Canada

Canada among the most Sued Countries by Corporations

Canada is the most-sued country under the North American Free Trade Agreement and a majority of the disputes involve investors challenging environmental laws, according to a new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Over 70 per cent of claims since 2005 have been brought against Canada, and the number of challenges under NAFTA’s settlement clause is rising sharply.

A Huffington Post story by Sunny Freeman on the CCPA report says that the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism contained in NAFTA’s chapter 11 grants investors the right to sue foreign governments without first pursuing court action. The provision included in the 1994 treaty on the argument that U.S. and Canadian investors needed protection against corruption in Mexican courts. But the mechanism limits governments from enacting policies on public concerns such as the environment and labour or human rights, and negotiations are often carried out in secret.

The CCPA believes the federal government’s commitment to Chapter 11 and its willingness to settle and compensate claimants is encouraging this trend. There were 12 cases brought against Canada from 1995 to 2005, and another 23 in the last decade. This compares to 22 against Mexico and 20 percent against the U.S. since 1995.

Canada has lost or settled six claims paying a total of $170 million in damages, while Mexico has lost five cases and paid out $204 million. The U.S. has won 11 cases and has never lost a NAFTA investor-state case.

“Thanks to NAFTA chapter 11, Canada has now been sued more times through investor-state dispute settlement than any other developed country in the world,” said Scott Sinclair, who authored the study. He estimates that Canada has spent $65 million defending such claims over the past two decades.

About 63 per cent of the claims against Canada involved challenges to environmental protection or resource management programs that allegedly interfere with the profits of foreign investors. The government has lost some of these challenges and has been forced to overturn legislation protecting the environment.

In 1997, the Ethyl Corporation, a U.S. chemical company, used chapter 11 to challenge a Canadian ban on the import of MMT, a gasoline additive that is a suspected neurotoxin and which automakers have said interferes with cars’ diagnostic systems. The company won damages of $15 million and the government was forced to remove the policy.

A year later, U.S.-based S.D. Myers challenged Canada’s temporary ban on the export of toxic PCP waste, which was applied equally to all companies. Canada argued it was obliged to dispose of the waste within its own borders under another international treaty. However, the tribunal ruled the ban was discriminatory and violated NAFTA’s standards for fair treatment.

There are currently eight cases brought by U.S. companies against the Canadian government asking for a total of $6 billion in damages. Many of the current challenges involve domestic environmental protections such as the promotion of renewable energies, a moratorium on offshore wind projects on Lake Ontario and Nova Scotia’s decision to block a mega-quarry.

In one case, Lone Pine Resources Inc., is suing the Canadian government for $250 million over Quebec’s moratorium on natural gas fracking, which applies equally to foreign and domestic companies. Lone Pine argues it was not consulted before the ban nor compensated for its wasted investment or loss of potential revenue.

Sinclair argues that the threat of challenges under chapter 11 has a chilling effect on public interest regulation, which will only worsen unless political and legal action is taken.

“Buoyed by their past successes, foreign investors and their legal advisors are now turning to NAFTA chapter 11 with increasing frequency and assertiveness,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, compared to other parts of the world, there is surprisingly little political debate about the corrosive influence of ISDS on public policy and democracy in Canada.”

Canada is embarking on a new generation of treaties such as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, and the Trans Pacific Partnership, both of which contain investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) systems. While governments can be sued under ISDS, there is no similar recourse for states to hold foreign investors accountable for their actions.

Source: http://www.peoplesvoice.ca/Pv01fe16.html#ECANADA

Image Source: http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/10/23/naftas-isds-why-canada-one-most-sued-countries-world

Trudeau Government to Condemn the BDS Movement

The Canadian Parliament is on course to “condemn any and all attempts” by Canadian groups to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

The motion to condemn BDS was put forward by the Conservatives, but on Thursday the Liberal majority government announced it would vote in favour. The NDP says the motion is an attack on freedom of expression and is opposing it.

BDS, which calls for an economic boycott of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians, has become a major issue on university campuses. Its proponents include the United Church of Canada and a Quebec labour union.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel, who seconded the motion, described BDS as a movement that stifles academic freedom and opposes Israel’s right to exist.

“The BDS movement brings physical intimidation and a spirit of demonization into the Canadian discourse of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” she said.

“This is not Canadian, and thus I condemn it.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion accused the Conservatives of being divisive and reducing the debate to black-and-white terms.

But he revealed the Liberals will support the motion regardless, because they view the BDS movement as harmful and ineffective.

“The world will win nothing for boycotting Israel,” said Dion.

With both the Liberals and Conservatives onboard, the motion will easily pass when it goes to a vote either later today or next week.

The NDP lashed out at the other two parties for not supporting freedom of belief. They said the motion is designed to muzzle people who hold contrary opinions.

“What kind of world are we living in here in Canada where we’re starting to attack the fundamental right to disagree,” said NDP MP Hélène Laverdière.

Green Party MP Elizabeth May is also opposing the motion.

Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/paulmcleod/the-canadian-parliament-is-going-to-condemn-the-bds-movement?bftwcanada&utm_term=.afjlz0xnx#.nw6ezv7N7

Image Source: http://canadatalksisraelpalestine.ca/2015/03/16/trudeau-joins-harper-blaney-in-condemning-bds/

 

Communist Party Elects First Woman Leader

For the first time in its 95-year history, the Communist Party of Canada has a woman as its central leader. Liz Rowley was elected to the position by the CPC’s Central Committee, at a meeting in Toronto on the Jan. 30-31 weekend. The change of leadership follows the resignation of Miguel Figueroa, who stepped down for health reasons after serving in this office for 23 years.

Liz Rowley is well-known across Canada for her many years of activity in the Communist Party and in a wide range of people’s movements. Born in British Columbia in 1949, she joined the CPC in 1967. As a student at the University of Alberta, she was the Party’s youngest candidate in the 1972 federal election, speaking out strongly for women’s reproductive rights and an end to the Vietnam War while running in the riding of Edmonton Strathcona.

She has been a Party organizer in Ontario since 1973, apprenticing as a typesetter in Windsor before becoming Provincial Organizer in 1975, International Women’s Year. She has been a member of the Central Executive Committee since 1978. Living in Hamilton during the 1980s, she was deeply involved in many labour struggles to defend jobs, living standards, labour rights, women’s equality, social programs and Canadian sovereignty. While campaigning to ban the Ku Klux Klan, Rowley’s apartment was destroyed by arson. During the year long Stelco strike in 1981 she married a steelworker. She is now the proud mother of two adult children.

Moving to Toronto after being elected as Ontario leader of the Party in 1988, Rowley became a powerful grassroots spokesperson in the “Days of Action” fightback against brutal cutbacks imposed by the Mike Harris Tories, and was elected a Public School Trustee in East York. She has been an outspoken participant in many battles for the rights and interests of working people in Ontario, around such issues as defence of public education, for public auto insurance, the fight against plant closures, for peace and anti-racism, proportional representation, and much more. Along with Miguel Figueroa, she was instrumental in the membership struggle to block attempts to dissolve the CPC during the early 1990s.

Born in Montreal in 1952, Miguel Figueroa joined the CPC in 1977 a national field organizer for National Union of Students. In 1978, he became the party’s Greater Vancouver organizer, and from 1986 to 1992 he was the Party’s Atlantic region leader. Starting in the late 1980s, he and Rowley were key figures in the struggle to save the CPC. At the Party’s 30th Central Convention in December 1992, Figueroa was elected as its new leader. Over the last 23 years, Miguel Figueroa led the Communist Party through the landmark Figueroa case, eight federal election campaigns, and speaking across the country. He was also a prominent figure at the annual International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties, representing the CPC many times.

The 38th Central Convention of the CPC will be held May 21-23 in Toronto. The Convention will feature a tribute to Miguel Figueroa as a highlight of the weekend’s agenda.

Over the coming months, Liz Rowley will meet with CPC members and supporters across the country. She will also speak at a series of public forums and events as party of the CPC’s campaign to block ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the 12-country corporate pact signed by Canada last week in Auckland, New Zealand.

Source: http://communist-party.ca/statement/2031

Study Confirms Maidan Massacre a False Flag Operation

Research conducted by the University of Ottawa on the Maidan “Snipers’ massacre” of February 2014 has shown that the killings of protestors were organized by far right paramilitary groups and allied political parties, not the former government’s Berkut riot police, as claimed by the current Kiev government and repeated by Western media.

A study of the February 20, 2014 “Snipers’ massacre” in Kiev, where scores of protesters were killed by shots fired from surrounding buildings, has proved that it was carried out by Western-backed opposition groups.

The research found that the Berkut special police force, which was loyal to the Ukrainian government, was not responsible, contrary to the narrative which was created by the post-Maidan coup government in Kiev, and consequently accepted by Western governments and media.

Ivan Katchanovski, a teacher of political science at the University of Ottawa, studied eyewitness reports, estimates of ballistic trajectories, 30 gigabytes of security forces’ radio intercepts, 5,000 photos and 1,500 videos and broadcast recordings of the protesters’ deaths.

“This academic investigation concludes that the massacre was a false flag operation, which was rationally planned and carried out with a goal of the overthrow of the government and seizure of power,” wrote Katchanovski in his study, called ‘The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine.’

“It found various evidence of the involvement of an alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. Concealed shooters and spotters were located in at least 20 Maidan-controlled buildings or areas.”

The deaths of 49 protesters on February 20 have been attributed by Kiev’s current government to the Berkut special police force, loyal to then Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s government. Investigations of the massacre by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office and other government agencies blame Berkut for shooting the protesters on Yanukovych’s orders.

The prosecutor’s report falsely concluded that Berkut snipers killed 39 of the protesters who died that day, reports Katchanovski.

The killings took place as the Yanukovych government was negotiating with opposition groups to find a political solution to the crisis, and was soon followed on February 22 by an armed coup that gave Ukraine’s Verkhovnaya Rada the power to change the constitution and overthrow the president.

“The Maidan-led government used the Maidan massacre as a source of its legitimacy and widely commemorated this mass killing and its victims among the protesters. The killed protesters were posthumously awarded ‘Hero of Ukraine’ titles by President Petro Poroshenko, and the government established February 20 as a day in their honor,” Katchanovski explains.

The post-Yanukovych government’s version of the events of that tragic day has been largely unchallenged by the Western governments and media, who have represented the massacre and the Maidan protests as “a part of the narrative presenting ‘Euromaidan’ as a democratic, peaceful mass —protest movement and a revolution led by pro-Western parties,” says the academic.

“A report of the International Advisory Panel, set up by the Council of Europe, presented evidence in 2015 that the investigation of the ‘snipers’ massacre’ on the Maidan has been stalled, in particular by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor General office. The report revealed that contrary to the public statements, the official investigation had evidence of ‘shooters’ killing at least three protesters from the Maidan-controlled Hotel Ukraina or the Music Conservatory and that at least other 10 protesters were killed by unidentified ‘snipers’ from rooftops.”

While observing the overwhelming bias of Western media representations of the events, the scholar was able to cite some more thorough investigations. German TV program Monitor shows shooters based in the Hotel Ukraina, and revealed manipulation of the government’s investigation of the shootings. In addition, Katchanovski found reports from the BBC and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that confirmed the presence of armed protesters at the Music Conservatory and their shooting of the police at Maidan.

However, Katchanovski also relates other serious examples of media manipulation of the shootings, such as BBC editing of an interview with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, which “was misrepresented by BBC and the Ukrainian media as an admission of his and his police forces’ responsibility for carrying out the Maidan massacre.”

Source: http://www.sott.net/article/309703-Study-proves-Maidan-massacre-was-carried-out-by-current-Ukrainian-government

Image Source: http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150715/1024647920.html

Liberals back CSIS in Torture Lawsuit

The Liberal government has taken up the former Conservative government’s legal fight against an apology and compensation for three Canadians tortured in the Middle East, despite voting in favour of the former detainees’ cause while they sat in opposition.

As well, in aggressively defending the actions of CSIS and trying to prevent the release of thousands of unredacted documents that a judge is now poring over, the Liberals are going further than their Conservative predecessors did to protect CSIS sources.

Lawyers for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government are seeking retroactive blanket anonymity for spies and their sources and have filed an appeal in a civil lawsuit launched by the three men with that goal in mind. A Conservative bill last year, C-44, which enacted source protection, was not made retroactive.

Put together, the two moves have stunned a team of lawyers at Toronto’s Stockwoods firm that took up the cause of Abdullah Almalki, Muayyed Nureddin and Ahmad El Maati, as well as others who closely follow developments in security law.

“It’s a continuation of this incredibly litigious no-holds-barred scorched-earth defence strategy which we’ve been experiencing for 10 years under the Harper government,” said lawyer Phil Tunley, who is leading the team suing the federal government on behalf of the men.

“I fear that in this case, the current government is at risk of simply letting its litigation team roll along paths ordained by the prior government, without asking whether the interests of justice are served by devoting still more taxpayers’ money to fighting meritorious claims,” said University of Ottawa law professor Craig Forcese. He and the University of Toronto’s Kent Roach are authors of False Security: The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-Terrorism, an authoritative analysis of the current slate of security laws in Canada.

Almalki, Nureddin and El Maati filed a civil claim against the Canadian government seeking $100 million in damages for their detainment and torture overseas, but the lawsuit was put on hold during a federally appointed inquiry into their ordeals.

Their stories were eerily similar to the Maher Arar scandal that unfolded in the post-9/11 anti-terror push by national security agencies in Canada and the U.S. The three men weren’t deported to torture, but they were arrested upon arrival in Syria, interrogated and tortured at the same Syrian military prison as Arar.

A judicial inquiry into Arar’s torture and imprisonment found missteps by Canadian border agents and the RCMP “very likely” led Americans to deport the Syrian-born Canadian to Jordan and then Syria, where he was tortured. The Arar inquiry recommended a separate probe into the cases of the other three men.

The government of prime minister Stephen Harper apologized to Arar and paid $10.5 million in compensation plus $1 million in legal fees to settle Arar’s civil lawsuit.

Meanwhile, retired Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci led the second inquiry, conducted in secret and under a narrower mandate.

In the end, Iacobucci concluded the actions of Canadian officials indirectly contributed to their detention (except for Almalki’s initial arrest) and to the torture of all three at the hands of Mideast jailers. One, El Maati, was transferred from Syria to Egypt where he was also tortured, Iacobucci said.

Still, the former Conservative government long resisted a settlement to the men’s claims, despite Iacobucci’s findings. His 455-page report became the basis for a recommendation by the Commons standing committee on public safety that the government offer an apology and compensation to the men “as reparation for the suffering they endured and the difficulties they encountered.”

At the time, in 2008’s Conservative minority Parliament, the NDP and the Liberals formed a voting majority on the committee.

When the committee’s report was brought to Parliament the Liberals again voted in support of an apology, compensation and a recommendation that the Government of Canada “do everything necessary to correct misinformation that may exist in records administered by national security agencies in Canada or abroad with respect to” the men and their families.

Now, if successful in its appeal of a ruling on source protection by Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley, the Liberal government, which has promised more accountability for national security agencies and to repeal some of the more draconian security measures enacted by the Conservatives, will go further than did the Conservatives.

Mosley ruled the federal government’s claim that C-44 should apply to CSIS sources in these cases “would be retrospective, and creates a new privilege” altogether that negatively affects the plaintiff’s rights.

Mosley said they have “a vested right to disclosure of human source identifying information in order to support” their civil claim, and that the risks of disclosure should instead be weighed under the Canada Evidence Act, “to consider whether release of the information would cause injury to one of the protected national interests and, if so, whether the risk of that harm outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

The judge said the men contend they already know the names of at least six CSIS employees “because they had interactions with those employees, and further, that those names are in the public domain (on social media and in a book published about their experiences).” And it was CSIS’s own policy at the time for CSIS agents to identify themselves as employees of the service.

The former Conservative government introduced blanket CSIS source protection under Bill C-44 but did not make the new law retroactive. It was a bill brought in after CSIS had lost a bid for such anonymity at the Supreme Court of Canada and had been found in another case to have misled a court on CSIS’s use of foreign intelligence sources.

When C-44 was studied, the Liberals argued source protection should be decided on a case-by-case basis, as it has been for years by the courts. But when it came to a vote in Parliament, the Liberals, including current Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, voted for C-44. Trudeau was absent for that vote.

The Liberal election platform promised only to repeal troubling elements of another security law, Bill C-51 — changes that are not due until next fall. But C-44 looks to remain untouched.

Goodale declined comment when asked about the case by the Star, saying he wanted to check further into the facts. Later, Goodale’s spokesman, Scott Bardsley, replied by email.

“The CSIS Act includes a clear prohibition on disclosing the identities of CSIS human sources in legal proceedings, subject to exceptions to ensure compliance with the Charter. Protecting the identities of CSIS human sources is of fundamental importance to the work of our security community. As such, we are requesting that a higher court review the Federal Court decision” of Justice Mosley, Bardsley wrote.

“As this issue is currently before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment further on this matter.”

But lawyer Phil Tunley, who is leading the team of counsel to the men, is shocked by the moves of a Liberal government that explicitly promised to bring accountability to the nation’s national security regime.

“The case is about accountability,” Tunley said in an interview.

“If you remove the courts from the oversight of CSIS management of its human sources and you basically say no court can ever look behind and see whether a source really is a confidential source or if they’re telling the truth . . . there’s no accountability in the courts. It’s an extraordinarily draconian measure.”

Tunley said Parliament can choose to make a law retroactive by saying so in legislation. However, in the case of CSIS source anonymity, the Conservative government did not move to do so. He said Ottawa’s appeal now is almost certain to delay the decade-long litigation further.

Given the mandate letters Trudeau gave his ministers, Tunley wondered “does anything the prime minister is saying, does any of the instruction he’s giving to his ministers have any impact?”

Roach, a University of Toronto law professor who was the research director for the Air India inquiry, said the CSIS informer privilege “was one of the worst features of the 2015 Conservative terror laws.” And he said the Federal Court’s decision that it couldn’t have retroactive application in this case “is well reasoned and recognizes that the new CSIS informer privilege can adversely affect those who are confronted with secrecy claims. The only exception is when innocence is at stake in a criminal trial.”

Source: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/02/06/liberals-back-csis-in-torture-lawsuit.html

Image Source: (Same as Source)

Trudeau ‘Unsure’ About Raising the Minimum Wage

What does Prime Minister Justin Trudeau think about raising the minimum wage?

During a series of interviews with ordinary Canadians aired on CBC Sunday night, Trudeau shared his reservations about provincial initiatives to raise the minimum wage, telling a struggling, low-wage worker he questions if that means “everything just gets more expensive or we have jobs leaving.”

Neil Piercey was one ‘ordinary Canadian’ who got an opportunity to grill Trudeau.

Piercey is a 58-year-old worker from London, Ontario who was laid off from a long-time, good paying manufacturing job, but now finds himself in a low-wage job and without a pension as he nears retirement.

In a clip that didn’t air during Sunday night’s broadcast, but was later uploaded to the web, Piercey asks the Prime Minister if he thinks it would be “a good idea to raise the minimum wage?”

Piercey was told the federal government only controls wages on certain industries that fall under federal jurisdiction (something Trudeau’s Liberals supported raising in 2014 before criticizing it during last year’s election campaign), but then Trudeau went a step further, sharing his thoughts about a few provincial initiatives to raise the minimum wage:

“A number of provinces are looking at raising the minimum wage across the board. There’s always a question of whether or not that has the impact that everyone would like to have. Maybe everything just gets more expensive or we have jobs leaving. We have to be very careful about that.”

Although Trudeau said there’s “no easy solutions” and added that “the possibility” of earning enough to live on is “something that Canada’s always done,” CBC’s Rosemary Barton noted after the broadcast that Trudeau’s message left the struggling manufacturing worker disappointed and “unsure about what will happen to him.”

He might also be disappointed in several problems with Trudeau’s questions about the effectiveness of raising the minimum wage:

1. Raising the minimum wage is highly unlikely to mean “jobs leaving”:
Trudeau wonders if raising the minimum wage could mean “jobs leaving” and relocating elsewhere?

The problem with that, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, is most minimum wage jobs are concentrated in the service industry, so it doesn’t make sense to ship those kinds of jobs to places with lower wages:

“The problem with this argument lies in the kinds of jobs that pay at or near minimum wages. Some 70 percent of people employed at the minimum wage are in the retail, accommodation and food services industries. These kinds of businesses are, in the first place, not highly mobile. Moreover, an increase – even a substantial one – in the minimum wage would be paid by all businesses in these sectors, so that a capital flight would not be the result.”

2. There’s little evidence minimum wage has an impact on unemployment:
It’s also not clear that minimum wage increases means an increase unemployment. A literature review by the Canadian Labour Congress last year concludes there’s little evidence suggesting raising the minimum wage has an impact on unemployment:

“After examining the economic research available on the connection between unemployment and minimum wage increases, it is difficult to say with conviction how the two factors are related, if they are at all … According to The World Bank’s World Development Report 2013: Jobs, there is no known universal impact of the minimum wage on unemployment rates.”

Meanwhile, another CCPA study notes employment is driven more by “demand” than by the minimum wage, suggesting “fear of disemployment effects are overblown by those with a vested interest in keeping wages down.”

3. Raising the minimum wage has minimal impact on prices:

What about Trudeau’s concern that “maybe everything just gets more expensive”?

Numerous academic studies show raising the minimum wage has little impact on consumers, even if the full cost of paying workers were passed on to the customer. A 2011 University of California, Berkeley study estimated raising the minimum wage by approximately $5 would only lead to a 1.1% increase in the average Walmart shopper’s bill at the checkout line:

“Even if Walmart were to pass 100 percent of the wage increase on to consumers, the average impact on a Walmart shopper would be quite small: 1.1 percent of prices, well below Walmart’s estimated savings to consumers. This works out to $0.46 per shopping trip, or $12.49 per year, for the average consumer who spends approximately $1,187 per year at Walmart. This is the most extreme estimate, as portions of the raise could be absorbed through other mechanisms, including increased productivity or lower profit margins.”

Another study out of Purdue University estimated raising the minimum wage for McDonald’s workers by $8 would increase the price of a Big Mac by only 15 cents. And a recent study out of Cornell looking at the impact of minimum wage increases on the US restaurant industry over 20 years found it only translated into a 0.3% to 1.5% increase in costs for consumers.

Nearly half of Canadian minimum wage earners work at companies with 500+ employees. “Large corporations are also paying the bottom wage despite their profitability,” the CLC observes.

4. Older Canadians increasingly find themselves in low-paying jobs:
Piercey also told Trudeau it’s impossible for those earning a minimum wage to save for retirement, to which Trudeau responded by talking about investing in skills training so “people have a chance of getting beyond minimum wage jobs.”

But what good does that do for laid off workers approaching retirement?

Despite stereotypes of minimum wage workers as teenagers and students working part-time jobs, Statistics Canada data shows that in 2014, over one-third (35%) of workers in low-paying jobs were over 40 years in age:

15wage-age

5. Canada’s current minimum wages don’t equal a living wage:

How much money do you need to earn per hour just to make ends meet, anyway?

If you live in Toronto, you’ll need to earn $18.52 per hour to earn enough to live on. Across the country, the living wage varies between $20.68/hr in Vancouver, $18.15/hr in Calgary, $16.46/hr in Regina, $14.07/hr in Winnipeg, $14.15/hr in Windsor, or $20.10/hr in Halifax, to offer a few examples.

Compare that to hourly minimum wages across the country:

provincial-minimumwages

And it’s worth noting – after four decades, the minimum wage in Canada has increased by only one penny after inflation since 1975.

Source: http://www.pressprogress.ca/justin_trudeau_told_a_struggling_worker_he_not_sure_about_raising_the_minimum_wage

Trudeau Official Compared Student Protesters with Nazis

Canada’s new top civil servant will bring a unique understanding of Godwin’s Law to the Privy Council.

Michael Wernick, appointed Clerk of the Privy Council by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week and tasked with leading the renewal of Canada’s public service, compared Carleton University students peacefully protesting a proposed tuition fee increase to “Brownshirts and Maoists” last year.

Wernick is a member of Carleton University’s Board of Governors.

According to a mass e-mail CC’d to 18 different people last April and subsequently published by Carleton’s Graduate Students Association, the Prime Minister’s #1 non-partisan advisor declared the protest had “no place in a lawful democratic society” and likened the students’ actions to “the tactics of Brownshirts and Maoists.”

Wernick called it “the antithesis of free speech and open debate” and requested “sanctions” be brought upon “the disruptors”.

Asked if he stands by his analogy, Wernick told The CharlatanCarleton’s student newspaper, “I have said everything I need to say in the email, which has been posted … My position’s quite clear.”

Eight students had interrupted a Board meeting last March in protest of proposed tuition fee increases. The Board would go on to approve tuition fee increases a month later.

Dr. Root Gorelick, a professor of Biology and elected Faculty representative on the Board, later bloggedthat the students had simply engaged in an act of “peaceful free speech and civil disobedience” and criticized Wernick’s over-the-top characterization of the students:

“The protesters certainly did not act like the paramilitary contingent of Hitler’s Nazi Party, as suggested by Michael Wernick’s brownshirt hyperbole. Michael Wernick and several of his supporters on the Board claim that they were concerned for their own physical safety, which is absurd. There were no threats of violence. As far as I can tell, there were no reports filed with Carleton’s safety office about threats to personal safety arising from the student protest.”

Last month, Gorelick (who says he blogs about Board of Governors proceedings as a way of communicating with professors and librarians who elected him to the board) faced demands he sign a confidentiality agreement, with the professor’s blog postings singled out as “problematic.”

Wernick publicly defended the Board’s move to silence dissent from the professor, telling the Ottawa Sun that “personal blogs that attack fellow Governors and university staff and dissent on matters the Board has decided are simply not consistent with the role of a Governor.”

The university’s “gag order” was condemned by faculty groups and the 68,000 member Canadian Association of University Teachers, who threatened to “censure” Carleton over its Board’s “lack of openness and transparency.”

“It’s the kind of confidential agreement that you’d expect a spy or the prime minister to sign,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson. “But for a board of a public body, it’s just absolutely absurd.”

The national voice for Canadian academic staff had already raised concerns a month earlier about the Board “holding meetings in secret.”

The Junction, a publication produced by Carleton journalism students, reports campus security has taken the unusual step of introducing “tightened screening for student journalists” at Board meetings, something that includes compiling photos of student journalists from their social media profiles.

Last June, Carleton’s Board of Governors tabled a motion seeking to remove student union representatives from the Board altogether, but later backed away from the move.

The Board’s Governance Committee, which is chaired by Wernick, argued student heads were in an irreconcilable “conflict of interest” as their duty to the Board was compromised by their duty to their constituents (students), according to Carleton’s Graduate Students Association.

Wernick did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

The Clerk of the Privy Council is responsible for providing professional, non-partisan advice to the Prime Minister on all policy and operational issues affecting the Government of Canada.

UPDATE: NDP leader Tom Mulcair asked Prime Minister Trudeau on Monday if he’ll “ask his new Clerk of the Privy Council to apologize for these totally unacceptable remarks?”

Trudeau responded, reiterating he’s “very pleased to have Michael Wernick as the new Clerk of the Privy Council” and added “we look forward to working with him to renew the professional and non-partisan public service.”

Source: http://www.pressprogress.ca/canada_new_head_of_the_public_service_compared_students_protesting_tuition_fees_to_nazis

Image Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/01/25/michael-wernick-privy-council-trudeau_n_9073094.html

Shame on Canada

Canadians should be hanging their heads in shame.

Our government is guilty of the most egregious criminal acts as defined by Nuremberg Principles, and we are bona fide members of the State Sponsors of Terrorism club.

When our government bombs the sovereign state of Syria without the consent of President al-Assad and without United Nations Security Council approval, we are committing war crimes of the highest order.

When we support and fund foreign mercenary terrorists  that are invading Syria, we are state sponsors of terrorism.  There are no “moderate” terrorists.  The mercenaries are all being paid and enabled by the West and its allies, including Turkey (a NATO member),  Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan.

On all counts we are guilty.  We are war criminals and state sponsors of terrorism.

The popular refrain that “Assad must go”, echoed by Canada’s Defense Minister, Harjit Sajjan, is in itself an endorsement of criminality.   Regime change operations are criminal according to international law.

soft power complex that disseminates lies and confusion is seemingly sufficient to make gullible western audiences accept criminality, even as the pretexts for previous illegal invasions invariably reveal themselves to be self-serving fabrications.

Hussein didn’t  have WMD, but  Western sanctions before the pre-meditated Iraq invasion willfully destroyed water treatment facilities and subsequently killed almost two million people, including about half a million children.

Gaddafi wasn’t “bombing his own people” or destroying Libya.  The West and its proxies did the killing.  The bombing in Libya – in support of al Qaeda ground troops – targeted and destroyed civilian infrastructure, including the Great Man-Made River Project.   The bombs and the foreign terrorist ground troops killed Libyans, including Gadaffi, but Western propagandists and “confusion mongers” always portray an inverted version of reality to justify their atrocities.

Likewise for Assad – he is defending his country from foreign terrorists, not “killing his own people” – the Western invaders are killing Assad’s people.

Assad is not starving his own people either.  Recently the discredited Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) fabricated a story alleging that Assad was starving people in Madaya.  Evidence has recently emerged, however, that Western-supported rebels have been stockpiling food and selling it to civilians at exorbitant prices.  Again, Western military forces target civilians – with a view to killing and/or demoralizing them—for “strategic” purposes.  Vanessa Beeley decodes the intentional misrepresentation of the Madaya psy op. by listing investigative questions that should have been asked to find the truth, but were not.

War crimes perpetrated by the West are always dressed in mantles of respectability.  MSM spokespeople, all of whom have conflicts of interest, paint civilian murders as “collateral damage”.   Some commentators use the phrase “collateral murder”, but more accurately the military doctrine of slaughtering civilians is mass murder.  The 9/11 wars are all pre-meditated,  the false pretexts are carefully manufactured by State Departments, Public Relations agencies, and intelligence agencies, and the mass murder is intentional.  The 9/11 wars generate unforeseen developments, but the invasions and occupations were not and are not “mistakes”, as some commentators would have us believe.

NATO destroys, loots, and creates chaos so that it can impose its hegemony. Again, it’s an inversion of the ridiculous lie of “spreading democracy”.  The destruction also serves to create waves of refugees that serve to destabilize other countries — Europe is arguably being destabilized with a view to keeping the EU subservient to the U.S oligarch interests. Interestingly, countries not being “sacrificed” include Israel and Wahhabi Saudi Arabia – and neither country is accepting refugees/imperial crime victims either.

All of these pre-meditated invasions point to a larger picture.  Humanity is being sacrificed for the illusory benefit of the criminal 1% transnational oligarch class.  If Western populations were to awaken to the barbaric crimes being perpetrated in their names, they would rightly bow their heads in shame.

The shame would be a strong foundation for shaking off the shackles of lies and war propaganda, and for withdrawing our consent to these crimes against humanity.

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TPP

TPP Will Cost Canada 58,000 Jobs, Won’t Grow Economy

Even the loudest advocates of the Trans-Pacific Partnership concede that the macroeconomic benefits for Canada will be small, as we have written before. Canada’s former trade minister promised a $3.5 billion boost to the Canadian economy—a fraction of a percent—if the massive trade treaty goes ahead. The most optimistic forecasts, including a recent report from the World Bank, point to an increase of around 1% to the Canadian economy by the year 2030.

Nevertheless, business groups, right wing think tanks and other TPP cheerleaders have been singing the deal’s praisesdownplaying its clear harms and calling for its timely ratification. These commentators would have us believe that Canada has nothing to lose and at least something to gain from the TPP, if only we would act quickly to push it forward.

But if the economic argument for the deal was weak before, a new study from researchers at the UN and Tufts University may have finally laid the case to rest. Their analysis shows that Canada can expect a mere 0.28% increase to GDP growth—effectively zero change—over the next ten years if the TPP is implemented. The situation is worse for the U.S. and Japanese economies, which will actually shrink under the TPP, according to the authors.

More troubling is the TPP’s effect on employment. The study suggests that despite a negligible macroeconomic impact, ratifying the deal will lead to 58,000 net job losses in Canada over the next ten years. In other words, the TPP won’t grow the Canadian economy but it will hurt workers, who will see their share of the economic pie shrink by 0.86% under the deal.

In fact, the authors argue, the TPP will lead to “job losses and higher inequality in all participating economies” (and in many other countries that aren’t even part of the deal). The net employment impact of the TPP will be millions of jobs lost. This is in part because greater capital mobility and more integrated supply chains will encourage cost-cutting across the globe. And when employers cut costs to compete in the world’s largest free-trade zone, jobs and wages will be one of the first targets for savings.

Why don’t other macroeconomic forecasts predict job losses from the TPP? Incredibly, it is because most other forecasts assume stable, full employment. TPP advocates have simply shrugged off the implications for labour when assessing the deal’s likely consequences. This new study does not make the same oversight.

Trading our sovereignty for… what exactly?

The list of TPP “cons” is long: among other issues for Canada, it will increase drug costsrattle the agricultural sector and undermine Internet freedom. Most worrying of all, it will give new rights to foreign corporations to sue Canadian governments for regulations enacted in the public interest.

But if the TPP ever had a saving grace—one item for the “pro” list—at least it was going to grow the economy and create jobs. As the evidence mounts against even modest macroeconomic benefits, however, the “trade-offs” are looking increasingly unpalatable.

Is the TPP worth it for Canada? We say no, and we think that Canadians agree. As trade minister Chrystia Freeland contemplates signing the deal (as early as February 4th), this is a message she needs to hear. A deal that costs too much and delivers too little is not a deal that Canada needs.

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Trade Minister Says Renegotiation of TPP Not Possible

A renegotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is not possible even though serious concerns may be raised during public consultations, Canada’s trade minister said Thursday.

“The negotiations are finished and for Canadians it’s important to understand that it’s a decision of yes or no,” Chrystia Freeland told reporters Thursday after receiving varied feedback at a meeting at the University of Montreal.

Freeland said the treaty negotiated by the Harper government during the election campaign is very complicated, involving 12 countries along the Pacific Rim that make up 40 per cent of the global economy.

All countries have two years to ratify it, but the treaty comes into force if the United States, Japan and four other countries give their approval.

“It’s important for us to understand that we don’t have a veto,” she said.

The NDP said it is unacceptable that the minister would accept the content of the deal even as U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and some congressional Republicans have voiced concerns.

Trade critic Tracey Ramsey believes there is a way to reopen the deal that preserves jobs and avoids higher drug prices.

“It will involve some work but we know that a better deal is possible for Canada,” she said in an interview.

The minister said she’s heard both opposition and support in consultations so far. A Council of Canadians representative on Thursday described TPP as a deal of “plutocrats” in reference to a book of the same name about income inequality that was written by Freeland before she entered politics.

University of Montreal political science professor George Ross wondered about the point of the government’s commitment to consult if changes are impossible because they would risk unravelling what had been achieved.

Still, Freeland said the government is committed to hearing from Canadians before a ratification vote is held in Parliament.

No date has been set for hearings or a final vote. The Liberal government also hasn’t announced whether it will attend the formal signing Feb. 4 in Auckland, N.Z.

Freeland said the key date is ratification, not the formal signing. But her parliamentary secretary, David Lametti, said in order to ratify, you have to sign the deal.

“So we’ll go through each step one at a time.”

Meanwhile, Freeland said the complexity of the TPP hasn’t slowed the government’s work on ratifying a trade deal with the European Union known as CETA, describing it as a priority for the government.

“I think CETA will be really the gold standard of trade agreements. I’m working hard on it and I’m confident we will get a deal soon,” she said, refusing to say if approval will come before TPP.

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