Monday, June 30, 2014

From the same group of thugs who brought you the Temporary Foreign Workers fiasco ....

The Trojan Horse! (Or horses, if you like). Ever heard of the International Mobility Program? How about Inter-Company Transfers, whereby foreign companies are permitted to bring their own foreign workers in to do work on Canadian soil?


Off to Creekside where Alison had done an amazing amount of heavy lifting. It may be the most important post you've read this year.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

John Baird is either a liar or stupid ...

And, no, you are not limited to one or the other when trying to decide.

I've said before that Harper and his incompetent thugs are nothing more than hillbillies playing at governing with no coherent plan and no clear concept of the world around them. No one epitomizes the intellectual laziness of the Harper regime than his so-called Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird. This is the guy who's supposed be in touch with the world and understand the nuances of other countries and cultures. The truth is, he is utterly unqualified for the job.

After calling the former Canadian ambassador to Egypt, Ferry de Kerckhove, something close to anti-Semitic, Baird furthered the exposure of his own ignorance by stating an outright falsehood, proclaiming that de Kerckhove was on the payroll of the government of Qatar.

Ferry de Kerckhove squared this away quickly while making it clear what he thinks of John Baird and his penchant for making things up. Read it all.

[I] was never on the payroll of the Government of Qatar. Mr. Baird could have checked the fact rather than try to defame me!
Yet I would hope that he might understand the danger my grandmother faced during the German occupation of Belgium as she harbored a Jewish couple in her basement for the better part of 1944. She was visited by the head of the Komandantur of Liege who told her there were rumors she was sheltering Jews. She stared him down and challenged him to check if he did not believe her word that she did not. He backed off. The couple survived. That is real life Mr. Baird and I am deeply proud of my grandmother.

My mother, although born a catholic hailed from a well-known Jewish family of printers for the Vatican. Of course, Mr. Baird, you might not know that Catholics could not become printers for the Vatican a few centuries ago as it was not “kosher” (pardon the pun!) for Catholics to make money from the Vatican.
The people of Ottawa West - Nepean should be ashamed of themselves for sending this national embarrassment and total waste of skin to parliament.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Dear Canada ... Kiss your navy goodbye

The Royal Canadian Navy, your navy, is now in worse condition than it ever was under any other government since before the 2nd World War.

Today the RCN announced that HMCS Iroquois is so badly rusted out and so dangerous to sail that it may never return to service.

That leaves the RCN with one, that's right, one serviceable destroyer. The RCN has one, that's right, one replenishment ship.

What that means is that the RCN is able to put ONE under-strength task group to sea in the event of a crisis, whether military or humanitarian. In a country bordered by three oceans, we have to choose ONE and hope it's a correct guess.

The RCN is conducting patrols with clapped-out, continually useless Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels, the likes of which don't even have a useable gunnery system and present a useless sick-bay.

So much for the myth perpetuated by the Harper government that the Conservatives are all about defending Canada. You'd have to go back to 1936 to find Canada's navy in such a deplorable state.

Harper lied to you and he lied to the armed services.

Helicopters and Cons

This is ludicrous. Canada's Seaking replacement is the Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone. This is a militarised version of the civilian S-92 helicopter. Two S-92 helicopters, one in Australia and one in Canada, have crashed due to the loss of oil in the main gearbox. The Canadian crash killed 17 oil rig workers and crew.
Now, CBC News has learned the details of what the government has agreed to forego in order to conclude a long-awaited new deal with Sikorsky, and it includes a formerly mandatory safety measure: a 30-minute run-dry standard for its main gear box.
The importance of the ability to fly for 30 minutes after a loss of lubrication in the main gear box was reinforced by an investigation into a deadly 2009 crash of a Sikorsky-built helicopter.
The gearbox is a kind of linkage between the helicopters engines and its rotor system. It's packed with lubricating oil that cools the gears and keeps power flowing to the rotors. If a helicopter loses oil in its main gearbox, the system will get too hot and either seize up or otherwise fail. That would lead to a loss of power in the rotor, forcing a helicopter from the sky.
A helicopter that meets the run-dry standard can continue flying for 30 minutes even if there's no oil in the main gear box — a critical feature for helicopters flying hundreds of kilometres out to sea.

As a result, the Transportation Safety Board recommended revisiting the 30 minute gearbox run-dry requirement that this model of helicopter was exempted from under an "extremely remote" chance provision in the regulations because the chances are apparently somewhat less than extremely remote.

I suspect that if the CH-148 has been exempted from this requirement this late in the game, it probably has not been able to demonstrate that it can meet it and likely won't ever. I wonder what the paperwork looks like around that toxic nugget!

A few things to keep in mind. First, naval helicopters fly from ships that may be sailing thousands (not hundreds) of kilometres from shore. If a helicopter gets in trouble, it could be a long way from its ship, the sea conditions could be bad, it could be a combat situation, and so on, any of which makes a timely rescue difficult to impossible. Second, military aircraft, unlike civilian ones, are regularly flown right to the edge of their performance envelope (and sometimes beyond), placing additional stress on airframe components. It doesn't take an engineer to tell you that this both increases the likelihood of failure and the need for robust safety systems and criteria. 

There's no excuse for this. Like the single engine F-35, it isn't a question of if crashes will happen, but when. I hope the Cons aren't using the near 50% loss rate (incl. 37 deaths) of their ancestral (Diefenbaker) government's purchase CF-104s as an acceptibility benchmark.

It's cowardice and utterly criminal not to cancel a program that fails to meet safety standards set by fatal experience. Aircrew will pay with their lives for the Cons inability to eat their error. Should we be surprised? People, workers, military members, it doesn't matter: everyone is expendable to them if it is politically expedient.

Collective sociopathy, if there is such a thing. He's a little off, but this guy has a point.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The thickness of Peter Mackay

Let's face it, Peter Mackay is not among the sharpest implements in a drawer full of dull blades. His latest attack on women demonstrates a thought process that is not only overly-simplistic but flawed to the point of being dangerous. Tabatha Southey does a low-level strafing run on Mackay demonstrating his consistency in being wrong on, well, everything.
At this point, I’m impressed with the sheer breadth and scope of Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s ineptitude. These days he’s wrong about so many things and manages to communicate this wrongness in so many mediums, I’m in awe.
The man is wrong everywhere! He just keeps popping up wrong! Peter MacKay is like the Zelig of wrong! He’s wrong in the House of Commons – and throws papers on the floor. He’s as wrong in four-year-old as he is in adult.
It gets better and is a great Sunday morning read.

Of course, nothing about Mackay would be complete without pointing out his failure to keep it professional in the House of Commons when his steady squeeze gave Harper the finger. It also showed what he thought of women.
Liberal MP David McGuinty asked Mr. MacKay how the Conservatives' newly unveiled green plan would help his dog in Nova Scotia. Mr. MacKay is said to have looked up, pointed to Ms. Stronach's empty chair and said "You already have her."
Added Mr. McGuinty: "I mean, this is the kind of conduct that you expect from a schoolyard bully, not a Minister of Foreign Affairs ... It is not the conduct that is becoming of a minister of Foreign Affairs.
Mackay ran away from further questions on the matter.

But one has to wonder: What's motivating this mono-synaptic twit?

He sold out a "big tent" party (which admittedly had been shredded by Mulroney) to a bunch of intolerant, racist, small-minded, knuckle-dragging, low-life fascists just to get a seat at a particular table. This is not someone motivated by a sense of public service.

Could it be that Peter Mackay is so dumb that he believes he can outlast Harper and, because he sold out his once centrist party to the Calgary republicans, that he is the anointed monarch?

Please ... he can't be THAT stupid. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

TFW reformishness

Yeah, whatever. Some caps, some more inspections, some 'up to' fines. Capital is like water and will find the cracks.

A $1000 application fee? Some places could probably recover that in a paycheque or two, or find a way of transfering the cost to the employee. Fines seem high, but don't kick in until the fall, which should give the rats plenty of time to find the cracks and spaces to hide. I could go on.

The problem is the program, its expansion, and the attack on Canadian workers and the exploitation of foreigners the expansion represents. At the end of the day, Canadians are being displaced by lower-waged people from abroad who do not have the same rights and expectations from their employers that Canadians have.

Just wait until the news gets out in a few months that nothing's changed or things have gotten worse, possibly due to some Trojan horse hidden in the program reforms. That's how these Cons think. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Well, that's a little awkward

Harpergov does a poll (snicker) on Canadian political icons in the lead-up the 150th birthday (geez, didn't we just have Canada 125?), and well, the results really don't do the Cons any favours.

Folks like Layton, Suzuki, topped by Trudeau the Elder. It must be so hard to be a Con in Canada.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Swamp Blaney with information

So, Harper has ordered Public Safety Minister, Steven Blaney, to learn about and monitor every protest, everywhere by anybody in Canada.
The federal government is expanding its surveillance of public activities to include all known demonstrations across the country, a move that collects information even on the most mundane of protests by Canadians.
The email requesting such information was sent out Tuesday by the Government Operations Centre in Ottawa to all federal departments.
The Government Operations Centre is not allowed to issue such instructions. It's own terms of reference make it a body designed to respond to emergencies; not gather information on legitimate assemblies. In short the GOC is now spying on you. Welcome to Harper's Canada. (And the stinking turd has the unmitigated gall to call Putin a threat to stability).

Others have written extensively and eloquently on this. Dr. Dawg and Simon have pointed out very clearly what this means and if you don't get the "police state is here, now" flavour from their very clear messages, I would re-read them until you do.

So, what are you going to do about it?

Try this: Every community and local event, right down to a friggin' church bake sale should be reported to Blaney's office. Make every event a demonstration or protest.

Having a pancake breakfast? Make it a pancake breakfast to protest the consumption of toast.
Holding a bake sale to raise funds for the poor overseas? Make it a bake sale protesting the lack of foreign aid being provided by Canada.

Swamp the sonofabitch. They don't have the people or the resources to sort through it. And keep doing it. Don't let up and they'll eventually give up. You turn their own weapon against them.

You can send a letter, or thousands of letters, without postage, to:
Steven Blaney, MP
House of Commons,
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6


Fax: 613-995-6856

Phone: 613-992-7434

And feel free to tell your community newspaper what you're doing. They'll eat it up.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

It's time BC teachers realized that the woman in the pink shirt is a bloody bully

Christy Clark takes credit for creating Pink Shirt Day, an initiative intended to combat the bullying that occurs in BC schoolyards. It was a useful illusion to help her fulfill her political ambitions. There's only one problem: Christy Clark is one of the most notorious bullies in British Columbia.

Christy Clark is the one who tore up collective agreements, repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of teachers and has brutally starved the provincial public education system at all levels. It makes one wonder what it is this daughter of a BC teacher has against education in general and public-school teachers specifically.

She has enlisted her populist water-carriers in the media to refer to the BC Teachers Federation as "militant", an unwarranted term used without a shred of substantiation. As The Gazetteer points out, it was Clark who tried to provoke a strike, violated the constitution, ignored the rule of law and tore up contracts. Yet none of those media pundits have taken to calling Clark what she is: an extremist and a bully.

Jim Nelson does a great job of laying out the history of the BCTF and the fact that they're anything but militant. Forced by then-premier Bill Vanderzalm into becoming a union, teachers, by their very nature go out of their way to avoid conflict and confrontation and they do it at their own peril. Further, they have caused less classroom disruption due to labour concerns than the Campbell/Clark regime has done with a fiscal hatchet.

Jim Nelson used an interesting analogy when he put Christy Clark's behaviour with teachers against the backdrop of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Interesting that he should use that particular group because the ILWU marine component has just experienced a single outrageous act on the part of the employer and they didn't hold back. A strike vote was swift and unanimous.

Seaspan, the largest tug, towing and vessel escort company in BC, unilaterally imposed a new contract on both officers and ratings, stripping them of established working conditions and placing a higher demand on call-out crews. The ILWU and the Canadian Merchant Service Guild (representing officers) were understandably outraged at the move. When Seaspan appeared intransigent the ILWU received unanimous approval from its members to go to a strike. The CMSG also announced a strike vote prompting the federal labour minister, Kellie Leitch, to get involved. The officers have agreed to an arbitrator and not to strike providing Seaspan does NOT implement the new contract. The ratings aren't being quite as nice about it. They expect negotiations to resume immediately, failure of which will lead to 72 hours strike notice and a virtual shut-down of shipping all over BC by Sunday.

Now, if I were betting on what's happening now, (and having had a couple of conversations with some tug captains), I'd bet that Seaspan expected a strike and then expected the anti-labour Harper government to legislate crews back to work with an imposed agreement ... favouring Seaspan's owners.

Tug crews are a tough lot. They have difficult, dangerous jobs requiring exceptional skill and a high level of knowledge. When they, without hesitation, threatened to get tough and get tough fast, they brought down their bully. There is no doubt the officers and ratings made it clear to Leitch that they wouldn't and did not need to back down. You see, the crews, particularly the officers, hold the hammer, something I'll describe if and when it appears they may close to swinging it.

The teachers haven't been getting the same kind of action. They've been bullied since 2002, yet they've only pulled themselves out to the picket line for 14 days since 1995. They've watched their working conditions deteriorate, at the hands of Christy Clark and have appeared powerless. The courts find in their favour and Christy Clark ignores it.

Time to get tough. Find the hammer handle and threaten to swing it. When Clark and Fassbender (who should be described by the media as an extreme fundamentalist) attempt to ignore the threat, follow through. Are there going to be hard feelings? Of course. You don't pull down a bully by being nice.

And the next time Christy Clark puts on a pink t-shirt everyone needs to mark her for the bully she is.