Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Canada-China FIPA Environmental Assessment

Prior to the enactment of the Canada-China FIPA, the Canadian government pushed two omnibus bills through the HoC which included provisions designed to substantially weaken environment policies and regulations, some of them at the behest of a pipeline lobby group : 

G&M : Pipeline industry pushed environmental changes made in omnibus bill
"The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association met with senior government officials in the fall of 2011, urging them [...] to streamline environmental assessments but also to bring in “new regulations under [the] Navigable Waters Protection Act. ... 
In the end, they got almost everything they wanted."
Now we can't put those protections back again for 31 years if they happen to irritate China. But let's look at the "streamlined" environmental assessment done on the FIPA two years ago.  It's a stunner.

There are three stages in conducting an environmental assessment for a trade negotiation like Canada-China FIPA to determine what impact it will have on Canada: 
1) an Initial EA, 2) a Draft EA, and 3) a Final EA.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT)
Final Environmental Assessment of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA)  October 23, 2012
"An Initial Environmental Assessment of the Canada-China FIPA was completed in January 2008. The Government of Canada opened the Initial EA for public comments from February 20 to March 21, 2008. No public comments were received."
So if, like Arthur Dentyou were sitting round in your dressing gown and you didn't happen to know about your one month window of opportunity to comment on a government website about the selling out of your country in 2008, whose fault is that exactly?
"In the light of the Initial EA’s conclusions regarding the unlikelihood of significant environmental impacts in Canada, preparation of a Draft EA was subsequently deemed to be unnecessary.... In this Final EA, the claim that no significant environmental impacts are expected based on the introduction of a Canada-China FIPA are upheld."
Wait. What? "No significant environmental impacts"? 
According to the same EA, there was a 92.4% increase in Chinese investment in Canada from 2008 to 2011. How do you figure there's no accompanying environmental impact from promoting an even greater influx of capital? 
* "As new flows of investment from China into Canada (or Canada into China) cannot be directly attributed to the presence of a FIPA, there can be no causal relationship found between the implementation of such a treaty and environmental impacts in Canada. It is for this reason that the claim made in the Initial EA, that no significant environmental impacts are expected based on the introduction of a Canada-China FIPA, is upheld." *
Wha?  Ok, let me try this one on my own.
If it can't be proven that the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement successfully achieves the goal stated right there in its title of promoting and thereby increasing investment, then FIPA can't be blamed for any environmental impacts.
Therefore there won't be any.

I think the Vogons must have written up this particular EA.

Putting FIPA in context :

Also ... Gus Van Harten in The Tyee : Breaking Down the Harm to Canada Done by Treaty with China 
and at DeSmogBlog : China Investment Treaty "a Straitjacket" for Canada

And I'd missed this angle previously. Canadians thinking of opening a business in China, take note...

In the G&M, a senior fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and special adviser to the Alberta government says Steve's sudden ratification of FIPA in advance of his visit to China in November is connected to needing a barter chip to free two Canadian Christians jailed in China. 
Kevin and Julia Dawn Garratt, who have operated a cafe in China for three decades, were arrested for spying in retaliation, he suggests, for "Ottawa publicly blaming Beijing this summer for the hacking of Canadian government computers". 

"Kevin Garratt is a devout, active Christian who says that God called him to open a cafe in Dandong."

Previously : Clampetts clownshow distracts from FIPA

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Clampetts clownshow distracts from FIPA

Gosh, was it only five years ago that Alberta Energy spokesman Tim Markle said "Chinese takeover is good news for Alberta", even as Harper was blowing off the Kyoto Accord, supposedly due to China's crappy environmental record, and pledging to build a monument to victims of communism? 

Beginning Oct 1 for the next 31 years until 2045, under the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement Harper just ratified on Friday, Chinese corporations will be able to directly sue the Canadian government for any public interest measures that interfere with their ability to make a profit in Canada. 

Do you think China-owned Nexen, Sinopec, and PetroChina just might consider Enbridge's Northern Gateway Pipeline to be somewhat integral to getting their $30B investment in the tarsands home to China for refining?  
Think Steve can count on Christy Clark to ensure no BC environmental protection laws might harm China's assets?
Think it's an accident Steve released this news on a Friday during the Ford brothers' Clampett Dynasty pitch?

Two years ago in Vladivostok, Harper announced his signing of the FIPA deal with China. MP Don Davies introduced a motion in the House to not ratify it. His motion failed. All the Libs and Cons voted against his motion not to ratify FIPA, including 24 Con MPs from Alberta and 19 from BC.  
You can contact those quislings through this HoC page showing that vote.

NDP Petition : Stop FIPA Now     
Green Party Petition : Stand Up to the Sellout to China          
LeadNow Petition : Stop the Secretive, Reckless & Binding Canada-China FIPA

Council of Canadians : Harper government sneaks through Canada-China FIPA despite ongoing court challenge

The Tyee : FIPA 'is the price China demanded to open its purse strings for investing in the resource sector in Canada.' and 

Harper's Sneaky, Undemocratic, Terrible Deal with China 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

New Conservative ad, now with added bonus tracks

from me, celebrating Stephen Harper's economic record. Fixed it for them.

Blurb accompanying original Con ad : We're better off with Harper

"With over 1.1 million net new jobs since the recession, Canada’s economy is on the right track – thanks to the strong leadership of Stephen Harper and Canada’s Conservatives."
God bless, now.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Eleven years and six months later, Steve finally gets his wish

Finally, eh?

A small deployment of 100 "special ops" at first to be sure, but still a significant addition to the ongoing campaign to fund and arm the Mujihadeen, al Qaeda, Al Nusra, ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State, and whoever comes after them next. Blowback. It's a never-ending job. 

Here John bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran McCain poses with Free Syrian Army rebels in 2013, in photos purportedly released by ISIS . McCain disputes claims these men are IS-related. McCain press secretary : "If the individual photographed with Senator McCain is in fact Mohamed Nour, that is regrettable."

"I believe there are ways to get weapons to the opposition without direct United States involvement,” McCain said in 2012 during his Mideast tour with Lindsay Graham. "The bloodshed must be stopped, and we should rule out no option that could help to save lives. We must consider, among other actions, providing opposition groups inside Syria, both political and military, with better means to ... to fight back against Assad’s forces."
In Syria, you see, IS are the good guys fighting against Basher Assad, while across the border in Iraq, they are the bad guys. 

Here they are rolling across the Iraq border in their column of 43 shiny yellow Toyota Hiluxes, allegedly a gift to 'moderates' from the US, in another photo of disputed origins.

Top GOP Senator Lindsey Graham warns of 'inevitable' next attack :
 "The seeds of 9/11s are being planted all over Iraq and Syria". 
Yup. Although technically you're still working off having invaded Iraq after the last one.
"Speaking to reporters at the NATO summit on Friday, Harper condemned the "barbaric acts" of ISIS, the jihadist group behind recent beheadings of American journalists."
Harper offered no comment on the 19 beheadings committed by our ally Saudi Arabia last month - some of them for "sorcery and witchcraft" - presumably because Canada has "two contracts totalling $14.8-billion awarded to General Dynamics Land Systems Canada of London, Ontario for the 2013-14 fiscal year to supply Saudi Arabia with military armoured vehicles."
"The Canadian government hopes that over time, ISIS could be pushed back into Syria"  
where they will be our friends again.

Durka, durka, durka, Steve.

Monday Update : ‘Property of US Govt’: Islamic State jihadists armed with US military weapons
Islamic State fighters appear to be using captured US military issue arms and weapons supplied to moderate rebels in Syria by Saudi Arabia.
 ... “significant quantities” of US-made small arms including M16 assault rifles and included photos showing the markings “Property of US Govt”.
It also found that anti-tank rockets used by IS in Syria were “identical to M79 rockets transferred by Saudi Arabia to forces operating under the Free Syrian Army umbrella in 2013″.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Happy Temporary Foreign Workers Labour Day!

Bloomberg, Dec 2010 : Europe’s largest oil-field service provider, Saipem, wins $1 Billion onshore contract from Husky for the Sunrise Energy Project in Canada.

Nine months ago, Fort McMurray Today reported that 270 unionized welders and pipefitters contracted to that Husky Sunrise tarsands project were laid off and replaced by cheaper temporary foreign workers from Mexico, Ireland, Portugal and Italy.

commenter under another FMT article explained:
"We had to conduct a handover to Saipem (a mostly Italian workforce), detailing to them where we had stopped work so that they may continue. In the final week, Saipem foreign workers were actually in the facility working side by side with us; a very uncomfortable situation for those of us about to be laid off."
Yesterday, CBC's Kathy Tomlinson revisited that story : Canadians expose foreign worker 'mess' in oilsands"
"Canadian tradesmen from a huge oilsands construction project are waving a red flag about safety hazards and near misses, which they blame on the use of foreign workers who aren't qualified and can't speak English.
Stand-outs from her report :
  • a foreign worker taking a blowtorch to a propane tank to defrost it
  • Canadians with better qualifications passed over for jobs while foreign workers from Europe continued to show up 
  • foreigner workers arrived without Canadian-standard trade certification but "under government rules, they have a year before they must take their test." after which they can take it again later if they fail,  and 
  • "Probably 75 per cent of [foreign] ironworkers on site were only at the level of a labourer."
  • When refused LMAOs, Saipem used "intra-company transfers" instead [which I wrote about here.] 

But back up a bit. The company that brought in those workers - Italian oil and gas services contractor, Saipem.  Haven't we heard about them before?

Dec. 2012 : Saipem CEO resigns after Algeria corruption probe

July 2013 :Milan court rules Saipem guilty of corruption in Nigeria ... 

"The Italian oilfield services provider said that one of the jack-up rig’s three legs collapsed, causing the rig to suddenly tilt and start taking water. The incident, according to Saipem, occurred during the rig positioning on location between the coasts of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in approximately 40 meters of water. 6 crew members have sustained minor injuries. At approximately 10:30 am CET, the rig, with no personnel on board, capsized and sank. "
Sept. 2013 : Milan prosecutors investigate Saipem for alleged market manipulation and insider trading

May 2014 : RBC Investor and Treasury Services - SAIPEM  - Class Action Notice 
"As a result of the company's untimely disclosures of relevant information, particularly its involvement in an Algerian corruption scandal from 2007 to 2010, and it is alleged that Saipem paid bribes to win a series of contracts worth around $11 billion which led to significant stock drops in January and June 2013. Various (criminal) investigations against Saipem by the Consob, the Italian market regulator, and Italian prosecutors are ongoing."
July 2014 : Australian unions fury at Coalition`s gas job sell-out
"Saipem's enormous pipelay vessel Castorone will start work soon off the Australia coast.  The Government issued a regulation eliminating the need for any worker on a craft not tethered to the Australian mainland to have a work visa. That would free foreign companies with the contracts to lay pipework and other vital infrastructure on huge projects such as the Browse Basin gas field to hire thousands of foreign workers instead of Australians."
Gosh, just like here.
But no, not any of those stories ... 
Ah I remember - it was Arthur Porter, SNC-Lavalin, and Saipem!

In 2005, Saipem won a contract with SNC-Lavalin for the Horizon oilsands project, owned by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
In 2006, SNC-Lavalin and Saipem awarded "joint partnership contract" to build LNG Terminal in New Brunswick.

Four years laterSNC-Lavalin had signed a deal to award soon-to-be CSIS watchdog Dr. Arthur Porter of Sierra Leone (currently on the lam from Canadian law in Panama) and his company Sierra Assets Management3 payments totaling $10-million for consultancy fees regarding a gas project in Algeria.  The $1.2 billion Rhourde Nouss gas project deal was awarded to SNC-L the same year by Sonatrach, Algeria’s national oil company.

In 2013,  Algerian police raided SNC offices in Algiers regarding "allegations of bribery and kickbacks involving Sonatrach and public officials and agents hired by SNC-Lavalin to procure a number of large infrastructure projects."

G&M February 2013 : SNC-Lavalin bribery probe widens to Algeria :
The investigation focuses on one of the company’s agents in Algeria, Farid Bedjaoui, a jet-setting money manager hired to help secure at least $1-billion in contracts with the country’s state-run oil company, Sonatrach. Mr. Bedjaoui was educated in Montreal and occasionally resides there
Sources close to the investigations in Europe and Canada believe that SNC and the Italian oil services firm Saipem SpA relied on Mr. Bedjaoui, the nephew of former Algerian foreign affairs minister Mohammed Bedjaoui, to obtain contracts from Sonatrach.
Mr. Bedjaoui is one of several foreign agents hired by SNC who have fallen under suspicion for allegedly paying bribes.
Several Saipem executives are under investigation, including the construction unit’s recently suspended chief operating officer, Pietro Varone, who was so close with Mr. Bedjaoui that the two men launched a wine-making company together outside Naples.

Well, I'm sure when we sign off on those investor-state rights trade deals with Europe, CETA and TTIP, all this will go much more smoothly, right?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Stephen Harper, Nobel Peace Prize nominee

Not content with awarding Stephen Harper their Gold Medallion human rights award and pledging to create a Stephen Harper Centre for Human RightsB’nai Brith Canada announced yesterday they will be nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Frank Dimant from their statement :
“Moral clarity has been lost across much of the world, with terror, hatred and antisemitism filling the void,” said Frank Dimant, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada. “Throughout, there has been one leader which has demonstrated international leadership and a clear understanding of the differences between those who would seek to do evil, and their victims." 
Yeah, about victims ... one minute of aerial footage of Al-Shejaiya in Gaza

B'nai Brith was a successful advocate of Canada cutting off funding to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency - the only UN human relief agency willing to work in Gaza under fire. (Eight of their workers died in this last incursion). Last month B'nai Brith called for the disbanding of UNRWA altogether. Canada is no longer a donor country to UNRWA.

Back to Frank's presser, where he notes that as a 'professor' he is eligible to make a nomination to the Nobel Foundation : 
“In accordance with the rules of the Nobel Foundation it gives me great pleasure to nominate in my capacity as Professor of Modern Israel Studies at Canada Christian College, Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the Nobel Peace Prize in honour of the outstanding moral leadership he has demonstrated.”
Frank Dimant is a professor at Charles McVety's Canada Christian College because Charles McVety awarded him an honorary doctorate there in 2004 at a ceremony attended by Jason Kenney.
Texas millionaire televangelist and Christian Zionist Pastor John Hagee and his Christians United For Israel rents office space from McVety for his Canadian operations at Canada Christian College.

Dimant : "We [Jews] and Israel are not alone because of you and the tremendous leadership of Dr. McVety and Dr. Hagee." Dr. Hagee. Go on, click that last link.

Three years ago in this Christian College video at a Stand With Israel rally, Dimant, Jason Kenney (far left), and McVety (behind Dimant) , along with Nathan Jacobson (to the left of Kenney) shared the podium as Dimant courted his presumably mostly Christian audience. He praised Harper and the Cons as friends of Israel and called on God to protect Israel from the United Nations "as we await the messianic times which are just around the corner." 

In March 2014, in a more intimate setting in a synagogue, Dimant spoke about his relationship to Harper
" I happen to know Mr.Harper from the days he was in the opposition and the truth is we were on first name basis because the Jewish community was not in favor of Conservatives  - at that time they were called the Alliance Party and before that the Reform Party.  The Jewish community was traditionally liberals and the Jewish community was very much onside with the Liberal Party of the day.  When Mr. Harper and before him Mr. Stockwell Day wanted to get their message out to our community, all the doors were closed in their face.  It's very difficult to believe when today you see the world's premier friend of Israel - that when he wanted to speak about his attitude towards Israel, that door was shut. 
Only one organization at that time - and I was B'nai Brith and our publication The Jewish Tribune - gave them a forum, gave him a platform, gave them an opportunity to say : 'This is how we really stand on Israel; this is where we stand on anti-Semitism; and this is where we stand on the values that we share with you.'  
I've had the good fortune in my lifetime to work with many governments.  I've gone to Auschwitz with Prime Minister Chretien,  I've gone to Israel with Art Egglington, I've gone to Israel with Jean Chretien, and I went now with our Prime Minister again. [Note : Harper's visit this past January] 
And I saw the difference, saw the difference.  And the difference was that here you had a man like Harper who you can feel - FEEL - the love that he has for the State of Israel, the affection that he feels for the Jewish people. So you may ask why. Why? Good question. 
Mr. Harper is a religious Christian.  He believes. He believes when it says "Blessed are those who bless the Jewish people."  And he says Canada is blessed because we bless the Jewish people. He really deeply believes that. As does Jason Kenney, as do some of the other ministers - they are religious people. So they feel it."

As to the Nobel Peace Prize nomination, I'm blaming Michael Byers. 
Six weeks ago in The Harper Plan for unilateral Canadian disarmament , Byers suggested that despite all his tough military world stage talk, Harper might be eligible for one because he has "reduced defence spending to just 1% of GDP — the lowest level in Canadian history".  

Yeah, I know - you're still stuck back there at the idea of a Stephen Harper Centre for Human Rights.
Ed Tanas' petition : Deny the Nomination of PM Stephen Harper for 2014 Nobel Peace Prize 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Harper discovers Northwest Passage

Harper joins Arctic search for lost ships of Franklin expedition 
"One day we're just going to come around the bend and there's going to be the ship and Franklin's skeleton slumped over the helm and we're going to find it."
"I've never been that close to a big chunk of ice. It's huge," he said. "That was great. Really exciting."

Boris from the Beav has uncovered two of Steve the Explorer's earlier compositions on the subject ...
The Arctic
by Stephen Harper
In the Arctic the ice cube is really big.  Franklin died one day in the Arctic. His ship got lost. I will find the skeleton of Franklin.  I like big ships.
The end

Boss of Canada
by Stephen Harper
In the elections I got to be boss of Canada. I have a big house. You are not the boss of me. The ice cubes are really big. I got a big plane.
The end. 


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gaza War Map and Con warmongering

British photojournalist Lewis Whyld has completed his Gaza War Map of 15 panoramic "virtual tours” of the destruction in the Gaza Strip. The stills and vid of the last 50 days hardly prepare you for the impact of turning in a full circle through 360º of destruction from a single point chosen from the map.    
Whyld : these are "not precision strikes". 

In the early stages of this latest version of bombing Gaza to rubble, or as a US military officer put it -  "It's not 'mowing the grass,' it's removing the topsoil" -  the Cons released their "Fire and Water" video. 

Yeah, I know you've already seen it - watch it again. 
It's a battle cry - a pre-justification for the coming assault.  Compiled of clips from Harper's pledge to the Knesset in January : "Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you", and John Baird's bellicose 2012 speech to the American Jewish Committee, echoed again this February in his speech to AIPAC, it also featured seemingly out-of-place non sequitur footage of Canadian soldiers in past wars accompanied by Harper's voice-over about doing what's right even when it isn't popular.  

Not so puzzling now, is it?  Because they obviously knew precisely what was coming.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Traditional family values" ?

Conservatives tout traditional family values in message to party members
OTTAWA - The federal Conservatives are telling core supporters that "traditional family values" are a party stance, a phrase that so far has not entered the prime minister's public speeches or official Tory documents.
Well not quite and not for some time  ...

"A survey was circulated Tuesday to Conservative donors and "grassroots supporters," to "hear what issues matter to you the most."
The party's policy declaration does not use the term traditional family values, but talks about the family unit as "essential to the well-being of individuals and society." 
It goes on to say that the party supports legislation defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. That issue has not been raised by an Conservative MP in Parliament since 2006, and attempts to reopen the abortion debate have been quashed."
Yup, so it does ...

Conservative Party of Canada Policy Declaration, as amended Nov. 2, 2013, Page 28 
"We support legislation defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman."
Of course there's all kinds of families. Here's Steve's Con family :

h/t Stephen Lautens  for Ditchburn's news item.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Imagining Toronto bombed like Gaza

Click Full Screen to render the script visible.

Via Electronic Intifada : Gazonto
"In his compelling new video Gazonto, Canadian filmmaker John Greyson reimagines Israel’s massive bombardment of the Israeli-occupied and besieged Gaza Strip as if it were an attack on his home city Toronto.
Greyson imagines specific attacks on Palestinian homes, schools, mosques, hospitals and other institutions that Israel perpetrated since 7 July as if they had occurred on real-life Toronto sites including a well-known café, CBC TV, the University of Toronto and the Scarborough Injury Rehab Centre.
The film uses the device of a simulated video game to show how the horrifying effects of Israeli violence against Palestinians are rendered distant or invisible while the violence itself is celebrated."

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