Transgender rights bill passes in Canada!

Back on March 20th, despite the Tories’ attempts at kicking the can down the road, NDP, Liberals and a whopping 15 Conservatives passed the controversial transgender rights bill in the House of Commons, making assault on a transgender person a hate crime, and protecting trans* folk against discrimination.

I hate having to say “the controversial” in this case, but as usual, it’s controversial because Conservatives don’t want to pass anything making it any less acceptable to attack anyone who isn’t a straight white cis-gendered males in this world. Making it illegal to discriminate against a trans* person, in the same way as it’s illegal to discriminate against any other non-ciswhitestraightmales, well, would simply be a bridge too far to most of them. So they’ve been fighting it with the rhetoric that it would allow sexual predators to assault women in bathrooms by pretending to be transgender. They’ve honestly smeared it throughout the media and throughout the political discourse as “The Bathroom Bill”.

Yeah, it makes about as little sense as it sounds.
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An anniversary to remember, with a thumb to Harper’s eye

Today’s the 23rd anniversary of the Montréal Massacre, which has of late been a focus in Canadian politics with Harper having successfully destroyed the long gun registry.

Except, as it turns out, in Quebec. The provincial government kept their copy, with the help of a sympathetic judge, and plans on implementing their own registry, according to Stephane Bergeron in statements made marking the anniversary of the deadly shooting at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique.

Bergeron also mentioned the deadly shooting at Dawson College in 2006, as well as the fatal shooting that disrupted Premier Pauline Marois’ victory speech on Sept. 4.

“Quebec believes in a system of firearms registration, essential to the administration of justice, to police work and to the safety of the population,” he said.

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Harper government celebrates destruction of long gun registry… quietly

Via Winnipeg Free Press, a spokesperson for the Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed that the long gun registry has been destroyed — at least, except for Quebec’s, where legal battles are ongoing. Interestingly, the Harper government did not issue a press release on the matter; it took gun enthusiasts rumoring about the registry’s destruction before the spokesperson would confirm.

No formal news release appears to have been issued by a Conservative government that has made repeal and destruction of the long-gun registry one of its bedrock promises.

Nor has the government said exactly how much taxpayer money will be saved by repealing the registry, although a study by The Canadian Press suggests it is a small fraction of the millions spent annually on gun licensing.

Could it be because the suggested “savings” are a total canard? A non-starter? A… dare I say it… complete line of bullshit?
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Scientists protest death of evidence on Parliament Hill

Canadian scientists marched on Parliament Hill this past Tuesday to protest the ongoing campaign by the Harper government to squelch any and all science whose results go against party lines on topics like (and especially) the environment.

Evoking images of the Grim Reaper, protesters held a mock funeral procession through the streets of Ottawa before ending up at the House of Commons.

They chanted: No Science, No Evidence, No Truth, No Democracy.

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Some sick freak is mailing body parts to the Conservative Party of Canada (Update: and Liberals too!)

I thought about starting this post by saying “look, I hate the CPC as much as the next guy”, but quickly realized that evidently, I don’t. Someone — possibly multiple someones — has sent two body parts to the Conservative Party of Canada headquarters.

Police would not say what the body part was, nor where it was found, though they did say it was not found at the Conservative Party offices on 130 Albert St. where the foot was sent.

Media reports said the second package, containing a human hand, was not addressed to the Tory headquarters. Police said the major crime unit continues to investigate.

Police were called to the building at 11:20 a.m. ET after a suspicious package was delivered there. Police called for the hazardous materials unit after they noticed what appeared to be blood on the package.

It’s interesting that the foot was mailed directly to the Tories but the hand wasn’t. I don’t know what that means yet.

I can envision a few scenarios where this might make sense to some deranged person — in protest of the Tories and Harper’s government’s policies, as a taunt to the police to catch a serial killer, maybe even mailing the body parts of someone they felt was victimized by the government out of revenge. I can only hope that the parts come from the same body, rather than two different ones, and that the person those parts belonged to was not freshly killed for expressly this purpose. Regardless, this story is disturbing on a number of very visceral levels.

Update: Holy shit. Okay, it’s not targeted at the CPC at all. The hand was delivered to the Liberal Party. And they have the rest of the body, and a suspect who’s been known to kill kittens on video, who may or may not have a link to Karla Homolka.

Montreal police are looking for Luka Rocco Magnotta in connection with the delivery of a human left foot to the Conservative Party of Canada headquarters in Ottawa and the discovery of body parts found in Ottawa and Montreal.

Police said Magnotta, 29, also known as Eric Clinton Newman, is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant and police are asking for the public’s help to find him.

Police said Magnotta knew the victim whose torso was found in Montreal on Tuesday.

US puts Canada on piracy watch list yet again!

Remember how, last time around, Conservative Industry Minister Tony Clement convinced the US to put Canada on a piracy watch list despite us being in last place on a list of 46 countries? Given the circumstances of that particular attempt at sabotaging our country’s standings so baselessly, can you understand why I might be skeptical of the motivations behind this news?

In its yearly report on countries that are not doing enough to protect the U.S. copyright industry, Canada is listed on the Priority Watch List with China, Russia, Ukraine and a handful of other countries.

The Special 301 Report reads:

“Canada remains on the Priority Watch List in 2012, subject to review if Canada enacts long-awaited copyright legislation. The Government of Canada has given priority to that legislation. The United States welcomes that prioritization and looks forward to studying the legislation once it is finalized, and will consider, among other things, whether it fully implements the WIPO Internet Treaties, and whether it fully addresses the challenges of piracy over the Internet.”

Other countries are more lucky.

Spain, for example, has been taken off the list after it implemented a harsher copyright law. Last December the US ambassador threatened to put Spain on a trade blacklist if the country failed to pass a SOPA-style site blocking law.

Weeks later the new law passed.

I maintain that the worldwide copyfight is an attempt to maximize short-term profits for the content middleman industry expressly at the expense of individual liberties. Hobbling Canada’s international standing in a cynical game to force us to pass SOPA-like anti-privacy anti-piracy measures is a wholly unsurprising tactic. Pulling the same tactic twice, though requires that we all forget what happened last time around.

Conservative election dirty tricks in Waterloo; possibly elsewhere

Our good friend Steve Thoms, a.k.a Some Canadian Skeptic, is apparently interviewed in The Record discussing some dirty tricks by Conservatives in our recent national election.

I know, shock and horror, how could the Conservative Party of Canada have to resort to foul play to win an election when they are so obviously the paragons of all that is light and just and true in this world?

After the news broke last week that Elections Canada is investigating complaints from Guelph residents about receiving calls on Election Day in an apparent effort to dissuade Liberal voters from casting a ballot, the story broadened over the weekend. A company that did campaign work for Conservatives, including the prime minister, was linked to harassing or misleading automated phone calls received by voters in some 18 hotly contested ridings just prior to the May 2 election.

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America’s 2012 election: vote for Canada

Meet the Canada Party. They offer an alternative to the ridiculous offerings the Republican Party has on display, and the “guy who gave a drunk Congress the keys to the country”.

Seriously, it’s the best choice for all of us, even if our present Prime Minister is a Muppet version of George W. Bush. I mean, just look at your other options.

The numbers don’t lie: as many long guns in Toronto as in rural areas

The impending destruction of the long gun registry has been touted by conservatives (and most especially conserva-bot sockpuppets) as being primarily intended as a sop to the rural voters who are “disproportionately affected” by the long gun registry is another demonstrable falsehood. As it turns out, there are 287,000 long guns in the Greater Toronto Area whose registration information will be bonfired when the Conservatives’ plan is carried out.

Most of the “nonrestricted” firearms registered within the GTA are in the possession of individuals — 263,000 guns — while a smaller number (nearly 24,000) are held by businesses (not including police agencies) or museums.

There are tens of thousands of urbanites — more than 85,000 — legally licensed to possess a gun in Toronto, a number that may include some police officers who possess personal firearms.

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