PMO and the Mounties

I grew up with tales of the Mounties, of their bravery and determination in facing criminals in the early years of Canada’s expansion into the West. Now, in several provinces, they are the community police as they were then.

Maintiens le droit. Defend the law.

In High River, Alberta, homes lay unlocked and unguarded; weapons, mostly, I presume, the long guns that people in farming communities keep for ridding themselves of groundhogs and coyotes. What did the people of Alberta want the Mounties to do? Leave the guns there for anyone to take and perhaps use?

Not according to Premier Alison Redford, quoted in the Globe and Mail: RCMP officers who removed guns from evacuated homes in High River were doing necessary work to secure the flood-ravaged town in a crisis, Premier Alison Redford said in response to criticism.

But the PMO(Harper) knows better. The same article: “We expect that any firearms taken will be returned to their owners as soon as possible,” PMO spokesperson Carl Vallée said in a statement on Friday. “We believe the RCMP should focus on more important tasks such as protecting lives and private property.”

In my view that is what the Mounties were doing when they removed the guns, protecting lives.

Apparently, playing to the hard-core Conservative voter trumps common sense in the PMO.

That same article in the Globe talks about the increasing tendency of the Harper government to interfere in policing decisions.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/pmo-says-the-rcmp-should-have-better-things-to-do-than-seize-guns/article12882952/#dashboard/follows/

University of Ottawa professor Philippe Lagassé, who is an expert on defence and security matters, quoted in the above article:

However, Mr. Lagassé said the PMO was walking a fine line by criticizing the RCMP’s activities, even though it clearly avoided giving a specific directive to the Mounties.

“This is not the norm,” he said. “We can say that we are starting to get into a zone where it is less legitimate for the government to tell the RCMP to follow other priorities,” said Mr. Lagassé.

Does anyone believe the PMO makes its pronouncements without Harper’s hand all over the script. Not our micro-manageing Prime Minister. Where will this need to control end?

Closing ELA: An international disgrace.

Scientists, both national and international, politicians inside and outside the House of Commons, patriotic organizations and ordinary concerned citizens like me line up to defend the importance of the Experimental Lakes Area. Who works there? The people who told us about acid rain and the dangers of detergents in our waterways, among other facts.

Who doesn’t want them to work there? The Harper government in the shape of the Fisheries minister Keith Ashfield. Read about it i todays Globe and Mail: http://tinyurl.com/csrz2lr

We are saving money, the Harper government cries. It costs 2 million dollars a year, folks. The new Office of Religious Freedom(Whose?) costs 5 million. How much did they squander on those jets. How much are they spending to promote the history of a war no one cares about? And what about those ads about the Action Plan that isn’t there any more.

They aren’t saving money, but I wonder who’s going to make some. Who has those logging contracts?

Replace the ELA with cleacut! What a disgrace.

Canadian Census–2

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/why-the-census-matters-just-about-everywhere/article1650524/

This article in the Globe and Mail this am attempts to define the importance of the census to everyone. What interests me is that the Prime Minister, who controls just about everything that goes on in the government, didn’t either know this – and he’s an economist by education – or is so ideologically driven that it doesn’t matter to him. The census has been in place officially in the areas formerly under British control on a recurring basis since 1841. The US does their census on the 10’s and is even older. A census is  not a survey or a poll. It’s a counting procedure and is vital to almost everyone who has to make a decision based on fact not imagination.

Or perhaps that’s the problem, all those uncomfortable facts.

Authors’ Rights

The Government of Canada is proposing changes to the Copyright Act which will decrease the income, small as it is, of authors in this country. The exemption for education users works this way: the school buys one or two copies of a work, then photocopies portions it wishes to use, or indeed the entire work. Up to now, the school would have to buy a license to do so, a portion of which goes the the author. The details are in the following excerpt from the Canadian Authors Association newsletter ( used with permission.)

“CAA Joins Writers’ Coalition On Copyright Reform
Six leading professional organizations representing Canadian writers and translators have formed a coalition to ensure that proposed legislation to reform Canadian copyright law will respect our rights, including the right to be fairly remunerated for our work. We will be working together to engage our members to support appropriate  amendments to C-32, the government bill that was given first reading in Parliament on June 2nd.
The Writers’ Union of Canada, the Professional Writers Association of Canada, the Playwrights Guild of Canada, the League of Canadian Poets, the Canadian Authors Association and the Literary Translators Association of Canada will work together through the summer and fall to advise politicians and civil servants on required changes to the legislation under consideration. The six associations represent over 4000 professional writers and translators.
CAA is also participating in a wider coalition led by the Canadian Copyright Institute that includes associations from all the creator sectors. We will be sending you further information about these issues, and we also want your feedback and your concerns. This process is very important to all of us as we hope it will influence the outcome of Bill C-32. We look forward to future dialogue with you.
In the meantime, here are some facts about the proposed copyright legislation and how it affects writers and publishers:
What’s wrong with Bill C-32?
Canadian writers and other creators will suffer hardship under C-32
The average income of a Canadian writer is only $16,000 – that’s less than minimum wage;
Most Canadian publishers operate on very slim margins; their sustainability is often fragile;
Canada’s creators and publishers need all the income their works can generate. Their sustainability is threatened when income is taken away;
Only some of the income from a book or other copyright protected work is generated when it is sold. Other revenues are earned when instead of buying more copies of a book, a school or other institution reproduces pages of the original. To get permission to make copies without infringing copyright, they purchase Collective Licenses, income from which flows back to creators and publishers just like royalties from sales;
By exempting educational users and others from the requirement to get collective licenses, C-32 will cost Canadian creators and publishers as much as $30 million a year in license income alone.
C-32 violates core principles of Copyright Law
Copyright exists to protect producers and creators. When others use our works, copyright law should ensure the people who worked so hard to produce them are compensated;
C-32 expropriates creators and publishers in the name of the public interest; but no other supplier to the educational sector – whether makers of desks or computers or the teachers in the classroom – are forced to work for free!
What you can do to fix Bill C-32:
Help ensure Canadian creators are heard. Raise our concerns with your colleagues, in caucus, and in the House of Commons;
Build bridges with like-minded members of other parties to protect Canadian creators from unfair and arbitrary expropriation;
Protect Canada’s place in the new digital economy by supporting amendments to C-32 that – without hardship to consumers –  ensure Canada’s creators suffer no hardship. Creators of content need to derive benefit from their work. The vitality of Canadian culture in the global digital economy depends on it!

CAA Joins Writers’ Coalition On Copyright ReformSix leading professional organizations representing Canadian writers and translators have formed a coalition to ensure that proposed legislation to reform Canadian copyright law will respect our rights, including the right to be fairly remunerated for our work. We will be working together to engage our members to support appropriate  amendments to C-32, the government bill that was given first reading in Parliament on June 2nd.
The Writers’ Union of Canada, the Professional Writers Association of Canada, the Playwrights Guild of Canada, the League of Canadian Poets, the Canadian Authors Association and the Literary Translators Association of Canada will work together through the summer and fall to advise politicians and civil servants on required changes to the legislation under consideration. The six associations represent over 4000 professional writers and translators.
CAA is also participating in a wider coalition led by the Canadian Copyright Institute that includes associations from all the creator sectors. We will be sending you further information about these issues, and we also want your feedback and your concerns. This process is very important to all of us as we hope it will influence the outcome of Bill C-32. We look forward to future dialogue with you. In the meantime, here are some facts about the proposed copyright legislation and how it affects writers and publishers:What’s wrong with Bill C-32?
Canadian writers and other creators will suffer hardship under C-32
The average income of a Canadian writer is only $16,000 – that’s less than minimum wage;Most Canadian publishers operate on very slim margins; their sustainability is often fragile;Canada’s creators and publishers need all the income their works can generate. Their sustainability is threatened when income is taken away;Only some of the income from a book or other copyright protected work is generated when it is sold. Other revenues are earned when instead of buying more copies of a book, a school or other institution reproduces pages of the original. To get permission to make copies without infringing copyright, they purchase Collective Licenses, income from which flows back to creators and publishers just like royalties from sales;By exempting educational users and others from the requirement to get collective licenses, C-32 will cost Canadian creators and publishers as much as $30 million a year in license income alone.C-32 violates core principles of Copyright Law
Copyright exists to protect producers and creators. When others use our works, copyright law should ensure the people who worked so hard to produce them are compensated;C-32 expropriates creators and publishers in the name of the public interest; but no other supplier to the educational sector – whether makers of desks or computers or the teachers in the classroom – are forced to work for free!What you can do to fix Bill C-32:Help ensure Canadian creators are heard. Raise our concerns with your colleagues, in caucus, and in the House of Commons;Build bridges with like-minded members of other parties to protect Canadian creators from unfair and arbitrary expropriation;Protect Canada’s place in the new digital economy by supporting amendments to C-32 that – without hardship to consumers –  ensure Canada’s creators suffer no hardship. Creators of content need to derive benefit from their work. The vitality of Canadian culture in the global digital economy depends on it!”

This is equivalent to a tax on authors in support of the educational system. It reduces the amount governments have to pay for books and other content in different media which their curriculum requires.  It is unfair.