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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rick Salutin: The decline of deference (in the Toronto Star)

"“Could mortal lip divine/The undeveloped Freight/Of a delivered syllable/‘Twould crumble with the weight.”" (Rick Salutin quoting Emily Dickinson)

Full article: Salutin: The decline of deference.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Linda McQuaig: World’s poor pay for PM’s policies (in the Toronto Star)

"Canada is still punching above its weight. But, under the animus of the Harper government, those punches are now low blows, landing on some of the most vulnerable people on the planet."

Full article: McQuaig: World’s poor pay for PM’s policies.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gwynne Dyer: Durban climate-change conference was an almost total failure (in

"Three years ago, while I was interviewing the director of a think tank in New Delhi, she suddenly dropped a bomb into the conversation. Her institute had been asked by the World Bank to figure out how much food production India would lose when the average global temperature was two degrees Celsius higher, she said - and the answer was 25 percent.


"A 25 percent loss of food production would be an almost measureless calamity for India. It now produces just enough food to feed its 1.1 billion people. If the population rises by the forecast quarter-billion in the next 20 years, and meanwhile its food production falls by 25 percent due to global warming, half a billion Indians will starve.

"India will not be able to buy its way out of the crisis by importing food, because many other countries will be experiencing similar falls in production at the same time, and the price of the limited amount of grain still reaching the international market will be prohibitive. So India should be moving heaven and earth to stop the average global temperature from reaching +2 degrees. But it isn’t."

Full article: Gwynne Dyer: Durban climate-change conference was an almost total failure.

Thomas Walkom: Canada the odd man out after Kyoto (in the Toronto Star)

"Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out whether Canada’s Conservative government is venal or merely clueless." As the Star's summary says, why not both?

Full article: Canada News: Walkom: Canada the odd man out after Kyoto.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

David Olive: Is Durban a tipping point for the world’s admiration of Canada? (in the Toronto Star)

"To be crass about it – and maybe that’s what environmentalists should do – the financial punishment we inflict on ourselves by failing to reduce emissions translates to between $21 billion and $43 billion in lost economic activity for Canada by mid-century.

"That’s the financial price we’ll pay for global warming, calculated not by NGOs but Ottawa’s own National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy. And that estimate is based on a modest degree of global warming.

"The cost of “catastrophic” global warming – the path we’re now on, without a truly substantial reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions – could be as high as 25 per cent of Canadian GDP."

Full article: Olive: Is Durban a tipping point for the world’s admiration of Canada?.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rick Salutin: Mr. 1 Per Cent meets his match (in the Toronto Star)

Full article: Salutin: Mr. 1 Per Cent meets his match.

Thanks to the Star's Rick Salutin for pointing us at Tom Naylor's most recent book The Crass Struggle, in which he skewers the pretensions of the 1%. Of course, we have (had?) a wonderful example of this in the Canadian-born Baron Black of Crossharbour.

Melting permafrost called ticking time bomb (in the Toronto Star)

"Scientists with the Permafrost Carbon Network warned in a Nature article released Thursday that melting permafrost, loaded with enormous amounts of toxic gasses, is a ticking time bomb that could intensify global warming.

"The group of scientists predicts that about 45 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gasses trapped in frozen ground will slowly leech into the air by 2040 as permafrost continues to melt."

Full article: Canada News: Melting permafrost called ticking time bomb.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Joe Fiorito: An open letter to the Occupiers (in the Toronto Star)

"You showed us that an open hand is better than a fist. You illustrated all the ways the rich have made a breakfast of the poor. You pointed an accusing finger at those who have stubbed out their dreams in the ashtrays of their hearts.


"Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. – Reinhold Niebuhr (1892- 1971)"

Full article: Toronto News: Fiorito: An open letter to the Occupiers.

Tom Kent: How to revive Canada’s dream of social democracy (in the Toronto Star)

The late social policy pioneer Tom Kent writes, in an article published posthumously, about how to make social programs work in our unwieldy democracy:

How to revive Canada’s dream of social democracy.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Occupy Everywhere: Michael Moore, Naomi Klein on Next Steps for the Movement Against Corporate Power (in Democracy Now!)

Discussion hosted by The Nation magazine and The New School in New York City, features Oscar-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore; Naomi Klein, best-selling author of the "Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism"; Rinku Sen of the Applied Research Center and publisher of ColorLines; Occupy Wall Street organizer Patrick Bruner; and veteran journalist William Greider, author of "Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country."

Occupy Everywhere: Michael Moore, Naomi Klein on Next Steps for the Movement Against Corporate Power.

Michael Moore:

"So, if you’re at home and you’re watching this and you’re in some out-of-the-way place, you already own it. This is already your country. You—you have been occupied by Wall Street. Your homes have been occupied by Wall Street. Your government has been occupied by Wall Street. Your media has been occupied by Wall Street. And it’s OK for you to say, "Not anymore. Those days are over. End of story.""

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tim Harper: A winter of aboriginal agony must lead to action (in the Toronto Star)

Canada News: Tim Harper: A winter of aboriginal agony must lead to action.

Rick Salutin: Non-violence is back and shaking things up (in the Toronto Star)

Percy Bysshe Shelley - 1819:

"“Let a great assembly be/ Of the fearless, of the free . . . Stand ye calm and resolute,/ Like a forest close and mute,/ With folded arms and looks which are/ Weapons of unvanquished war . . . With folded arms and steady eyes,/ And little fear, and less surprise/ Look upon them as they slay/ Till their rage has died away/ Then they will return with shame/ To the place from which they came . . .”"

Salutin: Non-violence is back and shaking things up.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Weeding out corporate psychopaths (in the Toronto Star)

Weeding out corporate psychopaths.

Silly photo - but food for thought!

Study finds Arctic sea ice drop greatest, longest in 1,400 years (in the Toronto Star)

"“When we look at our reconstruction, we can see that the decline that has occurred in the last 50 years or so seems to be unprecedented for the last 1,450 years,” Christian Zdanowicz of the Geological Survey of Canada said Wednesday.

"“It’s difficult not to come up with the conclusion that greenhouse gases must have something to do with this,” added Zdanowicz, one of the co-authors of the report in Nature.

"“We cannot account for this decline by processes that are ‘natural.’”"

Full article: Canada News: Study finds Arctic sea ice drop greatest, longest in 1,400 years.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Catherine Porter on Occupy Toronto: They can’t evict a conversation (in the Toronto Star)

"I can think of a few old ideas that fit their philosophy of the “commons”: food cooperatives; credit unions; community gardens; community kitchens; cooperative housing. Why not talk in the rests between building something permanent, rather than in between police raids?

"Plus, it’s easier to think with a hammer in your hand."

Full article: Occupy Toronto: They can’t evict a conversation.

Good advice from a caring Toronto columnist.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tim Harper: For Conservatives, contrary positions are treasonous (in the Toronto Star)

" hear the noise from the Conservative side of the House of Commons this week, one would think that the Halifax NDP MP and her colleague from Nickel Belt, Claude Gravelle, were treasonous subversives who should be drawn and quartered at dawn.

"Their crime?

"They went to Washington to provide a different point of view on the Keystone XL pipeline project and to tell American legislators that, contrary to the cheerleading of Stephen Harper and his cabinet, not every Canadian was a proponent of Alberta’s tar sands.


"... Harper’s complaints ring a tad hollow considering he used the Fox News pulpit in 2003 to accuse then-Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of hypocrisy for keeping Canada out of the George W. Bush-led invasion of Iraq.

"Then the opposition leader, he told Americans he backed the war and was speaking for “the silent majority” of Canadians."

Full article: Canada News: Tim Harper: For Conservatives, contrary positions are treasonous.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thomas Walkom: Evictions offer honourable way out for Occupy protesters (in the Toronto Star)

"[The occupiers] ... now have a chance to strengthen their fragile alliances with other organizations, such as labour unions, that are dissatisfied with inequality in Canadian life.

"More important, they can now redirect their energies toward the specific elements of Canadian political economy that encourage such inequalities — from the tax code to municipal outsourcing to the provincial welfare system to the federal government’s war on labour."

Full article: Canada News: Walkom: Evictions offer honourable way out for Occupy protesters.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Idealism in a ‘deeply cynical age’ (in the Toronto Star)

The Star's Jennifer Wells interviews Jeffrey Sachs, the author of the End of Poverty, hailed to be one of the hundred most influential people, turns a critical eye to his home country, the U.S. Jeffrey Sachs calls for a return to civic virtue, compassion for others and the creation of a mindful society. He spoke with the Star by phone..

Full interview: Idealism in a ‘deeply cynical age’.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tyler Hamilton: Time to reboot Ontario’s approach to energy conservation (in the Toronto Star)

"...the only way to help Ontario ratepayers cope with rising electricity rates over the long term is to push for deep energy conservation in households across the provinces.

"And here’s the thing: it could, if done properly, barely cost anything for the province and municipalities to make such a serious conservation push."

Tyler Hamilton describes how this could happen, using an approach that is attracting interest in 26 states and Nova Scotia, but to have it happen, "[you] have to have the province, the financial institutions and the City of Toronto all sitting in the same room talking about this issue," says Tim Stoate, an associate director and investment expert at the Toronto Atmospheric Fund.

Full article: Hamilton: Time to reboot Ontario’s approach to energy conservation.

Canadian’s lucky iron fish saves lives in Cambodia (in the Toronto Star)

"“You can have the best treatment in the world, but if people won’t use it, it won’t matter.”"

Full article: Canadian’s lucky iron fish saves lives in Cambodia.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Naomi Klein on Environmental Victory: Obama Delays Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Decision Until 2013 (in Democracy Now!)

"'We believe that this delay will kill the pipeline,' says the Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein. 'If it doesn't, if this pipeline re-emerges after the election, people have signed pledges saying they will put their bodies on the line to stop it.'"

Full article: Naomi Klein on Environmental Victory: Obama Delays Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Decision Until 2013.

David Olive: Occupy Toronto is not the real threat to civil society (in the Toronto Star)

"Certainly this is the hour of our discontent. That discontent is income inequality. The spectacular disparity between the super-affluent and the rest of us is a leading, if not root, cause of widespread ill health, stunted education opportunity, and intolerably high rates of crime and racial discrimination in our communities."

Full article: Occupy Toronto is not the real threat to civil society.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

EEGs give voice to brain-injured patients, researchers find (in the Toronto Star)

"...scientists are now finding that some patients in a vegetative state are conscious — and can actually communicate.

"On Wednesday, a Canadian-led group of researchers revealed a relatively simple and cost-effective way to assess the consciousness of patients at their bedside."

Full article: Toronto News: EEGs give voice to brain-injured patients, researchers find.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Olivia Ward: Pollution a threat to progress of poorest countries, says report (in the Toronto Star)

"A report released Wednesday by the UN’s development program warns that unless there’s a serious global change of direction, living standards will plunge in the poorest countries by 2050, reversing decades of gradual gains.

"RELATED: The UNDP report."

World News: Pollution a threat to progress of poorest countries, says report.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Heather Mallick: Talking points for a young angry Occupy Toronto (in the Toronto Star)

"The Occupy Toronto demonstrators don’t have a coherent point? How risible. Our economic system is so skewed that they have too many to articulate easily."

Mallick: Talking points for a young angry Occupy Toronto.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

John Clarke and Bryan Dawe: Continental rift (in Guy McPherson's blog)

The current world economic train-wreck in about 3 minutes flat - very funny, and perhaps even more relevant now! Thanks for posting it, Guy!

Continental rift – Guy McPherson's blog.

Thomas Walkom: Eurozone cure could be worse than disease (in the Toronto Star)

"... in Berlin or Paris there is little sympathy for the unemployed of Madrid. They are, after all, Spanish. Not Germans or French. They are deemed to be the cause of their own troubles.

"We have seen this before. The last time was in the period after 1918 when the victorious Allies insisted that Germany and Austria bear the financial cost of World War I, a war that was deemed to be their fault alone.

"The dictatorship that resulted was predictable, as was the devastating global war that followed. Hard times drive people to embrace hard leaders.


"Don’t assume such things couldn’t happen again. Sometimes, history does repeat itself."

Full article: Canada News: Walkom: Eurozone cure could be worse than disease.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

J. David Hulchansky: The 99% know all about inequality (in the Toronto Star)

J. David Hulchanski is a professor of housing and community development at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. His research on income trends in Toronto is available at

"Toronto was a middle-income city in the 1970s: two-thirds of the city’s neighbourhoods were in the middle. The proportion of middle-income neighbourhoods has since fallen to less than a third.


"In nominally democratic countries, the mass of the population is recognizing that it is exploited by an empowered and emboldened kleptocracy (from the ancient Greek, rule by thieves). Instead of fair rules and regulations, instead of inclusionary and democratic policies and politics (rule of all, by all, i.e., democracy), instead of addressing injustices, we have grab-all-you-can-and-run attitudes, supported by public policy.

"Inequality is both the precursor and outcome of injustice."

Full article: The 99% know all about inequality.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Linda McQuaig: How to make inequality obsolete (in the Toronto Star)

"Even Adam Smith, considered the father of capitalism, favoured higher taxes on the rich, and seemed to have people like [Canadian Finance Minister Jim] Flaherty in mind when he warned that the “disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least to neglect persons of poor and mean condition . . . is . . . the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.”"

Full article: McQuaig: How to make inequality obsolete.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rick Salutin: Occupiers call for changing the agenda (in the Toronto Star)

"What they’re saying is: Change the agenda/change the channel. Saying anything less is inadequate because you could find a small piece mistaken for the whole. But saying that much is tricky precisely because there already is an agenda in place that keeps blocking and obscuring the demand to change it!"

Full article: Salutin: Occupiers call for changing the agenda.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jack Quarter: Confessions of a 2 percenter (in the Toronto Star)

Jack Quarter is a professor and director of the Social Economy Centre, OISE, University of Toronto; his recent books include Understanding the Social Economy (University of Toronto Press), co-authored with Laurie Mook and Ann Armstrong.

"The Occupy Wall Street movement is located where it ought to be: the epicentre of the inequality mill. The problem is the system of those institutions and how they are allowed to function, not so much the individuals who populate them."

Full article: Confessions of a 2 percenter.

Jim Coyle: New Canadian Index of Wellbeing reveals how Canadians are really faring (in the Toronto Star)

"The Canadian Index of Wellbeing, a dozen years in the making, is intended to do what standard economic tools such as Gross Domestic Product cannot — namely, to measure not just the economy, but how people and communities, the environment and our democracy are faring.

"Roy Romanow, former Saskatchewan premier and chair of the CIW advisory board, told the Star the project puts “scientific underpinning” to a widespread, intuitive sense that though the GDP might rise, circumstances for the majority of Canadians have not been keeping pace.


"The GDP — that statistical star and the defining economic indicator for more than half a century — was never intended, its inventor said, to measure “the welfare of a nation.”

"For instance, spending on tobacco, war, cleaning up man-made disasters, building prisons — hardly measures of human progress — all cause the GDP to rise. Meanwhile, caring for an ailing relative, unpaid housework, volunteer work — all obvious goods — don't show up.


"By comparison, the CIW takes into account the complexity and interconnectedness of human society. It offers a deeper understanding of what constitutes social and individual good. It speaks about relationships, social isolation enjoyment of life."

Full article: Toronto News: New Canadian Index of Wellbeing reveals how Canadians are really faring.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Carol Goar: Suddenly, the politicians and bankers are listening (in the Toronto Star)

"It is notable that the Prime Minister has not gone as far as his finance minister or the bank governor. But he has let them get out ahead of him; that is unusual for a boss known for exercising iron control over members of his cabinet and public officials.

"Cynics dismiss the youth-led movement as leaderless, unfocused, badly organized and unlikely to have any impact. But it already has changed the conversation in Ottawa.


"The story is still unfolding. The demonstrations may fizzle out. They may splinter. They may turn ugly.

"Or as time goes on, they might prompt the silent majority to ask why there are many more losers than winners in the globalized, low-tax, cost-efficient economy that was supposed to boost economic growth and raise living standards."

Goar: Suddenly, the politicians and bankers are listening.

Tim Harper: PM’s big oil ‘no-brainer’ an emotional issue in U.S. (in the Toronto Star)

"U.S. ambassador David Jacobson maintained Tuesday that politics will not enter into the Keystone decision.

"He actually said it with a straight face."

Full article: Canada News: Tim Harper: PM’s big oil ‘no-brainer’ an emotional issue in U.S..

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Toronto protesters settle in at St. James Park (in the Toronto Star)

"... Jacob, 5, took refuge from the rain, drawing a multicoloured peace sign on the ground and listening to guitar jam sessions that included songs like John Lennon’s “Imagine.”


"“It’s very fun,” said Jacob of the atmosphere, going on to describe what the protest is about.

"“Because people are poor and because we’ve had enough of this.”

"It was the purest message of the day."

Full article: Toronto News: Occupy Toronto protesters settle in at St. James Park.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Toby Sanger: Don’t just occupy Wall Street, tax it (in the Toronto Star)

"... [Canadian Finance Minister Jim] Flaherty has some explaining to do: why did he push so hard and give billions in federal money for provinces to introduce the 13 per cent HST paid by individual consumers — the so-called 99 per cent — but is fighting so hard against a 0.1 per cent financial transactions tax on the financial industry?"

Toby Sanger is the economist for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. He previously worked as principal economic policy adviser for the Ontario Minister of Finance and as chief economist for the Yukon government.

Full article: Don’t just occupy Wall Street, tax it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Heather Mallick: Being the leader of the free world is really, really hard stuff (in the Toronto Star)

"What I don’t get is why he threw away his Get Out of Jail Free card — his first two years with Senate-Congressional majorities — with both hands."

Full article: Being the leader of the free world is really, really hard stuff.

Read it and weep!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thomas Walkom: Vague yes. But don’t discount Wall St. protests (in the Toronto Star)

"...There is palpable anger in the U.S. (less so in Canada).

"The ultra right-wing Tea Party movement is one result of this anger. It has pulled together deeply-seated American currents of populism, xenophobia, patriotism, individualism and racism to emerge as a powerful political force.

"It’s too early to say whether the Wall Streeters represent the nucleus of a comparable left-wing populist movement. But the elements are there."

Full article: Canada News: Walkom: Vague yes. But don’t discount Wall St. protests.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Naomi Klein: Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Controversy Shows How Wall Street Is Occupying U.S. Gov't (Reported in Democracy Now!)

Award-winning Canadian journalist and author Naomi Klein discusses "the cozy relationship between the White House, the U.S. State Department that is considering the proposed pipeline, and Keystone XL lobbyists."

Naomi Klein: Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Controversy Shows How Wall Street Is Occupying U.S. Gov't.

Robert Scheer: What Do They Want? Justice (in Truthdig)

"“Ultimately this is about power and greed, unchecked,” Jodie Evans [founder of Code Pink] told the Times’ Sorkin, and it is a protest that the columnist’s newspaper, along with the rest of a mainstream media that editorially enthused over the radical deregulation that unfettered Wall Street greed, should now honestly cover."

Full article: Robert Scheer: What Do They Want? Justice - Truthdig.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chantal Hébert: Ruling reminds Tories no one above the law (in the Toronto Star)

"The Insite ruling is a strong reminder to the Harper government that its law-and-order agenda is not above the law itself.

"But it is also a reprimand for Tony Clement, a minister who has very much been on the ground zero of government-driven controversies over the past few years, first over the elimination of the long-form census and more recently over G8 summit spending.

"It was Clement who launched the 2008 federal vendetta against Insite in his days as minister of health. "

Full article: Canada News: Hébert: Ruling reminds Tories no one above the law.

Rumours of the demise of democracy may be premature after all!

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Disaffected Lib: Tar Sands on Trial

This is interesting! Thanks, Mound of Sound, for highlighting this ground-breaking initiative from the UK!

The Disaffected Lib: Tar Sands on Trial.

Rick Salutin: Where have all the PCs gone? (in the Toronto Star)

Salutin: Where have all the PCs gone?.

Isn't it strange that the old PCs (Progressive Conservatives) are beginning to look like good guys?! Surely it was an act of supreme cynicism to drop the "progressive" from their name - not much commented on! And they are not even "conservative", as this comes from the word "conserve", and they don't seem to want to conserve anything - except power.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Climate change could cost billions a year by 2020 - Canada - CBC News

Article: Climate change could cost billions a year by 2020 - CBC News.

Haroon Siddiqui: The dire prospect of living in Hudakdom (in the Toronto Star)

"McGuinty won’t win charisma contests. But his bland Bill Davis persona has served Ontario well. Like Davis [premier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985], he understands that our common good lies in bringing our disparate pluralistic society together, rather than dividing us along ideological or nativist lines."

Full article: Siddiqui: The dire prospect of living in Hudakdom.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Q&A: An expert on experts tells how to spot the bad ones (in the Toronto Star)

Filmmaker Josh Freed on experts: Q&A: An expert on experts tells how to spot the bad ones.

Great quote: "We’ve always had people telling us the future, be it fortunetellers or oracles reading chicken entrails. Today we’re too educated to read chicken entrails, so we go to experts. We use Power Point instead of poultry."

The art of rewiring a brain (in the Toronto Star)

Article: The art of rewiring a brain.

Fascinating description of how a mature brain can rewire itself. If the pictures shown in the article are representative, I prefer the post-stroke ones to the pre-stroke ones!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rick Salutin: Canada says ‘ready aye ready’ at the UN (in the Toronto Star)

Full article: Salutin: Canada says ‘ready aye ready’ at the UN.

Great quote: "Exactly what is the point of being a country, if you don’t have your own voice?"

Jatin Nathwani: Pipeline foes miss the point (in the Toronto Star)

Professor Jatin Nathwani is Ontario Research Chair in sustainable energy and executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy at the University of Waterloo.

"The essential argument put forward by the environmental movement conflates the issue by emphasizing emissions at the production stage in Alberta. At the heart of the matter is consumption: the burden that we place on the environment as consumers as we drive and fly to our destinations and go about our lives with studied indifference."

Full article: Pipeline foes miss the point.

IMO he makes some good points, but there still seems to be merit in trying to block the Keystone XL pipeline.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

World News: Land deals squeezing world’s poorest, Oxfam says (in the Toronto Star)

Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada: “This isn’t about buying a farm somewhere. This is about buying the better part of a province.”

Full article: World News: Land deals squeezing world’s poorest, Oxfam says.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rick Salutin on the prevalent "profiteering, privatizing mentality" (in the Toronto Star)

Salutin: The sector that dares not speak its name.

Well-written article on how this mindset has come to dominate our public discourse.

It was Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) who said that "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing." Now truer than ever!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gillian Steward: Creating drought tolerant barley (in the Toronto Star)

Now, finally, a good news story!

Creating drought tolerant barley.

Martin Regg Cohn: Hudak’s taking Ontarians for a ride (in the Toronto Star)

"... [Hudak's] Changebook goes beyond oversimplification to outright manipulation, which had escaped my notice until labour economist Jim Stanford shared his research with me the other day. Stanford is hardly a disinterested observer — he works for the Canadian Auto Workers — but he is a widely respected analyst.

"His exposé, to be released Tuesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (a lefty think tank), shows how the data and charts in Changebook cross the line of truthfulness and accuracy, misstating Ontario’s economic situation, hydro rate hikes and the rising debt. It documents the deception on a scale that would embarrass any first-year economics student, let alone someone like Hudak with a masters in economics."

Full article: Canada News: Cohn: Hudak’s taking Ontarians for a ride.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stephen Bede Scharper: Civil disobedience goes green (in the Toronto Star)

Stephen Bede Scharper teaches environmental studies at the University of Toronto.

"These protesters are pointing us to a new “moral economy” concerning the Earth itself. Their actions suggest our present economy, based on ecologically rapacious oil and gas extraction, is ultimately ecologically unsustainable and ethically unacceptable. In future years, when “geocide” is deemed a crime, these protestors may well be remembered not as criminals, but as champions of a life-filled world."

Full article: Civil disobedience goes green.

See also Ottawa Action for information about a protest scheduled for Parliament Hill on Sept. 26.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Haroon Siddiqui: PM’s rhetoric stokes fires of division (in the Toronto Star)

" is unconscionable for a Prime Minister to be fanning old-country divisions in Canada for political gain.

"Harper is the Prime Minister of all Canadians, as he himself said on election night. But he has rarely acted that way.

"He is not Canada’s Christian spear carrier against Muslim nations and against “Islamicism,” or any other religious ism. Rather he’s the leader of a strong multicultural nation that champions universal human rights. His job is to keep Canadians safe from all potential terrorists, regardless of their religious motivation."

Full article: Siddiqui: PM’s rhetoric stokes fires of division.

Harper has a majority for at least the next 4 years - what does he think he will gain by being divisive at this stage in his mandate?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tyler Hamilton: Ignorance and the art of electric car bashing (in the Toronto Star)

"This is not a passing fad, nor can it be compared to past attempts at introducing electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel cell cars.

"There has never been a time in history where most of the world’s major automakers have introduced, or have committed to introducing, a commercial model of a plug-in electric vehicle.

"Never have there been more companies in the world working to develop and drive down the cost of supporting technologies, such as battery storage, charging infrastructure and electric drive trains. ...

"But to declare electric vehicles stillborn on the first year of their commercial introduction, as some observers have recently said, amounts to a stunning display of ignorance."

Full article: Hamilton: Ignorance and the art of electric car bashing.

David Olive: Should we raise taxes on the rich? (in the Toronto Star)

"Business CEOs now pay themselves 325 times the compensation of shop-floor and cubicle workers. That ratio was closer to 25-to-1 in the 1960s. One cannot sustain an argument that business CEOs are now 300 times smarter than they were a half century ago, before they began “offshoring” manufacturing jobs or being stupendously rewarded for incompetence. "

Full article: Olive: Should we raise taxes on the rich?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dow Marmur: Global revolt of the have-nots (in the Toronto Star)

"Mercifully, Canada has so far been spared much of the unrest that has bedevilled other countries. It may even escape much of the economic upheaval that continues to threaten the United States and Europe. But we’re by no means immune to their problems. The gap between rich and poor is not diminishing here and the continuous onslaught by all levels of government on the funding of welfare agencies is bound to punish those most in need."

Dow Marmur is rabbi emeritus at Toronto’s Holy Blossom Temple.

Full article: Marmur: Global revolt of the have-nots.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Eric J. Miller: We’re talking mobility, not gravy (the Toronto Star)

Eric J. Miller is director of the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto.

Full article: We’re talking mobility, not gravy.

Perhaps you need to know that Toronto's Mayor, Rob Ford, was elected on a platform of "ending the gravy train", and making our roads "safe for cars"!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sleepwalking toward our 2020 climate targets (in the Toronto Star)

David W. Schindler is Killam Memorial Chair and a professor of ecology at the University of Alberta. John P. Smol is Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change and professor of biology at Queen’s University. Andrew J. Weaver is Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis and professor of earth and ocean sciences at the University of Victoria.

Full article: Sleepwalking toward our 2020 climate targets.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chantal Hébert: Shifting political landscape holds major consequences for all parties (in the Toronto Star)

"If the Layton-related political testimonies of the past week have demonstrated anything, it is that where there are five federal parties, there are really only two political tribes in the larger ideological sense of the word.

"In the recent past, many in the Liberal and NDP establishments have been wilfully blind to that reality.

"Former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff was one of those. But on his Facebook page on the day of Layton’s funeral, he wrote about his party and the NDP: “The words we care about — generosity, justice, hope — they care about them, too. We don’t own these words and they don’t own them either. These values are bigger than all of us, bigger than our divisions and our arguments. It was good to put the past behind us for an afternoon and imagine what the future of our country might look like if we put those values first.”

"Harper has more cause to worry about such thoughts gelling into action than about the advent of an improbable new champion of the Canadian left."

Full article: Canada News: Hébert: Shifting political landscape holds major consequences for all parties.

Linda McQuaig: Eulogy becomes rallying cry for the left (in the Toronto Star)

"... one of Harper’s first acts upon taking power in 2006 was cancelling the fledgling early childhood education program finally put in place by the Liberals. The savings now help finance the Conservatives’ expanded prison program, which may prove necessary as neglected kids from the Harper era reach adolescence. ...

"The events of the past week remind us that the social democratic vision remains potent in the land.

"Harper, who once dissed Canada as “second-tier socialistic country,” desperately wants to replace that vision with a different national vision — one based on military fighting power, loyalty to the British crown and an economic system where the strongest survive while the rest (even in nursery school) are on their own.

"The well-financed Conservative machine appears increasingly dominant at all levels of government in Canada. Still, Lewis’s masterful eulogy was a stirring reminder that Canada’s social democratic forces may be on the ropes but — like Layton brandishing his cane — are not willing to go gentle into that good night."

Full article: McQuaig: Eulogy becomes rallying cry for the left.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Elizabeth Kolbert: Hurricane Irene and Global Warming: A Glimpse of the Future? (in the The New Yorker)

There has been a surprising lack of commentary in the media linking Hurricane Irene to global warming, so it is good to see a sensible article on this appearing in a (hopefully) widely read magazine.

News Desk: Hurricane Irene and Global Warming: A Glimpse of the Future? : The New Yorker.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chantal Hébert: NDP will need growth outside its Quebec base (in the Toronto Star)

"Even under Layton’s leadership, the NDP could not have presumed that in the event of a war-to-the-finish with the Liberals, Quebec would automatically line up behind it. There is no appetite for that particular contest in the province.

"In the last election, the fact that Layton was the biggest cheerleader of the aborted 2008 Liberal-NDP coalition — a concept whose popularity endures to this day — gave him a lift in Quebec.

"A majority of Quebecers also support a rapprochement between the Liberals and the NDP.

"The notion of a coming-together of their two parties is heresy to many Liberal and New Democrat activists in the rest of the country. Whenever the issue is raised, they point to their strikingly different pasts to foreclose the option of a common future.

"But against the seismic realignment that is ongoing in Quebec, that argument comes across as empty.

"These days, some of the Liberals and Bloc Québécois incumbents who were defeated in the last federal election are considering running provincially under the banner of the new party former PQ minister François Legault is trying to get off the ground.

"If a Quebec tent is large enough to shelter people who hail from such irreconcilable sides in the so-called national debate, the thinking — at least in Quebec — is that there should be a progressive tent sturdy enough to accommodate the NDP and the Liberals federally."

Full article: Canada News: NDP will need growth outside its Quebec base.

Scientists discover new cause for ALS (in the Toronto Star)

"Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago have identified a breakdown in the protein-processing system of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord of people with the neurodegenerative disease, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature. These neurons are unable to remove or repair damaged proteins. The damaged proteins then accumulate, impairing the ability of the cells to repair or maintain themselves.

"“This is the first time we have some evidence about a neurodegenerative condition where we have an idea about mechanism. When you have some idea about mechanism of disease, then you can start to straighten that pathway out and find drugs that would affect or normalize that pathway,” lead author Teepu Siddique, a professor of neurology, said in an interview."

Full article: Scientists discover new cause for ALS.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Global warming could deliver a jolt to coffee lovers (in the Toronto Star)

"“I’m not prone to hyperbole, but climate change is going to be the biggest financial issue for the next generation,” said [Trillium Asset Management researcher Jonas] Kron, adding that Smucker’s got 40 per cent of its revenues and 48 per cent of its earnings from coffee last year.

"Calling for that kind of detailed disclosure is one sign among many that concern over global warming has shifted from protesters and activists to the board room. ...

"Canada’s wine industry is affected by global warming in a somewhat counterintuitive way, said [Barry] Smit [Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change]. In some recent years, wineries in the Niagara Region have suffered from so-called winter kill, where roots are damaged because of severe cold. The reason? There was no ice on Lake Ontario, meaning air swept across the lake and towards the vineyards picked up a chill from the water; normally, the ice acts as an insulator.

"“People would say ‘I hear about global warming, and my vines are freezing.’ It’s not always going to affect people in the way they think, but it’s real,” said Smit."

Full article: Global warming could deliver a jolt to coffee lovers.

Andrew Potter: The trouble with too much democracy (in Macleans)

"The American constitutional order rests on the belief that the biggest threat to liberty is the concentration of political power in one person or office....

"That’s fine if your big worry is the return of a tyrannical monarch. But despotism comes in many forms, and there is more to political liberty than simply wrapping the government in a straitjacket of constitutional restraints. Sometimes true self-government involves giving the state a free hand to push through an agenda that might be deeply unpopular in the short term, but is vital to the long-term flourishing of the society."

Full article: The trouble with too much democracy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Edmund Pries: Apocalyptic crisis budgeting (in the Toronto Star)

Edmund Pries teaches in the department of global studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.

"Some have pretended that the budgetary crisis is real and not manufactured. Let us be clear: our relative wealth is greater than at any time in our history. Our collective ability to build a strong, caring and inclusive society in which everyone can participate has never been greater. This also holds true for the community of nations: we have the capacity to build a just global society.

"Our preparedness to do so, however, seems utterly lacking..."

Apocalyptic crisis budgeting.

Why can't our citizens see this?! Why else would Harper have given up billions in GST income to put a few hundred bucks in the pockets of each Canadian?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Rick Salutin: The Ramadan kids go to the cottage (in the Toronto Star)

Salutin: The Ramadan kids go to the cottage.

Thanks, Rick, for reminding us that "you can have religion without fanaticism and dogma, and you can have fanaticism and dogma without a religion in sight. The ability to hold a deep, irrational certainty is a basic human — not a religious — trait."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

‘Breakthrough’ method rids patients of advanced cancer (in the Toronto Star)

"“Within three weeks the tumours had been blown away, in a way that was much more violent than we ever expected,” Dr. Carl June, a senior study author, said in a statement. ...

"After a year, microscopic analysis of their blood could find no trace of cancerous cells, [University of Pennsylvania pathologist Michael] Kalos says."

Full article: ‘Breakthrough’ method rids patients of advanced cancer.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Scientists find evidence of running water on Mars (in the Toronto Star)

"Scientists announced Thursday that they had detected dozens of slopes across the southern hemisphere of the planet where previously undetected dark streaks come and go with the seasons. When the planet heats up, the streaks appear and expand downhill. When it gets cold, the streaks disappear.

"The best explanation they have so far is that those dark fingerlike streaks are a kind of salty water that is running on or just below the Martian surface."

Full article: Scientists find evidence of running water on Mars.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Heather Mallick: Let Utoya — and books — help us fight racism (in the Toronto Star)

"We also have to think hard about the revival of racism, how it is expressed and how it spreads like a virus. We have to fight it politically and domestically, as well as personally in our daily lives.

"... Racism is intolerable. Understanding people who are different from us, that’s what we need.

"To that purpose, I keep rereading a marvelous book, Kate Clanchy’s 2008 memoir, Antigona and Me. Clanchy, a London writer with a comfortable life, hired a poor Kosovan refugee named Antigona. She is astonishing, certainly the hardest-working human Kate has ever met, waitressing, nannying, cleaning, mothering, hardly ever sleeping. For five years, Kate and Antigona, so different they might as well be woodchuck and wildebeest, talk about their lives over cups of coffee.

"And yet they are friends..."

Full article: Mallick: Let Utoya — and books — help us fight racism.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Linda McQuaig: Tycoons laughing all the way to the bank (in the Toronto Star)

"... while programs helping students, the elderly and the poor have been picked over with surgical precision, hedge fund managers can get back to work destabilizing financial markets with full peace of mind, knowing they’ll continue to enjoy a tax rate lower than the mechanics who service their private jets."

Full article: McQuaig: Tycoons laughing all the way to the bank.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Christopher Hume: After the rhetoric, a conversation? (in the Toronto Star)

"Around the globe, populations and their governments agonize and blame each other as the bills come due. But if those bills seem so much larger than expected, it’s because of our collective failure to understand the basic arithmetic of getting what you pay for."

Toronto News: Hume: After the rhetoric, a conversation?.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Disaffected Lib: How Screwed Up Are the Republicans? This Screwed Up

The Disaffected Lib (aka The Mound of Sound) quoting from The Center for American Progress .

Two articles in the Toronto Star both relating to Internet anonymity.

Hacker sends SWAT team to B.C. family’s home.

"Chester Wisniewski, senior security adviser with the IT security company Sophos, said this 911 hoax exploits a security shortcoming with voice-over-Internet (VoIP) phone services that let people mask their true location."

Heather Mallick: What to do when a monster likes your work.

"... the cloud that hovers over the Internet, the rage of damaged people, especially those who comment anonymously and egg each other on. This is why Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, Randi, who helps run Facebook, has called for an end to online anonymity and why Jimmy Wales has set up a rating system to try to take the hate out of Wikipedia."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Paper your house with energy (in the Toronto Star)

"Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with a new process that allows photovoltaic cells, which convert light into electricity, to be printed in ultrathin layers on ordinary paper or plastic."

Paper your house with energy.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Miracle grain": alpiste (in

"Alpiste is a plant of the family of grasses, herbaceous. It is native to the Mediterranean, but is grown commercially in various parts of the world to use the seed in the diet of pet birds. ...

"The enzymes provided by alpiste have immense power to disinflame our organs, particularly the liver, kidneys and pancreas, which makes alpiste a huge pancreatic regenerator, i.e. with diabetes just a few weeks also eliminates cirrhosis by increasing the count of hepatocytes in the liver and by the way, of course, which disinflames, reloading kidney enzyme, promoting a healthy diuresis to remove excess fluid in the body, so alpiste is a tireless fighter against hypertension ... alpiste is a marvel, because it contains the enzyme lipase which removes body fat quickly..." (apologies for the over-the-top style...!)

Full article in Spanish on the benefits of alpiste (phalaris canariensis), also known as "canary seed": ALPISTE Y SUS BENEFICIOS.

Here is another web page: Iron Rye.

Another grain which should be attracting more attention as our climate changes is teff. "Eragrostis tef has an attractive nutrition profile, being high in dietary fiber and iron and providing protein and calcium... [It] is adapted to environments ranging from drought stress to waterlogged soil conditions..." (Wikipedia)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Suzuki warns Tory scheme to cancel green energy plans is ‘absolute insanity’ (in the Toronto Star)

"In an exclusive interview with the Star, Suzuki made a rare foray into partisan politics, warning it is “absolute insanity” for Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak to want to scrap wind and solar power initiatives that the Tories claim are too expensive.

"“I don’t get it, because it’s a job creator — I would have thought that the Conservatives would be banging away at the need to create jobs,” the host of CBC’s The Nature of Things said during a stroll with [Ontario Premier Dalton] McGuinty in Stanley Park on Wednesday.

"“Ontario right now is a leader in North America. Why would anybody come in and throw that out the window? It doesn’t make any sense.”"

Full article: Suzuki warns Tory scheme to cancel green energy plans is ‘absolute insanity’.

Jason Tetro: Goodbye, antibiotics (in the Toronto Star)

Jason Tetro, also known as the “Germ Guy,” is coordinator for the Emerging Pathogen Research Centre and the Centre for Research on Environmental Microbiology at the University of Ottawa.

Goodbye, antibiotics.

Friday, July 15, 2011

David Olive: America’s tyranny of yokels (in the Toronto Star)

But then again...

Full article: Olive: America’s tyranny of yokels.

Tyler Hamilton: New U.S. rules will help Ontario breathe easier (in the Toronto Star)

However... now for some good news for a change!

Full article: Hamilton: New U.S. rules will help Ontario breathe easier.

Southwestern U.S. headed for a ‘perpetual drought’ (in the Toronto Star)

"Unlike the Dirty Thirties drought, which lasted seven years, the decade-long drought in the 1950s or even the “megadroughts” of the 13th and 16th centuries — all of them La Niña phenomena — this one is triggered by man-made gases.

"“As long as the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stays where it is, we have a new equilibrium,” said Seager [Dr. Richard Seager of the Earth Institute at Columbia University].

"Even if all CO² emissions dropped to zero overnight “significant drying would still occur.”"

Full article: Southwestern U.S. headed for a ‘perpetual drought’.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New weapon to fight malaria in Africa: Smelly socks (in the Toronto Star)

Full article: New weapon to fight malaria in Africa: Smelly socks -

A low-tech solution based on the latest cutting edge science - wonderful! See also, describing how a team at Yale used mutant fruit flies that were missing an odor receptor to zero in on specific genes of mosquito odour receptors.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stunning finding turns embryonic stem cell research on its head (in the Toronto Star)

"Embryonic stem cells are not the chameleon organ creators they were assumed to be, a major new study out of Hamilton’s McMaster University shows.

"In a finding destined to significantly shift the field, researchers discovered that the so-called mother cells are not all alike and that each is preprogrammed to produce specific tissues, like blood or neurons."

Full article: Stunning finding turns embryonic stem cell research on its head -

Friday, July 8, 2011

Toronto team first to isolate blood stem cells (in the Toronto Star)

"“We’re transplanting a whole (mishmash) of cells and relying on the rare stem cells (in the mix) to actually do the job,” Dick [John Dick, a senior scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute] says.

"These non-stem cell components, he says, increase the risk of a rejection condition known as graft-versus-host disease, where immune cells lingering in the donated marrow begins to attack the recipient.

"“By now going in and fishing out stem cells, we’ll be able to transplant pure populations of cells for transplantation,” Dick says."

Full article: Toronto team first to isolate blood stem cells -

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thomas Walkom: Assessing the brutal, pointless Afghan war (in the Toronto Star)

"war ... is not a game. Nor is it simply diplomacy by other means. It is a dangerous, murderous business with a habit of backfiring.

"During the Afghan War, too many Canadian politicians forgot that. So did media that, for too long, were dominated by jingoes."

Full article: Walkom: Assessing the brutal, pointless Afghan war.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Merran Smith: When oil goes out of fashion (in the Toronto Star)

Merran Smith directs the New Energy Vision for Canada project at Tides Canada, a national charitable foundation

"“We must plan for the eventuality that oilsands production will almost certainly be displaced at some point in the future by lower-cost and/or lower-emission alternatives,” the panel [a panel convened by Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach to come up with a vision for the future of Canada’s oil-rich province] states. “We may have heavy oil to sell, but few or no profitable markets wishing to buy.”

"These aren’t the words of environmentalists looking through green-tinted glasses. They come from former international trade minister David Emerson, chair of the Shaping Alberta’s Future panel, which included GE Canada CEO Elyse Allan, former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge, and former Stelco CEO Courtney Pratt, among others. ...

"... we can — and must — create a national energy vision that positions Canada to prosper and lead through this revolution. It is a national mission — our national imperative — that should unite us all."

Full article: When oil goes out of fashion.

Colin Kenny on Canada’s shrinking stature on the international stage (in the Toronto Star)

Colin Kenny is former chair of the Canadian Senate committee on national security and defence.

Full article: Canada’s shrinking stature on the international stage.

There are so many good quotes in this article...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Heather Mallick: If Black gets a failing grade in Kipling (in the Toronto Star)

Full article: Mallick: If Black gets a failing grade in Kipling.

If is the famous Kipling poem, which Black obviously does not understand. Let's hope he is never allowed back in the country he publicly repudiated when the Brits unaccountably gave him a lordship... Oh and by the way, Black has never had "the common touch"... and he definitely "talks too wise"!

Thomas Walkom: AECL saga shows Conservatives have no business being in government (in the Toronto Star)

"As the only bidder, Lavalin [the private firm SNC-Lavalin Inc.] was in the driver’s seat. It took full advantage of its position. Who can blame it?

"Blame instead the government. Conservatives insist that government has no business being in business. The hapless AECL saga suggests rather that Conservatives have no business being in government.

"Ontarians have seen this movie before — most notably when Tory premier Mike Harris authorized the fire-sale privatization of Highway 407. Like Harris, Harper preaches frugality while squandering public assets. In the case of AECL, he has given away the store but kept the dross."

Full article: Walkom: AECL saga shows Conservatives have no business being in government.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tim Harper: Asbestos hypocrisy sticking to PM (in the Toronto Star)

"'Harper has been outed from the asbestos closet,' says [Kathleen] Ruff, a senior human rights adviser to the Rideau Institute.

"'For years, he only spoke of how much he loved and adored asbestos when he was in that riding. As long as an issue remains hidden, you're dead. But now it is out there.' ...

"Last week, NDP MP Romeo Saganash reminded Industry Minister Christian Paradis that asbestos is being removed from MPs' offices and asked whether he would prefer to have the allegedly less carcinogenic chrysotile installed in his office.

"'Or would he rather continue to export his hypocrisy to Third World countries?' Saganash asked."

Full article: Tim Harper: Asbestos hypocrisy sticking to PM.

Friday, June 17, 2011

David Goutor: This is no time for the NDP to ‘grow up’ (in the Toronto Star)

David Goutor is assistant professor of labour studies at McMaster University.

"It is often taken for granted that moving to the centre is the “realistic” or “pragmatic” route for the NDP. But a lot of the party’s established positions do not look at all that unrealistic in light of recent events. Considering how the NDP achieved its success this spring, the practical benefits of giving up on its principles are very hard to see."

Full article: This is no time for the NDP to ‘grow up’.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Toronto councillors campaign to ban ‘barbaric’ shark fin soup (in the Toronto Star)

"Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale), a past president of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto, told reporters at City Hall that she and her sisters stopped eating the traditional dish about a decade ago.

"“We are not going to bring up a fish — a shark that’s 150 pounds — from the ocean, cut off the fins and throw the rest of it back” to sink and die, she said.

"“That is just unsustainable, it’s not ethical fishing,” she said."

Full article: Toronto councillors campaign to ban ‘barbaric’ shark fin soup.

Not to mention that many shark species are now endangered...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thomas Walkom: Canada set to repeat Afghan aid flop (in the Toronto Star)

"Initiated by Afghanistan’s King Zahir Shah as a way to bolster his government’s prestige, the [Helmand and Arghandab Valley Authority (HAVA)] project soon got caught up in the politics of the Cold War.

"By 1950, the U.S. was bankrolling the scheme as a way to win the hearts and minds of Afghans and bring them firmly into the West’s camp.

"Between 1950 and 1965, the massive irrigation project, situated near Kandahar, received $80 million in U.S. aid — a staggering sum for those times.

"Ironically, the project — the one Canada is now rebuilding — just didn’t work...

"... fearful of losing prestige, Washington kept pumping money into HAVA. Even after the Americans left, following the Soviet invasion of 1979, the scheme continued in fits and starts.

"In 2001, Afghanistan’s then Taliban government completed a HAVA power project that had been started by the U.S. A few months later, the Americans bombed and destroyed the plant. Now it’s our turn."

Full article: Walkom: Canada set to repeat Afghan aid flop.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tim Harper: G8 legacy is deceit, pork barreling and promotions (in the Toronto Star)

"The language leans toward the bureaucratic, but this we know: Clement [Tony Clement, now President of Canada's Treasury Board] won approval for the funding by misleading Parliament — officially, “not informing” Parliament of his intent.

"He provided no rationale for the need for such a large “legacy” fund, leaving no paper trail to determine how he came up with his final gift list and doling out funds in a secretive cabal like he was the Godfather of the G8.

"For his fine work, Clement was promoted from industry minister to Treasury Board president, the guy who will protect you, the taxpayer, from superfluous and useless programs and cut $11 billion in fat from the government. ...

"Toronto’s G20 legacy is still unfolding, but it will include heavy-handed police tactics, unnecessary detention of law-abiding citizens, a city under siege, vandalism, small businesses denied compensation, an international black eye and the back of the hand from the Harper government.

"We didn’t even get a gazebo."

Full article: Tim Harper: G8 legacy is deceit, pork barreling and promotions.

David Olive: American recovery banking on recklessness (in the Toronto Star)

"Nor do fat CEO pay packages reward investors. J.P. Morgan Chase Jamie Dimon, who has fought most successfully against effective regulatory reforms, pocketed more than $20 million in pay last year. His bank’s shares have lost 14.9 per cent of their value in the past decade.

"By contrast, Robert Wilmers, longtime CEO of Buffalo-based regional bank M&T Bank Corp., a traditional commercial bank, was paid $2 million last year. This quiet crusader for meaningful bank reform has rewarded M&T shareholders with a 12.6 per cent gain over the past 10 years.

"As Wilmers noted in M&T’s 2010 CEO letter to shareholders, the pay of America’s highest-paid bank CEOs now equals 516 times average U.S. household income. That figure was 97 times in 1989."

Full article: Olive: American recovery banking on recklessness.

Conservatives misled Parliament over G8 costs: Auditor General (in the Toronto Star)

Conservatives misled Parliament over G8 costs: Auditor General.

Why am I not surprised?!

Why I did it: Senate page explains her throne speech protest (in the Toronto Star)

Why I did it: Senate page explains her throne speech protest.

She's good! Are we going to have to wait for the next generation to start our country - and in fact our planet - heading in the right direction?!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Christopher Hume: Misuse of natural resources is stealing our kids' future (in the Toronto Star)

Stewart Elgie is a University of Ottawa professor who chairs Sustainable Prosperity, a green economy think tank. He says we are "stealing from our kids".

"... Elgie’s report, Advancing the Economics of Biodiversity in Canada, to be released Monday, argues that market forces could be the answer to the country’s environmental crisis, not the cause.

"He uses the example of coal power, which generates one quarter of the electricity used in Ontario, as well as much of the province’s air pollution: “The cost of air pollution to the health system is $9 billion annually,” Elgie notes. “But we don’t pay that cost, so we think coal is cheaper than solar and wind power.”

"The same logic applies with water. As he says, “Charging the real price of water would help conservation enormously.” In Britain, where water costs three times as much as it does in Canada, people use one third as much as we do.

"And let’s not forget other natural features we take for granted — trees, swamps, wetlands, fields and so on."

Full article: Hume: Misuse of natural resources is stealing our kids' future.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rick Salutin: The strange, and very political, death of hope (in the Toronto Star)

Salutin: The strange, and very political, death of hope.

Rick puts his finger on one of today's major problems - but he's a little weak on possible solutions. Still, in this he's no different from the rest of us - and maybe this is the important first step...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The two degree window is closing: New energy report urges immediate climate action (in TckTckTck)

Posted on June 2, 2011 by Heather Libby in

The two degree window is closing: New energy report urges immediate climate action.

Thomas Walkom: Mission accomplished? Not in Afghanistan (in the Toronto Star)

"In 2001, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan to bolster one side in a long-running civil war. Canada’s troops joined in a few months later.

"A decade later, that civil war rages on.

"The side we supported, now the government, remains almost as weak as it was in 2001. The side we opposed, the Taliban, remains almost as strong.

"And the Americans, who at one point vowed to destroy the Taliban, are now reportedly in peace talks with them."

Full article: Walkom: Mission accomplished? Not in Afghanistan.

It is not without cause that Afghanistan has been called "the graveyard of empires".

GAO Says F-35 Costs to Hit $1 Trillion (in "Today in the Military")

GAO Says F-35 Costs to Hit $1 Trillion.

Stephen Harper, did you see this?!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Carol Goar: Vigilance, not violence, at summits (in the Toronto Star)

"In Canada, we haven’t moved on a year after our conjoined summits — G8 in Huntsville, G20 in Toronto. The memories of violence in our streets remain raw. We’re still waiting for someone — the Prime Minister, the public safety minister, the head of the RCMP, the premier of Ontario or the chief of the Toronto police force — to take responsibility for what happened. ...

"It is too early to say that French President Nicolas Sarkozy got it right. He hasn’t hosted his country’s G20 summit yet. It is scheduled for November.

"But he did demonstrate that a country on high security alert — the Deauville summit came 25 days after the U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden — can protect world leaders without trampling on the rights of its citizens or allowing its police to run amok."

Full article: Goar: Vigilance, not violence, at summits.

Heather Mallick writing about Bradley Manning (in the Toronto Star)

"The real question is why the leaks didn’t happen sooner. At some point the U.S. government has to admit responsibility for putting a boy into conditions that threatened his sanity, even after admitting that this was a very bad idea. It alone was responsible for storing its secrets in the security equivalent of a 7-Eleven store at 3 a.m. It was responsible for leaving these secrets with a wraith it no longer trusted with a gun."

Full article: Mallick: Pint-sized casualty of America’s wars.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thomas Walkom: But what does Layton’s NDP stand for? (in the Toronto Star)

"In the Commons, all parties are opportunistic. But the NDP under Layton has been unusually so — attacking the government at every turn without attempting to determine if its various critiques contradict one another, settling for the easiest or most popular position rather than one best aligned with its principles. ...

"If the NDP had a coherent overall game plan, none of this might matter. Democratic politics is complicated. Even Harper’s Conservatives take one step back for every two forward.

"But Harper also has something larger in mind. He wants to transform Canada into a different kind of society, where collective action through government is minimized, where markets rule and where individuals are given freer rein to accumulate as much as they can.

"Does the NDP these days have an overarching notion of where the country should go and how it can get there? If so, I don’t see it."

Full article: Walkom: But what does Layton’s NDP stand for?.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gillian Steward: Alberta gets a warning about relying on oil (in the Toronto Star)

"...a startling new report commissioned by Premier Ed Stelmach sets out a bold new course for Alberta and its energy industry that could have national consequences.

"For starters, it suggests that Alberta will lose its prosperity advantage within 30 years if it doesn’t soon realize that expensive oil from the oilsands could eventually be replaced by other fuels and energy sources that are cheaper to produce and less damaging to the environment. ...

"So far, the report has been endorsed by some economists, environmentalists and energy industry leaders but it may soon be shelved. Stelmach is set to resign by the end of the year and his successor may have no interest in pursuing any of it.

"That would be a shame. Shaping Alberta’s Future is full of bold and intelligent ideas that deserve serious consideration both inside and outside the province."

Full article: Steward: Alberta gets a warning about relying on oil.

Carol Goar: Why the poor cast votes for Conservatives (in the Toronto Star)

Full article: Goar: Why the poor cast votes for Conservatives.

Carol Goar has put her finger on why the poor keep voting for right-leaning politicians - and it's not just ignorance...

Thomas Walkom: It’s time to end the endless Afghan War (in the Toronto Star)

"The original point has been long forgotten. The latest war aims are expressed in meaningless geo-political clichés: We must demonstrate that we are serious players on the world stage; we must punch above our weight; we need to show the Americans we are credible allies.

"And so we stay on — a two-year extension here, a three-year extension there. Now Canadian soldiers have been ordered to train troops for what is sure to be a future Taliban unity government. Is that nuts or what?"

Full article: Walkom: It’s time to end the endless Afghan War.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rick Mercer on YouTube - RMR Explains Canada

Rick Mercer explains Canada.

Very funny - and perfectly accurate (remember it was recorded in late Dec. 2008 or early 2009, when Michaëlle Jean was still Governor General): YouTube - RMR Explains Canada.

Don't worry if it confuses you - we Canadians find it confusing too!

Susan Delacourt: Is the party over? (in the Toronto Star)

Susan Delacourt asks a series of good questions:
  • Can a new leader fix the Liberals?
  • Should the Liberal party merge with the NDP?
  • Does Canada need a centrist party?
  • What is a political party anyway?
She quotes from a blog by Vincent St. Pierre, a history student who writes a blog called and who had been set to do an internship in Ottawa until this week’s defeat. St. Pierre may have written one of the most intriguing posts about the Liberals’ future.

In his blog post, St. Pierre argues that centrism is an electoral strategy, not a political philosophy, and that the Liberals should now start listening more closely to the current wisdom of — yes — Preston Manning, founder of the old Reform Party.

Full article: Is the party over?.

Christopher Hume: Death and Life still lives, even in Ford Nation (in the Toronto Star)

"Even in Toronto, where Jacobs has presided as a civic deity since she and her family moved here in 1968, the principles she espoused — density and diversity — are applied when convenient, ignored when they’re not. ...

"It turns out that Toronto is a city that succeeds despite itself. Its resilience continues to amaze. As Jacobs pointed out, “…lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration, with energy enough to carry over the problems and needs outside themselves.”

"But as she also warned: “Dull cities contain the seeds of their own destruction and little else.”"

Full article: Death and Life still lives, even in Ford Nation.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bob Hepburn: Recovery plan for Liberals (in the Toronto Star)-

Lots of good ideas - among them:

"3. Stop the wars: For the past two decades, the Liberals have been at war with themselves: Jean Chrétien versus John Turner; Paul Martin versus Chrétien; Dion versus Ignatieff versus Bob Rae. These fights have demoralized party loyalists and eroded the party’s base of support. In contrast, the Conservatives and NDP have been at peace for almost 10 years.

"4. Go for generational change: Justin Trudeau, Dominic LeBlanc and other young Liberals — your time is now!

"7. Find a purpose for existing: Once the party of big ideas, from old age pensions to medicare and peacekeeping, the Liberals now seem to have no purpose, no new ideas to attract voters. Ignatieff’s Red Book seemed so 1990s, dealing largely with issues for over-50 voters, such as pensions, health care and home care for seniors. Instead, the Liberals should be a party for young Canadians, with ideas that are important to youth, especially those eager to engage in the world."

Full article: Hepburn: Recovery plan for Liberals.

Haroon Siddiqui: How Harper won and Ignatieff lost (in the Toronto Star)om

"The Liberals lost because Canadians did not find Ignatieff or his platform attractive, period. Those looking for a distinct alternative to Harper found it in Jack Layton and the NDP.

"I have long argued that Ignatieff could not win as Harper Lite any more than John Kerry could have in 2004 as Bush Lite. There wasn’t much difference between Ignatieff and Harper on several domestic and all key foreign policy issues. ...

"Those depressed by the poor Liberal showing of 34 seats should think back to 1993 when the Conservatives were shrunk to two seats. (That was fewer than the number of Sikh Liberals elected. Now many elected Sikhs are going to be in the Harper caucus.)

"Harper has a right to implement his platform. If he goes beyond it, the 60 per cent of Canadians who did not vote for him would let him know. They might even raise a stink about some of his more controversial legislative initiatives. Public opinion can act as a mid-election check on a government.

"Canadians have only given the prime minister a new mandate. They have not crowned him king. "

Full article: Siddiqui: How Harper won and Ignatieff lost.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Martin Reg Cohn: Don’t make me weep on voting day (in the Toronto Star)

"There is much at stake in this election. Yet the biggest decision for many eligible voters is not whom to choose, but choosing to vote at all.

"On election night, everyone focuses on the final tally. I worry not only about how the vote turns out, but the voter turnout. ...

"...tomorrow is voting day here. Don’t use the excuse that you don’t like the electoral system, dislike the candidates, or don’t think your vote will count.

"In Canada, democracy counts for everything, even if the system is imperfect and no candidate is without faults. One thing is certain: a vote is a terrible thing to waste."

Full article: Cohn: Don’t make me weep on voting day.

Haroon Siddiqui: Vote has become referendum on Harper (in the Toronto Star)

"Stoking cynicism was Harper’s strategy. The more disengaged the voters and the smaller the turnout, the higher the chances of his hard-core constituency catapulting him into a majority. He was going to consolidate his base and sprinkle it with sectoral politics — Jewish Canadians here, Sikhs there and some Chinese in a handful of ridings.

"The tactics worked for a while. It let him separate himself from the other three “bickering politicians.” They were getting in the way of his forming a “stable” government. Democracy equalled instability. That’s what Hosni Mubarak used to say as well. ...

"Ordinary citizens have turned the election into a referendum on Harper — specifically, on a Harper majority. Their answer to his fanning the fears of “reckless coalition” post-election was to forge one at the grassroots level, now.

"Thus such groups as Project Democracy and Catch 22 are advocating strategic voting for the two-thirds of voters who do not support Harper."

Full article: Siddiqui: Vote has become referendum on Harper.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Harper ducks questions on Governor General and coalition (in the Toronto Star)

"Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is refusing to say if he would honour any decision by Governor General David Johnston to invite NDP Leader Jack Layton to form a government if the Tories fail to win a majority on Monday.

"Harper repeatedly ducked the question during a tense media availability at a Richmond Hill auto shop on Saturday where journalists were booed and heckled by a throng of Tory partisans."

Full article: Harper ducks questions on Governor General and coalition.

Friday, April 29, 2011

An Open Letter to His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston Governor General of Canada

An Open Letter to His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston Governor General of Canada from Citizens’ Forum for Democracy.

This letter, dated Apr. 25, 2011, clearly states the case for asking the Governor General to consider a "government formed through a cooperative arrangement that could, but not necessarily, be a coalition between groups of duly elected members of Parliament that reflects the will of Canadians as expressed in their total popular vote."

Not coincidentally, the treatment of Linda Keen is also mentioned in this letter, as part of a long list of Harper's abuses of power.

Election ignores nuclear issues, former watchdog says (in the Toronto Star)

"Canada’s energy future is being ignored in the current federal election campaign, says the nuclear watchdog who was fired over her refusal to bend safety standards at the Chalk River reactor.

"Among them, Canada’s supply of nuclear isotopes for medical treatment remains fragile, says Linda Keen, former president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

"Keen also questioned the wisdom of building large, multiple-reactor nuclear stations near growing population centres such as Clarington, next door to the Darlington nuclear site."

Full article: Election ignores nuclear issues, former watchdog says.

One wonders if the Tories are having second thoughts after the debacle in Japan - but then they have a long record of firing people who were trying to look after the public's welfare because their views differed from Tory dogma.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bob Hepburn: In quotes, Harper reveals his true self (in the Toronto Star)

"[The] old Harper re-emerged this week when 500 pages of his quotes were leaked to the media by the Liberals.

"But it wasn’t the Liberals or NDP that had compiled the quotes. Instead, it was the Conservatives themselves. "

Full article: Hepburn: In quotes, Harper reveals his true self.

Things are getting pretty strange in this election... It's a bit like people who store live hand-grenades in their attics...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

PM’s callous pitch for votes (editorial in the Toronto Star)

"Is this the role to which the Harper Conservatives aspire in the world? Aggressively marketing a hazardous product that Canadians justly fear in their workplaces, homes, malls and arenas? This is rock bottom in a depressing campaign."

PM’s callous pitch for votes.

Harper hits a new low. Can we please elect someone who will at least start to restore Canada's reputation on the world stage...?

Margaret Atwood: My paper napkin guide to the election (in the Toronto Star)

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than 35 volumes of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Her most recent novel is The Year of the Flood .

"... vote, and — as they say — cherish the moment. People elsewhere are dying for it."

Margaret Atwood: My paper napkin guide to the election.

Monday, April 25, 2011

One of Rick Mercer's wonderful rants telling the youth to get out and vote (linked to by Toronto Life)

Watch this wonderful YouTube clip: Rick Mercer gets the youth vote out, Conservatives shut it back in.

"Take 20 minutes out of your day, and do what young people all over the world are [literally] dying to do: vote."

Stephen Scharper: No welcome mat for environmentalists (in the Toronto Star)

Stephen Bede Scharper is associate professor with the Centre for Environment, University of Toronto.

"Earlier this month, at a Conservative party campaign rally in Guelph, Joanna MacDonald, a fourth-year university student, was barred from hearing Prime Minister Stephen Harper speak.

"“You have been flagged,” Joanna was told by a rally organizer.

"When asked what that meant, she was informed that the RCMP had run a background check and she was deemed “unfit” to attend. In trying to find out why, she was told by one organizer that it might be because she was part of an environmental club at school. ...

"An environmental geography student at the University of Guelph, Joanna was a Canadian Youth Delegate both in Copenhagen and at the 2010 climate talks in Cancun, Mexico. Currently she is a dedicated student-citizen with a passion for the Earth and a laudable interest in climate change policy.

"Joanna is unaffiliated with any political party, has no criminal record, and comes from a dynamic family that I have known for years. ...

"Joanna MacDonald’s experience has left her not only frustrated, but worried. “What events will I be barred from in future and what repercussions might there be?” she wonders.

"Her questions are applicable to us all. A strong, inclusive democracy, with vigorous and open debate, is the best guarantor that the voices of youth, women, and those who dedicate their lives to a sustainable future will be heard.

"Any government that tries to silence those voices is creating an undemocratic — and inevitably smog-laden — atmosphere."

Full article: No welcome mat for environmentalists.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Disaffected Lib: Clever Boy, Jack!

The Disaffected Lib: Clever Boy, Jack!.

No matter how much you like the NDP, you have to vote strategically this time around. I know, your idealism revolts at doing this, but we cannot risk Harper getting a majority!

Tim Harper: Canada-U.S. relations out of sight, out of mind (in the Toronto Star)

"Those who have tried to force this issue onto the agenda are frustrated but say it is just one of a series of issues that are being ignored.

"“Because we don’t know exactly what it entails, it is difficult to sink our teeth into it,’’ says Emily Gilbert, the director of the Canadian studies program at the University of Toronto.

"But that’s the beauty of keeping things secret.

"Transparency leads to debate and Harper is not interested in that."

Full article: Tim Harper: Canada-U.S. relations out of sight, out of mind.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bob Hepburn: The truth about Harper and medicare (in the Toronto Star)

"While it’s easy to point fingers at Ignatieff for taking his sweet time to come out strongly for medicare, in reality it’s Harper who is one of medicare’s worst enemies.

"Murray Dobbin, a researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives who has studied Harper since the mid-1990s, writes that “people need to know just what Harper is likely to do with medicare and what he has said in the past. People’s memories are short.”"

Full article: Hepburn: The truth about Harper and medicare.

Catherine Porter: Earth lovers make strong case for blocking Harper (in the Toronto Star)

"The only thing worse for the environment than a Harper minority is a Harper majority.

"I’m talking about the biggest environmental threat — climate change. Over the past five years, the Conservatives have not only repeatedly backpedaled on Canada’s promises to cut our greenhouse gas emissions, they’ve aggressively campaigned other countries to follow suit. Under the Tories, the environment minister has become a de facto deputy to the ministry of finance — with the last one leaving to work at a bank and the newest, Peter Kent, spending his inaugural week championing Alberta’s oil sands. ...

"So, where does that leave us? As charities, environmental groups can’t wade into politics without losing their status. They won’t tell you who to vote for, if you care about Mother Earth.

"Left-wing, grassroots groups have filled the void. Both Project Democracy ( and Catch 22 ( are web-based campaigns to block a Harper majority by targeting key ridings. ...

"If I lived in a vulnerable riding, I’d tick whatever box had the best chance of blocking a Tory majority with ruthless determination.

"My children’s future is at stake."

Full article: Porter: Earth lovers make strong case for blocking Harper.

This campaign has so far ignored the biggest challenge facing the country, and in fact the human race - just because Dion was charisma-challenged doesn't mean he was wrong!

Haroon Siddiqui: Republicans would feel right at home (in the Toronto Star)

How did we let this man so Americanize our country - and with only a minority government?

Full article: Siddiqui: Republicans would feel right at home.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Nino Ricci: An Open Letter to Stephen Harper

An Open Letter to Stephen Harper.

This may be too subtle for a man who can sing "Imagine" without any signs of embarrassment.

Thomas Walkom: Harper and the subtle erosion of medicare (in the Toronto Star)

"... medicare requires a federal government willing to enforce the Canada Health Act. If, in the name of allowing provincial experimentation, it chooses not to do so, the system simply atrophies.

"As Harper told his Fraser Institute friends six years ago, those who think the Canada Health Act necessarily prevents two-tier medicine are simply wrong. With the right government in control federally, it can be a most flexible instrument."

Full article: Walkom: Harper and the subtle erosion of medicare.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Haroon Siddiqui: Tories divide and conquer (in the Toronto Star)

"The genius of Canada has been that despite hosting peoples from both sides of just about every conflict in the world, we have succeeded in not letting such differences get in the way of getting along with each other. Yet here we have a government, of all Canadians, that’s cynically exploiting, indeed reinforcing, political and social divisions among ethnic communities based on the fault lines of the troubled spots of the world."

Full article: Siddiqui: Tories divide and conquer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Degrassi’s Charlotte Arnold writes about how voter apathy is an insult to the democratic process (in the Toronto Star)

21-year-old actress Charlotte Arnold writes passionately on why you have to come out to vote if you want anything in our political system to change:

Youth Panel: Degrassi’s Charlotte Arnold on how voter apathy is an insult to the democratic process.

Bob Hepburn: Religious right a force for Harper (in the Toronto Star)

"Unlike past campaigns, though, evangelical right-wing backers of the Conservatives are shunning the national spotlight.

"Instead, they are working at the grassroots level to elect candidates who share their views on hot-button issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research, euthanasia and pornography. ...

"Harper may want to keep the religious right at arm’s-length as he tries to portray his party as middle-of-the road.

"But the religious right is solidly behind him — and working quietly on his behalf."

Full article: Hepburn: Religious right a force for Harper.

Brett Popplewell: Strategic voting: It’s not who you like, but who you don’t (in the Toronto Star)

Brett Popplewell talks about Project Democracy.

"Project Democracy, as the group calls itself, isn’t so much an advocacy group for democratic principles as it is a collaborative online effort to promote strategic voting to block a Conservative majority by whatever means necessary.

"The group’s method: to persuade voters in the country’s “contested ridings” to strategically abandon weaker candidates at the local level and throw their support behind whichever non-Conservative candidate the group deems most able to win — even if that means voting for the Bloc Québécois in some cases."

Full article: Strategic voting: It’s not who you like, but who you don’t.

A number of these organizations and web sites are appearing in a bid to ensure Harper doesn't get his desired majority. Another one worth looking at is

And here's another one: Catch 22 Campaign.

Catherine Porter: ‘Very ethnic’ group wonders where the Conservative love has gone (in the Toronto Star)

"The Ethiopians aren’t the only ethnic group in Ontario jilted by the Tories. Nine other agencies were completely cut off, including the South Asian Women’s Centre, the Afghan Association of Ontario and the Eritrean Canadian Community Centre of Toronto. Twenty-four others had their funding substantially cut. ...

"In March, the members of the House of Commons voted to reverse the cuts. But the decision wasn’t binding and the Conservatives didn’t listen. The funding wasn’t in their recent budget.

"In total, $43 million was slashed from settlement programs in Ontario. That’s $7 million less than the bill for gazebos and brick sidewalks sprinkled around Tony Clement’s lily-white riding last summer. There aren’t many new immigrants in Muskoka searching for English lessons or Amharic translations of their incomprehensible rental agreements.

"Maybe the “very ethnic” Chinese and South Asian immigrants now glowing in Harper’s adoring gaze will think they are somehow different, like all new lovers do. But they aren’t."

Full article: ‘Very ethnic’ group wonders where the Conservative love has gone.