May 29, 2007

These are some interesting CBC Newsworld documentaries this week that you won’t want to miss:


(Tuesday May 29 at 10pm PT on CBC Newsworld)


Disrobe for dissent, calendars for causes, nudes against nukes. A new phenomenon with old roots is gaining momentum — busting out, peeling off, and hanging loose, all around the globe.From Europe to Australia, people of all ages are stripping off their clothes to send messages via the media: “Peace! No Bush! We’d rather go naked than wear fur!”



(Wednesday May 30 at 10pm PT on CBC Newsworld)


With almost one in two marriages ending in divorce and 60% of couples having affairs, people are looking for an alternative to monogamy. For some, an option is Polyamory; multiple, long-term, stable relationships. For many it’s a taboo, for others a fantasy, but is there such a thing responsible non-monogamy? This film follows two poly-families at different stages in their relationships, and explores how the lifestyle actually works. http://www.cbc.ca/wilddocs/wd_061206.html


(Thursday May 31 at 10pm PT on CBC Newsworld)


How did Homo sapiens evolve? How did our brains begin to change? And why did early humans suddenly start creating art? What about the concept of past and future? What pushed our forerunners to explore beyond the narrow confines of the world they lived in? How did they learn to solve problems, to become innovative thinkers and, most of all, to survive when other species failed? The mega-budget, two-part series, Homo Sapiens: The Rise of Our Species boldly considers questions like these by examining our evolutionary milestones.


HarperIndex, May 25 – Patronage?

May 26, 2007

May 25, 2007

A bulletin from www.HarperIndex.ca

Stephen Harper got elected largely due to the sponsorship scandal and the taint of patronage that stuck to Liberal government. This week, two stories have surfaced that offer the Harper Conservatives a chance to deal with the same issue.


Also, please check out on our front page the article about Bush pollster Frank Luntz, who has had an enormous influence on the Harper Conservatives’ marketing.


Our website remains in BETA format for a few more days. Thanks for your patience.

Please forward this email and let others know about www.HarperIndex.ca . We believe Canadians need a lot more background on their minority government and its intentions.

Thanks from the HarperIndex team.

Ish Theilheimer
Managing Editor, www.HarperIndex.ca
Publisher, www. StraightGoods.com

The Harper Index: Gordon O’Connor

May 26, 2007

One of my favourite Canadian sites, StraightGoods.ca, has started The Harper Index: “Analyzing persuasion techniques of Canada’s Conservatives:  the promises, the record, the responses” .  Here is an excellent sampling:

May 23, 2007

A bulletin from www.HarperIndex.ca

In 2006, Stephen Harper chose Gordon O’Connor as defence minister, a man with openly hawkish views due to his background as a soldier and military industry lobbyist. This week O’Connor, besides having to fend off the opposition over Afghanistan, is trying to defend new estimates for the cost of tank purchases that are double what he projected.

A new article looking at O’Connor and his background is on our front page and at http://www.harperindex.ca/ViewArticle.cfm?Ref=0036 .

Our website remains in BETA format for a few more days. Thanks for your patience.

Please forward this email and let others know about www.HarperIndex.ca . We believe Canadians need a lot more background on their minority government and its intentions.

Thanks from the HarperIndex team.

Ish Theilheimer
Managing Editor, www.HarperIndex.ca
Publisher, www. StraightGoods.com

The US and Iran: the fire next time

May 26, 2007

openDemocracy Just published on www.openDemocracy.net:

The fire next time – Paul Rogers
The US’s response to its problems in Iraq and Afghanistan could escalate into confrontation with Iran
Tony Blair and Europe – Simon Berlaymont
Tony Blair with EU flag
Tony Blair promised to renew an old, flawed relationship. Has he succeeded? An experienced observer reflects

Tory’s Health Platform A Recipe for Privatization

May 26, 2007

May 24, 2007 — For Immediate Release


Tory Health Platform A Recipe for Privatization:

Ontario Health Coalition Bracing for Confrontation in Ontario Election


Toronto:  John Tory’s Conservatives intend to hand our non-profit hospital and health services to for-profit companies, is the message in today’s release of the Conservative health platform.


“John Tory’s Conservatives have signaled that they intend to join the manipulative campaign led by the for-profit health industry to privatize the health system for their own profits. Clearly, Tory intends to use the provincial election campaign to try to force more health privatization,” noted Natalie Mehra, coalition director.


“John Tory’s persistence in forcing health care privatization will lead to unfair and costly two-tier health care,” she added. “The for-profit companies he is promoting are already charging user-fees and promoting two-tier care as a way to maximize their revenue and increase their profits. Tory’s refusal to acknowledge the evidence that for-profit companies drive up costs and damage the public system is irresponsible.”  


“The rigorous meta-analyses of the same for-profit hospital services Tory is promoting shows that they not only cost more, but they are also lead to a higher rate of patient deaths as the companies cut corners to make room for profit-taking. Already, the fastest growing costs in Ontario’s health system are produced by the private for-profit sector. Health privatization is not innovation, in fact, it is the same old Harris agenda of ideological politics and polarization.”


“We are prepared for a significant confrontation on the issue of health privatization through Ontario’s provincial election campaign because protecting public and non-profit health services is so important to the future sustainability and fairness of the public health system,” she concluded.


Ontario Health Coalition

15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305

Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Y8

tel: 416-441-2502

fax: 416-441-4073

email: ohc@sympatico.ca


OHC: Legal challenge to bring down single-tier medicare in Ontario

May 26, 2007

Save Public Medicare! Information

Charter Challenge Against Single-Tier Health Care in Ontario

Ontario Health Coalition Backgrounder

May 2007

According to a press conference held this month, the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) is funding a Charter challenge to single tier Public Medicare in Ontario.   This group also launched a class action against single tier in Alberta last year. The goal appears to be to extend the Chaoulli decision outside of Quebec to bring down the ban on two-tiering and to widen the opening for two-tier Medicare, extra-billing, user charges and out-of-pocket payment for medical care.  


The Ontario lawsuit, conducted in the name of Lindsay McCreith, challenges the province’s Health Insurance Act, the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act, and the Healthcare Accessibility Act, and seeks to have the court order the province to allow extra billing by doctors and companies for essential services.   McCreith allegedly was diagnosed with a possible brain tumor but was told he would have to wait 4 = months before an MRI could be conducted to confirm the diagnosis.   Instead of waiting, he went to Buffalo where allegedly an MRI confirmed that the tumor was malignant.



The CCF has begun an extremely disingenuous streetcar advertising campaign in Toronto which blames a ‘healthcare monopoly’  ie. the public health system — for almost killing a patient, despite evidence that wait times, or rationing based on urgency and supply, are not just products of public systems  but   occur in either public and private systems.  Ignored by the pro-privatizers, is the fact that there is no measurement of waits when there is no health system  when health care is treated as a private market for those who can afford it.  In the U.S. 45 million citizens are uninsured and unable to afford to even stand in the queue, and millions of others are trumped for a place in the queue by wealth.



Who is Behind the Pro-Privatization Campaign?

The Calgary-based CCF is an extremely right-wing legal advocacy organization (and registered charity) that uses Charter challenges and public campaigns to promote its vision of “constitutional freedom”- specifically individual and economic “freedom”, property rights and the restriction of government – and to defend the Constitution against “improper decisions or actions of governments, regulators, tribunals or special interest groups.”   The CCF is radically ideological and strongly linked with other right wing causes and organizations, most notably the Fraser Institute .


The CCF was founded in 2002 by lawyer John Weston of Vancouver to fund James Robinson’s legal challenge to the Nisga’a Treaty (an aboriginal land claim in B.C.). Weston left the CCF and the Robinson case in 2005 in order to focus on his political ambitions as a federal Conservative candidate in West Vancouver (he was narrowly defeated in 2006 despite the support of Dr. Michael Walker, former Executive Director of the Fraser Institute ). The CCF hired John Carpay, a former Reform candidate and the Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayer Federation, to be the CCF’s new Executive Director.   The organization relocated to Calgary and re-launched itself in the summer of 2005.



While many conservatives loathe the Charter of Rights – viewing it as having allowed left-wing judicial activism – the CCF’s strategy is to ‘expropriate’ the Charter and use it to promote their right-wing ‘liberty and property’ conservative agenda.   Speaking about the Charter, Weston told the Calgary Herald in 2005 “it’s here, there’s not much point in wishing it weren’t. Now we need to make it mean what it’s supposed to mean.   Conservatives must reclaim it for conservative values.”  The CCF appears to emulate other right-wing legal lobbies in the US such as the Institute for Justice.


Types of Cases the CCF Takes Up

Aside from its continuing legal challenge to a long-awaited aboriginal land claims treaty (which has been described in the Vancouver Sun as “a stalking horse for ultra-conservative ideologues with little support or credibility”) the CCF has also supported a successful challenge against a New Brunswick user charge on liquor sales in bars and is currently funding a class action legal challenges to Medicare in Alberta and an individual action in Ontario. The CCF also hailed the scrapping of the Court Challenges Program that funded court challenges by disadvantaged groups.


Who’s Who

Executive Director Carpay was born in Holland and raised in Williams Lake, BC. He received his undergraduate degree at Laval and ran as a Reform Party candidate in 1993 in an attempt to unseat Svend Robinson (during the campaign he argued that ” U.I. is a general social program for ski bums”). He moved to Alberta to study law at the University of Calgary and remained involved with the Reform Party and, at the 1996 convention, argued in favour of provincial Reform Parties saying, “These [provincial] Tories are not our friends. As much as I like a lot of the day-to-day policies of the Klein and Harris governments, they are not ours.”   He also supported a resolution in favour of the “traditional” definition of the family saying, “I did not join the Reform Party to bow down at the altar of political correctness.”  


In 2000, Carpay supported Stockwell Day against Preston Manning for the leadership of the new Canadian Alliance. He has been Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayer Foundation from 2001 to 2005. He has a picture of Margaret Thatcher on his office wall and bemoans the fact that “Canada has never been blessed with the equivalent of Margaret Thatcher Thatcher managed to combine principles and power.”   In a Globe & Mail op-ed in 2006, Carpay described departing Premier Ralph Klein as “a liberal elitist” and “his actual policies should make a leftist happy”.


In the Alberta Canadian Taxpayer Federation, Carpay displayed a talent for publicity and theatrics such as using a chainsaw to cut a giant income tax return in half on the steps of the Alberta legislature to promote a campaign to eliminate Alberta’s income tax by 2015 and planting 82 pig ornaments on the front lawn of the provincial legislature to protest a pay raise for the the province’s MLAs. He also argued for a user-pay health system comparing it to a user-pay transit system saying, “It’s more fair that somebody who is using a service pays for it than somebody who is not using the service,”  


The CCF’s board of directors and advisory board are both made up of ideologues and financiers of the far right.

  • Chairman Claus Jenson of BC is the owner of Overland Freight Lines Ltd and made a presentation to a legislative committee in 2002 in which he said “I am a big fan of the free enterprise system in my view, big is bad  big business, big government and big unions,” and argued for curtailing public sector wages, deregulation and for a policy that would “discourage people from turning to government to solve their individual problems and demands for more handout requests”.
  • Ehor Boyanowsky is a Simon Fraser University professor who, in 2001, made a deputation to a legislative committee calling for a referendum on the Nisga’a treaty.
  • Dr. Will Johnston is a founding member of “The Conservative Council” and is president of the anti-abortion group Physicians for Life
  • Mark Mitchell is vice-chairman of the Fraser Institute’s board of trustees
  • Chris Schafer is a conservative lawyer and writer and co-authored a Fraser Institute study on welfare reform.
  • Advisory Committee member Avril Allen is also the CCF’s Ontario Counsel and is the lawyer in the Ontario Chaoulli challenge. She was a summer intern at the Fraser Institute and also contact person for the “Laissez-Faire Club of Toronto”.
  • Ezra Levant, publisher of the right wing Western Standard and a long time Reform Party and “Stockaholic” is also on the Advisory Committee
  • Until recently another board member was Marni Soupcoff of the National Post’s editorial board; herself a lawyer and former staff attorney at the Institute for Justice, a Washington “libertarian public interest law firm.”


Funding and Charitable Status

In 2006 the CCF took in $324,652 in tax-subsidized donations. According to the Star “Thanks to the Canadian Constitution Foundation’s charitable status, anyone who supports its particular political causes gets a tax writeoff that, in effect, all other taxpayers  including those who disagree with its aims  have to cover.”


The CCF received donations of $1000 or more from:

Paul Einarsson

Mark Mitchell

Dr. Kenneth Hilborn

Sarah Mitchell

Richard Holbrook

Gwyn Morgan

Dr. Will Johnston

Roger Phillips

Gerald McKay

Marni Soupcoff

Jane McKay

Dr. Michael Walker

Atlas Economic Research 


Aurea Foundation

Donner Canadian Foundation

John & Lotte Hecht Memorial Foundation

Lansdowne Equity Ventures L

Pirie Foundation

W. Garfield Weston Foundation

Ontario Health Coalition

15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305

Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Y8

tel: 416-441-2502

fax: 416-441-4073

email: ohc@sympatico.ca



Toronto: The Parkdale Coffee House – Wednesday May 30

May 26, 2007

The Parkdale Coffee House

Wednesday May 30th

6:30pm onwards

at PARC- 1499 Queen Street W.

presented by OCAP

The Parkdale Coffee House is an opportunity for folks in Parkdale to discuss building community resistance through conversation, information and music.

Grassroots Organizing Against Capitalism: From TCHC disrepair to Police Harassment

AMINA ALI- OCAP Women of Etobicoke

KELLY BENTLEY- OCAP Scarborough Committee

and others discuss how their communities are fighting back

Open Mic will follow discussion.

Childcare and Snacks will be provided.


Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

10 Britain St. Toronto, ON  M5A 1R6

416-925-6939  ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca