

Infectious Dis-Ease

It appears our ammosexuality is contagious:

(CNN) — In a country often stereotyped for being too genteel, the Canadian city of Moncton prides itself on a special distinction: It was named the most polite.

So what happened here Wednesday seems unimaginable to residents.

A man dressed in fatigues and carrying a rifle went on a rampage, killing three police officers and wounding two others.

Police posted to social media a photograph of a man dressed in fatigues, carrying what appeared to be a rifle.

Thursday morning, the shooter was still on the loose.

Read More

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to launch re-election bid

BBC, April 17

Toronto’s embattled mayor is set to kick off his re-election campaign at an event his brother and campaign aide has called “history in the making”.

Rob Ford is expected to deliver a 20-minute speech at the Toronto Congress Centre, where he celebrated his mayoral win in 2010.

Mr Ford has been stripped of many of his powers after admitting to using and purchasing drugs while mayor.

He faces two major challengers in the 27 October election.

His brother and campaign manager City Councillor Doug Ford said he expected “thousands” to turn out after the campaign sent automated phone invitations to many Toronto residents.

Pro-independence party set to call Quebec election

AP, By Benjamin Shingler, March 4

Montreal – Quebec’s premier is set to call an election Wednesday in pursuit of a majority of seats for her pro-independence party, potentially putting the French-speaking province on track for another referendum to separate from Canada.

Premier Pauline Marois’ Parti Quebecois holds a minority of seats in the Quebec legislature, and polls suggest the party could make gains in key districts in a vote set for April 7.

The leader of the opposition Liberals, Philippe Couillard, has struggled to connect with voters, and the PQ is hoping to steal away votes from the slumping third-place party, the Coalition for Quebec’s Future.

[…]

Christian Bourque, vice president with the Montreal-based polling firm Leger Marketing, said support for Quebec independence remains stuck at around 40 percent and hasn’t changed significantly in 10 years.

Canada pulls ambassador from Moscow over Ukraine

AP, March 1

Canada says it is pulling its ambassador from Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine.

A statement issued by Prime Minister Stephen Harper after an emergency Cabinet meeting says Canada also will boycott meetings leading up to the Group of Eight international economic summit being chaired by Russia in June.


CBC: Ukraine crisis: Harper recalls ambassador, tells Putin to withdraw

In a statement issued following a cabinet meeting held Saturday afternoon, Harper said Canada is recalling its ambassador from Moscow and pulling out of the G8 process being chaired by Russia.

At the same time, Canada is recognizing the legitimacy of the new, pro-Western Ukrainian government.

NYT: Making Russia Pay? It’s Not So Simple
NYT: Kremlin Deploys Military in Ukraine, Prompting Protest by U.S.
Daily Beast: Exclusive: Russian ‘Blackwater’ Takes Over Ukraine Airport
CBS: Ukraine puts armed forces on combat alert, warns of war

Kiev – Ukraine put its armed forces on full combat alert on Saturday and warned Russia that any military intervention in the country would lead to war.

After a more than three-hour meeting with security and defense chiefs, Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said there was no justification for what he called Russian aggression against his country.

Russian troops took over Crimea as the parliament in Moscow gave President Vladimir Putin a green light Saturday to use the military to protect Russian interests in Ukraine.

Standing beside Turchynov, Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said he had urged Russia to return its troops to base in Crimea during a phone call with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and called for talks.

“Military intervention would be the beginning of war and the end of any relations between Ukraine and Russia,” Yatsenyuk told reporters.

[…]

Martin also reports that Ukraine’s armed forces have told the American ambassador to Kiev that they do not intend to resist the Russian troop movements.

Panodaily: Pierre Omidyar co-funded Ukraine revolution groups with US government, documents show (The Intercept / Glenn Greenwald: On the Meaning of Journalistic Independence)
The Atlantic: The Conflict in Ukraine: More Complex Than You Might Think
WSJ: Mikheil Saakashvili: Lessons From the Putin Wars

“Nobody knows quite what to do here, and it’s really messy,” Mr. Saakashvili says, “and Putin knows exactly what to do.” The Georgian has never hidden his contempt for the Russian leader, but his reading of Mr. Putin has been validated daily as the drama has played out.

“What does he want here? Chaos,” Mr. Saakashvili says. “He has good chances here this time to really chop up Ukraine. It’s going toward big-scale conflict. Big, big internal conflict. He’ll stir up trouble in some of the Ukrainian regions. It’s a very crucial moment. Russia will try to Balkanize Ukraine.”

[…]

In a 2005 speech, Mr. Putin said “the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century” and “a genuine tragedy” that “tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory.” With its 46 million people and the seat of ancient Kiev Rus, Ukraine was the most painful loss for the Russian imperium. In a private conversation with George W. Bush in 2008, Mr. Putin averred that Ukraine wasn’t a real state.

“Putin never just says things,” says Mr. Saakashvili, who met with him often before the 2008 war. “Ukraine is a ‘territory’ to him and a territory needs to be divided. The problem with Putin is not just that he’s a revisionist. He’s revanchist. That’s why it’s a clash of interests. He wants it back.” [So, to Putin, it’s still *The Ukraine*, too.]

Empire Burlesque: Sinister Illusions: Masking Tragedy in Ukraine
Breitbart / tendentious obliviousness: Palin Mocked in 2008 for Warning Putin May Invade Ukraine if Obama Elected – also, Zero Hedge: And The Person Who Foresaw It All Is…
CNN: Kerry condemns Russia’s ‘invasion and occupation’ of Ukrainian territory

“… The troops are already there, and their number is increasing every hour,” Sergeyev said during an emergency meeting of the Security Council.

Russia now has 15,000 troops in Ukraine’s Crimea region, Yegor Pyvovarov, the spokesman for the Ukraine mission at the United Nations, told CNN ahead of Saturday’s session of the Security Council. He did not say how Ukraine arrived at that number, or whether that included troops already stationed at a Russian base in the region.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, rejected Ukraine’s calls to stop Russian intervention. “We can’t agree with this at all,” he said.

He blamed members of the European Union for causing the bloody street demonstrations in Ukraine.

“It’s a difficult situation in the past few hours,” Churkin said, claiming that there were Ukrainian forces from Kiev en route to to overthrow the local pro-Russian governments in eastern Ukraine and Crimea and establish new ones that would enforce the power of the new Ukrainian government.

Churkin has said reports of Russian troops taking charge of positions on the ground were rumors and noted that rumors “are always not true.”

Slate: Crimean Foreshadowing

Slate: Crimea and Punishmentpreviously linked, but with that title, I couldn’t help myself

NYRB, Timothy Snyder: Ukraine: The Haze of Propaganda

Zero Hedge: Ukraine Crisis News Summary (More links!)
Zero Hedge: Russia vs Ukraine: The Infographic
BBC: Foreign Secretary William Hague to visit Ukraine
Al Jazeera: In Crimea, citizens stand for self defense and Mother Russia
Al Jazeera: Mapping Ukraine’s identity crisis
Reuters: Russian servicemen confiscate weapons in Crimea region – Interfax

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