Let me just hold those conventions for you, sir.

WHAT THE FUCK CANADA

Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan will be ordered to attack opium traffickers and drug facilities when there is proof of direct links to the Taliban, CBC News has learned.

The new order follows a heated debate among NATO allies over whether the attacks could be declared war crimes.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay told CBC News soldiers would indeed target drug traffickers and drug production facilities.

First, using military force on civilian targets — even if you don’t like what they do for a living — is a war crime.

Second, our military is in fucking Afghanistan fighting DRUG DEALERS WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK ASDFKASODFKOAWEF

Kill him. Kill him dead.

I’ve been hoping for a Liberal-NDP coalition government since Chrétien left office, but I never thought I would actually see it so close to actually happening.

If the opposition comes out on top when the dust settles, we might see a new era of coalition governments in Canadian politics, and — dare I say it — electoral reform to prevent the vote-splitting which allowed the Conservatives to take power in the first place. Blue sky thinking to be sure, but no more than a Liberal-NDP coalition was, five years ago.

I could go on for days about my dream cabinet, or the platform I think we’ll see, but all of that is secondary to what would be the most important consequence of a successful coalition: The destruction of Stephen Harper.

Scott Reid said it better than I would:

Stephen Harper is the most dangerous animal lurking in the jungles of Parliament. He is a threat to the future viability of the Liberals. A blood simple opponent of the NDP and the only serious contemporary challenge to the Bloc Quebecois. Without him, his party is an unlikely combination of Reform Party leftovers, Harris refugees and Red Tory desperates. They don’t matter or even exist without Mr. Harper. So before you think a moment longer, opposition leaders, think on that.

And if that’s not compelling enough, remember: He doesn’t play to win. He plays to conquer. Under his guidance, the public interest is always subjugated to his personal political advancement. And he poisons Parliament with an extreme, bare-fanged breed of partisanship that has no hope of repair until he is banished.

This becomes relevant because suddenly, he is weak. In fact, at this particular moment, he is almost unable to defend himself. Owing to a ridiculously ill-considered act of hubris, he has laid himself vulnerable to his opponents. Their imperative could not be more clear: kill him. Kill him dead. Do not, whatever you do, provide him with an opportunity to extend his hold on power. Because you can be damn certain he will never again be so reckless as to give you a chance to finish him off.

He’s right. Everyone involved has gone past the point-of-no-return; this is uncharted territory, and whoever gains ground will be salting the earth behind them.

As long as life endures.

Shelter mourns dozens of homeless who died in Ottawa in 2008.

Close to 100 people crowded into downtown shelter Friday morning to remember more than 40 shelter users who died this year in Ottawa. […]

About 10 people came before the crowd to share their memories of those whose struggles on the street ended over the past 11 months. A list of the dead, who ranged in age from 19 to the early 60s, were read out and the crowd sang Amazing Grace in their memory.

About 900 to 1,000 people live in shelters downtown, said Paul Soucie, co-executive director of the Shepherds of Good Hope shelter.

Ronald Waldrif, who has been using the Centre 454 shelter for two years, said he knew some of them, including one man who was starting to get his life back together when he died in a hit-and-run collision.

He added that many committed suicide. Others died as a result of homicide, illness, or drug overdoses, Cheam said.

I wish I had known about this. When I was working with the shelters/drop-in, we were never allowed to do anything along these lines.

Our unwillingness to address homelessness in Canada is tragic and shameful.

i have the outrage fatigue

It gets worse:

CBC NEWS – The chorus of voices blasting the federal Heritage Department’s recent cuts to federal arts and culture programs grew louder on Friday, with critics calling the decision “appalling” and “disastrous” for the community.

“Culture is not an expense, it’s an investment — in human potential, the economy and in creativity,” MP Denis Coderre, the Liberal Party’s heritage critic, told a news conference in Montreal on Friday, adding that the decision is a “disastrous” step backwards for the country and “extremely worrying.”

“When you cut a program you have to rebuild it some other way. Creating new programs takes months and months,” he said, also accusing the government of denying funding to artists “because they’re radical” and of trying to define “what culture is, when we should be fostering creativity.”

Last week, government officials confirmed it would no longer fund the $4.7 million PromArt program, which subsidizes the promotion of Canadian artists touring abroad. News then emerged that funding of the $9 million Trade Routes program, which promotes the export of Canadian arts and culture products abroad, had also been cut.

The elimination of further federal cultural funding came to light late this week, including contributions of:

$300,000 to the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada, for programs archiving important film, television and musical recordings.
$1.5 million to the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund.
$2.5 million to the National Training Program in the Film and Video Sector.
Two programs that provide administrative support to arts organizations — the Stabilization Projects and Capacity Building — will also be eliminated, as will two New Media Research funds, the government announced in updates on the programs’ respective web pages.

New condemnation

Myriad arts and cultural groups had already voiced their dismay regarding the PromArt and Trade Routes cuts, but a flood of new condemnation came on Friday.

“It’s appalling that these cuts come during the Olympics when all eyes are focused on the world stage,” Richard Hardacre, national president of performers’ union ACTRA, said in a statement on Friday.

“You can’t compete without investment in years of training and long-term support. The arts are no different.”

Noted Canadian filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson, who is also president of the Directors Guild of Canada, said his group was “gravely concerned by these recent decisions and will be seeking meetings with both [heritage and foreign affairs] ministers to encourage their reconsideration. Given the size of our market and the current state of our industry, now is the time to strengthen, not abolish, such key programs.”

The cancellations will have a “devastating effect,” Antoni Cimolino, Stratford Shakespeare Festival general director and a vice-president of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, said in an earlier statement.

“Canadians depend on our artists and their work to communicate Canadian values. Government investment is a crucial element of cultural diplomacy in every developed nation, including Canada.”

On Thursday, Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe called the funding cuts “unacceptable.” He called on his Liberal and NDP colleagues to join the Bloc in calling the Heritage Department to task and demanded the Conservatives immediately explain their decision.

Efficiency, stronger impact sought: Verner

After mostly silence (save for brief statements from department spokesmen) this week, Heritage Minister Josée Verner defended the Trade Routes and PromArt decisions in an interview with the French arm of Canadian Press on Thursday.

“What’s being considered … is to examine how we can create a new program or new avenues that will be more efficient and with a stronger impact for our culture abroad,” Verner said.

Though these programs are important for artists, they did not demonstrate that the federal government’s investment in them had enough impact to make a difference, Verner said, adding that the decision to abolish these programs stems from revisions announced in the budget last spring.

Verner said she would “always fight” for the cultural sector but that reality dictates “that we seek efficiency. I think the first beneficiary of this [action] will be the cultural world.”

CALL THE FUCKING ELECTION ALREADY ASDKFAKSDOFD

In case anyone missed this from a few days ago:

OTTAWA – The federal government will cancel a program today that sent artists abroad to promote Canadian culture because the program’s grant recipients included “a general radical,” “a left-wing and anti-globalization think-tank” and a rock band that uses an expletive as part of its name.

Canwest News Service has learned that the Conservatives are cancelling the $4.7-million PromArt program administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade because most of the money “went to groups that would raise the eyebrows of any typical Canadian,” said a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The move is sure to provoke a backlash in the Canadian cultural community, already angry at the federal Conservatives for tinkering with the funding criteria for other arts programs, most famously for pending legislation which would prohibit federal funding of films and television shows the government might find offensive.

The cut is part of an ongoing government-wide review to cut spending but the department’s PromArt program became an easy target when senior Conservatives discovered that some recipients of taxpayer-funded foreign travel were “not exactly the foot that most Canadians would want to see put forward.”

The recipients singled out by the Conservatives include:

– $3,000 to Toronto-based experimental rock band Holy F— Music for a week-long tour of the United Kingdom.

– $5,000 was given to former CBC broadcaster Avi Lewis, who now works for al-Jazeera and who is described in a Conservative memo as “a general radical” to help pay for his travel to film festivals in Australia and Argentina;

– $16,500 to send Tal Bachman, a bestselling recording artist and the son of The Guess Who’s Randy Bachman, to South Africa and Zimbabwe for music festivals.

“I think there’s a reasonable expectation by taxpayers that they won’t fund the world travel of wealthy rock stars, ideological activists or fringe and alternative groups,” the source said.

Bachman, Lewis or representatives of Holy F— Music could not immediately be reached.

But the program also funded travel to promote what many Canadians might consider “mainstream” Canadian art. For example, the Canadian Museum of Civilization received $50,000 to help defray the costs of taking an exhibition of Inuit art to Brazil; the Royal Winnipeg Ballet received assistance of $40,000 for a U.S. tour; and former Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache received a $3,000 grant so he could travel to Cuba to give a lecture about the Canadian Charter of Rights.

The Foreign Affairs website said the grant program “provides funding to Canadian artists and arts organizations for the promotion of Canadian culture abroad, in alignment with Canada’s foreign policy and trade priorities.”

More than 300 grants were awarded in 2006-07.

Among those who received a grant was author Gwynne Dyer, who received $3,000 to help him travel to Cuba for a series of lectures. The grant program’s annual report said Dyer’s funding application was approved “with the expected results of creating greater awareness and appreciation of Canadian foreign policy … within key audiences of Cuban decision-makers and opinion-leaders.”

But the Conservative talking points say Dyer is “a left-wing columnist and author who has plenty of money to travel on his own.”

The Conservatives also dismiss a grant given to The North South Institute, a non-profit foreign policy think-tank, that received $18,000 in federal travel assistance so its representatives could attend a conference in Cuba.

The North-South Institute is “a left-wing and anti-globalization think-tank,” the Conservative memo said. “Why are we paying for these people to attend anti-western conferences in Cuba?” it asked.

Other artists and groups to receive federal funding for foreign travel assistance in 2006-07 were:

– Comedian Andy Jones received $11,000 for an Australian tour; the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada received $18,000 to go to South Carolina; and The Gryphon Trio received $13,200 to travel and play in the United Kingdom.

– Combined, the Quebec-based dance troupes Le Projet Ex Machina, Les 7 doigts de la main, and les Grands ballets canadiens received more than $500,000 in travel assistance for tours through the U.S., Asia, and Europe.

– Rock band The Rheostatics received $7,000 for a trip to China.

$500 times 51,514 mp3s = $25,757,000 fine for me

The new copyright legislation is in the mail:

The federal Conservatives are set to introduce new copyright legislation that will include provisions to target users with a $500 fine for all illegal files transferred online, a move that legal experts say could see Canadians sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars if found guilty of infringement.

Sources have told the National Post that one of the provisions in the updated Copyright Act of Canada will include a fine for each “personal use download” found to be shared online through peer-to-peer software programs.

Other provisions in the bill, which is said to be tabled in the House of Commons tomorrow afternoon, will include measures to make it illegal to unlock cellphones or copy music from protected CDs to iPods as well as making it illegal to copy “time-shifted” shows on to personal video recorders if flagged by broadcasters.

Summary?

Loss of Copyright Act right to make a copy of music for personal use.
Modifying electronics that you own will be illegal
Ripping copy-protected CDs that you own to play on mp3 players that you own will be illegal.

No one knows yet if this is going to be tabled tomorrow or next week, and no one knows if it’ll be left to die over summer recess or pushed through; so look up your MP, give them a ring on the hill, and let them know what you think.

X

The provincial election is coming up soon, and it’s quite possibly the most important provincial election we’ll see in our lifetimes. There’s a referendum (the first in 80 years) to switch to a proportional representation system, instead of the first-past-the-post garbage we currently have.

If you don’t know what that means or why you need to vote, check out the site and read a primer; all should become clear.

When it comes to the candidates and parties themselves, however, I just can’t bring myself to like anyone at all. It’s just a matter of which particular kind of government is the least bad. The Green Party of Ontario isn’t as market-oriented as the Green Party of Canada, but at the end of the day, it’s just watered down eco-capitalism.

The NDP platform is probably closest to what I’d like to see, as far as policies are concerned. Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten over their irrational fear of nuclear power, and they’d like to ban any further nuclear development in Ontario, saying it’s too ‘risky’.

How many people in Ontario died last year because of nuclear power? Right, no one.

How many people in Ontario died last year because of coal power? 800? 1300? 2000? Depends which stats you look at, but it’s a fuckton more than zero.

I can understand that the average person doesn’t really understand all the issues involved in nuclear power, and that there’s a general fear of all things nuclear, thanks to Chernobyl and the Cold War, but I expect my politicians to think critically.

The Liberal party’s platform isn’t interesting in any way. More promises which they may or may not be able to keep.

Broken Liberal promises are much better than kept Conservative promises, though.

I get the feeling I’m going to end up voting Communist.

7.94 requests/sec – 101.6 kB/second – 12.8 kB/request

Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen!

Here is a complete accounting of all connections on the webserver that hosts strategis.ic.gc.ca, businessgateway.ic.gc.ca, commercecan.ic.gc.ca and other Industry Canada services.

Or perhaps you tire of looking at other people’s URLs (watch for ‘secret’ URLs, usernames/passwords passed via POST, and session data — don’t tell the privacy commissioner), and you’d like to view processes and statistics instead? Your government is here to help!

Bonus points: These webservers (and countless others in the Industry Canada IP Space) are infected with a trojan that allows anyone to connect to them and execute arbitrary code. Guess which one it is!

Edit: Looks like they took down the first one. Any bets on how long the others will last?

COMMUNIST – 0.034% — MARXIST-LENINIST – 0.067% — MARIJUANA – 0.249%

For those who find such things interesting, here are our current election results:

LIB 135
CON 99
BQ 54
NDP 19
IND 1

…and here is how it would look if we had proportional representation:

LIB 113
CON 91
NDP 47
BQ 39
GREEN 13

Liberals + NDP = 154 Seats.
Conservatives + Bloc = 154 Seats. (The IND candidate is a CON that was listed as IND due to a party nomination argument. He’ll be welcomed back to the fold.)

Someone’s going to have to suck some conservative dick tonight if he wants to form a government.

Ryan Malcolm knows what’s up.

Federal Heritage Minister Helene Scherrer has spoken. Although Justice Konrad von Finckenstein ruled against CRIA, she has decided to take matters into her own hands.

“As minister of Canadian Heritage, I will, as quickly as possible, make changes to our copyright law.”


Canada to Helene Scherrer: Suck My Balls.

The problem with this, of course, is that Canadian copyright law has been going through a slow and thoughtful reformation process. Since the unveiling of A Framework for Copyright Reform in 2001, a lot of progress has been made in updating the laws to reflect the needs and concerns of content producers, and the public domain.

Now, however, it seems that all of this work will be bulldozed by Helene Scherrer, who declared her intentions at the Juno Awards last night. (Public interest and existing law be damned, we’ve got businesses to cater to!)

If this bothers you, please contact the Copyright Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage at (819) 997-5638. It’s your country too.

So you will have another ticket, for losing your senses.

A brief history of Canada’s marijuana laws is relevant reading, considering the Prime Minister’s recent assurance that pot is soon to be decriminalized, and our friendly neighbour to the south’s not-so-veiled threats.

I firmly believe the Bush administration will bring about the end of American-Canadian trust and goodwill. This is just one action of many.