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The Conservative government says it will appeal a court ruling that allows an individual to wear a niqab during a citizenship ceremony. Niqab photo via Flickr.

The Conservative government says it will appeal a court ruling that allows an individual to wear a niqab during a citizenship ceremony. Niqab photo via Flickr.

Harper’s niqab stand seems ‘deliciously timed’ for a fall election.

What the hell is the matter with us, anyway?

The prime minister of Canada goes out of his way to criticize the Federal Court of Canada because it permitted a woman to take the oath of citizenship while wearing a niqab, a veil. She made it clear that she would be glad to remove the niqab privately to confirm her identity. But Harper, whose government intends to appeal the court ruling, says covering one’s face during a citizenship ceremony is “not how we do things here.”

Harper has made this and his proposed anti-terrorism legislation, Bill C-51, into political issues, deliciously timed for a fall election.

I tell you frankly, up front, I think this is not only wrong, but also racist.

I realize those are strong words but I’ve given it a lot of thought and I can’t think of anything else. Why on Earth would anybody, much less the prime minister, care what somebody else wears? Read full article at The Tyee

Thomas Mulcair, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau

Thomas Mulcair, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has thrown down the gauntlet with his promise of federal tax giveaways for LNG enterprises.

I expected this sort of nonsense – just one look at the smug sneer of power on the face of James Moore, Minister of Industry, over the last few months, indicated that this decision was coming and that the opinions of the people of British Columbia didn’t matter a tinker’s dam.

This I think is one of the central points.

When it comes to industry and the people with whom this government are philosophically aligned, the people lose every time.

It may well be, when one thinks about it, that Mr. Harper takes few if any risks with this policy. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Cartoon by Greg Perry.

Cartoon by Greg Perry.

Is Harper pushing us towards a new McCarthyism?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, unless thwarted by a surge of surprising voter intelligence, has found the winning formula. Leading his coven of three-piece-suit and pearl necklace know-nothings, he will rally the electorate in a rout of the mortally dangerous non-Christian hordes within and without our borders, saving God from Allah and leaving Trudeau and Mulcair gasping for air, something they excel at.

As Harper whips up fear of a Muslim enemy he will make it simple to allow hate to spread without appearing to do so. In fact Harper need only mumble “not all people… many are fine, innocent… blah, blah, blah” and play the civil libertarian role.

It’s classic George W. Bush, a fellow intellectual of the right, who parlayed the hateful Saddam Hussein and those who looked like him into two election victories from which the world will likely never recover. Read full article at The Tyee

Premier Christy Clark made big election promises about managing BC’s economy (CP)

Premier Christy Clark made big election promises about managing BC’s economy (CP)

Welcome to Ruritania! Where is Peter Sellers when we need him?

We now have a legislature pretending to act like big kids do, leaders acting as if they really are in charge, a government out of control, and an opposition dedicated more to supporting the government than to raising issues.

Through the looking glass: Clark’s surreal throne speech

The Throne Speech was really quite funny when you think of it. The more LNG companies withdraw their undertaking, the more money we make. The fewer the LNG plants developed, the more jobs we’ll have. The worse our environmental record is in fracking for LNG, the less it matters.

If we go on having companies withdraw from LNG in BC, God knows how much money we’ll all make and how rich we’ll all become!

Thanks to Christy Clark, Alice in  Wonderland has become not a fairy tale, but a documentary! Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

The Dodgers vs. the Giants

Duke Snider

Duke Snider

First, forgive my absence from these pages for so long however Wendy and I did take a short cruise punctuated, sad to say, by some hospitalization for me. Thankfully, I am on the mend!

Today is true confessions day and there will be a lot of old friends rolling in their graves to learn what I have to say.

From the time I was a small child I was a Brooklyn Dodger fan, big time!

My first recollection was the Mickey Owen dropped 3rd strike in the 1941 World Series but my interest really was piqued in 1947 when Jackie Robinson was the first Black to play in the major leagues in the 20th century and played for “my team”. Continue Reading »

Cartoon by Greg Perry.

Cartoon by Greg Perry.

Tankers safe! Protests rude! National Energy Board fair! Save Albertans’ asses!

It is always so comforting to know that the Vancouver Sun cares enough for us to keep us impartially informed of matters environmental. For example, they’ve done it for us twice on the same day.

In the Jan. 28 edition, Stephen Ewart provides, we are told, the “View from Alberta” (where else?). A columnist for Postmedia’s Calgary Herald, Ewart previously was employed crafting messages for the oil and gas industry. Yet here he seeks to advise those who would stand in the way of the oil and gas industry.

Of course, this is about the protest by the good citizens of Burnaby against the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. If their fight hadn’t had a great deal of impact, energy colossus Kinder Morgan wouldn’t be squawking so much through its spokesperson Ali Hounsell, nor would Ewart be dragged from his squirrel cage in Calgary. Read full article at The Tyee

On a roll? Elizabeth May at the Toronto Gay Pride parade, 2011. Photo: BarrieGreens/Flickr.

On a roll? Elizabeth May at the Toronto Gay Pride parade, 2011. Photo: BarrieGreens/Flickr.

Coming election a chance to register protest by voting in maverick MPs.

This is scarcely a novel idea, but I suspect that the federal election this fall will have a new serious player: the Green Party. The Greens have long been a factor, but they haven’t gained any traction until recently.

A couple of caveats.

I don’t know the impact of the Greens east of the Rocky Mountains, however I suspect it’s nil in Alberta where the ravages of the tarsands are of no consequence if there’s money in them. Anytime I muse about B.C. separating and joining with Alberta I become an instant nationalist. I’d rather be allied with 19th-century Alabama.

I don’t know about Saskatchewan nor Manitoba, but I suspect that there will be some appeal in Ontario, if only because of the proposed eastern pipeline. Quebec has taken a very tough stand against fracking for natural gas and is scarcely afraid to swim against traditional electoral currents. How “green” does that make them, I wonder? Read full article at The Tyee

Deliver on the Canadian dream by making every vote count. Cartoon by Ingrid Rice.

Deliver on the Canadian dream by making every vote count. Cartoon by Ingrid Rice.

Fix our democracy’s mess, ignore boo birds’ silly myths.

We have a dictator at 24 Sussex Drive. So was Trudeau. So was Chretien. In fact, though he had a smile on his face, so was Mulroney. We don’t acquire dictators by a putsch but all nice and legal like under a system which makes them a natural consequence of an election.

We can liberate ourselves from dictatorship by reforming our electoral system and adopting proportional representation (PR).

Unfortunately, when Canadians consider reforms they consistently make perfection the enemy of improvement. Clearly the majority strongly believe that we require reforms to our electoral system and our system of governance generally — and now. You can tell because the boo birds have begun to smother proposals not with arguments on the merits but a lament that since the suggested changes won’t fix everything, it’s best to leave things alone. Read full article at The Tyee

Ben West addressing a Vancouver crowd about Kinder Morgan in 2012 (Damien Gillis)

Ben West addressing a Vancouver crowd about Kinder Morgan in 2012 (Damien Gillis)

There’s big news on the environmental front!

Ben West, the eminent young environmentalist until now with Forest Ethics and, before that, the Wilderness Committee, has joined Rex Weyler fighting tanker traffic on the BC coast through Tanker Free BC. This makes a very potent combination indeed. (Full disclosure: My colleague, Common Sense Canadian publisher Damien Gillis, is a founding  board member of TFBC along with Mr. Weyler).

For those who may not know, Rex Weyler was a founder of Greenpeace International and its biographer. He has been active in environmental matters for many years and in 2009 took up the cudgels against tanker traffic on our coast. Tanker Free BC was formed some 5 years ago, specifically to take on the Kinder Morgan issue and the organization laid much of the early groundwork for the campaign to block the project.

Ben is a first class student of the environment and a very able presenter. I have had the privilege of appearing at podiums with both he and Rex. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

A coho spawning in a small stream (Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife)

A coho spawning in a small stream (Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife)

I come today in praise of the Vancouver Sun and trust that events don’t prove that I should’ve approached the mainstream media with my usual skepticism.

First, let me tell you a story from my early life which you may have heard and, if so, please bear with me.

Coho spawn in the darndest places

When I was a young lad, my friend Denis and I used to bicycle down to the Musqueam Indian reserve and fish two tiny creeks, one which we called Tin Can Creek, more properly known as Musqueam Creek.

With shiner lines, a tiny hook and a bit of worm, we would catch small cutthroat trout and, as with all young boys, rejoice at every second. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

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