Sunday, December 24, 2017

Random Thoughts on Canadian Political Scene

Rabble's Karl Nerenberg has a fair and balanced piece on why Trudeau needed to apologize for an all-expenses paid vacation at the Aga Khan's island:
The Aga Khan himself does not do business with Canada. The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) does. It functions, in the Canadian context, as a non- governmental organization (NGO), receiving Government of Canada funding to provide services in the developing world.

The AKDN is highly respected. It is non-partisan and non-sectarian and works in crucial fields such as health, industrial development, education, humanitarian assistance and financial inclusion. It has a somewhat extensive reach which includes parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia; but it is absent from large parts of the world. For instance, it has no programs in such populous and important countries as Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia. And it is completely absent from all of Latin America and the Caribbean, which are key areas for Canadian assistance given that they are in our immediate neighbourhood.
Overall, though, the AKDN makes a valuable and, in some respects, nearly unique contribution, notably in micro-finance and such less-explored fields as music and architecture. Those who have witnessed the AKDN's activities on the ground report that it gets good results, and that is what really counts. The Aga Khan himself derives no profit from AKDN's work. All of the money invested in AKDN goes into actual development projects.
Why then is it problematic for the prime minister to accept the gift of a free vacation from the Aga Khan?
There are two reasons.
The first is the dangerous precedent such a gift sets. Let's say the Ethics Commissioner had decided to give her blessing to this bit of largesse from the Aga Khan. What would she say if an industrial tycoon who does business with the Canadian government -- say someone in construction or advertising -- offered a similar gift?
The second reason is the fact that even if the work of international cooperation NGOs is not for profit, those organizations are in competition for scarce Canadian government dollars.
... etc., etc., Read the whole thing.

Now, even though Montreal Simon has been so traumatized by the nightmare of the harper years that he's become a full-time fluffer for Justin Trudeau, he's right to point out that the Aga Khan is an old family friend of the Trudeau's. Adding that to Nerenberg's piece and you see that Trudeau should have apologized. He did apologize. And he now has to realize that he's not a private citizen, and that even if right-wing scum-bags like Rob Ford, Donald Trump and that harper shit-stain don't believe it, it really is actually a good thing if you strive to avoid even the hint of impropriety.

Belated credit where credit is due: It looked at first as if the Trudeau Liberals were going to continue to fuck with the minds of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin, by continuing the harpercon government's strategy of using every legal artifice they could to deny justice to these three CANADIAN CITIZENS tortured in Syria and Egypt as a result of racist imbeciles in CSIS. It seems now that this apparent sadism was just a cover to compensate these men quietly without incurring the wrath of the right-wing Islamophobic morons who politicians pay too much respect to.
The Liberal government has paid a total of close to $31.3 million in settlements to three Canadian men wrongfully accused of links to terrorism and tortured in Syria— 15 years and two federal inquiries after their detentions, sources confirmed to CBC News.
Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin will split $31.25 million, but it's not clear from officials how much each man received.
At first the deal was secret. But details of the payment were released quietly in the Parliamentary Estimates and was discovered by Le Devoir. That's nothing to scoff at. Would that such insanity had never happened though.

Next: It was a very "hard" decision to make, but the BC-NDP has decided to flush their credibility down the toilet and show everyone that they're not really an alternative to anything, by deciding to continue with the Site C hydro-electric project. First Nations concerns? They don't care. Cost overruns? Irrelevant. Supposedly there's some union affiliated with the project who want it. So the BC-NDP decided to lick their boots as well as the corporate predators behind this monstrosity. (Those union workers probably don't vote NDP anyway.)

You know, I'm not too surprised that Alberta's Rachel Notley  supports the oil industry. You're not going to get power in Alberta without doing so. That doesn't do anything about the damage to the earth that the oil industry in Alberta is causing. But this BC-NDP decision is politically stupid. The federal NDP appears to be stuck in "useless" mode, with the ascension of Jagmeet Singh. He's trying to channel some weird Jack Layton vibe without having any of Layton's history of accomplishment on social justice. Singh himself comes from the lost and wandering ONDP of Andrea Horwath, who seems to think that there's something to the right-wing working class populism of the SUN media.

Speaking of the Toronto SUN, ... they had some headline about poor Ontarians forced to choose between paying their electricity bills or buying groceries, all thanks to Kathleen Wynne's ruinous policies. These hypocritical asswipes pretend that their own championing of anti-poor politicians and policies have nothing to do with poverty in Ontario! Not even I think that they're so dismally stupid that they actually believe their own crap 100%. 

Hypocrisy thy name is Galen Weston. This billionaire has been whining and shrieking about how he can't afford to pay his workers $15 an hour. Now the sunovabitch's Loblaws has been found to have been price-fixing for over 14 fucking years. Keeping wages down while pushing up food prices! Utterly despicable.

Supposedly though, lil' Galen (even though he's CEO and therefore IN CHARGE) had NO IDEA this price-fixing was going on. Once "senior management" discovered this scheme they put a stop to it. We're to imagine that the industry-wide scam was being perpetrated by the Weston Bakery delivery drivers and the store-clerks at each location. So, even though they had NOTHING to do with it, "senior management" has been given immunity from prosecution in return for "cooperating" with the investigation of this 14-year fiasco.

Now we know why Nigel Wright acted as if he was above the law: He was! These "golden boys" of the Canadian elite know that our justice system is a joke. Brian Mulroney takes tens of thousands of dollars in brown paper bags from an arms dealer and he's allowed to say he "forgot" about that money and that's why he didn't report it to Revenue Canada. Nigel Wright gives a sitting Senator hush-money and the RCMP disgraces itself by charging Mike Duffy for taking the bribe, but does nothing with Nigel. 

Finally, I've got a couple of nicknames for two federal Liberal cabinet-ministers:

For all the criticism and condemnation of Bill Morneau as he cluelessly exempts himself from standard practices by divesting his assets, and pushes policies that benefit his own fortune, he's become "Bill Morneau; the poor little rich boy." Lazy, stupid asshole: Gets a place in his daddy's firm and lectures others about how job security is a thing of the past. Fuck you.

For her witless and stupid and nauseating and groundless criticisms of Venezuela's elections; her idiotic justifications for a huge (and needless) increase in military spending, by saying that since the USA under Trump is retreating from its "international obligations" it's up to mighty Canada to step in to fill the void. As if sexual predator/moron/racist/imbecile Trump hadn't just ordered other NATO countries to increase their spending! For selling weapons to the genocidal Saudis and the fascist Ukrainian government; and for continuing to call her grandfather a "freedom fighter" when he was actually an anti-Semite writing for a Nazi newspaper and going on to scream that the reality of her grandfather's shameful behaviour was Kremlin "fake news" she's now: "Crazy Chrystia Freeland & her Fascist Family." Disgusting.

None of this matters anyway. "Progressives" are split on whether blood-soaked, lying imperialists like the Democrats and the Liberals are the hope of the future, or whether peaceful afternoon rallies (somewhat smaller than in the past because, as I said, so many "progressives" think Hillary Clinton was awesome) and petitions are what's required to bring capitalist imperialism to its knees.


theo said...

Spot on.

Owen Gray said...

Happy holidays, thwap.

thwap said...


Thanks. (Though my accuracy makes me sad.)

thwap said...


I'll try. You too.