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» Canadian Mounties Override Civilian Rule to Arbitrarily Ban, Confiscate Firearms Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!

» Canadian Mounties Override Civilian Rule to Arbitrarily Ban, Confiscate Firearms Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

RCMP turned thousands of law-abiding Canadian gun owners into criminals overnight

Adan Salazar
Infowars.com
March 5, 2014

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are acting on their own authority to arbitrarily re-classify, ban and ultimately confiscate certain rifles, contemptible actions for which Canadian citizens seemingly have no recourse.

Last Wednesday, the RCMP made good on its past threats and turned tens of thousands of Canadians into criminals overnight when they re-classified the Swiss Arms Classic Green carbine, a Swiss-made rifle featuring military-style characteristics, declaring it “prohibited” even though the model has been sold in Canada since 2000. Until Monday, the Canadian feds hadn’t even offered an amnesty period for gun owners to turn in their newly illegal weapons.

Although the high quality rifles cost anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000, the Canadian government has made no indication it intends to compensate, purchase or otherwise reimburse gun owners, or gun shops, for their surrendered firearms.

On Friday, after the country’s Public Safety Minister had publicly stated he would “take action” against the assault on law-abiding citizens’ rights, the Mounties again banned another gun, a Canadian version of the CZ 858, which had been specifically modified to meet domestic laws.

Troubling to many Canadians is the RCMP banned these guns without the authority of elected officials. “The elected government of the day had already made it clear it did not want to go this route. The Mounties did it anyway,” Sun News’s Brian Lilley reported.

“It is a dark day when police, not the people’s elected representatives, can suddenly transform thousands of ordinary, law-abiding Canadians into criminals with the stroke of a bureaucratic pen,” writes the Winnipeg Sun’s Lorne Gunter.

As Gunter explains, the High River gun grab of June 2013 set the precedent for mass gun confiscation. Mirroring scenes from the fallout of Hurricane Katrina, Mounties in the wake of a devastating flood “decided arbitrarily to break into the homes of nearly 2,000 law-abiding residents and strip the places of guns because they feared residents’ anger might be turned on police or politicians once the town’s forced evacuation was lifted.”

“The government needs to rein in the Mounties or they will find they’re no longer in control,” Lilly declares. “That means the government not only needs to override the decree from the Mounties, but strip them of any power they have or think they have to do this again.”

One gun shop owner expressed to CBC News that Mounties are disarming citizens to have a monopoly on force. “There is a movement within the RCMP and they don’t like to see guns in the hands of anybody but themselves.”

Canadian gun owners who refuse to relinquish their firearms can face jail time up to three years, Sun News reported.

Of course, the irony of the RCMP’s ban and confiscation is that they are targeting a gun the Swiss government actually entrusts its citizens to arm themselves with, illustrating the Mounties and Canadian government’s draconian disdain for its people’s rights.

 

This article was posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Chinese “1%” Threaten Lawsuit Against Canada For Shutting Visa-For-Cash Scheme | Zero Hedge

Chinese “1%” Threaten Lawsuit Against Canada For Shutting Visa-For-Cash Scheme | Zero Hedge.

When Canadian authorities scrapped their ‘investor visa’ scheme a month ago, we warned that the nation was removing a critical pillar of support for its real-estate bubble market. However, with an estimated 45,000 Chinese millionaires still in the queue, the wealthy hoping to get their cash out of China are not happy. As The South China Morning Post reportsa group of wealthy mainlanders has criticized the Canadian government for scrapping its investor visa scheme and are threatening legal action if the decision is not overturned – arguing “we had set aside a lot of money to meet the investment requirements and over the years passed up on many opportunities… A refund of our application fees will not make up for all the preparation put in.”

The Canada real estate bubble is alive (and well enough for now)…

Deutsche Banks’s house-price-to-rent index says Canada has the most expensive housing market in the world – 60% over-valued…

 

Canada, for example, is very open to foreign investors, which means that in an age of unprecedented global liquidity cash-rich wealthy individuals who are looking for places to park their excess funds can do so in its housing market far more easily than in Japan, with its closed system. “

As it’s home price index hardly missed a beat while the US plunged… (different scales but point is to illustrate drastic difference when financial crisis started – and where the liquidity went…)

 

But the scrapping of the visa scheme threatens to remove a key pillar from that:

The scheme has allowed nearly 100,000 wealthy Hongkongers and mainland Chinese to move across the Pacific since 1986.

But as The South China Morning Post reports, the Chinese are not happy,

A group of wealthy mainlanders has criticised the Canadian government for scrapping its investor visa scheme and are threatening legal action if the decision is not overturned.

More than 10 people who had applied for the visa met with reporters in Beijing yesterday to air their grievances. The group said they had wasted years of time, effort and money preparing to move to North America.

An estimated 45,500 Chinese millionaires who were still in the queue for visas will have their applications “eliminated” and their fees returned.

“We have set aside a lot of money to meet the investment requirements and over the years passed up on many opportunities,” he said.

Moving to Canada has been a dream of mine since witnessing what happened in 1989 as a student over there on this main thoroughfare,” he said, pointing to a road passing Tiananmen Square where the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators took place.

I thought Canada was a place that underpins justice, trust and democracy, but the abrupt, unilateral decision to scrap the scheme has left us very, very disappointed,” he said. “A refund of our application fees will not make up for all the preparation put in.”

Larry Wang, the president of the immigration consultancy firm that organised the meeting with reporters, said he would help applicants take legal action if the decision was not overturned.

“A sovereign country, of course, has the right to make such a move, but it’s unfathomable how a democratic and human-rights-respecting country like Canada just cut off applications like that, without regard to those who’ve been preparing for the move for years,”

In other words, we want to get our money out of this controlled nation and are upset that we were not higher on the list… especially now that we see local authorities starting to tamp down the bubble of local real estate that we have previously speculated in…

Chinese "1%" Threaten Lawsuit Against Canada For Shutting Visa-For-Cash Scheme | Zero Hedge

Chinese “1%” Threaten Lawsuit Against Canada For Shutting Visa-For-Cash Scheme | Zero Hedge.

When Canadian authorities scrapped their ‘investor visa’ scheme a month ago, we warned that the nation was removing a critical pillar of support for its real-estate bubble market. However, with an estimated 45,000 Chinese millionaires still in the queue, the wealthy hoping to get their cash out of China are not happy. As The South China Morning Post reportsa group of wealthy mainlanders has criticized the Canadian government for scrapping its investor visa scheme and are threatening legal action if the decision is not overturned – arguing “we had set aside a lot of money to meet the investment requirements and over the years passed up on many opportunities… A refund of our application fees will not make up for all the preparation put in.”

The Canada real estate bubble is alive (and well enough for now)…

Deutsche Banks’s house-price-to-rent index says Canada has the most expensive housing market in the world – 60% over-valued…

 

Canada, for example, is very open to foreign investors, which means that in an age of unprecedented global liquidity cash-rich wealthy individuals who are looking for places to park their excess funds can do so in its housing market far more easily than in Japan, with its closed system. “

As it’s home price index hardly missed a beat while the US plunged… (different scales but point is to illustrate drastic difference when financial crisis started – and where the liquidity went…)

 

But the scrapping of the visa scheme threatens to remove a key pillar from that:

The scheme has allowed nearly 100,000 wealthy Hongkongers and mainland Chinese to move across the Pacific since 1986.

But as The South China Morning Post reports, the Chinese are not happy,

A group of wealthy mainlanders has criticised the Canadian government for scrapping its investor visa scheme and are threatening legal action if the decision is not overturned.

More than 10 people who had applied for the visa met with reporters in Beijing yesterday to air their grievances. The group said they had wasted years of time, effort and money preparing to move to North America.

An estimated 45,500 Chinese millionaires who were still in the queue for visas will have their applications “eliminated” and their fees returned.

“We have set aside a lot of money to meet the investment requirements and over the years passed up on many opportunities,” he said.

Moving to Canada has been a dream of mine since witnessing what happened in 1989 as a student over there on this main thoroughfare,” he said, pointing to a road passing Tiananmen Square where the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators took place.

I thought Canada was a place that underpins justice, trust and democracy, but the abrupt, unilateral decision to scrap the scheme has left us very, very disappointed,” he said. “A refund of our application fees will not make up for all the preparation put in.”

Larry Wang, the president of the immigration consultancy firm that organised the meeting with reporters, said he would help applicants take legal action if the decision was not overturned.

“A sovereign country, of course, has the right to make such a move, but it’s unfathomable how a democratic and human-rights-respecting country like Canada just cut off applications like that, without regard to those who’ve been preparing for the move for years,”

In other words, we want to get our money out of this controlled nation and are upset that we were not higher on the list… especially now that we see local authorities starting to tamp down the bubble of local real estate that we have previously speculated in…

Did Canada’s Housing Bubble Just Get Popped? | CANADIAN MARKET REVIEW

Did Canada’s Housing Bubble Just Get Popped? | CANADIAN MARKET REVIEW.

FEBRUARY 12, 2014

Canada’s housing market has soared while the US market crashed.

Canada has the most overvalued housing market in the world:

The WSJ recently commented:

Canada, for example, is very open to foreign investors, which means that in an age of unprecedented global liquidity cash-rich wealthy individuals who are looking for places to park their excess funds can do so in its housing market far more easily than in Japan, with its closed system.

Now, the Canadian government is eliminating “its controversial investor Visa scheme, which has allowed waves of rich Hongkongers and mainland Chinese to immigrate since 1986.”

The story continues in The South China Morning Post:

Canada’s government has announced that it is scrapping its controversial investor visa scheme, which has allowed waves of rich Hongkongers and mainland Chinese to immigrate since 1986.

The surprise announcement was made in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget, which was delivered to parliament in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon local time. Tens of thousands of Chinese millionaires in the queue will reportedly have their applications scrapped and their application fees returned.

The decision came less than a week after the South China Morning Post published a series of investigative reports into the controversial 28-year-old scheme.

The Post revealed how the scheme spun out of control when Canada’s Hong Kong consulate was overwhelmed by a massive influx of applications from mainland millionaires. Applications to the scheme were frozen in 2012 as a result, as immigration staff struggled to clear the backlog.

In recent years, significant progress has been made to better align the immigration system with Canada’s economic needs. The current immigrant investor program stands out as an exception to this success,” Flaherty’s budget papers said.

For decades, it has significantly undervalued Canadian permanent residence, providing a pathway to Canadian citizenship in exchange for a guaranteed loan that is significantly less than our peer countries require,” it read.

Under the scheme, would-be migrants worth a minimum of C$1.6 million (HK$11.3 million) loaned the government C$800,000 interest free for a period of five years. The simplicity and low relative cost of the risk-free scheme made it the world’s most popular wealth migration program.

A parallel investor migration scheme run by Quebec still remains open. Many Chinese migrants use the alternative scheme to get into Canada via the French-speaking province and then move elsewhere in Canada. The federal government has previously pledged to crack down on what it said was a fraudulent practice.

Flaherty also announced yesterday the scrapping of a smaller economic migration scheme for entrepreneurs.

All told, 59,000 investor applicants and 7,000 entrepreneurs will have their applications returned, Postmedia News reported. Seventy per cent of the backlog, as of last January, was Chinese, suggesting more than 46,000 mainlanders will be affected by yesterday’s announcements.

The Immigrant Investor Program, which has brought about 185,000 migrants to Canada, was instrumental in facilitating an exodus of rich Hongkongers in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre and in the run-up to the handover. More than 30,000 Hongkongers immigrated using the scheme, though SAR applications have dwindled since 1997.

The investor visa plan is truly stupid and should be eliminated. The idea of requiring loans to the government in exchange for citizenship is incredibly perverse. All money lent to the government is wasted and hurts the economy. The Chinese and Hongkongers who participated in this program could have really invested that money in productive endeavors instead. But this is a double-whammy to the Canadian economy, because to pay back those loans the Canadian state must tax its citizens, which hurts the economy even more.

But what effect will this have on Canada’s housing bubble? It will reduce demand for Canadian real estate. That obviously doesn’t help keep prices high.

Yet the really critical factor is central bank policy. The Bank of Canada is not up to date on its financial statements, but as of November it held more assets than ever. I am interested to see whether Poloz will “taper” with his American counterparts.

My intuition says that he won’t. Poloz wants to keep down the Canadian dollar and subsidize exports.  The Bank of Canada has been expanding its balance sheet since mid-2010. Canada’s M1 money supply has grown dramatically. Canada’s housing prices are high. Canada’s interest rates are low. Yield on Canadian government bonds have fallen below American bonds. Yet consumer prices are not rising quickly, so the Bank of Canada sees its policy as an epic success so far.

Did Canada’s Housing Bubble Just Get Popped? | CANADIAN MARKET REVIEW

Did Canada’s Housing Bubble Just Get Popped? | CANADIAN MARKET REVIEW.

FEBRUARY 12, 2014

Canada’s housing market has soared while the US market crashed.

Canada has the most overvalued housing market in the world:

The WSJ recently commented:

Canada, for example, is very open to foreign investors, which means that in an age of unprecedented global liquidity cash-rich wealthy individuals who are looking for places to park their excess funds can do so in its housing market far more easily than in Japan, with its closed system.

Now, the Canadian government is eliminating “its controversial investor Visa scheme, which has allowed waves of rich Hongkongers and mainland Chinese to immigrate since 1986.”

The story continues in The South China Morning Post:

Canada’s government has announced that it is scrapping its controversial investor visa scheme, which has allowed waves of rich Hongkongers and mainland Chinese to immigrate since 1986.

The surprise announcement was made in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget, which was delivered to parliament in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon local time. Tens of thousands of Chinese millionaires in the queue will reportedly have their applications scrapped and their application fees returned.

The decision came less than a week after the South China Morning Post published a series of investigative reports into the controversial 28-year-old scheme.

The Post revealed how the scheme spun out of control when Canada’s Hong Kong consulate was overwhelmed by a massive influx of applications from mainland millionaires. Applications to the scheme were frozen in 2012 as a result, as immigration staff struggled to clear the backlog.

In recent years, significant progress has been made to better align the immigration system with Canada’s economic needs. The current immigrant investor program stands out as an exception to this success,” Flaherty’s budget papers said.

For decades, it has significantly undervalued Canadian permanent residence, providing a pathway to Canadian citizenship in exchange for a guaranteed loan that is significantly less than our peer countries require,” it read.

Under the scheme, would-be migrants worth a minimum of C$1.6 million (HK$11.3 million) loaned the government C$800,000 interest free for a period of five years. The simplicity and low relative cost of the risk-free scheme made it the world’s most popular wealth migration program.

A parallel investor migration scheme run by Quebec still remains open. Many Chinese migrants use the alternative scheme to get into Canada via the French-speaking province and then move elsewhere in Canada. The federal government has previously pledged to crack down on what it said was a fraudulent practice.

Flaherty also announced yesterday the scrapping of a smaller economic migration scheme for entrepreneurs.

All told, 59,000 investor applicants and 7,000 entrepreneurs will have their applications returned, Postmedia News reported. Seventy per cent of the backlog, as of last January, was Chinese, suggesting more than 46,000 mainlanders will be affected by yesterday’s announcements.

The Immigrant Investor Program, which has brought about 185,000 migrants to Canada, was instrumental in facilitating an exodus of rich Hongkongers in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre and in the run-up to the handover. More than 30,000 Hongkongers immigrated using the scheme, though SAR applications have dwindled since 1997.

The investor visa plan is truly stupid and should be eliminated. The idea of requiring loans to the government in exchange for citizenship is incredibly perverse. All money lent to the government is wasted and hurts the economy. The Chinese and Hongkongers who participated in this program could have really invested that money in productive endeavors instead. But this is a double-whammy to the Canadian economy, because to pay back those loans the Canadian state must tax its citizens, which hurts the economy even more.

But what effect will this have on Canada’s housing bubble? It will reduce demand for Canadian real estate. That obviously doesn’t help keep prices high.

Yet the really critical factor is central bank policy. The Bank of Canada is not up to date on its financial statements, but as of November it held more assets than ever. I am interested to see whether Poloz will “taper” with his American counterparts.

My intuition says that he won’t. Poloz wants to keep down the Canadian dollar and subsidize exports.  The Bank of Canada has been expanding its balance sheet since mid-2010. Canada’s M1 money supply has grown dramatically. Canada’s housing prices are high. Canada’s interest rates are low. Yield on Canadian government bonds have fallen below American bonds. Yet consumer prices are not rising quickly, so the Bank of Canada sees its policy as an epic success so far.

Mounting evidence that tar sands activity is causing health problems | Danielle Droitsch’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC

Mounting evidence that tar sands activity is causing health problems | Danielle Droitsch’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.

Danielle Droitsch’s Blog

Mounting evidence that tar sands activity is causing health problems

Danielle DroitschPosted February 26, 2014

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer from California has connected the dots and is pointing to growing evidence that communities living near tar sands mining and drilling operations, pipelines, and refineries are showing serious health risks and problems.  An issue brief published by NRDCTar Sands Crude Oil:  Health Effects of a Dirty and Destructive Fuel, profiles some of the latest evidence including scientific research that tar sands activity is causing increasing levels of air and water pollution that are then linked to health problems including cancer.  Tar sands development affects communities across North America and includes a network of mining, drilling, and upgrading operations, pipelines and refineries.  This network spans from northern Canada to refineries in California, the Gulf Coast, and the Midwest.  The science is mounting but state, provincial, and federal governments have done too little to protect public health.  This scientific evidence was not considered by the State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline.   This mounting evidence shows there are considerable risks with expanding the tar sands industry.

NRDC’s new issue brief reviews the latest scientific literature on this important issue.

Air pollution from tar sands operations in Alberta

Studies by the National Academy of Sciences have noted that expanding tar sands activities have  increased air pollution near Fort McMurray (the epicenter of tar sands development) and just outside Edmonton, Alberta.  The most recent 2014 study looked at polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are chemicals known to damage DNA, are carcinogens, or cause developmental impacts.  This study found that environmental impact studies drafted by the tar sands industry have systemically underestimated levels of this pollution.  A 2013 study noted elevated level of hazardous air pollutants coming from upgrading facilities north of Edmonton noting elevated rates of leukemia and other cancers in areas surrounding these operations north of Edmonton.

Water pollution from tar sands operations

Researchers have confirmed the presence of elevated levels of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which can be traced directly to expansion of tar sands production.  Some waters in Alberta exceed Canadian standards for chemicals linked to cancer, genetic damage, birth defects, and organ damage.  Scientists have also found that tar sands development is leading to increasing amount of methylmecurcry in Alberta’s waterways including an exponential increase within 30 miles of tar sands upgraders.  Methylmercury is a potential neurotoxin causing development and behavioral problems.

Tailings ponds which now cover an area the sized of Washington DC contain multiple toxic chemicals including arsenic, benzene, lead, mercury, naphthenic acid, and ammonia.  As much as 2.9 million gallons of toxic tailings leak into the environment every day.  A 2014 study showed that extreme concentrations of PAHs present in tailings may be evaporating into the air and then deposited into water.  New federal research by Environment Canada released in February 2014 confirms that leaking tailings ponds are leaching into groundwater and then into the Athabasca River.

Rising cancer rates in First Nations communities

Scientists have confirmed increased incidences of cancer in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.  There, scientists have noted an increased cancer rate from 1995 to 2009 – 30 percent higher than would be typically expected.  Dr. John O’Conner, an Alberta physician, has for years called for further investigation of cancer incidences.  To date, there has not been an independent study of these cancers despite repeated called by First Nations. Dr. O’Conner was invited by Senator Boxer to speak in Washington to share his observations.]

Tar sands pipeline spills

Large quantities of tar sands were spilled from leaking pipelines into two communities in Marshall, Michigan  in 2010 and Mayflower Arkansas in 2013.  After the spill in Michigan, 320 people suffered adverse health effects including cardiovascular, dermal, gastrointestinal, neurologic, ocular, renal and respiratory impacts according to the Michigan Department of Public Health.  In Arkansas, air monitoring showed significantly increased levels of benzene.  Raw tar sands is mixed with diluting agents to move the substance through pipelines.  The specific content of diluting agents are unknown as they are proprietary but most formulations include natural gas liquid condensate containing volatile hydrocarbons such as benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene. So far, the federal government in both Canada and the U.S. has failed to study or adopt regulations to deal with the chemical export of the unique tar sands mixture flowing through pipelines and has not commissioned any studies regarding the long-term human impacts of spills.

Tar sands refinery emissions

Chemicals in tar sands may be released as air pollutants during the refining process.  Diluted tar sands contain 102 times more copper, 11 times more nickel and 5 time more lead than conventional crude oil. Diluted bitumen from tar sands has notably higher levels of certain sulfur compounds called mercaptans that are highly volatile and linked to central nervous system problems. Diluted bitumen also contains higher levels of naphthenic acids which can significantly increase the corrosive properties of crude oil at high temperatures during the refining process.  Low quality crudes like tar sands have been identified as a contributing factor in a major  refinery accidents like the one at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California which sent 15,000 residents to area hospitals and endangered the lives of 19 workers.

Petroleum Coke impacts – a byproduct from tar sands refining

The refining of tar sands creates a by-product called petroleum coke which contains relatively high concentrations of metals including mercury, lead, arsenic, chromium, selenium, and nickel which people are exposed to when they breathe dust blown from piles of petroleum coke.  This metal-laden dust can contaminate nearby homes and yards where it can accumulate.  The dust is composed of particulate matter, which is recognized by the U.S. EPA to contribute to a number of negative health effects.  Many of the metals in petroleum coke piles are carcinogens and linked to other health problems.

Health Concerns Deserve More Attention

Federal, state, provincial, agencies should evaluate all of the potential impacts of tar sand crude.  In Canada, governments should conduct independent investigations into the health impacts on locally affected communities particularly Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan, and Edmonton, Alberta.  New proposals for tar sands operations and infrastructure including pipelines and refineries must consider human health impacts especially as the tar sands industry seeks to triple production.   The Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline did not adequately consider these issues.  Until there is a better understanding of how these projects will cumulatively impact human health, efforts to expand the tar sand industry should stop.  This means rejecting the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Go to StopTar.org to ask President Obama to reject the pipeline.

Mounting evidence that tar sands activity is causing health problems | Danielle Droitsch's Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC

Mounting evidence that tar sands activity is causing health problems | Danielle Droitsch’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.

Danielle Droitsch’s Blog

Mounting evidence that tar sands activity is causing health problems

Danielle DroitschPosted February 26, 2014

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer from California has connected the dots and is pointing to growing evidence that communities living near tar sands mining and drilling operations, pipelines, and refineries are showing serious health risks and problems.  An issue brief published by NRDCTar Sands Crude Oil:  Health Effects of a Dirty and Destructive Fuel, profiles some of the latest evidence including scientific research that tar sands activity is causing increasing levels of air and water pollution that are then linked to health problems including cancer.  Tar sands development affects communities across North America and includes a network of mining, drilling, and upgrading operations, pipelines and refineries.  This network spans from northern Canada to refineries in California, the Gulf Coast, and the Midwest.  The science is mounting but state, provincial, and federal governments have done too little to protect public health.  This scientific evidence was not considered by the State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline.   This mounting evidence shows there are considerable risks with expanding the tar sands industry.

NRDC’s new issue brief reviews the latest scientific literature on this important issue.

Air pollution from tar sands operations in Alberta

Studies by the National Academy of Sciences have noted that expanding tar sands activities have  increased air pollution near Fort McMurray (the epicenter of tar sands development) and just outside Edmonton, Alberta.  The most recent 2014 study looked at polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are chemicals known to damage DNA, are carcinogens, or cause developmental impacts.  This study found that environmental impact studies drafted by the tar sands industry have systemically underestimated levels of this pollution.  A 2013 study noted elevated level of hazardous air pollutants coming from upgrading facilities north of Edmonton noting elevated rates of leukemia and other cancers in areas surrounding these operations north of Edmonton.

Water pollution from tar sands operations

Researchers have confirmed the presence of elevated levels of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which can be traced directly to expansion of tar sands production.  Some waters in Alberta exceed Canadian standards for chemicals linked to cancer, genetic damage, birth defects, and organ damage.  Scientists have also found that tar sands development is leading to increasing amount of methylmecurcry in Alberta’s waterways including an exponential increase within 30 miles of tar sands upgraders.  Methylmercury is a potential neurotoxin causing development and behavioral problems.

Tailings ponds which now cover an area the sized of Washington DC contain multiple toxic chemicals including arsenic, benzene, lead, mercury, naphthenic acid, and ammonia.  As much as 2.9 million gallons of toxic tailings leak into the environment every day.  A 2014 study showed that extreme concentrations of PAHs present in tailings may be evaporating into the air and then deposited into water.  New federal research by Environment Canada released in February 2014 confirms that leaking tailings ponds are leaching into groundwater and then into the Athabasca River.

Rising cancer rates in First Nations communities

Scientists have confirmed increased incidences of cancer in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.  There, scientists have noted an increased cancer rate from 1995 to 2009 – 30 percent higher than would be typically expected.  Dr. John O’Conner, an Alberta physician, has for years called for further investigation of cancer incidences.  To date, there has not been an independent study of these cancers despite repeated called by First Nations. Dr. O’Conner was invited by Senator Boxer to speak in Washington to share his observations.]

Tar sands pipeline spills

Large quantities of tar sands were spilled from leaking pipelines into two communities in Marshall, Michigan  in 2010 and Mayflower Arkansas in 2013.  After the spill in Michigan, 320 people suffered adverse health effects including cardiovascular, dermal, gastrointestinal, neurologic, ocular, renal and respiratory impacts according to the Michigan Department of Public Health.  In Arkansas, air monitoring showed significantly increased levels of benzene.  Raw tar sands is mixed with diluting agents to move the substance through pipelines.  The specific content of diluting agents are unknown as they are proprietary but most formulations include natural gas liquid condensate containing volatile hydrocarbons such as benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene. So far, the federal government in both Canada and the U.S. has failed to study or adopt regulations to deal with the chemical export of the unique tar sands mixture flowing through pipelines and has not commissioned any studies regarding the long-term human impacts of spills.

Tar sands refinery emissions

Chemicals in tar sands may be released as air pollutants during the refining process.  Diluted tar sands contain 102 times more copper, 11 times more nickel and 5 time more lead than conventional crude oil. Diluted bitumen from tar sands has notably higher levels of certain sulfur compounds called mercaptans that are highly volatile and linked to central nervous system problems. Diluted bitumen also contains higher levels of naphthenic acids which can significantly increase the corrosive properties of crude oil at high temperatures during the refining process.  Low quality crudes like tar sands have been identified as a contributing factor in a major  refinery accidents like the one at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California which sent 15,000 residents to area hospitals and endangered the lives of 19 workers.

Petroleum Coke impacts – a byproduct from tar sands refining

The refining of tar sands creates a by-product called petroleum coke which contains relatively high concentrations of metals including mercury, lead, arsenic, chromium, selenium, and nickel which people are exposed to when they breathe dust blown from piles of petroleum coke.  This metal-laden dust can contaminate nearby homes and yards where it can accumulate.  The dust is composed of particulate matter, which is recognized by the U.S. EPA to contribute to a number of negative health effects.  Many of the metals in petroleum coke piles are carcinogens and linked to other health problems.

Health Concerns Deserve More Attention

Federal, state, provincial, agencies should evaluate all of the potential impacts of tar sand crude.  In Canada, governments should conduct independent investigations into the health impacts on locally affected communities particularly Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan, and Edmonton, Alberta.  New proposals for tar sands operations and infrastructure including pipelines and refineries must consider human health impacts especially as the tar sands industry seeks to triple production.   The Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline did not adequately consider these issues.  Until there is a better understanding of how these projects will cumulatively impact human health, efforts to expand the tar sand industry should stop.  This means rejecting the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Go to StopTar.org to ask President Obama to reject the pipeline.

Canada Should Keep Training Military in Afghanistan | Lauryn Oates

Canada Should Keep Training Military in Afghanistan | Lauryn Oates.

Lauryn Oates

Human Rights Activist and Development Worker

Canada Should Keep Training Military in Afghanistan

Posted: 02/28/2014 9:10 am

Foreign policy towards Afghanistan has never been known for its farsightedness. From the Soviet Union’s decision to invade the country in 1979 or America’s response in covertly arming the Islamist mujahedin, to Pakistan’s assistance incubating the Taliban, the policies of stakeholder countries towards Afghanistan have often been characterized by negligence, and the consequences have been dire for Afghanistan and these same countries.

The past decade of the international community’s efforts to bring security and development to Afghanistan has also had its share of shortsightedness. But where there has been dogged, long-term investment that accounts for lessons learned and that aims to build systems from the ground up, recognizing that this takes time, there have been successes. These successes are such that the country has propelled forward despite an ongoing insurgency, a government mired in corruption, and much uncertainty over future security arrangements beyond this year.

The change can be seen in skyrocketing human development indicators, the visibility of women in public life, the thriving media sector, and Afghans’ ambitious pursuit of education, from the spike in primary enrolment to the rapid spread of post-secondary institutions throughout the country. And despite a highly centralized government still liable to patronage under an increasingly unstable leader, there are still understated processes of democratization underway. One such process is the professionalization and strengthening of Afghan-led security.

Professionalizing the security sector is not only about security, but is also critical to democratic development. The Afghan police and army, together known as the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF), represent government at the ground level, where the state interfaces with citizens.

These institutions serve as a kind of barometer for public confidence in government. That’s why it’s a hopeful sign that 88% of Afghans report having confidence in the Afghan National Army (ANA) while 91% say that the ANA is helping to improve security in the country, according to the 2013 Survey of the Afghan People. These confidence levels have remained consistent since 2007, and are assessed to be because the presence of the ANSF “has brought at least some sense of law and order to the country.”

That has been no small feat. These institutions have been largely built from scratch, with little to draw from the pre-2002 Taliban Government’s style of security, which consisted of ragtag bands of illiterate religious police, menacingly dangling off the backs of pick-up trucks, on the prowl for those committing “moral crimes.” With no uniforms aside from their black turbans and kohl-smudged eyes, yielding whips and Kalashnikovs, they gave the local population every reason to fear them, and little sense of being served or protected by professionals enforcing the law.

Besides attempting to change the very purpose and spirit of the police force and army in the aftermath of the Taliban, the current effort has required a heavy infusion of equipping, supplying, and training a force now numbering some 350,000 Afghans, including a growing number of women police and soldiers.

Canada has been part of the team of 37 nations undertaking NATO’s training mission of the ANSF, providing 950 Canadian trainers and support personnel who have delivered training in core skills for the forces, as well as leadership and other areas, in Kabul and at satellite sites in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif.

In 2011, literacy became part of the required training for Afghan forces, and the successes in this area have been among the most remarkable. Consider that prior to the start of the training mission only 13,000 ANSF had even the most rudimentary literacy, while nearly all ANSF have now either completed literacy training or are currently enrolled (according to ISAF, as at January 2014, 233,643 have completed Level 1, 98,648 completed Level 2, and 76,834 completed Level 3, the level for functional literacy).

In 2012, the Darulaman Literacy Centre opened at the Regional Military Training Centre in Kabul. The literacy component of training is crucial because literate police and soldiers take themselves seriously: they think of themselves as educated professionals, serving their people, as opposed to preying on them. Further, literacy is the steppingstone to learning trades like signals or artillery, allowing the further professionalizing of the ANSF.

All of this is akin to a transformation of some consequence in terms of state building. Yet to be durable, this work must continue, for at least another two years, according to NATO. But at the end of March, Canadian military personnel will leave Afghanistan. That is too soon. As the second largest contributing nation to the training mission after the US, Canada’s contributions to this capacity development are too valuable to withdraw this close to the finish line. Canada should renew its training mission for another term, and continue contributing to the Afghan mission in an area in which it clearly excels.

NATO civilian leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called the “zero option”, of having no international forces left in Afghanistan simply “not an option”, stressing the need for continued capacity and training support in particular, to get the ANSF to a point where it can reliably and independently provide security for the citizens of Afghanistan.

I recently asked Canadian Major-General Dean Milner, Commander of the NATO training mission, how far the Afghan security forces have come in their development, and how far they have left to go. “They are well past the half-way point” Milner told me, “with just a few more years of financial and practical assistance from the international community they should be capable of sustaining themselves. They defeat the Taliban in every tactical engagement, but now they need assistance with more complex skills such as building their Air Force and their logistical and maintenance systems.”

With President Karzai delaying the signing of a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) there is fevered speculation that NATO troops will leave the country by 2015 and Afghanistan will once again return to chaos. When asked for his view, Major-General Milner was optimistic the BSA would be signed. “The Loya Jirga overwhelmingly supported the immediate signing and every serious contender in the presidential election has committed to signing the BSA if elected,” said Milner. “It would be unfortunate if the support of the international community were to come to an end after the Afghans have progressed so far.” Milner likened it to a swimmer making it 60% of the way across the channel when he gets tired and turns back.

It’s often said that Canada has expended blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Some say this to argue that we’ve given enough to a troubled country on the other side of the world that we had little to do with prior to 2003. But many who know Afghanistan well, and who, like me, have seen how close we are to reaching some enduring stability there, would say this is exactly why we have to see this through. Cutting short the goal of building a professional armed forces after years of investment, when valuable gains need to be protected, when the state’s institutions are within sight of being fully functional, and when the Taliban arerunning out of money to continue their insurgency would continue the pattern of shortsightedness that has too long afflicted the international community’s efforts in Afghanistan. Canada should stay, and continue to add value to the effort of training and educating Afghan soldiers and police. We have given too much and come too far to walk out this close to the finish line, and with so much progress at stake.

» Confirmed: Fukushima Radiation Reaches West Coast of Canada Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!

» Confirmed: Fukushima Radiation Reaches West Coast of Canada Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

Researchers discover cesium near Vancouver

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
February 26, 2014

Researchers have announced that radioactive isotopes from the Fukushima nuclear disaster have been discovered in seawater west of Vancouver off the coast of Canada, confirming predictions that the radiation would reach the west coast by early 2014.

Image: Daiichi Nuclear Plant (YouTube).

The findings were announced at the annual American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences meeting in Honolulu yesterday.

“John Smith, a research scientist at Canada’s Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, told the AGU meeting that since 2011 he and colleagues had measured a radioactive plume from nuclear complex at ocean monitoring stations west of Vancouver. Fukushima’s radiation reached Canada before the US on the powerful Kuroshio Current. It’s predicted to flow south and then circle back to Hawaii,” reports Planet Save.

Samples of cesium-134 and cesium-137, which has a half-life of more than 30 years, were found by the researchers. The good news is that the samples are well below safety limits, although these were massively increased by authorities in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. The full scale of the danger will not be known until 2016, which is when the cesium radiation is expected to peak.

Senior scientist Ken Buesseler said that the radiation has not yet reached Washington, California, or Hawaii, although researchers are still awaiting tests on samples collected earlier this month. Some have suggested April as the time when Fukushima radiation will begin to hit the Pacific coast.

Yesterday, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) admitted that levels of radiation measured in seawater from around the destroyed nuclear reactor were “significantly undercounted,” just the latest in a long history of officials deceptively downplaying the threat.

Using ocean simulations, experts concluded last summer that the radioactive plume from the nuclear accident in March 2011 would reach U.S. coastal waters by early 2014.

While publicly scoffing at independent researchers concerned about Fukushima radiation, public health authorities have been making preparations which many see as being connected to the ongoing crisis at the Daiichi nuclear plant.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently ordered 14 million doses of potassium iodide, the compound that protects the body from radioactive poisoning in the aftermath of severe nuclear accidents, but a DHHS official denied that the purchase was connected to the Fukushima crisis.

High levels of radioactivity have already been detected on beaches in San Francisco, although officials were quick to assert that the findings had no connection to Fukushima.

In January it was announced that 19 academic and government institutions would begin monitoring kelp forests across the entire state of California for signs of contamination from the crippled nuclear power plant.

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Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

This article was posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 9:54 am

Through Fire and Water: Canada Backs Israeli Apartheid | Global Research

Through Fire and Water: Canada Backs Israeli Apartheid | Global Research.

Global Research, February 25, 2014
canadaisrael

On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students. Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state. Think about that. Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history. That is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening.”
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressing the Israeli Knesset January 20, 2014 [1]

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Length (59:08)
 

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This special broadcast of the Global Research News Hour examines the politics of Canada and Israel.

In January, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper took part in a seven day visit of the Middle East which included four days in Israel. The visit reportedly cost Canadian taxpayers $239,000 and included an entourage of more than 200 people which included representatives from prominent Jewish organizations in Canada. [2]

The Harper government has distinguished itself as the most Israel-friendly Canadian government in recent history, but is this stance significantly at odds with other Canadian governments historically?

Not according to Yves Engler. The Canadian Foreign Policy critic and author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid wrote an article in January explaining that Canada’s embrace of Zionism is rooted in Christianity and the British Empire’s desire historically to maintain geo-strategic dominance in the Middle East. Engler expands on this thesis in the first half hour of the programme.

Are there economic as well as political and personal considerations underwriting Canada’s cozy relationship with Israel? Long time Anti-War activist and researcher with the Coalition Opposed to the Arms Trade Richard Sanders published a two part series: “Profiting from Israeli Apartheid” in his magazine Press For Conversion. He details the benefits derived by Canadians through Canadian Pension Plan investments in Israel’s military, police and prison-industrial infrastructure which targets Palestinians. Richard Sanders joins the Global Research News Hour in the latter half of the show.

Finally, University of Guelph Emeritus Professor of Literary Studies Michael Keefer, author ofAntisemitism Real and Imagined: Responses to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism deconstructs the attempts by Harper and other parliamentarians to paint legitimate criticism of Israel as anti-semitism.

 

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Length (59:08) 

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The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Fridays at 1pm CDT. The programme is also broadcast weekly (Monday, 5-6pm ET) by theProgressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET

Notes

1) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/read-the-full-text-of-harpers-historic-speech-to-israels-knesset/article16406371/?page=2

2) Bruce Campion-Smith, The Toronto Star, Feb 21, 2014; “Stephen Harper’s Middle East trip cost $239,000”;http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/02/21/stephen_harpers_middle_east_trip_cost_239000.html

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