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Online Surveillance: Government, Business Sharing Info In ‘Unprecedented’ Ways

Online Surveillance: Government, Business Sharing Info In ‘Unprecedented’ Ways.

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What To Expect (And Not To Expect) In Ontario Election

What To Expect (And Not To Expect) In Ontario Election.

Ebola Virus Outbreak Spreads To Canada | Zero Hedge

Ebola Virus Outbreak Spreads To Canada | Zero Hedge.

The last few days has seen a sudden jump in the news headlines about one of the deadliest viruses known to man. Ebola haemorrhagic fever has prung up in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone but now, as BBC reports, a man is in hospital in Canada with symptoms of a haemorrhagic fever resembling the Ebola virus, a health official has said.

“Ebola” is in the news again…

  • *GUINEA CONFIRMS EBOLA AS SOURCE OF EPIDEMIC, AFP REPORTS
  • *LIBERIA SAYS FIVE DIE OF EBOLA IN NORTH OF COUNTRY
  • *TWO SUSPECTED CASES OF EBOLA IN SIERRA LEONE, AFP SAYS

 

 

And that is definitley not a good thing…

As The BBC reports, Canada is now the latest nation to have a potential case…

The man had recently returned from Liberia in the west African region, currently suffering a deadly outbreak of an unidentified haemorrhagic fever.

He is in isolation in critical condition in Saskatoon, the largest city in Saskatchewan province.

Dr Denise Werker, the province’s deputy chief medical officer, declined to say how long the man had been in Africa but said he only fell ill after returning to Canada.

She said that was in line with the profile of common deadly haemorrhagic fever viruses Lassa fever and Ebola, which have an incubation period of up to 21 days.

She said the people most at risk were healthcare workers who do not protect themselves from contact with the patient’s bodily secretions.

“There is no risk to the general public,” she said. “We recognise that there is going to be a fair amount of concern and that is why we wanted to go public with this as soon as possible.”

A virus resembling Ebola has struck in Guinea, with cases also reported in Liberia.

As many as 61 people have died of the disease in the remote forests of southern Guinea.

Irwin Cotler On Why He Believes He Was Poisoned In Russia

Irwin Cotler On Why He Believes He Was Poisoned In Russia.

Huffington Post Canada  |  Posted: 03/24/2014 6:26 pm EDT  |  Updated: 03/24/2014 6:59 pm EDT

irwin cotler poison

When Russia issued its blacklist of 13 Canadians on Monday, Irwin Cotler wasquick to express his honour at being included.

“I wear my exclusion from Russia as a badge of honour and am proud to be in such distinguished company,” he said in a statement.

“I have no intention of visiting Siberia. I have no investments in Sochi. I have no desire to visit Moscow and be poisoned as happened on my last trip.”

Yes, poisoned.

HuffPost Canada’s Althia Raj asked the Liberal MP for the backstory, and he said he hasn’t discussed the episode with anyone other than his family and friends until now.

It happened in 2006, when he was in Russia on a parliamentary delegation. He was dining with NDP MP Joe Comartin, who ordered the exact same meal but “nothing at all, happily, happened to him”. However Cotler was not so lucky.

Here’s the story in his own words:

“By the time, I got back to my hotel, I was violently ill. More than I had ever been almost in my life, and I started to throw up blood. I called the people in the hotel and told them I needed a doctor. Instead of sending a doctor, they sent up people to clean up all the blood — in other words, all the evidence that a doctor would need.

“I called the Canadian embassy in Moscow, and they sent a doctor and the doctor looked at me, examined me and told me I had to go right away to the hospital. And they took me into the Russian Medical Centre, the hospital in Moscow and I was held there for several days. I never knew exactly what was being done because I didn’t understand Russian and they didn’t speak English.

“I was subsequently discharged, not feeling well and returned to Canada. Some months later I met a friend of mine who actually had been one of the physicians attending [Soviet defector Alexander] Litvinov, who told me that all my symptoms were the same as Litvinov. Except that they, in my case, probably just wanted to intimidate me and temporarily disable me, but not to kill me.

“There were a number of incidents at that time, of people being poisoned. When I was at my reunion of my Yale Law School class, I learned from talking to my classmate who became a president of the European Court of Human Rights that he too was poisoned around the same time in Russia. So it didn’t appear to be coincidental.

“But then, the final part about this, is rather intriguing. In 2010, during the Intra-Parliamentary Conference to combat anti-Semitism, I called the Russian Embassy in Ottawa because they hadn’t yet given us the names of their parliamentarians to attend the conference and they said, ‘Oh Mr. Cotler, we’re sorry. We want to get two high-ranking people so please call us next week and we will give you the names.’

“And I called them back the next week, and they gave me the names and then they said to me, ‘Why don’t you come visit us in Russia?’

“And I said, ‘You know, the last time when I was there, I was poisoned.’ And then, just like that, the answer was, ‘We’re sorry. That was a mistake, it won’t happen again.’

“So I haven’t been back since then, but now I guess they made it official that I am banned from returning. But it is not the first time — I was arrested and expelled in 1979. I was banned at that time for defending political prisoners in the Soviet Union whom they accused of consorting with criminal elements in the Soviet Union and named them, like the great Andrei Sakharov, the human rights dissident.

“Now I suspect, it has nothing to do with the Ukraine but probably because I tabled a Private Member’s Bill regarding Sergei Magnitsky.”

Magnitsky was an accountant and auditor in Moscow who uncovered a corruption scheme and testified against several senior Russian officials. He was subsequently imprisoned and died in jail in 2009 at the age of 37. Cotler chairs an intra-parliamentary group on Magnitsky, and he says that is like a “red flag” to Russia.

“My sense is that’s probably the retaliatory reason in my case.”

Cotler said some of the Americans also banned by Russia were people who had worked on the Magnitsky file. Cotler has blogged about Magnitsky’s case for HuffPost.

Cotler said he also doesn’t think the sanctions Russia imposed on the 13 Canadians today will have any impact.

“I don’t think it will have any effect. In my case, it only encourages me and inspires me to intensify my advocacy. And I don’t need to go to Russia for purposes of that advocacy. Our intra-parliamentary group for Sergei Magnitsky is international, it contains parliamentarians from over 20 countries.”

Why Does Harper Still Support the Repressive, Misogynistic Saudi Regime? | Yves Engler

Why Does Harper Still Support the Repressive, Misogynistic Saudi Regime? | Yves Engler.

Yves Engler

Writer and Political Activist

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims to take “strong, principled positions in our dealings with other nations, whether popular or not.” But, even the most ardent Conservative supporters must wonder what principled position is behind the recent government-sponsored arms deal with Saudi Arabia that will send over $10 billion worth of Light Armoured Vehicles to one of the most anti-woman and repressive countries in the world.

Saudi Arabia is ruled by a monarchy that’s been in power for more than seven decades. The House of Saud has outlawed labour unions and stifled independent media. With the Qur’an ostensibly acting as its constitution, over a million Christians (mostly foreign workers) in Saudi Arabia are banned from owning Bibles or attending church while the Shia Muslim minority face significant state-sanctioned discrimination.

Outside its borders, the Saudi royal family uses its immense wealth to promote and fund many of the most reactionary, anti-women social forces in the world. They aggressively opposed the “Arab Spring” democracy movement through their significant control of Arab media, funding of authoritarian political movements and by deploying 1,000 troops to support the 200-year monarchy in neighbouring Bahrain.

The Conservatives have ignored these abuses, staying quiet when the regime killed “Arab Spring” protesters and intervened in Bahrain. Worse still, the Harper government’s hostility towards Iran and backing of last July’s military takeover in Egypt partly reflects their pro-Saudi orientation. In a stark example of Ottawa trying to ingratiate itself with that country’s monarchy, Foreign Minister John Baird recently dubbed the body of water between Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states the “Arabian Gulf” rather than the widely accepted Persian Gulf.

Ottawa hasn’t hidden its affinity for the Saudi royal family. Baird praised a deceased prince for “dedicat[ing] his life to the security and prosperity of the people of Saudi Arabia” and another as “a man of great achievement who dedicated his life to the well-being of its people.”

I am very bullish on where the Canadian-Saudi Arabian relationship is going,” Ed Fast told the Saudi Gazette in August. On his second trip to the country in less than a year, Canada’s International Trade Minister boasted about the two countries’ “common cause on many issues.”

Fast is not the only minister who has made the pilgrimage. Conservative ministers John Baird, Lawrence Cannon, Vic Toews, Maxime Bernier, Gerry Ritz, Peter Van Loan, and Stockwell Day (twice) have all visited Riyadh to meet the king or different Saudi princes.

These trips have spurred various business accords and an upsurge in business relations. SNC Lavalin alone has won Saudi contracts worth $1 billion in the last two years.

As a result of one of the ministerial visits, the RCMP plan to train Saudi Arabia’s police in “investigative techniques.” The Conservatives have also developed military relations with the Saudis. In January 2010, HMCS Fredericton participated in a mobile refueling exercise with a Saudi military vessel and, in another first, Saudi pilots began training in Alberta and Saskatchewan with NATO’s Flying Training in Canada in 2011.

The recently announced arms deal will see General Dynamics Land Systems Canada deliver Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to the Saudi military. Canada’s biggest ever arms export agreement, it’s reportedly worth $10-13 billion over 14 years.

The LAV sale is facilitated by the Canadian Commercial Corporation, which has seen its role as this country’s arms middleman greatly expanded in recent years. The Conservative government has okayed and underwritten this deal even though Saudi troops used Canadian built LAVs when they rolled into Bahrain to put down pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011.

This sale and the Conservatives’ ties to the Saudi monarchy demonstrate exactly what principles Harper supports: misogyny, military repression, monarchy over democracy and commercial expediency, especially when it comes to the profits of a U.S.-owned branch plant arms dealer.

Why Does Harper Still Support the Repressive, Misogynistic Saudi Regime? | Yves Engler

Why Does Harper Still Support the Repressive, Misogynistic Saudi Regime? | Yves Engler.

Yves Engler

Writer and Political Activist

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims to take “strong, principled positions in our dealings with other nations, whether popular or not.” But, even the most ardent Conservative supporters must wonder what principled position is behind the recent government-sponsored arms deal with Saudi Arabia that will send over $10 billion worth of Light Armoured Vehicles to one of the most anti-woman and repressive countries in the world.

Saudi Arabia is ruled by a monarchy that’s been in power for more than seven decades. The House of Saud has outlawed labour unions and stifled independent media. With the Qur’an ostensibly acting as its constitution, over a million Christians (mostly foreign workers) in Saudi Arabia are banned from owning Bibles or attending church while the Shia Muslim minority face significant state-sanctioned discrimination.

Outside its borders, the Saudi royal family uses its immense wealth to promote and fund many of the most reactionary, anti-women social forces in the world. They aggressively opposed the “Arab Spring” democracy movement through their significant control of Arab media, funding of authoritarian political movements and by deploying 1,000 troops to support the 200-year monarchy in neighbouring Bahrain.

The Conservatives have ignored these abuses, staying quiet when the regime killed “Arab Spring” protesters and intervened in Bahrain. Worse still, the Harper government’s hostility towards Iran and backing of last July’s military takeover in Egypt partly reflects their pro-Saudi orientation. In a stark example of Ottawa trying to ingratiate itself with that country’s monarchy, Foreign Minister John Baird recently dubbed the body of water between Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states the “Arabian Gulf” rather than the widely accepted Persian Gulf.

Ottawa hasn’t hidden its affinity for the Saudi royal family. Baird praised a deceased prince for “dedicat[ing] his life to the security and prosperity of the people of Saudi Arabia” and another as “a man of great achievement who dedicated his life to the well-being of its people.”

I am very bullish on where the Canadian-Saudi Arabian relationship is going,” Ed Fast told the Saudi Gazette in August. On his second trip to the country in less than a year, Canada’s International Trade Minister boasted about the two countries’ “common cause on many issues.”

Fast is not the only minister who has made the pilgrimage. Conservative ministers John Baird, Lawrence Cannon, Vic Toews, Maxime Bernier, Gerry Ritz, Peter Van Loan, and Stockwell Day (twice) have all visited Riyadh to meet the king or different Saudi princes.

These trips have spurred various business accords and an upsurge in business relations. SNC Lavalin alone has won Saudi contracts worth $1 billion in the last two years.

As a result of one of the ministerial visits, the RCMP plan to train Saudi Arabia’s police in “investigative techniques.” The Conservatives have also developed military relations with the Saudis. In January 2010, HMCS Fredericton participated in a mobile refueling exercise with a Saudi military vessel and, in another first, Saudi pilots began training in Alberta and Saskatchewan with NATO’s Flying Training in Canada in 2011.

The recently announced arms deal will see General Dynamics Land Systems Canada deliver Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to the Saudi military. Canada’s biggest ever arms export agreement, it’s reportedly worth $10-13 billion over 14 years.

The LAV sale is facilitated by the Canadian Commercial Corporation, which has seen its role as this country’s arms middleman greatly expanded in recent years. The Conservative government has okayed and underwritten this deal even though Saudi troops used Canadian built LAVs when they rolled into Bahrain to put down pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011.

This sale and the Conservatives’ ties to the Saudi monarchy demonstrate exactly what principles Harper supports: misogyny, military repression, monarchy over democracy and commercial expediency, especially when it comes to the profits of a U.S.-owned branch plant arms dealer.

Canada’s Finance Minister Flaherty Resigns Unexpectedly | Zero Hedge

Canada’s Finance Minister Flaherty Resigns Unexpectedly | Zero Hedge.

In a surprising development out of Canada’s cabinet, moments ago the finance minister, Jim Flaherty, a noted deficit hawk and proponent of paying down government debt, just announced his resignation.

  • CANADA FINANCE MINISTER FLAHERTY RESIGNS FROM CABINET
  • FLAHERTY SAYS DECISION TO LEAVE POLITICS WAS NOT RELATED IN ANY WAY TO HIS HEALTH

As Bloomberg and Globe and Mail add, Flaherty said he’s stepping down to pursue work in the private sector. “Yesterday, I informed the Prime Minister that I am resigning from Cabinet,” Flaherty said today in a statement e-mailed by his office. “This was a decision I made with my family earlier this year, as I will be returning to the private sector.”

“As I begin another chapter in my life, I leave feeling fulfilled with what we have accomplished as a government and a country during one of the most challenging economic periods in our country’s history,” he said.

Flaherty said there’s “no doubt” Canada will balance its budget as promised in the year starting April 2015, and said the decision isn’t related to his health issues

Still, there is rife speculation that it was indeed his health that was the reason for this unexpected resignation. Either way, Canada’s housing mess will now be someone else’s problem.

Canada's Finance Minister Flaherty Resigns Unexpectedly | Zero Hedge

Canada’s Finance Minister Flaherty Resigns Unexpectedly | Zero Hedge.

In a surprising development out of Canada’s cabinet, moments ago the finance minister, Jim Flaherty, a noted deficit hawk and proponent of paying down government debt, just announced his resignation.

  • CANADA FINANCE MINISTER FLAHERTY RESIGNS FROM CABINET
  • FLAHERTY SAYS DECISION TO LEAVE POLITICS WAS NOT RELATED IN ANY WAY TO HIS HEALTH

As Bloomberg and Globe and Mail add, Flaherty said he’s stepping down to pursue work in the private sector. “Yesterday, I informed the Prime Minister that I am resigning from Cabinet,” Flaherty said today in a statement e-mailed by his office. “This was a decision I made with my family earlier this year, as I will be returning to the private sector.”

“As I begin another chapter in my life, I leave feeling fulfilled with what we have accomplished as a government and a country during one of the most challenging economic periods in our country’s history,” he said.

Flaherty said there’s “no doubt” Canada will balance its budget as promised in the year starting April 2015, and said the decision isn’t related to his health issues

Still, there is rife speculation that it was indeed his health that was the reason for this unexpected resignation. Either way, Canada’s housing mess will now be someone else’s problem.

Activist Post: Irony in Canada: 300 Arrested at Protest Against Police Brutality

Activist Post: Irony in Canada: 300 Arrested at Protest Against Police Brutality.

Ryan Remiorz, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Amanda Warren
Activist Post

On Saturday March 15, 288 people were rounded up and arrested while protesting police brutality in Montreal, Quebec Canada.

The official reason for the arrests was that the protesters did not alert the proper authorities in regards to their location and intentions – their itinerary, police said.

Arrests were made although the organization responsible for leading the protests, the Collective Opposing Police Brutality (COPB), has organized protests in the same location for the past 18 years.

Police still claim they require prior notification for a demonstration.

Police spokesman Ian Lafrenière said:

They refused to share their itinerary, and they refused to give us any details. When we got there, we asked them not to jump onto the street, and they answered by going into the street and yelling at us that they were not cooperating.

In addition, police claim that crowds were unruly and that they were refusing to stay out of the street and were blocking traffic against police commands. Protesters, however, disagree and accused police of lying about the sequence of events.

Claudine Lamothe reported:

It looks good in the media — the police can say (all of these) people were arrested, were breaking windows and stuff, but it’s not true. They were doing nothing.

What is clear, however, is that the police swooped in and began making arrests before the protest largely got off the ground according to RT. After only a few minutes, riot police arrived on Jean-Talon street, surrounded the protesters and initiated a mass arrest.

Protesters claim an extremely heavy police presence with not only riot police, but officers on horses and even helicopters.

COPB’s protest this year was focused on drawing attention to the issue of “social cleansing” where they claim authorities try to get rid of people they deem unwanted. For instance, the group cites an

Incident in January when an unnamed Montreal police officer threatened to tie a homeless man to a lamppost in temperatures of minus 30 if he did not move along. Following the incident, Lafrenière told the Montreal Gazette that the officer had been reprimanded for his “unacceptable” behavior.

Perhaps most ironic, one person was reported by officers as having sustained injuries to his face during police intervention and was aided by paramedics on site.

This writer couldn’t help notice some of the language used to describe the protest. One report called the protest an “annual stand-off” and RT said that the protesters were “brandishing banners.”

Recent other articles by Amanda Warren

Canada’s House Prices Spike, But Economists Call It A ‘Soft Landing’

Canada’s House Prices Spike, But Economists Call It A ‘Soft Landing’.

The Huffington Post Canada  |  Posted: 03/17/2014 11:14 am EDT

house prices canada

Some economists are calling it a “soft landing,” because sales volumes have fallen and aren’t coming back up, but house prices in Canada showed no signs of easing up in February.

Prices for sales of previously owned homes jumped 10.1 per cent in the year to February, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported Monday.

The average price for a re-sold house in Canada in February was $406,372, up from around $368,000 in February of last year.

But CREA trimmed its sales forecast for the rest of the year, noting that a slump in sales volumes isn’t showing signs of rebound. It now expects 463,000 sales this year, compared to 475,000 forecast in its December outlook.

TD economist Diana Petramala noted that the number of sales is down 9.3 per cent from its peak last August, and picked up by just 0.3 per cent in February.

Those are “signs of a soft landing,” Petramala wrote in a client note.

“The performance of Canada’s housing market over the last few months is largely reflective of a cooling in Canadian housing demand. Sales are moving at a pace that is neither too hot, nor too cold,” Petramala wrote.

She noted that the one thing that hasn’t happened is a slowing in house price growth, “but that too will likely come.” She says house prices are rising because of a shortage of supply in some cities, but that will be solved as new homes come online.

But she suggested prices of single-family homes could still keep going up.

“Most of the overbuilding occurred in the multi-unit segment of the market and will likely not help alleviate some of the supply constraints building in the more popular single-family home market,” Petramala wrote.

— With files from the Canadian Press

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