Friday, November 20, 2009

BC Liberals Criminalize Homelessness

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BC's Gordon Campbell Liberals passed two controversial bills this legislative session, both unfairly, unreasonably and probably unconstitutionally targeting homeless and other marginalized people.

And both just in time for the Olympics...but that has nothing to do with it (wink, wink).

The first bill is the Assistance to Shelter Act.

Under this bill, the minister can issue an "extreme weather alert" which gives cops the power to force people into shelters against their will.

The police are allowed to use "reasonable force" to get homeless people off the streets. The Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman has said that he's asked police to "use very little force."

My favorite part of this is that the target of this legislation are 'people at risk.' The determination of whether someone is 'at risk' or not is entirely up to the police. Take heed Olympic protesters.

The second Orwellian masterpiece from the Campbell Liberal brain trust is the Housing and Social Development Statues Amendment Act.

Under this law, people with outstanding warrants could be denied income assistance.

Sounds reasonable, right?

Well, the law was supposed to target people with warrants for major offences, like assault and robbery. However, as passed, the bill allows the government to deny income assistance to people with warrants on all indictable offenses.

That means a person with a warrant for a shoplifting offense could be denied welfare.

Earlier this year, the Vancouver Police conducted a major ticketing sweep and issued hundreds of tickets for panhandling, loitering and jaywalking in the city's Downtown Eastside. Most, if not all, of those who got tickets will not be able to pay them. That means there will be a warrant out for their arrest. That could mean no welfare cheques.

Just for clarification, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE OLYMPICS. Nothing whatsoever.

Just forget all of that pesky evidence from previous Olympics that poor and marginalized folks are negatively impacted by the games.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Worst Idea Ever

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Just when you thought Conservatives couldn't get any more partisan...


No word if the bottles were like the one pictured, which costs $11.95 from the "Conservative Store" online.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tories, New Democrats test Tactics in BC By-election

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The federal by-election tactics of the Conservatives and the New Democrats will likely be the same as the next general election, rumoured to be in the Spring after the Olympics:




The Conservatives "tactic" of avoiding media interviews and/or all-candidates meetings is not new. Last federal election they eschewed anything but strictly controlled media events where candidates played the role of a potted plant.

The New Democrats will be looking to capitalize on the anger against the HST in Ontario and BC. Since the federal Conservatives will have to enact the HST through the budget, or some other 'money' bill, look for this to be a major wedge issue in the next federal election.

Monday, November 2, 2009

We have a "Winner!"

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Despite wide-spread and systematic irregularities in the last round of elections, Hamid Karzai has been declared the "winner" of the run-off election by Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission.

Earlier in this saga, Prime Minister Harper declared, "Canada has consistently stated that all parties must respect the Afghan electoral process and the Afghan constitution."

Well, the Afghan constitution isn't built to handle a run-off election with only one candidate:

(1) The President is elected by receiving more than 50% of the votes cast through free, general, secret, and direct voting. [Karzai got 49.67% votes + or - a few thousand 'irregular' votes]

[and...]

(4) If none of the candidates succeeds to receive more than 50% of the votes in the first round, a run-off election shall be held within two weeks.
(5) In this round, only two candidates with the highest number of votes will participate.
(6) In the run-off, the candidate who gets the majority of the votes shall be elected as the President.

So, where does this leave the West?

The Obama administration has declared support for Karzai. Will the other coalition members fall in line and support Karzai?

Former challenger Abdullah Abdullah has said that he'll continue to work to improve the lives of Afghans.

Lofty goal, to be sure, but are our troops going to be in a position of enforcing Karzai's questionable rule while his rival continues to try to build support in the lead-up to next year's parliamentary elections.

I hope not.

Indeed, we have a winner. It ain't the West. It ain't Afghans. Only Hamid Karzai wins this one.
 
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