A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘politics

[LINK] “Federal government vows action on mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows ‘once and for all’”

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The Toronto Star‘s Jayme Poisson and David Bruser report on the latest about the pervasive mercury contamination in the vicinity of the Grassy Narrows First Nation in northern Ontario. May the Canadian government, or the Ontario government, or somebody, or some combination of somebodies, finally get around to doing something about it.

The Chief of Grassy Narrows First Nation is asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to commit in writing to cleaning up the mercury that has contaminated the river near his community.

Late Monday, a spokesperson for Trudeau said the federal government will take action to deal with the Grassy Narrows mercury contamination “once and for all.”

“I am pleased to see Trudeau finally stepping up and accepting his responsibility to solve the ongoing mercury crisis that my people have endured for three generations,” said Chief Simon Fobister.

“We have seen many politicians and their promises come and go, and still our river is poisoned with mercury. I call on Trudeau to clearly commit in writing to clean our river until our fish are safe to eat. Trudeau must commit to a short timeline and a sufficient budget to make our dream of a healthy river a reality. Our youth yearn to see our river cleaned soon. Trudeau must not frustrate their hope.”

The federal government will work closely with the province and First Nations leaders to address mercury contamination that has plagued the northern community for decades, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Star. The vow of action followed requests for help from Chief Simon Fobister Sr., a New Democrat MP, and the recent publication by the Star of new test results showing contaminated land.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 18, 2017 at 8:45 pm

[LINK] “Kevin O’Leary to enter Conservative leadership race tomorrow”

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CBC shares the news. How appropriate, how derivative it is that Canada seems set to have its own cut-rate CanCon version of Donald Trump.

Businessman Kevin O’Leary will enter the Conservative leadership race tomorrow, CBC News has learned.

The Montreal-born anglophone will launch his campaign in Toronto only hours after skipping the French-language debate, which will be held tonight in Quebec City, sources close to the candidate said.

The move comes a week after his campaign exploratory committee told the former CBC Television host there was a “clear path to victory” if he jumped into the crowded race to replace Stephen Harper as permanent leader of the Conservative Party.

“Your many fans are eager to support you and will join the party to do so,” Mike Coates, chair of the committee, told O’Leary in a letter, adding that many existing party members would support him because he offers “the most compelling chance at winning the next election.”

The former Dragon’s Den investor must file his candidacy papers and pay a deposit by Feb. 24 in order to be a candidate in the May 27 vote.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 17, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Canada, Politics

Tagged with , ,

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly calls on journalists to stand up to Trump.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at exocomets.
  • Language Log shares an ad from the 1920s using the most vintage language imaginable.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money talks about globalization as a mechanism for concentrating wealth at the top of the elite.
  • The LRB Blog talks about the ghosts of the Cold War in the contemporary world.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen argues that Germany has its own responsibility in transatlantic relations.
  • The New APPS Blog looks at the importance of administrative law.
  • The NYRB Daily celebrates John Berger.
  • Savage Minds proposes a read-in of Michel Foucault in protest of Trump’s inauguration on the 20th.
  • Towleroad reports on the latest statistics on the proportions of LGBT people in the United States.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the continuing depopulation of the Russian Far East and examines the shift to indigenous naming practices in Kyrgyzstan.

[URBAN NOTE] “Legalized skating on Grenadier Pond a small win for Torontonians”

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While skating in High Park does sound delightful, I do hope for the sake of–among others–The Globe and Mail‘s Marcus Gee that Grenadier Pond turns out to be consistently solid enough for skating. Sometimes regulations are a burden; sometimes, they’re life-saving.

About a year back, breaking with custom, Toronto city council actually did something sensible: it ended a ban on skating on Grenadier Pond.

Skaters have been going out on the long pond in the southwest corner of High Park for a century and more. Archival photos show women in long skirts and overcoats lacing up their skates.

It is a wonderful Toronto experience. When I took to the ice on Monday morning, a middle-aged man with his shoes in a backpack was sailing around on long speed skates, his hands linked behind his back as he took big swaying strides. A couple of guys were playing shinny, using their bags as goalposts. A woman in a parka with the hood pulled up against the stiff breeze was skating alongside her dog.

One of the delights of pond skating is simply observing the ice, so different from the monochrome man-made stuff. Grenadier’s went from a cloudy white at the shallower end to an almost translucent black in deeper parts, marked here and there with circular white patches that looked like miniature galaxies in deep space. It is no wonder that Grenadier regulars wait with sharpened blades for a cold snap that will turn the pond into the city’s biggest outdoor rink.

In recent years, city officials concerned about safety and (more the point) liability issues tried to shut the party down. “No skating” signs went up. Those who ventured onto the pond sometimes found city bylaw officers hollering at them from the shore to cease and desist. They were, after all, violating Section 608-21 B of the Toronto Municipal Code, stating that, “No person shall access or skate on a natural ice surface in a park where it is posted to prohibit it.”

Written by Randy McDonald

January 16, 2017 at 8:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • Beyond the Beyond shares Voltaire’s critique of early globalization.
  • blogTO reports on how TTC streetcars are failing earlier than expected.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about her trip to Philadelphia to see art.
  • Centauri Dreams talks about discovering streams of stars connecting the Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxy to the Milky Way.
  • Crooked Timber talks about Donald Trump as a president with or without precedents.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze talks about the fate of exomoons in white dwarf systems.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog takes a sociological perspective on fake news.
  • Language Log mourns the death of pinyin inventor Zhou Youguang.
  • The LRB Blog talks about the pleasures of incomprehension.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money talks about Vietnam as a maritime power.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that seasteading is set to have a go in French Polynesia.
  • Window on Eurasia argues Russia is too weak to keep a post-Soviet sphere of influence, and suggests Russia is set to be dominated by China and so needs a Western alliance.

[URBAN NOTE] “Cities need to heed signals from Trudeau government”

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Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc argues that a leaked federal government report predicting very high levels of debt in decades to come can, from the perspective of cities, best be read as a warning that hoped-for federal funding in infrastructure is not coming.

The little explosion of sweaty news last week about an apparently buried federal report predicting “decades” of gigantic deficits added just a bit more fuel to the fire crackling around Justin Trudeau’s feet. The key take away was that net debt levels, driven by anemic GDP growth and an aging population, will crest at $1.55 trillion by the 2050s.

The short-hand media analysis focused more on that great big scary number than the complex political dynamic this analysis will set in motion.

I’m not talking about the short-term melodrama. The report obviously feeds into the emerging narrative of the Trudeau government as profligate and beholden to wealthy lobbying interests while increasingly isolated in a world that’s become fixated on the brain-stem appeal of nativist politics. It also gives Kevin O’Leary and the rest of the Conservative leadership pugilists a new talking point, allowing them to change the channel away from Kellie Leitch’s tone-deaf immigrant bashing.

Rather, when I scanned at this report, which is built on the sturdy and seemingly apolitical timber of long-term demographic and productivity analysis, two points struck me:

One, while the media reports presented the document as something the government released as quietly as a church mouse skittering around on Christmas eve, the language in the document bears the unmistakable signs of a political edit: “As this demographic transition unfolds,” the unnamed Department of Finance author states at one point, “the Government will continue to take smart decisions and make sound investments to build Canada’s economy of the future and create an economy that works for the middle class [emphasis added].”

These, clearly, are not the words of some nerdy government economist.

So? I’d argue this document was absolutely intended to be discovered, thus subtly sending the signal that Ottawa is keeping a watchful eye trained on long-term economic and spending trends.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 12, 2017 at 9:00 pm

[ISL] “Whose emails were deleted? P.E.I. opposition finally has an answer”

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CBC News’ Kerry Campbell shares news from the slowly-unfolding online gambling scandal, revealing the identities of the three politicians whose E-mails went mysteriously missing.

Chris LeClair. Melissa MacEachern. Rory Beck.

Those are the three names the Official Opposition was searching for when members asked government over and over during the fall sitting of the legislature — “whose emails were deleted?”

It wasn’t anyone from the MacLauchlan government that provided the answers today however. It was Auditor General Jane MacAdam.

Her investigation into the province’s failed e-gaming plan included a special section on government records management, which concluded safeguards to protect records were not being followed, thus, “government records can easily be destroyed.”

In particular, MacAdam said in her report some emails from key players in the e-gaming initiative which should have been provided to her, were not.

Today MacAdam told the province’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts those emails were from three accounts: those of LeClair, former chief of staff to Robert Ghiz; MacEachern, former deputy minister of innovation and also tourism and culture; and Beck, who passed away in 2012 while serving as clerk of executive council.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 12, 2017 at 7:30 pm