Radio Freethinker

Vancouver's Number 1 Skeptical Podcast and Radio Show

Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

RFT Ep 254 – No Bananas Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on May 27, 2014

Download the episode here! 

media-consolidation-cartoon

Too big to jail

GM Fine

In the wake of revelations the GM executive knowing allowed a car to go into production with a defect that would kill people…and no one charged? Well, there seems to be two legal system, one for you and me and one for corporations (and the rich). We get put into jail, they get a fine and have go back to doing what they do.

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<note: at the end of this segment I confused two issues, one the call to arms is a thing in the USA…check it out here.

And my Canadian call to arms was actually meant for the “media consolodation” segments, you can be active here.>

Further Reading:

Neighborhoods

really-bad-neighbors

Thoughts about being neighborly in a global community from a Prairie Correspondent.

 

UnFair Election Law

Fair Elections Dragon

Just days away for become the law of the land, we look and what was change and what we lost.

Further Reading:

Media consolidation

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Canada has the highest levels of media concentration in the world, we also have the most vertically integrated media in the world. We look at how this harms society and what we can do the fix it!

Note that Corus is controlled by Shaw, so Shaw really has a 32.3% share.  Giving the Big 3, a 75% share. Source CRTC

Note that Corus is controlled by Shaw, so Shaw really has a 32.3% share.
Giving the Big 3, a 89% share.
Source CRTC

Further Reading:

And what one media source was reporting on this? You guessed it the CBC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g80A2_WSraY

Justin and the Pope

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Justin Trudeau exercises dictatorial powers to deny an anti-abortion candidate from running as a liberal, he then get threatened with excommunication for his “pro-choice” views…so, we are left wondering is religious people should be banned from public office?
Friday, May 23, 2014
Further Reading:

“Yes, We have no more bananas”

It is likely that with a decade our beloved proof of god, the Cavendish banana will be on the verge of extinction…how did it happen and what can be done about it? Plus, why doesn’t banana pudding taste like bananas?
Further Reading:

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RFT Ep 249 – Killing the CBC Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on April 18, 2014

Download the episode here! 

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Whine of the Week  : Killing the CBC

corrigan april 12 2014

As ye sow, so shall ye reap…can also be stated, as ye fast, so shall ye whither, and whither the CBC has. Facing an $100 million budget short fall…thanks to Harper, losing hockey and other factors…the CBC is cutting staff by over 650.

Polling shows the CBC is the most trusted media source in the country, more three-quarters think the government should fund the CBC at a sufficient level…most of those think funding needs to increased.

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The Harper government has regularly and consistently slashed the CBC grant budget after budget while spending  the entire CBC budget on a single F-35 jet…or overpriced frigates. What money they are giving, they think would be better spent by just giving it to private media companies…here’s how that would turn out…

Friday, April 11, 2014

Why are we not moving to a BBC style of funding…create a strong, stable and independent broadcaster, whose sole interest to provide the best of Canada.

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Seriously the Unfair Elections Act is Important

Moudakis April 10 2014

How did Poilievre become Minister for Democratic Reform, how was the act craft and again…how it can destroy democracy in Canada – The Harper fix is in!

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Find out more:

 

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report

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Climate Change…even more certainty and dire warnings, again – The IPCC released it latest report on the state of the worlds climate and we’re serious screwed!

Conclusions of the WG1 report (The Physical Science Basis) are summarized below:

  • “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia”.
  • “Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years”.
  • Human influence on the climate system is clear. It is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming between 1951-2010.
  • “Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further [global] warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions”.
  • “Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped”

Conclusions of the WG3 report (Mitigation of Climate Change) are summarized below:

  • The global surface temperature increase by the end of the 21st century is likely to exceed 1.5 °C relative to the 1850 to 1900 period for most scenarios, and is likely to exceed 2.0 °C for many scenarios. With the possibility of an increase as much as 4.5°C
  • The global water cycle will change, with increases in disparity between wet and dry regions, as well as wet and dry seasons, with some regional exceptions.
  • The oceans will continue to warm, with heat extending to the deep ocean, affecting circulation patterns.
  • Decreases are very likely in Arctic sea ice cover, Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover, and global glacier volume
  • Global mean sea level will continue to rise at a rate very likely to exceed the rate of the past four decades
  • Changes in climate will cause an increase in the rate of CO2 production.
  • Increased uptake by the oceans will increase the acidification of the oceans.
  • Future surface temperatures will be largely determined by cumulative CO2, which means climate change will continue even if CO2 emissions are stopped.

Find out more:

Society Is Doomed

chickencollapse

NASA funded study shows the not only do civilizations collapse, it happens regularly and is inevitable…but there is an upside.

Find out more:

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RFT Ep 248 – Canada Post Bank Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on April 1, 2014

Download the episode here! 

 

Fair Elections Dragon

Whine of the Week  :

 

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The Harper government has yet again put forward a omnibus budget bill…topping out at over 300 pages affecting over 20 other pieces of legislation. Why so much in one bill? So as to push it past not only the oppositions throats but also the Conservative party backbenches.

The talk is not about any specifics of the bill but how it is used a political weapon..

The-Omnibus-Bill

 

Canada Post Bank

 

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With much discussion about the woes of Canada Post’s immanent demise and the need to cut service, we take a look at the validity of this prophecy of doom and how resurrecting the Canada Post Bank would shore up the crown corp and provide a valued social service.

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Find out more:

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International Condemnation of the Fair Elections act

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It seems it’s just not me that is unset and honestly afraid of what is in store for the state of Canadian democracy if the Fair Elections act is passed. 180 Canadian academics have sent the government an open letter decrying the pure partisanship of the law. Now that cry has been joined but another open letter but this time by the worlds leading experts on democracy…that this will not only harm Canada’s democracy the the plight of democracy in the world.

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It turns out that Elections Canada is something we should all be very proud of. It is “the pre-eminent example of an elections administration body.” that is use to help emerging democracies set up their electoral institutions. To quote one of the signatories:

“”When a democratic, established democracy in the west like Canada seems to be curtailing its own ability to do that, it sends a very poor message to new countries in the Arab world, in Africa, in Asia, who are attempting to move from authoritarianism to democracy,”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EaYPXUxDsE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaKq-9kpQqY

Take Action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqpW2Wnjcpg

Find out more:

UPDATE:

Pierre Poilievre open to changing controversial election measure

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RFT Ep 242 – What’s Your Sign Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on February 11, 2014

Download the episode here! 

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Don’s Rant:

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Don’s Rant’s is an extended look at Bill C-23 the Fair Elections Act and how it can destroy fair elections in the future. More to come in a future blog…

Find out more:

What’s Your Sign – The evolution of astrology

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In the wake of the controversy, in the skeptic community, about MacMillan Space Center event regarding Astrology, we take a quick look at astrology and how it evolved into the real science astronomy.

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Loyal to whom?

Posted by Don McLenaghen on April 15, 2013

The librarians dilemma

HarperCountry

I have talked before about a fundamental difference between our current government and all previous governments. That Conservatives have systematically and methodically attempted to shut down science research, silence public employees in the private lives.

There were the changes to Stats Canada, removing our ability to effectively gauge what is going on in the nation. There is an assumption of secrecy where public documents are either censored out rightly, experience delayed release or are just ‘lost in the mail’.

The next front in the battle for Canada is occurring in the libraries and archives of Canada. A new code of conduct has been decreed and disseminated to all employees of the Library and Archives of Canada.

“Federal librarians and archivists who set foot in classrooms, attend conferences or speak up at public meetings on their own time are engaging in ‘high risk’ activities, according to the new”

Why?

The code, which stresses federal employees’ “duty of loyalty” to the “duly elected government,

harper-dollarIt states that “as public servants, our duty of loyalty to the Government of Canada and its elected officials extends beyond our workplace to our personal activities,”

So, employees have to be extra careful that if they say something that may be critical, contradictory or just inconvenient to the official government line, they may face disciplinary action or termination.

For example, I work for the library. On my Facebook page, which I have limited access to family only…I post an entry stating that reduction of funding to the library may result is longer response time to Access to Information Requests (future post). Someone in my group shares that with the ‘public’…well then I am in violation of my loyalty Harper…er, I mean the GOVERNMENT of Canada. I could expect disciplinary action or even termination.

Should not my loyally be to the Nation of Canada, the citizens of Canada?

Now this notion that civil servants owe a loyalty to the government smacks of totalitarianism. They do NOT owe loyalty to the government but to the nation. They do not serve Harper and his Conservatives, but CANADA!

Historically, a major turning point in 1930’s Germany was the altering of the army ‘oath’ from allegiance to Germany to allegiance to Hitler…change a word here add a word there just saying.

When public servants see or believe the current government is causing harm to the nation….lying to the people it is NOT their duty, it is NOT their duty to be loyal to the government and shut up about it. No, it IS their duty to stand up, speak out and express their loyalty to the nation they serve.

One of the most important counter balances to power in this nation, and its abuses, are the whistle-blowers (currently under severe attack south of the border).  If we intimidate PUBLIC servants into silence we create a situation where a government can not only do ‘wrong’ but can create the conditions to ‘perpetual dominance’.

harper_brutalism01a688pxThe code is already having a “chilling” effect on federal archivists and librarians, who in more open times, were encouraged to actively engage and interact with groups interested in everything from genealogy to preserving historical documents. This was a time when the government (and its agents) were seen to serve the people of Canada and not primarily its government or corporations.

Now however, government employees have to ask themselves is the risk of an accidental slip of the tongue worth their careers?

“It is very disturbing and disconcerting to have included speaking at conferences and teaching as so-called ‘high risk’ activities,” says Loryl MacDonald archivist at the University of Toronto.

The code says to employees they may accept such invitations “as personal activities” if six conditions are met:

      1. The subject of the activity is not related to the LAC’s mandate or activities;
      2. The employee is not presented as speaking for or being an expert of LAC or the Government of Canada;
      3. The third party that made the invitation is not a potential or current supplier or collaborator with LAC;
      4. The third party does not lobby or advocate with LAC
      5. The third party does not receive grants, funding or payments from LAC; and
      6. The employee has discussed the invitation with his or her manager “who has documented confirmation that the activity does not conflict with the employee’s duties at LAC or present other risks to LAC.”

So to summarize the requirements, you cannot talk about things the government doesn’t what you to, you cannot talk to people the government doesn’t want you too and MOST importantly, if you do speak as a private citizen, you must first get permission from your government overlord.

HarperHitlerSieg Heil!                                                                              (pardon my Godwin)

It appears to rule out federal librarians or archivists interacting on their own time with academics or heritage or genealogy groups and associations, as they may lobby, collaborate and receive funding from the LAC. Including such things as going to their child’s elementary school and telling them what you do for a living.

It seems like a progressive, in the bad sense, attempt to isolate all government employees from engaging the public. What does Harper fear?

John Smart, a retiree who worked for the LAC for almost 20 years believes “the new code reflects a ‘generalized suspicion of public servants’ by the Harper government.

And he says LAC managers are likely not keen to have staff fielding questions about funding cuts and changes at LAC, which are eliminating several specialist archive positions; moving to digitize materials; and reducing public access to archival collections.

There is a pattern here. It’s just not some Alex Jones conspiracy theory. The recent “revolt of the backbenchers’ exemplifies that Harper believes that one tool in his war chest to win the next election is to insure the ‘ignorance’ of the people of Canada about what the Harper government has done, is doing, and plans to do…that ignorance is electoral success for this government.

“First they came for the scientist…
and I said nothing.

Then they came for the librarians…
again I said nothing.

Then they came for the teachers, journalist and activists…
and yet again I said nothing…
it was for the greater good we were told.

Then they came for me…
and I was alone
and too ignorant to know it.”

References:

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The act of access to information

Posted by Don McLenaghen on July 2, 2012

Canada languishes in world rankings for government openness. As the 30th anniversary of the Federal Access to Information Act approaches, Canada finds itself tied for 51st in the world on a list of freedom-of-information rankings, languishing behind Angola, Colombia and Niger. This is out of a list of 89 nations. This confirms a previous study done in 2010 by Government Information Quarterly out of the UK that ranked Canada last compared to similar commonwealth nations with regards to freedom of information.

This is sad because when our access to information act was originally passed in 1983 we were seen as a global leader. However since then no changes to the law have occurred to correct issues with the bill, like the fact requests which are supposed to be provided within 30 days but often take months to years and then the information is incomplete. Also, as we are all aware, technology has changed allowing the government to, if it wished, make all its documents available to the public at next to no cost…viva la internet, viva la computer revolution!

Currently the information is not provided in a timely manner, there are departments with a blanket exemption and there is a growing fee for such information. Even simple things like allowing for electronic requests, are not allowed, all filings must be on paper forms and accompanied by the appropriate fee before anything will happen.

It should be a concern to Canadians that our government, current and previous, are not being open with the public and thus accountable. To sound like a broken record, for democracy to work there must be an informed electorate. Now, I am not alleging that Top Secret documents should be available to whoever requests them but it seems baffling that the vast majority of government documents are not available for free online. Even those things that may be questionable should be available under an appropriate process. Now this is not Harper’s doing, so I will not lie this at his feet but it has helped the Conservative’s government attempts to “control” the message with regards to…well everything as we have already talked about censoring science.

Yet, another piece of evidence that things are not “all right” on parliament hill.

Reference:
Canada languishes in world rankings for government openness

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