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Canada’s Role in the Venezuela Coup

Canada’s Role in the Venezuela Coup

A letter was sent today to the Science for Peace list-serve in response to the Science for Peace Statement on the Government of Canada’s ongoing campaign to overturn the elected government of Venezuela. 

Science for Peace is based in the Dept of Physics of the University of Toronto.

***

What is most welcome in this statement is its expeditious issue and wide-lensed comprehension of the hypocritically self-serving role of Canada’s state, major mining corporations and banks in the plundering of Latin American societies and interference in their internal affairs to ensure that it can continue on and grow against elected governments seeking self-determination.  (now for the first time our foreign minister mendaciously publicly leading the alliance of the externally orchestrated oppression, exploitation and coup in Venezuela).

This exact passage deserves verbatim support:

“Canada has, in recent years, supported the replacement of elected governments in Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti and now in Venezuela, and its relations with Latin America are problematical in broader terms.

Canada provides a financial and legal haven for businesses that exploit labour and decimate the forests, agriculture, and watersheds in these countries. Canadian banks mire these countries in debt and buy up public utilities.

Protests against Canadian mining companies in Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala are met with police and military brutality. In addition, Canada needs to maintain a distance from the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. Bolsonaro, among other policies, threatens our common future by opening up the Amazon, the lungs of the planet, to deforestation for profit.”

I would like to add, however, that it is not only or primarily “the Trudeau government” that is “shaping its interventionist stance toward Venezuela”. It is, more specifically, Foreign Minister Freeland who also leads Canada and NATO towards massive militaristic operations on Russia’s borders, as well as warlike policies of the violent-coup established government of Ukraine with, as the right-wing states of Latin America, a chilling fondness for fascist military rule of the past.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

From Canada, With Love

From Canada, With Love

One thing inevitably follows the next – if the first thing is tolerated.

When the Supreme Court, America’s unelected legislative body, created an exception (several, actually) to the Fourth Amendment’s clear and definite prohibition of searches without having first established probable cause and without a specific warrant, the Fourth Amendment became a functional nullity – the equivalent of a plastic water jug shot through with holes.

One of those exceptions created out of thin air by the Supremes is the one which empowers armed government workers to randomly stop motorists who’ve given no reason to suspect them of having broken any laws – in order to force them to prove they haven’t broken any.

And (hopefully, from the viewpoint of the government) to find some they have.


This exception to what had been the Fourth – and Fifth – Amendment’s protections created Checkpoint America.

Which didn’t used to exist.

Millennials won’t remember that better, vanished time, but anyone older than 40 today can remember it.

Americans were once free to travel unmolested by the state’s armed goons unless the state’s armed goons could give a reason for molesting them, specifically.

Not arbitrarily and randomly.

Which is to say, unreasonably.

Public saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety is given as the justification for the trampling of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments’ clear prohibitions of this checkpoint business.

“Someone” among the herd of randomly stopped cars might be “drunk” – or some other illegal thing, it is argued. One could of course just as easily turn this around and argue that any of the armed government workers performing the random stop/search mighthave just raped a child.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump’s Coup in Venezuela

How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump’s Coup in Venezuela

How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump’s Coup in Venezuela

On Monday, February 5th, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that the 14 countries of the Lima Group — who had actually formed themselves under her direction into this new group on 8 August 2017 in order to overthrow and replace Venezuela’s current President Nicholas Maduro — have now been joined (though she didn’t say to what extent) by the EU, and by 8 other individual countries. She stated:

“Today, we have been joined by our Lima Group partners, from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Saint Lucia. We have also been joined in our conversations with our partners from other countries, for this Lima Group ministerial meeting. These include Ecuador, the European Union, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”

She, along with US President Donald Trump, had, all along, been the actual leaders of this international diplomatic effort, to violate the Venezuelan Constitution blatantly, so as to perpetrate the coup in Venezuela.

Her active effort to replace Venezuela’s Government began with her formation of the Lima Group, nearly two years ago.

Canada’s Ottawa Citizen headlined on 19 August 2017, “Choosing Danger”, and their reporter Peter Hum interviewed Canada’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Ben Rowswell, who was then retiring from the post. Rowswell said that Venezuelans who wanted an overthrow of their Government would continue to have the full support of Canada’s Government: “‘I think that some of them were sort of anx­ious that it (the em­bassy’s support for hu­man rights and democ­racy in Venezuela) might not con­tinue after I left,’ Rowswell said. ‘I don’t think they have any­thing to worry about be­cause Minister (of For­eign Af­fairs Chrys­tia) Free­land has Venezuela way at the top of her pri­or­ity list.’”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bloody Canada: Cheerleading the Lima Group’s Plot to Overthrow the Government of Venezuela

Bloody Canada: Cheerleading the Lima Group’s Plot to Overthrow the Government of Venezuela

Canada has become the cheerleader of the Lima Group, an ad-hoc, self-appointed busybody group formed specifically to overthrow the legitimate government of Venezuela.

Unable to get the OAS votes needed to agree to their nefarious plot, this is a group of governments with no official international standing, few democratic principles, most led by known discredited leaders spouting market ideology.  Canada has allied itself throwing all of its diplomatic and economic support for a man who self-proclaimed himself president of Venezuela in a public plaza, violating the country’s constitution and all electoral rules. So much for the “respect for the rule of law” that the Canadian Foreign Minister, C. Freeland so frequently spouts.

These are the main members of the Lima Group:

Canada, doing its best to do the US’s dirty work in exchange for a trade deal

Colombia: 65% of the world’s cocaine production comes from Colombia; it is the world’s most dangerous place for labour leaders due to their ongoing assassinations, assassination of rural and indigenous leaders and recently the assassination of the leaders of the FARC who laid down their arms in a peace treaty. Paramilitary and narco mafia are rampant in this country.

Peru: its president was NOT elected; its former president had to be removed because of proven corruption by their own courts.

Argentina: Macri is famously included in the Panama Papersfor corruption; his popularity is dramatically down. He even jailed the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (women seeking their lost children during the Pinochet era).

Brazil: Bolsonaro is president only because he jailed his key opponent who led the polls:  Lula. He has boasted of giving the police the right to shoot to kill anyone they SUSPECT are criminals. He is a blatant, extremist. He has declared that the Amazon is now “open for business” and will allow development there.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Alberta’s Mega Oil and Gas Liability Crisis, Explained

Alberta’s Mega Oil and Gas Liability Crisis, Explained

A Supreme Court ruling now forces firms to clean up abandoned wells before paying creditors. That doesn’t solve much.

RachelNotleyWells.jpg
How will Alberta find the billions of dollars needed to clean up its inactive pipelines, wells, plants and oilsands mines as the oil and gas industry enters its sunset years? Photo: Premier of Alberta Flickr.

Just how will an increasingly indebted industry, hobbled by low energy prices and rising costs, find the up to $260 billion needed to clean up its inactive pipelines, wells, plants and oilsands mines as it enters its sunset years?

To date permissive provincial regulations have created the problem by only requiring industry to set aside $1.6 billion for the job. 

That potentially leaves more than $200 billion in unfunded liabilities for taxpayers. 

Technically the 5-2 court decision will make it easier for provinces to prevent insolvent companies from selling assets to pay creditors while dumping the cleanup bill onto taxpayers.

That’s been a big problem in Western Canada, where lower provincial court decisions have allowed bankrupt firms to pay off banks first and ignore their cleanup obligations under provincial laws.

As a result, a number of firms in Alberta walked away from more than 1,800 inactive wells and dumped more than $110 million worth of liabilities onto the lap of the provincial regulator over the last three years.

The province’s Orphan Well Association, a non-profit supported by annual $30-million industry levies to prevent taxpayers from footing the cleanup bill, is now so overwhelmed that it was rescued with a $300-million loan from the province and federal government. 

The Orphan Well Association handled 74 orphan wells (properties with no legal or financial owner) in 2012. Now it has a backlog of 3,000 wells, with each well averaging $300,000 for plugging and reclamation.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Toronto gas stations running low on fuel thanks to nasty winter weather

Toronto gas stations running low on fuel thanks to nasty winter weather

Road conditions and extreme cold making it hard for trucks to deliver gas

Drivers in Toronto are having a hard time finding gas this week thanks to a stretch of heavy snow and bitterly cold temperatures. (The Associated Press)7 comments

After a week of snow, wind and bitter cold, Old Man Winter is now making life hard for Torontonians at the gas pumps.

Dozens of stations around the city have been out of fuel for days, leaving drivers confused and in the lurch.

Suppliers say the bad weather has made it hard to deliver fuel to the empty stations, though none have said when the stations will be up and running as usual.

“Poor weather conditions in the GTA has impacted our delivery schedule. We are working to replenish the sites as quickly as we can, while ensuring the safety of our people,” wrote Nicole Fisher, a spokesperson for Suncor Energy.

“This is an industry issue caused by poor road conditions and extreme cold,” said Kristen Schmidt of Shell Canada.

Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, is advising drivers to avoid filling up unless they have to. He also thinks the crunch will be over soon.

“You’re likely to see by midpoint next week, this really won’t be much of an issue,” he told CBC Toronto.

“There’s no shortage at refineries, there’s no shortage at the terminal, the pipelines are working quite well. It’s the truck transportation and the logistics around that,” he added.

Canada’s Petro Paralysis, Diagnosed

Canada’s Petro Paralysis, Diagnosed

Three books show how bitumen blocks democratic solutions to our climate crisis.

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Protester at rally against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion project on Sept. 9, 2017 in Vancouver. Photo by William Chen, Creative Commons licensed.
  • Costly Fix: Power, Politics and Nature in the Tar Sands
  • Ian Urquhart
  • University of Toronto Press (2018)
  • Oil’s Deep State: How the Petroleum Industry Undermines Democracy and Stops Action on Global Warming
  • Kevin Taft
  • Lorimer (2017)
  • The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada
  • Donald Gutstein
  • Lorimer (2018)

Among the most vocal critics of this environmental assessment process, ironically, was Justin Trudeau himself, when he was on the 2015 campaign trail. He had promised to fix the federal environmental process to restore the trust of Canadians in resource decision-making. After the election, his new government struck a blue-ribbon panel to advise them on how to do just that. 

Instead, 2018 saw the Trudeau government ignore most of the panel’s sensible recommendations, introducing instead Bill C-69, a legislative mash-up that, from a sustainability, transparency and accountability perspective, is likely to be worse than the Harper environmental assessment law that Trudeau railed against in 2015. Passed by the House, Bill C-69 is now hung up in the Senate, the target of a noisy misinformation campaign being led by a right-wing, astroturf group calling itself (I’m not kidding) “Suits and Boots.”

Meanwhile, under unrelenting pressure from Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to get shovels in the ground, the Trudeau government remitted the job of fixing the defective TMX review back to the National Energy Board, under the old Harper rules. To this end, it ordered a new board panel to do a high-speed reconsideration of the deficiencies the court had identified the first-time around. The deadline for intervenors to file their final written arguments to this new panel was last Tuesday.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Eating Clean, Green and Anthropocene

Eating Clean, Green and Anthropocene

Scientists say our diets must evolve. Canada could lead the way.

Beans-Great-Food-Transformation.jpg
Dig into the ‘Great Food Transformation.’ Photo via Shutterstock.

Adding a vice to a culture is always easier than removing it. Consider, as examples, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and the hamburger. Despite all we know about the harm we do to ourselves and others by indulging in these vices, we persist in them. 

Now, however, Canada is facing serious pressure to scale back on one of those vices — the hamburger and the whole spectrum of red meat. We can expect pushback from beef producers in Alberta and elsewhere, but we may also find powerful support from most Canadian farmers. That’s because Canadian agriculture can play a decisive part in improving global health, saving lives, and slowing climate change — while enriching our farmers.

The pressure comes from a new report by the EAT-Lancet “Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems,” published in the British medical journal The Lancet. Titled Food in the Anthropocene, the commission report argues that we’ve been digging our own graves with our unsustainable gluttony, and only making matters worse for the climate and the environment.

Right now, the report says, “more than 820 million people have insufficient food and many more consume an unhealthy diet that contributes to premature death and morbidity.” And to produce this dreadful food we are damaging or destroying local ecosystems and threatening the Earth system itself.

By 2050, 10 billion of us will be on the planet, enduring an ever-increasing burden of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease, while greenhouse-gas emissions increase and agricultural production suffers from nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and scarcity of clean water. Switching to healthy diets would have dramatic benefits, starting with the saving of about 11 million lives a year. That’s 30,000 people a day, or 1,255 an hour.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Mortgage Stress Test Blamed For 25% Collapse In British Columbia Home Sales

Mortgage Stress Test Blamed For 25% Collapse In British Columbia Home Sales

Home sales in British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, collapsed in 2018 is mostly correlated to the mortgage stress test that started in January 2018, which decreased buyers’ purchasing power.

The B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) reported Tuesday that a total of 78,345 homes were sold on B.C.’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in 2018, a massive drop of 24.5% from the 103,758 units sold in 2017.

“B.C. home sales fell below the 10-year average of 84,800 units in 2018,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA’s chief economist. “The sharp decline in affordability caused by the B20 mortgage stress test is largely to blame for decline in consumer demand last year.”

The slowdown in home sales is a government measure to cool the Greater Vancouver’s bubbly housing market that will take full effect in 2019, setting the stage for further declines.

Numerous provincial policies, combined with the federal stress test have clamped down on the buying power of borrowers, leading to a possible near-term top in the housing market.

Despite this rapid slowdown, the average sale price of all homes in the province was the same price versus the previous year, edging up +.40% to $712,508 – an increase of roughly $3,000.

The slight upward trajectory in prices masks the topping activity that was spotted in early 2018. Sales prices continued rising to record levels until late spring, and since, have been declining gradually, as fewer luxury homes sold.

The province experienced the most significant slowdown in sales activity in Greater Vancouver (-30.4%) followed by the Fraser Valley (-26.3%). The only region within the province to see an annual jump in home sales was the Northern region, which saw a rise of 10.2% over 2017. All areas saw a slight year-over-year increase in the average home sale price, but momentum is undoubtedly waning.

The BCREA also reported on December 2018’s housing stats. A total of 3,497 were sold on the province’s MLS in December, down 39.1% from December 2017.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?

The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has joined with the chorus of Western countries supporting Canada’s protestations against the “arbitrary,” and “politically motivated” death sentence imposed by a Chinese court on Canadian drug smuggler Robert Schellenberg.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland praised Pompeo’s “recognition of the principle that we are speaking about.” She argues that the application of the death sentence to a Canadian national in this case is “inhumane”, and represents a, “way of behaving which is a threat to all countries.”

Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton, echoed Freeland’s cry of victory for having won US support. “I hope they continue to back Canada in this particular dispute,” MacNaughton said.

Yet, isn’t it strange that Canada would call on support from the United States in its appeal for clemency in the Shellenberg case? The United States has executed 48 persons in the past 2 years, and drug offences are a capital crime under federal law, and in the states of Florida and Missouri. In fact, President Trump has recently called for more use of the death penalty to punish drug trafficking:

“My department of Justice will be seeking much tougher penalties for the big pushers, and that penalty is going to be the death penalty.”

No wonder the Chinese government has so easily dismissed Canadian objections as“staging the play of a thief crying “stop the thief!”

Canadian self-righteousness in the current dispute with China is also troublesome given its starting point with a notoriously corrupt extradition process, according to which Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested at the request of the U.S.

The CBC reported in May 2018 that legal challenges face the specialized division of the Canadian Department of Justice responsible for extradition – known as the International Assistance Group (IAG).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Alberta Has Spent $23 Million Calling BC an Enemy of Canada

Alberta Has Spent $23 Million Calling BC an Enemy of Canada

Tyee FOI reveals pro-pipeline PR strategy, spiraling costs.

The Alberta government has spent more than $23 million — twice as much as previously revealed — in a campaign designed to turn the rest of Canada against B.C., The Tyee has learned.

The “KeepCanadaWorking” ad and PR campaign’s top “principle” states, “This is not B.C. vs. Alberta, this is B.C. vs. Canada,” according to documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request.

The documents show how an “ethnic campaign” targeted residents of the Lower Mainland, Toronto suburbs and Ottawa who speak “Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Filipino, Punjabi.”

Work first began in January, 2018 to create the campaign that promotes expanding the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, which would triple the volume of Alberta bitumen sent through the port of Vancouver.

As recently as Nov. 14, 2018, Rachel Notley’s Alberta NDP government stated it had spent $10 million on the campaign.

On Jan. 7, 2019, the Alberta government told The Tyee the amount had reached $23,040,463.90.

The province’s self-described “full-service” public relations arm, the Communications and Public Engagement (CPE) department, named that figure in an email responding to Freedom of Information requests filed by The Tyee.

In the past two months, Alberta has dumped more than $13 million into its pro-pipeline public relations push, a provincial government spokesperson confirmed to The Tyee.

What did $23 million in taxpayer money buy?

Internal Alberta government documents obtained by The Tyee reveal the top “principle” of the so-called “KeepCanadaWorking” campaign: “This is not B.C. vs. Alberta, this is B.C. vs. Canada.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When Indigenous Assert Rights, Canada Sends Militarized Police

When Indigenous Assert Rights, Canada Sends Militarized Police

It’s become routine, but ignores latest law on rights and title, say experts.

The use of heavily armed RCMP to enforce a court injunction and tear down an Indigenous blockade against TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline in northwestern British Columbia last week was part of a familiar pattern, say criminologists.

“It seems like Canada uses a show of force and police repression whenever it wants to contain First Nations exercising their aboriginal rights and title,” said Shiri Pasternak, a criminologist at Ryerson University and director of the Yellowhead Institute, a research centre focused on First Nations land and governance issues.

“Canada is creating the problem by refusing to recognize what its own courts are saying about aboriginal rights and title,” added Pasternak.

Over the last decade rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada and lower courts have established that Canadian governments have a duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous people before resources are extracted from their land, and that in many cases their land and title rights have not been extinguished.

Unlike many elected First Nations governments along the pipeline route, which signed economic benefit agreements with TransCanada, the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation have remained opposed to intrusions on their traditional lands.

Jeffrey Monaghan, a criminology professor at Carleton University who co-authored Policing Indigenous Movements: Dissent and the Security State with Andrew Crosby said the dismantling of the Wet’suwet’en blockade was intended to send a national message.

“It was very carefully choreographed to communicate to the national audience that any protests against oil and gas pipelines are going to be cracked down upon. I think it was highly symbolic. Police action doesn’t stop with the Wet’suwet’en,” said Monaghan.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada Pauses Reporting Trade Data, Blames US Shutdown

Statistics Canada said today the release of their monthly trade statistics will be delayed indefinitely due to the current shutdown of the U.S. government.

“Trade statistics without Canada’s exports to the United States have limited use as a current economic indicator, as these exports represent approximately 75% of Canada’s total exports.”

The U.S. shutdown “has a direct impact on Statistics Canada’s ability to compile, produce and publish Canadian international merchandise trade data, as Statistics Canada will not receive data on Canada’s exports to the United States for the duration of the shutdown”

Publication of December 2018 trade data won’t occur as scheduled on Feb. 5, 2019.

The agency says it will delay the release of trade statistics “until the USCB resumes normal operations and a new joint release date is negotiated with the USCB as per the data exchange agreement”

The question is – why should a US shutdown affect Statistics Canada’s ability to track its own imports and exports? Is there some ‘negotiated’ agreement between the trade partners to ensure that the data is manipulated just right (so as to avoid the glaring errors that are so evident between China and Hong Kong for instance).

Historically they can’t quite agree…

Life Threatening Winter Storms

Parts of Canada could become the coldest spot on the planet with a winter storm coming with crazy frigid temperatures with wind chill factors in the -40oC level for some. This going to be really dangerous. Quite frankly, the human body was NOT designed to handle conditions like that. This is really very dangerous cold and not hype. Your eyes can actually freeze. Anyone who has ever been in real cold will notice that in cold weather notes your eyes will tear up, which is your body’s natural defense trying to reduce the freezing point. You better start regularly blinking your eyes to prevent them from freezing and going blind.

While your eyes can’t freeze solid, your extremities can. That includes feet, fingers, and toes. They can actually freeze to the point that the can even fall off your body, or else needing to be amputated. The human body is designed to maintain a core temperature of 98.6oF (37oC) exactly! Any deviation from that causes serious problems. When the body temperature begins to drop, that’s when hypothermia sets in. The statistics in Canada show that more than 80 people die from extreme cold, according to Environment Canada. 

People who have died from hypothermia seem to lose brain function and become completely confused. They begin taking off their clothes in their final death throes apparently assuming they are hot rather than cold.

If the migration of the North Pole is contributing to this extremely cold weather nobody really knows. We are definitely moving into Solar Minimum. Our greatest risk at this stage in the game is major volcanic eruptions that throw such much debris into the atmosphere we end up with a volcanic winter.

There’s No Sugarcoating Canada’s Oil Crisis

There’s No Sugarcoating Canada’s Oil Crisis

Cenovus rig

Has financial disaster been averted in Canada’s oil and gas industry?

‘Disaster’ is all relative. Let’s just say 2019 is going to be a difficult year following a tough set of recent circumstances.

One thing we know is that the recent episode of bargain-basement commodity prices—triggered by a regional glut of oil and gas looking for a pipeline to call home, combined with low international oil prices—has wounded this year’s outlook for conventional oilfield activity. That’s the segment of the business, outside the oil sands, where two-thirds of the industry’s spending typically occurs.

Beyond the tight orbit of Fort McMurray’s oil sands, in the broader oil and gas fields of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the overt indicator of sectoral health is drilling activity. Like counting cars on a freeway, you know the economy is bad if there are only a few commuters on the road.

It’s looking pretty bad for the first quarter. We’re entering the peak ‘rush hour’ of the winter drilling season with only 180 bits turning on active rigs. The level of activity is feeling a lot like the depths of 2016, the lowest New Year’s entry in decades (see Figure 1).

For comparison, last year at this time the rig count was climbing toward a more stable February peak of 348. But stability is hardly in the energy dictionary right now. Volatile discounts, weak international prices, illiquid equity markets and a never-ending pipeline drama has spooked those with money and hollowed those without. It’s pretty simple really: No confidence plus no money equals no drilling. That’s what was happening late last year.

Having said that, the very real potential for fiscal disaster was averted. To clear the late ’18 production glut, the government of Alberta stepped into the market with a mandatory oil curtailment (8.7 percent across the board).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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