Voices from Russia

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Top of Trudeau’s Agenda? Legalising Pot in Canada

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As one of his first official orders of business, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is focusing on legalising marijuana. On Friday, newly elected PM Trudeau sent a letter to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, outlining his administration’s priorities. On that list are some expected policies such as ensuring transparency of Supreme Court Justice appointments and an overhaul of the criminal justice system, for instance, but also amongst Trudeau’s priorities is creating a “federal-provincial-territorial process that’d lead to the legalisation and regulation of marijuana”. This’d be a major reversal from the policy of the previous Harper government, which enforced mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug crimes. The endeavour is also part of a broader goal of reducing incarceration rates among Indigenous Canadians. For the time being, regional police are using their own best judgement when it comes to drug enforcement, deciding when and when not to enforce existing drug laws. Trudeau wrote in his letter to Wilson-Raybould, “I’m deeply grateful to have this opportunity to serve with you as we build an even greater country. Together, we’ll work tirelessly to honour the trust Canadians have given us”. Together, the two have set their sights on some high-minded goals.

17 November 2015

Sputnik International



Wednesday, 21 October 2015

New Prime Trudeau to Pull Out Jets… Gives Bird to USA

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Mere hours after defeating Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister-designate Justin Pierre James Trudeau told US President Barack Obama that he’d withdraw all Canadian jets from Syria and Iraq. According to Reuters, Trudeau told Obama as the latter called to congratulate Trudeau on his election win. The Liberal leader ran on a promise to withdraw Canadian CF-18 aircraft from the US-led coalition’s military campaign against the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group. Earlier this year, the Liberals opposed the Conservative government’s proposal to extend combat missions from Iraq into Syria. On the campaign trail, Trudeau also floated the idea that his administration may consider bolstering local forces in the region, and increasing Canada’s humanitarian aid. Earlier on Tuesday, the US State Department addressed questions as to whether it concerned them that Canada’s new government mightn’t support US foreign policy regarding IS presence in Afghanistan. State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters:

These are all decisions the Canadian people have to make, Canadian legislators have to make, and their Prime Minister [has to make]. We’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with Canadian armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

21 October 2015

Sputnik International


Canada Awoke from a Long (and Real) Nightmare…

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The above map is based on census units, not ridings… it shows the largest vote-getter in a particular area. Canada has a “first-past-the-post” system, so, a candidate with a minority of the vote can win, so long as they’re ahead of all others.


First off, I want to say that you’re all amazing. I’m scrolling through my feed this morning and everything I see is intelligent thoughtful commentary on the outfall of last night’s election. We seem to be collectively experiencing such a mix of thoughts and emotions, from the tremendous relief of waking up in a country no longer governed by a corrupt heartless tyrant, to sadness about the seeming loss of ground on the left. We’re overwhelmingly thoughtful and anxious about the new government and especially its leader, Justin Trudeau.

I have to say, I didn’t give the Liberals a lot of thought this election. In fact, my riding didn’t even have a Liberal candidate after she withdrew last week, though she managed to take a chunk of votes anyway since Elections Canada wasn’t able to remove her from the ballot. My vote was NDP from the beginning and it never wavered, so I spent very little energy looking into the platforms of the other parties. Now, I want to know. Who is Justin Trudeau? What kind of person is he? What kind of leader is he? How will he steer the course of this country for the next 4-5 years? Should I be hopeful or pessimistic about where we’re going?

I’m old enough to remember the Chrétien/Martin years. I harbour no illusions that this is a revolution. In some ways, one can see it as a return to Canadian politics as usual with the ball landing in the Liberal court for their turn again. However, I have to say in all honesty that the only moment during this campaign where a party leader made me feel anything deeply was during his closing remarks in the first debate. He spoke about the heart of Canada and Canadians, about hope and optimism, and I felt him. He meant it.

I think he’s a good person. I think he has heart and he cares about this country and its diverse people. I think if he was sitting at my dinner table, we’d agree on more things than we’d disagree on. He may not be as far “left” as I’d like in that he still believes in capitalist economics, but from where I sit, he’s about as good as we’re ever going to get in a Prime Minister. I like him better than Mulcair, who I never could warm up to anyway, and I can’t say after looking into it further that I think his policies or platform are in general less left than the NDP, at least under Mulcair. He’s promised to withdraw Canadian soldiers from armed conflict, to restore environmental protections and increase them, to reform the electoral system, to restore funding to the CBC and Canada post, and to rebuild relationships with Canada’s First Nations. Therefore, I think we did good last night, and I think we still have lots of work to do.

Nevertheless, for now, I’m honestly overwhelmed with tears of relief. I feel like we just won the fucking lottery and cured cancer at the same time, as ridiculous as that is. I feel irrationally overwhelmingly grateful for this man who has stepped up to take back our country from Harper. If he enacts even a fraction of the platform promises he made, Canada’s going to be a profoundly better place than it was yesterday. If he does nothing at all but prevent further damage, Canada’s still going to be a better place. Moreover, I trust that he’d do something more than that. He has a young family and a wife who reminds me a lot of myself. He has promises to keep and I get the sense he’s the kind of person who’d do his best to keep them. At least, I hope he will.

To quote Jack Layton:

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

I think we changed the world for the better yesterday. Thanks everyone.

20 October 2015


Occupy Calgary


Friday, 19 October 2012

Fox News’ Lies Keep Them Out of Canada

Political Correctness exists on both sides of the political spectrum… and the rightwing version is vastly more toxic than that found on the left. That’s a meaty bone to gnaw upon…


Editor’s Foreword:

This is from last year, but it still has “bite” and “traction”. Remember, Fox News was caught using footage from Athens, labelling it as being from Moscow (palm trees in a Muscovite winter… I think not!). At present, Fox is claiming that Romney’s ahead… no responsible foreign outlet seconds that. In short, Fox lies, yet again. God have mercy on the ordinary folk who get taken in by such obvious propaganda for the Barracuda Free Market… and on those taken in by Fox’s alter-ego in the Corporate Media, CNN. Both manipulate the news, both aren’t worthy of cred.



As America‘s middle class battles for its survival on the Wisconsin barricades… against various Koch Oil surrogates and the corporate toadies at Fox News… fans of enlightenment, democracy, and justice can take comfort from a significant victory north of the Wisconsin border. Fox News won’t be moving into Canada after all! The reason is that, last week, Canadian regulators announced  they’d reject efforts by Canada’s rightwing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news. Canada’s Radio Act requires that “a licenser may not broadcast … any false or misleading news”. The provision has kept Fox News and rightwing talk radio out of Canada and helped make Canada a model for liberal democracy and freedom. Because of that law, Canadians enjoy high quality news coverage, including the kind of foreign affairs and investigative journalism that flourished in this country before Ronald Reagan abolished the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987.

Political dialogue in Canada is marked by civility, modesty, honesty, collegiality, and idealism… concepts that have pretty much disappeared on the American airwaves. When Stephen Harper moved to abolish the anti-lying provision of the Radio Act, Canadians rose up to oppose him, fearing that their tradition of honest non-partisan news would be replaced by the toxic, overtly partisan, biased, and dishonest news coverage familiar to American citizens who listen to Fox News and talk radio. Harper’s proposal was timed to facilitate the launch of a new right-wing network, “Sun TV News”, which Canadians call “Fox News North“. Harper, often referred to as “George W Bush‘s Mini-Me,” is known for having mounted a Bush-like war on government scientists, data collectors, transparency, and enlightenment in general. He’s a wizard of all the familiar tools of demagoguery; false patriotism, bigotry, fear, selfishness, and belligerent religiosity.

Harper’s attempts to make lying legal on Canadian television are a stark admission that right-wing political ideology can only dominate national debate through dishonest propaganda. Since corporate profit-taking isn’t an attractive vessel for populism, a political party or broadcast network that makes itself the tool of corporate and financial élites must lie to make its agenda popular with the public. In the USA, Fox News and talk radio, the sock puppets of billionaires and corporate robber barons, have become the masters of propaganda and distortion on the public airwaves. Fox News’ notoriously biased and dishonest coverage of the Wisconsin’s protests is a prime example of the brand of news coverage Canada has smartly avoided.

11 March 2011

Robert F Kennedy Jr

Reader Supported News


Editor’s Afterword:

Stephen Harper is PM of Canada only due to the slo-mo realignment taking place up there. The Liberals (the “Grits” in CanSpeak) are dying… the New Democrats are taking their place as the major opposition party (the Liberals may end as a pro-federal Francophone bloc after all the dust settles). Because of this, and Canada’s “first past the post” election law (a candidate need not gain a majority, only a plurality of the votes cast), the Conservatives have won the past two elections (that is, they won a minority of the vote, but a majority of the seats). However, the New Conservatives (the old PCs died with Joe Clark and Mulroney… the New Conservatives are mostly the old Alliance bunch) won’t last… in Canada, things move more slowly than in the USA, as Canadians are more truly conservative than Americans are. After all, Canada is the home of the “Loyal Americans”, the United Empire Loyalists… reflect on that.

There is NO conservatism in the USA… it’s the home of the first of the Three Great Humanist Revolutions, after all. Reflect on that one, too…


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