Monday, February 05, 2018

On a Monday

Plenty going on ...

Trudeau has already alienated people and the popular press should not have just noticed:

Those are the words Notley wants to hear, but Albertans are well aware the Liberals have fallen short on any number of promises since gaining office, and fear the pipeline may be next. That could trigger any number of repercussions: Notley could soon be out of a job, the NDP out of office and Horgan facing the harder-edged Kenney. Alberta could invoke retaliatory measures aimed to impose at least as much pain on B.C. as Alberta suffers, and maybe more. Everything shipped across Canada from B.C. has to pass through Alberta, after all. And Trudeau could find himself replicating a feat managed by his father when his National Energy Program alienated entire generations of people across much of the west.


The federal Conservatives are demanding Justin Trudeau apologize to veterans after the prime minister said some injured ex-soldiers are asking for more than the federal government can afford.

Trudeau made the comments last week during a townhall event in Edmonton where a wounded veteran accused the prime minister of breaking a key promise from the last election.

While Trudeau promised at the time that veterans would not have to fight the government in court, the Liberals have spent the last two-plus years opposing a landmark legal case involving a group of veterans who want the government to reinstate lifelong disability pensions.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer questioned in the House of Commons why the Liberals are saying they don’t have enough money for veterans when they have found the money for many other causes and initiatives.

Those include an out-of-court settlement with Omar Khadr, a new Chinese infrastructure bank, a loan to Bombardier and more than $200,000 for Trudeau’s controversial trip to the Aga Khan’s island in 2016.


In a random sampling among 1,408 Canadian voters, Conservative support has risen significantly and now four in 10 – or 43% — say they would support Scheer’s party if an election were held today, up four points since December.

On the flipside, about 38% would support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, the poll suggests.

Thirty-eight percent? That number is too high.

The prime minister's office has set up the Ministry of "Shut Your Mouth" a mechanism for dealing with harassment complaints:

The Prime Minister’s Office has set up a small team to handle harassment complaints from political staffers working for cabinet ministers.

Eleanore Catenaro, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, says the two senior aides on the team respond to questions and complaints from ministerial staffers — including those in the PMO — regarding sexual harassment and other inappropriate workplace behaviour.

Trudeau attempts to give the impression that if he screwed up the NAFTA re-negotiations it was because he meant to do it:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a tough line on NAFTA on Friday, repeating that he could walk away if he was not happy with talks to modernize a pact the United States contends needs major changes.

And then what will you do, Justin?

It's not like you are putting an economics degree to good use here.

The report on Motion 103 was meant to depict the illusory notion of Islamophobia as an epidemic of which all Canadians were guilty, thus justifying censorship, just as removing the statue of Cornwallis was done by a handful of people in hopes that it would make everyone forget that Cornwallis' scalping proclamation was only in retaliation for the Micmac scalping:

The witness testimonies, taken together, tell us it’s happening to broad swaths of people in our schools, the legal system, government, healthcare, the workplace and elsewhere. The infractions range in severity from graffiti to murder.

We seem to have a five-alarm fire on our hands, at least based on the report’s 30 recommendations. They cover pretty wide terrain. They call for the creation of new plans, guidelines, directorates, hiring practices, impact assessments and other such make-work endeavours. ...

The report does though offer a bit of a wink in this direction. “As society has evolved and with the advent of human rights legislation and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, these overt forms of systemic discrimination have become rare. However, more subtle, often unintentional forms of systemic or institutional racism and discrimination continue to exist.”

So they’re not really talking about racist acts in the way most people think about them, like harassing people with racial epithets or outright violence. They’re referring to things like microaggressions.

It's like the Boyles all over again:

Two Chatham, Ont. residents held captive in Syria by an al-Qaeda affiliate, including a mother of two, have been freed and are returning home, ending an ordeal their MP said had left people at home at “wit’s end” to help.

Jolly Bimbachi and Sean Moore had been held by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the BBC reported.

Monday, news reports citing a federal government official said the two are returning safely from the war-torn Mideast country.

They're not the only ones with a paper-thin story:

Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef may have travelled to Switzerland the other week using a passport with false information, the Toronto Sun has learned. ...

It has been almost a 18 months since an investigative news report revealed that Monsef was not born in Afghanistan as she had claimed. We also learned that Monsef was a year older than she said, and that she had spent most of her early life in Iran. 


To remind one:

“Now Kathleen Wynne’s $1.25 billion in savings is going to cost jobs (and) she needs to come clean with us about her plans.”

Hudak complained during the campaign about the fact 19 unions – including those representing Ontario Provincial Police as well as nurses and firefighters – paid for anti-Conservative attack ads that saturated TV and radio airwaves, spending more than the political parties.

The OPSEU boss said his union colleagues played right into the Liberal’s hands.

“Kathleen Wynne played parts of the labour movement very well,” Thomas said as he predicted the unions will be sorry for giving the Liberals such strong support.


The union representing Ontario’s nurses says it walked away from contract negotiations over the weekend.

The Ontario Nurses’ Association says it spent 10 days in talks with the Ontario Hospital Association, and three days in mediation.

It says there was “little meaningful progress” towards a new contract.

This must be embarrassing:

A photojournalist withheld publication of a 2005 photograph of a smiling then-Sen. Barack Obama with a beaming Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic, anti-white leader of the Nation of Islam. 

The occasion was a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. The photographer, Askia Muhammad, said that almost immediately after he took the picture a CBC staffer called and said, “We have to have the picture back.”

Muhammad later surrendered the disk with the photo to Farrakhan’s chief of staff. “I gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy,” Muhammad said in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. “But after the (presidential) nomination was secured and all the way up until the inauguration; then for eight years after he was President, it was kept under cover.” 

But it's not like Obama hid his sympathies.

Why does this sound familiar?

South Korean President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed his efforts Monday to make the upcoming Winter Olympic Games here a success, saying the event will mark the start of establishing peace in the region.

Oh, yeah:

Before South Korea’s conservative presidents severed ties with North Korea from 2008, their liberal predecessors Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun promoted peaceful engagement and rapprochement, an approach called the “sunshine policy.” 


As new South Korean President Moon Jae-in takes office, U.S. analysts are fretting he might be soft on North Korea. Moon acted as chief of staff for Roh Moo-hyun, Korea’s last liberal president, who continued the “Sunshine Policy” of his predecessor Kim Dae-jung, who served as president from 1998 to 2003.

From Russia, with gratitude:

In a rare departure from geopolitical tensions, the Russian Embassy in the United States has thanked Americans for their condolences over the death of a Russian fighter pilot downed in Syria over the weekend.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed on Saturday that Major Roman Filipov died in a gun battle with militants after successfully ejecting from his downed Su-25 fighter jet in northern Syria. The ministry later confirmed that the pilot had set off a hand grenade to avoid capture by militants.
“We want to thank all American citizens sending us their condolences on the death of a Russian fighter pilot who was killed in action against terrorists in Syria,” the Russian Embassy said in a Facebook post on Monday. 

“This tragedy has once again proven that there are people in the U.S. who realize the necessity of fighting common evil together,” the statement said.


Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has approved the deployment of Russian warplanes on the disputed Kuril Island chain between Russia and Japan.

The countries have been locked in a territorial dispute dating back to the end of World War II when the Soviet Union seized the Kuril Islands from Japan. Both countries claim sovereignty over the island chain and have yet to sign a treaty marking the end of the war.

“The militarization of the Kuril Islands is not a new phenomenon,” a Japanese military source in Tokyo told the Kommersant business daily on Friday. Japanese authorities have yet to comment on the record about the decision.

Medvedev had signed a decree on Thursday to allow Russian warplanes to use a civilian airport on the island for military purposes.

The decision came ahead of a scheduled meeting between the deputy foreign ministers of the two countries to discuss cooperation on the disputed territory and Japan’s decision to allow Washington to build a military base there.

The real fallout is for the Russian whistle-blowers who might have accepted losing everything had the disgraced cheaters been permanently barred:

By exonerating 28 Russian athletes, some of whom were stripped of medals in the aftermath of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sports has provided Russia with major ammunition against the many Western sports officials, experts and athletes who have accused it of running a state-sponsored doping program. 

And yet there’s little doubt the doping system existed, and that many athletes — Russian and otherwise — will continue to use forbidden substances to improve their results and find ways to make these results stick.

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