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Showing posts from March, 2015

Harper extends Iraq mission for a year and expands mission into Syria bombings

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has presented a motion before parliament that would renew its mission as part of the coalition led by the US that is fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or IS). + Add Image 1 of 2  The entire text of the motion can be found here. The original mission that involved air attacks and special forces advisers lasted six months. One Canadian soldier was killed in a friendly fire incident at a Kurdish checkpoint near the front lines during the present mission. The mission has not just been extended for a year rather than another six months, it has also been expanded to include air strikes in Syria. When Harper first made his case for joining the coalition, he specifically noted that Canada would attack the Islamic State only where it had the clear support of the government of the area being attacked. Now he has simply ignored that proviso along with the US and some other members of the coalition. Harper said: "In expanding our air str…

Canadian Bar Association critical of new anti-terror legislation

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Mar 23, 2015  Ottawa - The Canadian Bar Association(CBA) harshly criticized the Conservative Harper government's new anti-terror bill C-51, claiming it has measures that would deprive Canadians of liberties while not increasing their safety.
+ Add Image 1 of 3  The Bar Association objected to changing the mandate of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to allow it to actively disrupt terror plots, claiming that "vague and overly broad language" would allow disruption of legitimate activity including environmental and aboriginal protests. The CBA represents over 37,000 lawyers, judges, notaries, law teachers, and law students.
The targeting of environmental and aboriginal activists is no doubt one aim of the legislation. The RCMP has recently warned that environmental activists are more of a danger to Canadian security than radical Islamists at least in the energy sector. Jeffrey Monaghan of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen's University in Kingston Ontari…

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reduces growth rate projection for Canada

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) has cuts it growth rate prediction for Canada in both this year and also in 2016. + Add Image 1 of 3  In its economic assessment released today, March 18, the OECD said: “Overall, the near-term outlook remains for moderate, rather than rapid, world GDP growth. [But] real investment remains sluggish and labour is not yet fully engaged. Lower oil prices will boost global demand and have created conditions for many central banks to lower interest rates.”The Canadian central bank has already lowered interest rates in the hope of stimulating economic activity. Prior to the drastic drop in oil prices the OECD had predicted that Canada would gradually begin raising interest rates around the middle of this year. The opposite has happened, as in January, Stephen Poloz, the governor of the Bank of Canada, lowered interest rates from 1 percent to 0.75 percent. The report claimed that overall the effect of lower oil prices should be …

Conservatives use hearing on anti-terror bill as propaganda platform

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Ottawa - In the first hour of testimony Thursday on Bill C-51 the Harper government;s new anti-terror legislation, the Conservatives asked only one question. The hearings are before the Commons Public Safety Committee. + Add Image The question came from Conservative MP Rick Norlock who asked Carmen Cheung of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association(BCCLA): "Are you fundamentally opposed to taking terrorists off the streets?" The question has no relevance to whatever particular recommendations were presented. It's function is to suggest that the presenter may "oppose taking terrorists off the streets". In these committee hearings, a small number of members of parliament with knowledge of the bill under consideration are to hear from expert witnesses as to ways in which a bill is lacking and could be improved. The committee then will take any changes they find desirable back to the House of Commons as suggestions as to how the legislation can be improved. …

Canadian personal debt is over 160 percent of disposable income late in 2014

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Canadians' disposable income is not growing as fast as their borrowing. Canadian personal debt grew to 163.3 percent of disposable income in the fourth quarter of 2014. + Add Image With interest at historic lows and the cheapest mortgages in years, many Canadians are assuming larger debt amounts. Last month five-year conventional mortgage rates fell 4.74 percent, the lowest since records started in 1975. The Bank of Canada cut the interest rate even further in January as the drop in oil prices threatened parts of the economy in areas such as Alberta. New homes prices fell 0.1 percent in January as builders try to entice new home buyers. In January this year according to a Royal Bank study, Canadian household debt grew by 4.6 percent. This is close to the fastest growth in two years. Household debt in Canada was $1.82 trillion in January greater than Canadian GDP which on an annualized basis was below this at $1.65 trillion in January. Much of the debt comes from mortgages that grew…

Manitoba Premier Greg Sellinger survives bitter leadership battle

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- Manitoba Premier Greg Sellinger was able to fend off two challengers at the New Democratic Party leadership convention held in Winnipeg on Sunday. + Add Image Premier Sellinger was challenged by Steve Ashton, the MLA for the northern constituency of Thompson, and Theresa Oswald. Oswald was one of the so-called Gang of Five cabinet ministers who challenged Sellinger's leadership last fall along with Jennifer Howard, Erin Selby, Stan Struthers, and Andrew Swan. She along with others resigned their cabinet positions in early November last year. One result of the challenge was the present convention and leadership race. Ashton was a candidate who attempted to be the peacemaker whose aim was to unite the party. At first, he seemed to have the most support but the first ballot showed him trailing. Ashton received 502 votes, Oswald 575, and Sellinger 612. A list of who was supported by unions, MLA's and others is given in this article. SInce Ashton came third on the first ballot, he…