Wednesday Links Roundup 1/27/16

Readers – if you come across any stories you think ought to be included in next week’s links round-up, 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!

First off, some tunes:

And a good chuckle: Yukon Rethinks Its ‘We All Need the D’ Public Health Ad (VICE)

War – What Is It Good For?

Trudeau’s bombing carries on Canada’s 25-year war against Iraq (rabble) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if war could fix what ailed Iraq, then all of its problems would have been solved a long time ago.

One in 10 Canadian vets of Afghan war diagnosed with PTSD (Globe and Mail) And when experts dig into the data, they point out all kinds of ways this is probably a major underestimate.

Canadian elite seizes on Burkina Faso terrorist attack to push militarist agenda (World Socialist Web Site) A close reading of the national media’s peer-pressure tactics to try to get Justin Trudeau to change his position on bombing ISIS. For example:

Justin Trudeau faces demands to break promise on ISIS bombing (Terry Milewski, CBC) Milewski rightly points out that Trudeau hasn’t justified his incoherent position, and wrongly concludes that therefore there’s no justification for ending this stupid war.

Canada’s ISIS mission has cost close to $300 million (Toronto Star) With an additional $200 million in sunk costs – and what do we have to show for it?

Pentagon chief says some coalition partners in fight against Isis ‘do nothing’ (The Guardian) *cough*CANADA*cough* No but seriously, cracks are forming in this awkward coalition – public criticism like this is really unusual.

Livin’ in a Petro-State

As I pointed out in my post yesterday, this week has been packed with pipeline news.

Trudeau Set to Tack Extra Review Onto Kinder Morgan Pipeline (Bloomberg) The devil, as always, is in the details.

Kinder Morgan pipeline protests in pictures (National Observer)

Elizabeth May begs NEB to let Kinder Morgan expansion “die here” (National Observer) Liz May doing what she does best, speaking powerful truth to a power which is probably just gonna ignore her. She’s probably prescient on the issue of lawsuits she raises here.

Canadian Agency Tasked With Overseeing Pipelines Only Did Its Job Properly Half the Time, Audit Shows (VICE) Smh…

Oil export pipelines: Will Canada ever build another? (CBC) How to spot bias in reporting 101: look at who’s quoted in this article.

Justin Trudeau urged Leonardo DiCaprio to tone down criticism of Canadian oilsands, source says (National Post) DiCaprio was apparently receptive to Trudeau’s message, which is yet another unnecessary example of why we shouldn’t let celebrities be figureheads for activist movements.

Trudeau should take ‘definitive’ stand on pipelines, Naheed Nenshi says (CBC) Everyone wants Trudeau to say this or say that – as though his opinion really matters that much. Also, my perception of Nenshi has been majorly altered by the way he leapt to Big Oil’s defence in this week’s Energy East flap.

Energy east pipeline far from a nation-building project: Hébert (Toronto Star) On national unity and oil revenues – great read.

Proposed Canada pipeline project would threaten US tribal rights, lawyer says (The Guardian) That’d be the already-on-life-support Trans Mountain. The influx of super-tankers on Washington’s coast threatens the cultures and livelihoods of several First Nations.

Federal Politricks

@Kady: The House is returning, time to check the Notice Paper! (Ottawa Citizen) Parliament is back ZOMG!!!!

Peter MacKay joins law firm Baker & McKenzie as partner (CBC) Cashing in on all those connections, I see. He must be feeling pretty clever that he got out before the embarrassment that was the Cons’ last election campaign.

Why a Parliamentary oversight committee won’t fix C-51 (Jack Gemmell, Great detail.

Yes, we can fix question period. We already know how. (Michael Chong, iPolitics) Chong, a Conservative MP, has always been full of ideas about how to make Parliament work better, notwithstanding his party’s atrocious record on this issue.

A protester is accusing Ted Cruz of liking Nickelback (CBC) Filed in this category because Cruz is, after all, both a federal-level politician and a Canadian. The pics in this article are great btw.

Foreign Global Affairs

Ottawa could stop Saudi arms deal if human rights situation worsens (Globe and Mail) A slight change in tune from Trudeau & Co. How much worse is “worse”? Saudi Arabia is already one of the worst in the world!

Stéphane Dion signals willingness to re-engage with Russia (CBC) A real departure from the Harper years – remember when he chartered a Navy boat right up next to Russian waters to make an inflammatory anti-Putin speech?

Ontario colleges should end men-only deals with Saudi Arabia: Editorial (Toronto Star) Because it’s 2016?

Tory MP says Stéphane Dion statement on Israel ‘outrageously vague’ (CBC) As usual, even the mildest criticism of Israel provokes a firestorm of condemnation from the CPC.

Canada to lift sanctions against Iran, foreign affairs minister says (The Guardian) After all the high-flying talk of political reconciliation and progress on dismantling Iran’s imaginary nuclear program, we get to the real reason why: ‘“Because if other countries move before us, it’s not a way to help our industry,” Dion said in mid-January.’

Cop Watch

Former police board chair files complaint against Chief Saunders, police board (Toronto Star) Fight! Fight! Fight!

Deputy Chief Sloly surely on the way out (NOW Magazine) After his comments last week on how the police budget ought to be radically cut? No surprises there! That’s career suicide for any top cop.

Mountie pleads guilty to sexual assaults, but won’t do time (paNOW) He got a 12 month conditional sentence and – brace yourselves – a $100 fine.

Vancouver police should apologize for stereotyping tourists: Cole (Toronto Star) Should being the operative word here.

Masked cops go on violent rampage during undercover operation (Ricochet) That’d be the SPVM, stirring shit up at an anti-austerity protest in Montreal in December.

Ian Mulgrew: Terror plot has all the elements of farce (Vancouver Sun) On the Nuttall & Korody trial. Painfully on-point. A must-read if you’re into this case.

Forcillo guilty in attempted murder in shooting death of Sammy Yatim (Toronto Star) I remember attending a protest outside of 14 Division a few days after Yatim was shot. I have never seen a Toronto crowd that angry, that surly, that aggressive. People were screaming at cops that they were murderers, and the cops were visibly nervous and way outnumbered. It was obvious then, and it’s still obvious now, that Yatim’s death was totally unnecessary, and this preposterous ruling isn’t justice by any stretch.

How to wrap your head around the James Forcillo verdict (NOW Magazine) The legal reasons why Forcillo could be found guilty of attempting to murder somebody he actually killed. Fun fact – no cop has ever been convicted of murder in Ontario.

Corporate Media

Postmedia layoffs condemn Canada’s largest cities to ‘news poverty,’ say critics (rabble) I’d argue that the cities this article is referring to – Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary – already suffered from pretty acute news poverty, and are now verging on news destitution, but I suppose it’s all semantics.

Canada’s national fabric is paying price for depletion of journalistic resources: Hébert (Toronto Star) Chantel Hébert is brilliantly on-point as usual.

Seeking a Villain for Postmedia’s Crisis? Try the Competition Bureau (The Tyee) Turns out allowing the Postmedia/Sun merger last year was – spoiler alert! – a terrible idea.

The Collapse of Postmedia (CANADALAND) On how Postmedia is failing in just the right way to be profitable to its American hedge-fund owners.

CRTC hearings on local TV get dire warning that half of all stations could close by 2020 (CP) Of course, it’s all those damn millenials’ fault…

Why your telecom must defend your right to privacy (Michael Geist, Toronto Star) Geist is insightful as usual.

War on the Poor

Homeless Jesus statue being mistaken for real person in Hamilton (CBC)

Trenton homeless man died of hypothermia, police say (The Trentonian News) One death like this is too many.

Treat payday loan shops like strip clubs, councillor says (Ottawa Sun) Stigmatize and shame people who work there?

Nunavut food prices soar amid U.S. drought, plunging loonie (CBC) $28/lb for green grapes, or – get this – $10 a head for iceburg lettuce. I mean, high food prices in the North is nothing new, but this is outrageous.

The Tee-Pee-Pee

EU quietly asks Canada to rework trade deal’s thorny investment clause (CBC) ISDS rears its ugly head in another context, after European parliamentarians quite rightly put their feet down.

How TPP Helps Workers Still A Mystery, Says National Union Leader (The Tyee) “The head of the country’s leading labour association says he still has no idea how a major Pacific Rim trade deal will help Canadian workers, despite recent meetings with the minister responsible for the deal.”

Four Twenty

Pot smokers don’t need rules. We need an apology! (Vancouver Sun) From last year, but extremely relevant.

Indigenous Issues

Aboriginal Chiefs Plead for Help in Canada After Children Commit Suicide (VICE) Unaddressed suicide epidemic – just another component of the ongoing genocide of First Nations peoples.

It took a tragedy to put La Loche on our map (Tim Harper, Toronto Star)

Justice minister won’t rule out Gustafsen Lake inquiry but says it’s not a priority (Globe and Mail) If you read the fine print, she basically says she has her marching orders from Trudeau already and an inquiry on Ts’Peten isn’t on the list.

‘The Pass System’ explores dark chapter in Canadian history (Toronto Star) From a few weeks ago, but I just found it. Sounds like a quality film about a major injustice in Canadian history.

One Clan’s Unique Weapon Against Big Oil (Yes! Magazine) On the Unist’ot’en. Their secret weapon – they never signed any treaties.

‘Pennies for Billions’: Aboriginals Fight Near Giveaway of Pipeline Rights in 1952 (The Tyee) Yet another suit against Kinder Morgan.

Ottawa discriminates against First Nation children, says historic ruling from Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (APTN) Funding for on-reserve children is lower than funding for off-reserve or non-indigenous children. Landmark case.

Animals’ Planet

Animal Rights Group Makes New Allegations of Animal Abuse at Marineland Canada (VICE) The group, Last Chance for Animals, had someone go undercover as a Marineland employee.

Hidden camera footage sparks angry response from Marineland (Niagara Falls Review) Folks from the Falls can be pretty touchy about Marineland criticism – it’s a big employer and draws a lot of tourists into town.

Solidarity Watch

Petition opposing Ontario nuclear waste plan sent to federal government (Hamilton Spectator) Nearly 100 000 signatures!

The Liberals must come cleaner on what happened at CRA (iPolitics) They’ve conceded that the auditing of political charities, especially environmental ones, was a waste of time – even called them “political harassments” – but are giving their predecessors a pass on any further investigation into these politically motivated witch hunts.

Krystal needs her spine fixed (GoFundMe) Krtystalline Krauss is a regular reporter for rabble and a fixture in the GTA protest scene. I first met her at Occupy Toronto in 2011. She’s having yet another surgery on her spine, but OHIP won’t cover her physio. If you can, please consider chipping in to help her (literally) get back on her feet!

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