Wednesday Links Roundup 2/10/16

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 of all, some tunes! I heard there was some kind of Beyoncé-related news this week, so I thought I’d share my favourite song of hers:

(In all seriousness, though, Formation is AMAZING and you gotta check it out if you haven’t yet.)

And let’s kick off the week with some great news: Mother Canada project won’t go ahead in Cape Breton park (CBC) (!!!)

Federal Politricks

Trudeau spurns NDP votes he once courted (Toronto Sun) Now listen, I never link to the Sun. So you know this one’s good.

Watchdog ‘Aware of’ Duffy Testimony Related to Election Fraud Cold Case (The Tyee) The original Robocall scandal, from way back in ’08.

Liberals to roll back Tories’ $900M federal sick leave changes (CBC) Thank God. I wrote about the changes last year’s budget imposed on public sector unions outside of the collective bargaining process; it was one of many nasty tricks used by the HarperCons to magically fulfill their campaign pledge to balance the budget.

Open government push requires ‘cultural shift’ in public service, federal documents warn (Toronto Star) Translation: the bureaucracy is used to operating in secret.

We Need Feminism Because…

One of the biggest stories in Canadian news in the last few weeks has unquestionably been the trial of disgraced media personality and piece of shit Jian Ghomeshi. The trial kind of falls outside of the scope of my expertise, and I don’t feel I have much original or perceptive to add to the conversation, so other than a bit of media criticism aimed at the vile vitriol Rosie DiManno’s been writing about the trial, I’ve refrained from commenting. But I wanted to make clear that I stand firmly with sexual assault survivors in condemning the justice system’s deplorable handling of this case and cases like it. Watching the survivors of Ghomeshi’s violence essentially be put on trial themselves is horrific, and it should now be clear to anybody who’s paying attention why sexual assault is such an under-reported crime. Here’s hoping this wretched trial is a turning point for our justice system and for public perceptions of sexual assault survivors.

Let’s Hope Ghomeshi Trial Doesn’t Stop Others From Seeking Legal Justice (The Tyee) Although realistically it probably will – what those women have had to endure on the witness stand is nothing short of sickening.

This is what it’s like to take your rape to court (Global News) Powerful profile of a woman who was in many ways the “perfect” rape victim for our court system and of all the bullshit she still had to put up with.

Jian Ghomeshi’s every move carefully crafted, branding experts say (Toronto Star) Asshat. He gets his frigging mother to walk him out of the courtroom.

Why Did Jian Ghomeshi Keep Lucy DeCoutere’s Letter? (CANADALAND) The picture of Ghomeshi that emerges from this article is of an extremely deliberate and dangerous psychopath.

Trauma prompts the brain to focus on survival, not ‘peripheral details’ (CBC) Could we get Heinen’s questioning thrown out on the grounds that it’s unscientific?

Algonquin College considers women-only Saudi Arabia campus (CBC) To complement the currently-existing men-only one. Smells more like a PR exercise than anything else.

Surveillance State

Liberals back CSIS in torture lawsuit (Toronto Star) They’re actually taking a more aggressive position in this lawsuit than the HarperCons ever did! #RealChange (Also, this bodes poorly for their handling of CSIS’s court disclosure demands in the ongoing trial of entrapped B.C. “terrorists” John Nuttall and Amanda Korody.)

Ex-spy watchdog asks: Why isn’t CSIS coming clean on tax data breach? (iPolitics) Calls for Michel Coloumbe’s head!

Oil Slump/Housing Bubble

Calgarians tell of jobs shed, shredded expectations (Calgary Herald) Things are bad in Alberta. Also, look at this:

Jingle mail rears its ugly head in Alberta again (CBC) “Jingle mail” is the practice of walking away from your mortgage and mailing the keys to the bank. Alberta has pretty lax laws on the matter and it was a big problem in the 80s – looks like it may be making a comeback in the coming months.

After the European Bank Bloodbath, Is Canada Next? (ZeroHedge) Wonky post, arguing that Canada’s major banks don’t have adequate reserves in place to cover their impending losses from major oil investments. Of course, folks have been wondering if Canada’s banks are WAY overleveraged for a while now…

This Week in Politicians Behaving Ridiculously

Toronto politician asks whether Canada should ban Beyoncé (VICE) What a city!

John Tory doesn’t seem to get what a conflict of interest is (NOW Magazine) What’d I say?

The Tee-Pee-Pee

This secret UK-Eurotunnel tribunal reveals something disturbing about refugees and TTIP (Independent) The British do headlines better than anybody. This article uses the example of Canada (most-sued developed nation under ISDS provisions!) as a warning of the horrible fate that could befall Britain if it signs onto the EU-US trade agreement.

The TPP is simply a Corporate Bill of Rights (Battlefords News-Optimist) #NotATradeDeal

The predators behind the TPP (Japan Times) Deadly metaphor: the TPP is to “promoting trade” as the Global War on Terror is to “spreading democracy”.

Trade Minister Needs to Break Out of Bureaucrat’s Bubble on TPP (The Tyee) Consultations have overwhelmingly been with groups supportive of the agreement.

Canada and the TPP (Counterpunch) Questions whether Freeland is being deliberately misled by her own staff.

Ratify TPP or Canada will be ‘shut out’ of foreign trade, Christy Clark says (CBC) Guess she missed that IMF study that showed the total impact on Canada’s economy would be less than a quarter of a percent of  GDP growth per year.


I had a metric whack-tonne of links for this section, but wound up using most of them up in Monday’s round-up of developments in pipeline resistance since the introduction of new guidelines for the pipeline approval process. There were a few left over, though:

Ottawa ‘fixes’ the pipeline process – and the lobbyists order champagne (iPolitics) No matter what decisions are made, a vast army of consultants will benefit.

Government, oil industry reaching common ground on pipelines (CBC) That’d be Alberta’s NDP government, BTW.

TransCanada dismissed whistleblower. Then their pipeline blew up. (National Observer) Then the NEB took three years to do something about the problem the whistleblower raised, and pretended it was never that urgent anyway.

CP Rail propane cars collide near Edmonton in 3rd ‘remote control’ accident (CBC) This comes amidst the elimination of 1000 positions at the company as they move towards increased use of remote control. Also, they didn’t report the accident as they were supposed to; CBC heard about it before the rail safety regulatory body did.

Energy giant CNRL derails full public inquiry into foreign workers’ deaths (CBC) Profits over people, as usual.

Trudeau backs away from election pledge on First Nations veto (APTN) He was unequivocal last year – a “No” from First Nations on natural resource projects on their lands would scuttle any proposed development. Now, he’s changing his tune.

Four and Twenty

Marc Emery: Why the appointment of Bill Blair is the harbinger of the New Prohibition (Georgia Straight) In his own long-winded way, Emery makes a compelling case.

War on the Poor

Federal proposals on unpaid internships ‘galling,’ advocates say (Toronto Star) ‘“Essentially what the federal government is going to be allowing here is for four-months unpaid probationary periods for all new hires,” said Andrew Langille, general counsel for the Canadian Intern Association.’ The policy would apply to industries like banking and telecommunications; advocates for interns are so outraged that they’ve completely withdrawn from consultations with the federal government. #RealChange

Lockdowns ‘similar’ to solitary, jail security official says (Toronto Star) Filed under War on the Poor because poverty is a major predictor of whether you’ll end up in our increasingly awful prison system.

OECD Study: The gap between Canada’s rich and poor is significantly bigger than previously thought (Press Progress) The discrepancy was due to underreporting of extremely rich households in survey data.

On what program should workers oppose the sellout agreement in Quebec’s public sector? (WSWS) This looks like a super-shitty deal…

Racial Justice

Mi’kmaq leader calls PEI park name a ‘grave insult’ (Globe and Mail) That’d be Jeffrey Amherst, who practiced biological warfare against the Mi’kmaq in the 1700s.

John Ralston Saul: Indigenous Peoples don’t need sympathy, they need you to take action (CBC) Well worth the listen.

From Black Action Defence to Black Lives Matter TO: decades apart but demands are the same (CBC) Sad, and true.

Attawapiskat family facing ‘agonizing’ wait for answers months after death of 13-year-old girl (APTN) They’ve been waiting four months for an autopsy, and they’re still waiting.

Unintentional racism by health practitioners most dangerous racism, researcher says (CBC) I don’t know if I necessarily agree with the finding – it seems to me that it’s probably one of the most easily quantifiable kinds of racism – but it’s a great issue to raise.

Climate Inaction

‘Enough Hot Air’: Critics Knock Delays on BC Climate Action (The Tyee) The opposition NDP accuse the Liberal government of essentially repeating the exact same consultations they conducted last year as a delay tactic.

Stephen Harper found chained to police station by caped vigilante David Suzuki (The Beaverton) Who was that masked man, anyway?

Scolding BC’s ‘Forces of No,’ Our Premier Crassly Divides Us (The Tyee) Christy Clark gets under my skin in a way that most politicians don’t, no matter how noxious their policies are.

Corporate Media

Do Canada’s Struggling Media Need an Intervention? (Michael Geist, The Tyee) Should the government step in, and if so, how? Geist is thoughtful as always.

The problem with newspapers today: the Marty Baron perspective (CBC) Neil MacDonald interviews Marty Baron, American editor, whose analysis is bombastic and kinda shallow. Basically, nobody knows.

Our Glorious Non-Combat Operation

Despite questions about airstrikes, Trudeau asserts principles in fight against ISIS (CBC) Key quote from Trudeau: “There are those who think we should engage in heated, over-the-top rhetoric when speaking about ISIL and terrorist groups like them. We see things in a different way…The lethal enemy of barbarism isn’t hatred. It’s reason.” He’s swinging for the history books with that one!

Rona Ambrose brands Liberal changes to ISIS mission ‘shameful’ (CBC) Key quote from Ambrose: “I think it’s dangerously naive. I don’t know what else to call it. This is a group of people that enslave women and children, that throw gay people off of the top of rooftops to their death and that burn people alive in cages. There’s no reasoning with terrorists of this kind, that’s why it’s important to send a very clear signal that we are willing to do what it takes to fight a threat of this nature.” When you get right down to it, though, the only difference between them is tone.

Trudeau’s ISIS strategy is high-risk – and largely political (iPolitics) Jeff Sallot’s analysis of the mission reboot is the best I’ve read, highlighting the glaring gaps in the Liberals’ plan.

A ‘non combat’ mission, Mr. Trudeau? You’ve got to be kidding. (iPolitics) iPolitics is all over this story. Great cartoon too.

Department of Foreign Global Affairs

Canada’s Foreign Policy, Ukraine, Syria and the TPP: The Need for “Real Change” vs “Cosmetic Change” (Global Research) Refreshing to see Ukraine get mentioned – seems like most outlets have gone quiet on that still-simmering conflict and Canada’s military involvement in it.

Majority rank human rights above job creation in Saudi arms deal: poll (Globe and Mail) But jawbs!

Animals’ Planet

St. Lawrence beluga researchers point to ‘worrisome’ deaths of mothers, newborns (CBC) The headline understates the scope of the problem.

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