Author Topic: Canadian Politics 2019  (Read 5886 times)

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #60 on: January 04, 2020, 09:59:49 AM »
The CPC will vote for leader on 27 June.

And there are still around 500 Canadian Forces personnel in Iraq (and some more in Syria), mainly special forces who can be deployed without questions in Parliament and don't have to give access to reporters.  With the murder of Qassem Suleimani there may be casualties with maple leaves on their sleeves ... on the bright side, its hilarious seeing American officials complain that Iranian policy in Iraq is dominated by the military and the Iranian equivalent of the Foreign Office has to catch up.  Oh, and Trudeau has not bothered to re-establish embassies in Iran after Harper shut them down (Harper was very much aligned with B. Nentinyahu on foreign policy).

There has been very little public discussion about Canadian military intervention in Syria and Iraq, and its hard to figure out exactly what is happening.

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #61 on: January 05, 2020, 09:02:43 AM »
Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan has announced the "temporary suspension" of Canada's participation in the NATO training mission in Iraq and Canadian Special Forces cooperation with Iraqi forces in northern Iraq.  I am not sure if that leaves loopholes for other Special Forces to remain, the numbers in the Associated Press story (250 trainers + "dozens" of special forces) do not match the "roughly 500" soldiers who were said to be in Iraq a few days ago.  I think there are also Canadian aircraft in country although Trudeau withdrew the CF-18 fighter-bombers.  And there are probably some personnel left to guard the Canadian Forces base at Irbil (Arbela) as part of Operation Impact.

The wars in Syria and Iraq since 2001 are very complicated, most of the participants practice mass murder, rape, torture, (the bombardment of settled areas and destruction of civilian infrastructure) XOR (the use of civilians as human shields), and ethnic cleansing, and I just don't believe that the Government of Canada has enough knowledge and will ("Mosul is far, and the way is dusty, Washington is near and Westjet flies direct") to intervene in an ethical way.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 09:48:44 AM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #62 on: January 14, 2020, 10:12:01 AM »
Two of my room-mates in Canada and one of my house-mates in Austria are from Iran.  Alex Usher of Higher Education Strategy Associates has comments on Ukranian Airways Flight 752:

A high proportion of the Toronto-destined passengers on board – both those who were Canadian citizens and those who were not – were associated with Canadian universities.  From what we know, the plane carried 51 people employed at or studying in 23 Canadian post-secondary institutions.  This included eight professors/instructors: two professors from the University of Alberta (one of whom held a Canada Research Chair), two doctoral students/instructors at École de technologie supérieure, a couple who taught at Cestar College in Toronto, one instructor with appointments at both Ontario Tech and Centennial College, and a dentist in Halifax who seems to have had a connection with Dalhousie’s dental school (this has not been confirmed by the school).  The flight was also carrying at least twenty PhD students, mostly at the Universities of Alberta, Toronto, Western, and Windsor. 
...
There was, perhaps, a moment of fleeting wonder that so many talented people connected to our schools could come from one faraway country.  But they do.  Iranians in Canada are among the country’s most educated ethnic groups, and the number of student visas issued to Iranians has increased fourfold in the last four years.  And though they are especially numerous in the GTA’s northern suburbs and parts of BC’s Lower Mainland, they are, like many ethnic groups in Canada, spread widely across this huge country of ours.

(Canadians think that what distinguishes us from Europeans is the number of immigrants we take in.  This is not true – many European countries accept just as many immigrants as we do.  The difference is, over there they end up geographically clustered.  A Dutch academic friend of mine had his mind blown wandering along Bloor Street when he came to visit a few years ago.  It wasn’t the number of ethnic restaurants that he saw; it was the fact that you had the Turkish one next to the Korean one, next to the Ethiopian, next to the Mexican one, which to him was totally inconceivable.  Canada’s secret sauce, as Doug Saunders astutely pointed out in his excellent book Arrival City, is the way they get stirred around and don’t just cluster in one place.  The result is that when a tragedy like this happens, it’s a genuinely pan-Canadian one)

It says something quite profound both about Canada and Iran that so many people from so far away could contribute so much to life in a new country.  And it is why I think we need to think very seriously, very soon, about the ways to commemorate the dead.  Because it is a complicated story.  It was an Iranian tragedy, involving mostly ethnic Persians, over Iranian airspace.  And yet it involved so many Canadians, and Canadians-to-be, people who contributed so much to country.  It is about mobility – most, in fact, travelled back and forth relatively frequently – but also about identity (and how Canada does not really require immigrants to abandon their cultures).  It is a story of deeply entwined fates, shared across two continents and thousands of kilometres.

On racism and colonial attitudes in Canada:

Quote from: Angela Sterritt, CBC News
Maxwell Johnson thought his appointment at the Bank of Montreal would be routine.

He's been a customer since 2014 and wanted to open an account for his 12-year-old granddaughter so he could transfer funds to her electronically when she was on the road for basketball games.

But at the Dec. 20 meeting at BMO's Burrard Street location in downtown Vancouver, an employee questioned the identification he and his granddaughter presented.
...
He says the employee then told them to come upstairs to retrieve their identification. Not long after, they saw police walking toward them.

"They came over and grabbed me and my granddaughter, took us to a police vehicle and handcuffed both of us, told us we were being detained and read us our rights," Johnson said.

Johnson says when he saw his granddaughter in handcuffs, crying, he was heartbroken.
...
The Vancouver Police Department corroborated Johnson's account of what happened. Spokesperson Sgt. Aaron Roed said VPD officers detained them after claims from BMO that he and his granddaughter were committing a "possible fraud" that was in progress and identified the two as suspects.

A lot of First Nations and Métis will tell you they get followed in shops, stopped by police, turned down for apartments and jobs, and otherwise treated as interlopers in settler society (not to mention the serial killers who prey on indigenous women and girls who the police have traditionally been reluctant to acknowledge).  And if they go back to the reserve, they turn on the TV to hear ex-prime ministers ranting about how they need to move to the city where there are economic opportunities.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 02:16:17 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #63 on: January 14, 2020, 08:34:48 PM »
Quote
(Canadians think that what distinguishes us from Europeans is the number of immigrants we take in.  This is not true – many European countries accept just as many immigrants as we do.  The difference is, over there they end up geographically clustered.  A Dutch academic friend of mine had his mind blown wandering along Bloor Street when he came to visit a few years ago.  It wasn’t the number of ethnic restaurants that he saw; it was the fact that you had the Turkish one next to the Korean one, next to the Ethiopian, next to the Mexican one, which to him was totally inconceivable.  Canada’s secret sauce, as Doug Saunders astutely pointed out in his excellent book Arrival City, is the way they get stirred around and don’t just cluster in one place.  The result is that when a tragedy like this happens, it’s a genuinely pan-Canadian one)
This was particularly interesting to me - not a way I'd thought of that particular difference before.
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dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #64 on: January 15, 2020, 12:06:51 AM »
Quote
(Canadians think that what distinguishes us from Europeans is the number of immigrants we take in.  This is not true – many European countries accept just as many immigrants as we do.  The difference is, over there they end up geographically clustered.  A Dutch academic friend of mine had his mind blown wandering along Bloor Street when he came to visit a few years ago.  It wasn’t the number of ethnic restaurants that he saw; it was the fact that you had the Turkish one next to the Korean one, next to the Ethiopian, next to the Mexican one, which to him was totally inconceivable.  Canada’s secret sauce, as Doug Saunders astutely pointed out in his excellent book Arrival City, is the way they get stirred around and don’t just cluster in one place.  The result is that when a tragedy like this happens, it’s a genuinely pan-Canadian one)
This was particularly interesting to me - not a way I'd thought of that particular difference before.
You are welcome!  Alex Usher's journalistic gadfly style is not always my thing, but I think he said some things that needed saying on a topic where the rest of us are often going around and around on the same themes (such as which government to blame or how to use Flight Tracker 24 dot Com ...)

A former diplomat published an opinion piece arguing that the government of Canada could use a joint crash investigation as one step towards resuming diplomatic relations with Iran. 

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #65 on: January 16, 2020, 03:35:15 PM »
Quote from: Andrew Weaver, Member of the Legislative Assembly for British Columbia, former BC Green Party head
Today, I announced that effective Monday, January 20 I will sit as an independent MLA in the BC Legislature.  As the BC Green leadership race unfolds, I believe that it is important for the BC Green Party to develop a new vision and voice independent from mine. My presence in the BC Green caucus could hinder that independence. Sitting as an independent will also give me a better opportunity during the upcoming legislative sitting to attend to personal matters, including a number of health challenges affecting my family.

I am tired and confused.

Global News has announced that in January 2009, the RCMP provided the government with a report stating that a BC government employee allowed a businessman “connected to Asian organized crime” to buy part of a BC Lottery Corp casino.  That employee was later hired by another casino.  The report provided evidence of money-laundering in casinos (walk in with a hockey-bag full of cash, buy chips, play a bit, walk out with a bag which the tax authorities will be told has become heavier) and the kidnapping of two six- and eight-year-old children in BC at gunpoint to encourage their parents to pay debts.  In April 2009, the BC Liberal government of the day responded to the report by defunding and disbanding the RCMP anti-illegal gambling unit.

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #66 on: January 21, 2020, 02:22:17 PM »
It feels strange that after I left, my home city and its hinterland have become places of world importance with Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ in downtown Victoria and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex hiding in North Saanich.  (Oh, and a skeevy abandoned hotel burned down within blocks of the two firms' former offices, and the caretaker has not been seen since).
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 02:57:46 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #67 on: January 21, 2020, 05:55:51 PM »
The worst thing about these updates continues to be that I can look at all the bizarre nonsense happening in Canadian politics and still conclude with solid justification that it looks like a comparative beacon of sanity compared to my home country. As, apparently, can the Sussexes, given that the UK is still basically racist enough to bully people on literally royal levels of privilege out of the country...
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dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #68 on: January 22, 2020, 08:57:17 PM »
I don't really follow the news any more but I am trying to do what good newspapers and magazines do: pass on some things about how society works in a particular place and time and how weird events shed light on it.  Its just getting harder and harder to find that between the clickbait and the op-ed.

The focus on the Duchess of Sussex' ancestry did feel like something out of Louisana or Brazil circa 1880, and I am not reading or hearing what readers of the Daily Mail see and hear.

I am sure there will be plenty to talk about when the Conservative leadership race kicks off (in the middle of a US presidential race and an internal Democratic Party election of their candidate for president ...)

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #69 on: January 28, 2020, 11:10:46 PM »
One of the Green Party of British Columbia's two remaining official MLAs (out of ~87 in the Assembly) has announced she is running for the leadership.

Peter MacKay has announced he is running for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.  In the course of the teleprompted announcement it became clear that he speaks French about as well as I do (J’ai sera candidate!), which is a problem if you want to become Prime Minister of a country that is about 25-30% Francophone, especially if you come from a province with a significant francophone population and were MP from 1997 to 2015 (he did not run in 2015).

As a prosopographer, I will fill in some of the connections that Wikipedia does not spell out: Minster of National Defense under Harper, formerly dating Belinda Stronach (daughter of Austrian-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach) until she crossed the floor, then dated a daughter of Quebec billionaire Paul Desmarais and a CTV News director, eventually married Nazanin Afshin-Jam who imigrated as an infant from Iran (and Harper really did not like the current regime in Iran) ... and in terms of policies and persona he is one of the less exciting candidates!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 11:33:37 PM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #70 on: February 14, 2020, 11:38:10 PM »
The struggle over pipelines has reached the territories of the Wet'suwet'en in northern interior British Columbia.  The elected councils of the individual bands and component nations approved the pipeline, but the hereditary chiefs don't.  Generally, the further west you go in Canada, the less the British bothered to find a legal figleaf before claiming land and declaring indigenous governments out of existence and trying to replace them with something simple and standardized: most of British Columbia is unceded land and the ethnography is what you would expect for fiords and temperate rain-forest then high mountains then plateaus and forests than more high mountains than leeward foothills.  So now there are nation-wide rail blockades (in a Canadian winter!)

Edit: also worth saying ... the RCMP have been storming into camps with rifles and balaclavas arresting protestors and pointing scoped rifles at them "for observation purposes" and threatening to arrest journalists photographing the scene.  And the position of the Wet'suwet'en chiefs is that they are still sovereign over the full extent of their traditional territory, whereas the band councils have carefully limited authority defined by the Indian Act.  I was always taught that you never point a firearm at anyone or anything you are not prepared to shoot: using a scope as ersatz binoculars is the kind of thing which comes up in comedy films!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 05:44:04 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #71 on: February 16, 2020, 12:19:17 PM »
Yeah, I've been hearing a lot about the Wet'suwet'en crisis via Mastodon etc. My instinctive sympathies are with the people having guns pointed at them by the RCMP. Is the fact that the councils approved the pipeline and the chiefs didn't indicative of an actual disagreement between those two bodies, though, or just that the councils are proportionally easier to lean on?
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dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2019
« Reply #72 on: February 16, 2020, 07:07:18 PM »
I think its very hard to understand internal politics unless you are physically and socially present.  The jurisdictional issues between the band councils and the herditary chiefs make things even more complicated.

Some people are saying that the band councils were told that the pipeline was going through and they could sign the papers and get the money or they could not sign and not get the money.

This piece by someone who claims to have spent months in the area uses the phrase "The Wet’suwet’en are not a nation divided, they are a nation with differing opinions on the best route to a better future after history of oppression."  That sounds like weasel words to me.

Edit: Meanwhile 10 people have met the requirements to run for leader of the CPC, and a similar number want to run but have not yet rounded up enough signatures and money.  Some stalwarts are out, including former interim leader and cabinet leader Rona Ambrose, Harper's pit bull John Baird, Maxime Bernier, former Quebec premier Jean Charest, Premier Doug Ford, both of the Mulroneys (yes, two of former Progressive Conservative PM Brian Mulrooney's children are senior in Ontario or Ottawa Conservative Party politics), former premier of Saskatchewan Brad Wall, and of course Alberta premier Jason Kenney.

The lucky ten range from well-known and well-connected names like Peter MacKay (who I talked about before) to Aron Seal who wants everyone to know he is a cannabis entrepreneur, chronically depressed, and supports abortion rights (and can save lots of money by "cutting waste" and that "in the public (education system), parents are suckers")  But I had not heard of Andrew Scheer or Maxime Bernier before the 2015 leadership contest.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2020, 02:22:03 AM by dubsartur »