National Newswatch

On October 19 stand up for Canada

Sep 2 2015 — Frances Russell — The story goes that British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was once asked what the most challenging part of his job was. “’Events, my dear boy, events’” he supposedly replied. Macmillan’s quote – fictional or not – is certainly an apt description of Canada’s current marathon 2015 federal election. At 143 years, it’s the longest Canadian […]

The Harper Government’s Manual on How to Subvert Your Vote in October – a.k.a. the Fair Elections Act

Jun 17 2015 — Frances Russell — Florida’s infamous hanging chads in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election is small beer compared to what the Conservatives’ oxymoronic Fair Elections Act intends to do – or not do -with your ballot come October. The Orwellian-named Fair Elections Act, if allowed to stand without major amendments, will automatically disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of qualified voters, […]

The New Feudalism

May 13 2015 — Frances Russell — When the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issues a report entitled Power From the People, it’s time for governments to sit up and take heed. “Inequality has risen in many advanced economies since the 1980s largely because of the concentration of incomes at the top of the distribution, “OECD economists Florence Jaumotte and […]

The pate de foie gras government

May 8 2015 — Frances Russell — This French delicacy is the appropriate name for a government intent on piling ever more rich, unnecessary, not to mention indigestible and costly, goodies on the wealthy. It’s achieved by seizing geese by the neck and using large funnels to pound ever more food into their crops and stomachs.  When they achieve a certain corpulence, […]

Sound rules to starve by

Apr 15 2015 — Frances Russell — Sing a song of plenty, a planet full of fools Everybody starving by sound financial rules. This sardonic spoof of the childrens’ nursery song, Sing a Song of Sixpence, was published in a Canadian newspaper in 1934, the pit of the Great Depression. Driven by the Harper Conservatives’ sudden embrace of federal balanced budget laws […]

Contempt of Parliament is now the Default State of Canadian Democracy

Apr 8 2015 — Frances Russell — Contempt of Parliament is now the Default State of Canadian Democracy As Parliament  and Canadians ready themselves for the unrolling of one of the juiciest Conservative scandals in Canada’s colourful history – the Mike Duffy, Pamela Walin, Patrick Brazeau Senate Expenses Affair – one of the country’s leading political scientists says the sitting prime minister […]

The low, dishonest decade redux

Mar 25 2015 — Frances Russell — In his famous poem titled September 1, 1939, British poet W.H. Auden described the 1930s as “a low, dishonest decade.” There are eerie similarities between the third decade of the 20th Century and the second decade of the 21st Century.  The third decade of the 20th Century gave the world Nazism and fascism and the […]

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid

Mar 17 2015 — Frances Russell — As the war drums beat ever louder across Canada, this seems to be the advice Stephen Harper’s Conservatives want Canadians to follow. The question is, afraid of what and whom? Islamic terrorism? Right-wing and white supremacist ideologies? Lone wolves? Violent anti-petroleum extremists? Canada’s environmental movement? The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CISIS) and the Royal […]

How many corporate think tanks are necessary to change the political culture of a nation?

Mar 10 2015 — Frances Russell — National Magazine Award-winning journalist Mark Bourrie and Simon Fraser University’s Donald Gutstein have each set out to find the answer in two new books. Bourrie, who lectures on propaganda and censorship at the Canadian Forces’ Public Affairs Branch, on media history and propaganda at Carleton University and on Canadian Studies at the University of Ottawa […]

Canada’s Crime Rate is Plunging but the Harper Government’s Incarceration Rate is Skyrocketing: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Feb 18 2015 — Frances Russell — “The 2011 Canadian rate of 1.73 homicides per 100,000 population is the lowest of all the Americas, 14 times lower than in Mexico and about one-third of the rate in the United States. The homicide rate in Canada is more comparable to many European countries and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), but remains much higher […]

From parliamentary attack dog to international statesman, John Baird covered all the bases for his boss, Stephen Harper

Feb 5 2015 — Frances Russell — On the morning of Thursday, December 6, 2008, veteran CBC parliamentary journalist Don Newman exposed for all Canadians the reflexive contempt the Harper Conservatives hold for Canada’s parliamentary form of government – a reflexive contempt that continues to grow and fuel every new parliamentary outrage. Writes Newman in the first paragraph of his bestselling autobiography […]

NAFTA’s Pioneering Investor-State Rules Force Democratically-Elected Governments to Pay to Govern

Jan 21 2015 — Frances Russell — The year was 1994. Corporate Capital was King. Canada’s Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, America’s Ronald Reagan and Mexico’s Carlos Salinas sat down together to draft what was dubbed a North American New World Order. Henceforth, at least in North America, the rights and interests of multinational business took precedence over the rights of citizens. More […]

How Would Tommy Douglas Feel Now?

Jan 7 2015 — Frances Russell — In 2004, the CBC held a nation-wide television contest to choose Canada’s “Greatest Canadian.” The top choice of viewers from every part of the land was former Saskatchewan NDP Premier Tommy Douglas, the man who would go down in history as the Father if Medicare. Saskatchewan’s 1962 medicare act became Canadians’ most treasured national social […]

Where you stand depends on where you sit in Harper’s new – and meaner – Canada

Dec 10 2014 — Frances Russell — Back in the days when Canada’s current prime minister was president of the secretive, far-right National Citizens Coalition and waging bitter wars against Medicare and so-called “anti-democratic” gag laws limiting the amount of money private deep pockets could use to buy elections, Stephen Harper sued the Attorney General of Canada. He sought a declaration that […]