Friday, August 22, 2008

Quebec, Ontario Culture Ministers Blast Conservatives for Arts Cuts

The culture ministers of Quebec and Ontario have written an open letter to the federal government questioning its decision to cut arts and culture programs.

Ontario Culture Minister Aileen Carroll and Quebec Culture Minister Christine St-Pierre express their "disappointment" with recent cuts to seven federal arts programs, calling the move "ill-advised."

"This is not the time for the federal government to reduce support for culture," they say in a letter published Friday in the Toronto Star. "Governments need to invest in the people and businesses that make up our cultural industries so that Canada's economy will reap the benefits."

To read more of this content at CBC News, click here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Conservatives' Pro-Industry Approach Compromises Food Safety, Say Liberals

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion accused Conservative cabinet ministers yesterday of taking the same pro-industry approach to food safety that he says was ultimately responsible for the tainted-water deaths under their watch in Walkerton, Ont.

With the Maple Leaf Foods Inc. Toronto meat-processing plant closed in a nationwide outbreak of listeria infection, Mr. Dion accused the government of wanting to walk away from the “core” responsibility of food inspection in favour of privatization. He named former Ontario Progressive Conservative ministers Jim Flaherty, John Baird and Tony Clement as key supporters of privatization.

“It's unacceptable,” Mr. Dion told reporters during a stop in Toronto. “These are the same people – Mr. Flaherty, Mr. Baird, Mr. Clement – who are responsible [for] what happened in Walkerton, who privatized [Ontario's] propane inspection, and they want to do something equivalent about food inspections, which is at the core of what the government should do.

To read more of this content at the Globe and Mail, click here

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Harper Tactics Likened to Authoritarian State

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's legal tactics are likened to those of an authoritarian state in court documents filed recently by the Liberal party.

The comparison is made in an affidavit the Liberals filed in defence against a $3.5-million defamation suit Harper launched earlier this year.

The Liberals have also served notice to the Ontario and federal governments they intend to question the constitutionality of Harper's lawsuit on grounds it is an attempt to muzzle the opposition.

The latest Liberal court filings include an affidavit from University of Toronto professor Peter Russell that argues no Canadian prime minister has sued political opponents for libel despite a history of dramatic accusations during stormy debates in Parliament.

"This use of legal action to silence the opposition is characteristic of authoritarian governments," Russell says in an expert opinion obtained by Toronto lawyer Chris Paliare, who is representing the Liberals.

"It is incompatible with democratic government," argues Russell, a political scientist and professor emeritus at the university.

To read more of this content at the Canadian Press, click here

The Tory Spy Among the Pines

Stéphane Dion's Atlantic caucus met this week at the Digby Pines resort just outside of Digby, N.S. It's not a big group - 40 MPs and senators - so the young interloper with the gelled, spiky black hair, wearing a bright yellow golf shirt, stood out like a Harper Conservative would stand out in a Liberal crowd.

The Liberals knew right away who the stranger was - Michael White, 28, a long-time senior communications aide to Government House Leader Peter Van Loan who recently joined the Harper PMO as a media officer.

To read more of this content at the Globe and Mail, click here.

Editor: What's really stomach turning about this is the Harper goverment's complete lack of shame. They are unapologetic about their attempts to hold on to power in Parliament by any means necessary.

Controversial U.S. Church Group Stopped at Canadian Border

WINNIPEG -- Residents rallied Thursday to protect the family of a young man murdered on a Greyhound bus last week from a posse of radical religious protesters planning to portray Tim McLean's death as God's wrath.

Earlier this week, the Westboro Baptist Church - an organization branded as a hate group and infamous for protesting the funerals of slain U.S. soldiers - announced they would picket Mr. McLean's funeral to let Canadians know that his decapitation was God's response to Canadian policies enabling abortion, homosexuality and adultery.

But Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of church's founder, Fred Phelps, said a small group of protesters was stopped at the Canada-U.S. border on Thursday afternoon.

"They won't let us in, but we have a group that will cross in another spot," she said. "They'll have to strip search everyone who crosses that border or they won't know who we are. They'll have to see the WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) tattoo on our butts."

To read more of this content at Newsvine, click here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cartoonist Alleges Death Threats From Jewish Defense League

Police are investigating alleged death threats against a left-wing cartoonist denounced as an anti-Semite for suggesting that Jean Sarkozy, the son of the French President, was converting to Judaism for financial reasons.

The threats came amid a vitriolic row that has divided the Parisian intelligentsia into supporters and opponents of Maurice Sinet, 79, who works under the pen name Siné.

In the latest development in a controversy marked by insults, libel claims and mud-slinging, the anti-capitalist cartoonist filed a lawsuit with police over what he said were death threats on a Jewish Defence League website.

In an apparent call to stab him a message from a site user said: “20 centimetres of stainless steel in the stomach, that should make the son of bitch stop and think.”

Editor's Comment: more abuse of the term 'anti-semite' by these extremists. Real people opposed to real anti-semitism should rise up and oppose these terrorists by any means necessary. The abusive (and anonymous) coward making this call should also be hoist by his own petard.

To read more of this content at The Times Online, click here.

White House Buried British Intelligence on Iraq WMDs

MI6 told Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq that a high-placed Iraqi source said that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. The intelligence was passed to the US but was buried by the White House, according to a new book.

The book claimed that the former Prime Minister sent a top British spy to the Middle East in 2003 — three months before the invasion — to dig up enough intelligence to avoid war but that President Bush and Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, dismissed any claims or possible evidence that would stop military action.

In The Way of the World, the Pulitzer prize-winning author Ron Suskind also claimed that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a backdated, handwritten letter purportedly from the head of Iraqi Intelligence to Saddam. The letter, which came to light nine months after the invasion, was meant to demonstrate a link between the Baathist regime and al-Qaeda.

To read more of this content at the Times Online, click here.