Wednesday Links Roundup 01/20/16

Readers – this is the first in what a weekly series of links to some of the week’s most important and most overlooked news.

I’d like to especially focus on stories that are ongoing and/or part of a bigger-picture trend. As it’s a weekly thing, I won’t be including some headline-grabbing stories, though others may get covered.

If you come across any stories you think ought to be included in this roundup over the course of the next week, please send them my way by email (, on Twitter (@thealfalfafield), or on Facebook ( Also if yer not following me on Twitter and/or Facebook yet, get on that!

Let’s kick things off with some tunes:

Federal Politricks

“Do You Like Being Watched?” CJFE launches #MYPRIVACY campaign ahead of Bill C-51 Week of Action (Canadian Journalists for Free Expression) As I wrote in my Sunday post, we gotta put the pressure on the Libs on this issue – there’s nothing to lose and a lot to be gained.

MP Seamus O’Regan, 40 days sober, says it took an intervention to recognize his alcohol problem (CBC) Good for O’Regan for being open with the public about this – he could just as easily have quietly sought treatment, but by putting it out in the open, he’s helping present and future colleagues to be able to deal with their addiction issues with less stigma.

Trudeau cabinet retreats to New Brunswick to plot course for budget (CBC) With an address from Tony Blair’s guru Michael Barber…ugh.

No compelling case for Mulcair to stay as NDP leader: Hébert (Toronto Star) I’ve spotted a lot of articles lately built around the same premise: Mulcair did a pretty shitty job in #elxn42 and he’s pretty much got to go, even if it throws the NDP into disarray. Sometimes it’s more delicately stated (as in this piece), and sometimes it’s a lot more blunt.

Question period enters sudden death round for first time in 50 years (The Beaverton)

Reads about Racism

Prison watchdog says more than a quarter of federal inmates are aboriginal people (CBC) In the Prairie provinces, Aboriginal folks make up 48% of the prison population.

CBSA enforcement against immigrants on the rise in B.C. (The Georgia Straight)

‘Completely innocent’: Police clear three men seen filming in Pacific Centre (Vancouver Sun) Police freaked out when they saw some people taking pictures of a mall. Totally not a coincidence that the people in question were brown, of course.

Livin’ in a Petro-State

Government will ‘get it right’ on getting oil, gas to tidewater, says Carr (iPolitics) That’d be Federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, whose mandate, apparently, “includes expanding market access for oil and gas”. The more ya know…

And on the same note: Alberta NDP, federal Tories demand pipelines to help ‘crippled’ energy industry (CBC) That sounds like an all-party consensus on pipelines to me – so they must be a good idea after all!

At final hour, Burnaby mayor pleads with feds to suspend Kinder Morgan hearings (National Observer) That’d be the same mayor who said last year he was willing to get arrested and end his political career if that’s what it took to stop TransMountain.

‘Excessive fatigue’ at CP an ‘immediate threat’ to rail safety: Transport Canada (CBC) Posted under Petro-State because of all the oil cars that CP is running these days…and also because of this:

Rail safety documents heavily redacted or kept secret by Transport Canada (CBC)

Enbridge boosting security after recent cases of pipeline sabotage (AP) I thought they might do this…but meanwhile…

Arrests made after direct action protesting Kinder Morgan NEB hearings (Ricochet) They seized and shut down a drilling barge. You can see video of the arrests here from Red Power Media. Resistance is contagious!

Climate activists lock themselves to door of Vancouver National Energy Board office (Vancouver Observer)

Environment Canada issued warning to Mount Polley mine before disaster, FOIs reveal (National Observer) Not oil-related, but there’s that whole resource-extraction-industry-does-whatever-it-wants angle to the story.

“Terrorism” (state-sponsored and otherwise)

Yemen: Another MSF-supported hospital bombed (MSF) That’d be by our close friends and allies, Saudi Arabia. Y’know, the folks we’re selling the tanks light armoured vehicles to.

‘Nobody knows me’: Omar Khadr settles into his new life of skiing, studying and going to the mall (National Post) Sounds like Omar is enjoying life on the outside – good to hear!

Canada Wants Drones to Bomb Terrorists, Track Pirates, and Spy on Protesters (VICE) “…oh, yeah, and spy on protesters too. That shouldn’t be a problem, right?”

Mental breakdown not key factor in Parliament Hill shooting, Paulson says (iPolitics) RCMP top cop Bob Paulson is now also apparently either a mind-reader or is able to speak to the dead.

War on the Poor

Homeless Victoria Campers Won’t Budge: ‘We Are Part of the Solution’ (The Tyee) I lived in Victoria a few winters ago. It’s a beacon for homeless folks in the wintertime because of its mild climate and (relatively) lax approach to letting people sleep outside. But this is a problem in need of a much more imaginative solution than more and bigger shelters.

Also, relatedly, there’s this: 16-year-old under B.C. ministry care living in Victoria homeless camp (CBC)

Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of world’s population, says Oxfam (The Guardian) And they say solving poverty is complicated…

Tech Giants Accused by Amnesty of Using Cobalt Dug by Children (Bloomberg) Not new news, but good to see it widely reported.

The Tee-Pee-Pee

I’m determined to keep talking about the TPP, even if nobody especially wants to listen…

Who benefits from the TPP? We’re still not sure. An evening with Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of International Trade (OpenMedia) Great detail on the Liberal government’s first tentative attempts at “public consultation”

Seven Ways TPP Favours Mega-rich Foreign Investors, Not Canadians (The Tyee)

The TPP will cost Canada 58,000 jobs — and won’t grow the economy (rabble) Where’s the upside on this deal?!?

War on the Car

In our system you can kill a cyclist, pay $500: Porter (Toronto Star) Sickening.

Cop Watch

Deputy chief Peter Sloly slams bloated police budget (Toronto Star) Sloly missed out on the Chief of Police position he so badly coveted last year, and so now he’s performing a public service by being a thorn in Mark Saunders’ side. It’s extremely rare to see a cop call for a major contraction of the police budget.

Toronto’s police-budget watchdogs are all asleep: James (Toronto Star) Royson James is full of righteous anger this week, and just rips into TPS and the mayor.

Toronto police to get military-style assault rifles (CBC) ‘”We’re always looking at technology to see if it offers us additional safety, additional accuracy, something that can help us protect the public,” said police spokesperson Mark Pugash.’ Suuuure Mark, assault rifles so you can protect the public…

Indigenous Issues

Gustafsen Lake warrior granted political asylum in US wants return home to Canada (Warrior Publications) I wrote about Gustafsen Lake a little while back. If you’ve never heard of it, check it out – it was a stunning (and majorly overlooked) event in recent Canadian history.

15 Indigenous Rights victories that you didn’t hear about in 2015 (IC Magazine) Yes, it’s a clickbait listicle. Deal with it. I hadn’t heard of any of these.

America’s Other Original Sin (Slate) Gripping long read about the historically neglected topic Indigenous slavey in early post-contact (so-called) North America.

Animals’ Planet

URGENT: ONTARIO ANNOUNCES WOLF CULL (Peaceful Parks) I wrote about B.C.’s unscientific and forestry-industry-benefitting wolf cull a little while back, but if this article is accurate, Ontario’s looks to be a whole lot worse.

London father and son land in animal-welfare crosshairs for African elephant hunt (London Free Press) Fuck these people.

Did I miss a big story? I can only read so much news in a week, and I’m sure there’s a ton of good/important stuff out there – feel free to link it in a comment down below!

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