No new bridges til we use the old ones first – West Side Action

This Ottawa blogger makes a lot of sense: measure the prospective value of cross-river infrastructure spending by the number of people moved, not the number of vehicles.

Source: No new bridges til we use the old ones first – West Side Action

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Ontario government ponders ban on single-use plastics

No hard news or proposals here – just “pondering”.  But it’s the first pondering from the Ontario PCs that does not strike me as ridiculous.

This is the PC government’s discussion paper on Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities: Discussion Paper I couldn’t find any proposed bans on single-use plastics in it.  Regarding plastics in general the government is proposing more standardization for recycling, greater front-end involvement by manufacturers/packagers, and more Federal government leadership (which is unusual, coming from this particular bunch of PCs.)

Ontario government ponders ban on single-use plastics

Source: Ontario government ponders ban on single-use plastics | CBC News

City of Toronto election laws and the Charter’s “not withstanding” clause

The City of Toronto probably based its recent case against the Province on the Charter’s freedom of expression provision (Section 2) and not on the Charter’s freedom to participate in elections (Section 3) because Section 3 covers only Federal and Provincial elections, not (explicitly) municipal elections.  This morning I read some legal opinions that say Judge Belobaba’s decision may have stretched this Section 2 provision too far by extending it to election rights.
It’s interesting that the “not withstanding” clause (Section 33) applies explicitly to Section 2 freedoms but not to Section 3.  So the provincial government can probably get away with invoking it from a legal perspective.  But that sure doesn’t make it right.
The decision makes interesting reading…almost “folksy” in a lot of places.  I particularly liked paragraphs 76 -77, quoted in their entirety below:
[76]     Dealing with the second objective, voter parity, and giving the Minister the benefit of the doubt that he understood that the primary concern is not voter parity but effective representation, there is no evidence of minimal impairment. The Province’s rationale for moving to a 25-ward structure had been carefully considered and rejected by the TWBR and by City Council just over a year ago. If there was a concern about the large size of some of the City’s wards (by my count, six wards had populations ranging from 70,000 to 97,000) why not deal with these six wards specifically? Why impose a solution (increasing all ward sizes to 111,000) that is far worse, in terms of achieving effective representation, than the original problem? And, again, why do so in the middle of the City’s election?

[77]     Crickets.

[78]     I am therefore obliged to find on the evidence before me that the breaches of s. 2(b) of the Charter as found above cannot be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society and cannot be saved as reasonable limits under s. 1.

So, let’s say Trump gets impeached. Then what? – The Washington Post

​Interesting premise…the author suggests that if impeached and removed from office Trump wouldn’t go away but would start campaigning for the 2020 election – creating havoc on the way.

A better alternative, he (the author) suggests, would be for the Democrats to develop some positive messaging/programs/alternatives. I agree; relying on the “Not my President” dissenters isn’t going to carry them very far in the mid-terms.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/so-lets-say-trump-gets-impeached-then-what/2017/05/21/40f81c74-3cb6-11e7-a058-ddbb23c75d82_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-ehomepagestory&utm_term=.6f336bb18607

John W. Dean (Nixon’s lawyer) on the current President

Remember John Dean, from the old days? At the time he struck me as one of the (rare) good apples in a bad bunch.
Dean’s observations here, from the CBC’s “Power and Politics” show, are excellent. Inquiring minds will be rewarded by waiting till the end of the interview (or advancing the tape to 7:12)….”How’s this going to end?”
http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/895330883682

(For better or worse, CBC’s video player includes several non-skippable public service messages.)

The Liberal Democratic World Order Is Falling Apart – Democracy is for suckers

A short post by Errol Mendes, Professor, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa. My take-away: democracy is for suckers.
Prof. Mendes proposes three ways for liberal democracies to fight the tide or authoritarianism:

  • “First, they must use all their powers of political, economic, and social persuasion to shine a bright light on the “post-truth” fabrications fuelling [sic] the new authoritarianism;
  • “Second, they must examine their own glasshouses to see how the so-called Washington Consensus liberal order has produced too many losers, too many corporate robber barons, while creating a level of social inequality, job loss, and poverty that begs the title “neo-feudal.”
  • “Finally, progressive leaders, parties, and governments must use the human rights agenda to promote the lives and interests of all.”
Very quaint.  We’re doomed.

http://www.cips-cepi.ca/2017/01/13/the-liberal-democratic-world-order-is-falling-apart/

Source: The Liberal Democratic World Order Is Falling Apart – Centre for International Policy Studies

How Delaware kept America safe for corporate secrecy | Reuters

This lengthy article describes how on politician from the State of Delaware has thwarted national and international programs to prevent bad guys from laundering money in the U.S.

Here’s what the good guys tried to do:

  • In 2006, the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, a group of some three dozen nations formed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, noted “significant shortcomings” in the United States. The group declared Washington “non-compliant” in four of 40 categories for anti-money-laundering compliance. Among the failures: Authorities could not obtain timely information about a company’s real owners, FATF said.The task force demanded that the United States fix the problem. For Washington, which was pressing allies to crack down on terror financing, it was an embarrassing critique.
  • The same year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Congress’s auditing arm, concluded that federal law made it too easy for individuals to anonymously form companies. Delaware was a favored destination for such companies, the report said.
  • As anti-secrecy momentum built, Senator Levin and then-Senator Barack Obama joined forces with Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota to make it tougher to register new companies without identifying the owners.

Thanks to the continuing efforts (described in the article) of Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock none of these initiatives has succeeded.

Source: Special Report: How Delaware kept America safe for corporate secrecy | Reuters