Breaking news: Wildrose concurs with decent idea; Shiv is shocked

In a “pinch yourself to make sure you’re awake” moment, the Dickweed Wildrose Party has conceptually agreed with the NDP to place a limitation on how much any given company can donate to political parties, even if they disagree on the exact limit:

Each party had made submissions to the legislature’s special committee on ethics and accountability, which is reviewing provincial election laws along with whistleblower and conflict of interest legislation.

Alberta currently has a $15,000 annual limit on donations to parties and a $1,000 cap on donations to a single constituency association, with a limit of $5,000 total to constituency associations, with those amounts doubling in an election year.

The amounts are among the highest in Canada and far exceed the federal donation limit, which is currently $1,525 to a party and $1,525 in total to constituency associations.

In the NDP’s proposal, the party calls for a $4,000 cap on total annual donations to Alberta political entities, while the Wildrose party wants a $5,000 limit on contributions to parties.

Jessica Littlewood, the NDP MLA who chairs the ethics and accountability committee, said she wouldn’t speculate about the impact of the parties’ submissions on the committee.

But while no decisions have yet been made about amounts, there is a consensus among committee members that lowering the donation limit is a priority, she said.

With America’s big money giving us a splendid example of why it’s important to keep a leash on corporate lobbyists, I am thrilled to see my provincial government agree on a problem. I don’t think I care about the difference between a $4,000 cap and a $5,000 one, but the fact that the Wildrose Party isn’t immediately flailing in their seats is… remarkably restrained, by their standards.

So credit where credit’s due, I guess: Good job Wildrose Party, for not whining about the NDP’s good idea, even if the finer points of the policy have to be settled.

This was, for the record, another of Notley’s campaign promises. She seems to be doing pretty well so far. Only issue I’ve got my eye on is how she handles negotiations with First Nations affected by her pipeline proposal(s).


UK votes Leave; David Cameron to resign

The UK voted to leave the EU in their referendum yesterday, and David Cameron has stated he is resigning in October:

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, he said “fresh leadership” was needed.

The PM had urged the country to vote Remain but was defeated by 52% to 48% despite London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backing staying in.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed it as the UK’s “independence day”, while Boris Johnson said the result would not mean “pulling up the drawbridge”.

Guys, if UKIP is approving of your measure, you done fucked up. The Leave campaign was viciously xenophobic and racist. What’s more, Scotland is considering leaving the UK in order to remain an EU member:

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “absolutely determined” to keep Scotland in the EU so a second Scottish independence referendum was now “highly likely”.

As I understand it, the Scots have felt unrepresented by UK government for decades, and Scotland did vote to Remain–this would be yet another decision made by the UK that tramples over Scotland.

I know we said we wanted racists and xenophobes to fuck off to their own island, but I didn’t want it to be the British Isles.

Boris Johnson, the supposed public face of Leave, had this to say:

But Boris Johnson, the ex-London mayor and public face of Vote Leave who is now a frontrunner to be next prime minister, said there was “no need for haste” about severing the UK’s ties.

He said voters had “searched in their hearts” and the UK now had a “glorious opportunity” to pass its own laws, set its own taxes and control its own borders.

Hear that dog whistle? I do. Oh, here’s another one:

Mr Farage – who has campaigned for the past 20 years for Britain to leave the EU – told cheering supporters “this will be a victory for ordinary people, for decent people“.

He couldn’t possibly mean white Brits. Not Farage, that beacon of reasonable fascist “nationalist” thought.

I don’t like where this is going.


Introducing Teddy: Children’s book explains gender variance

Jessica Walton penned a children’s story about a child and his depressed toy bear, who had an important message to tell him:


“Oh no, even the swing isn’t working. What’s wrong, Thomas? Talk to me!”

“If I tell you,” said Thomas, “you might not be my friend anymore.”

Yes, that’s right, Walton has penned a children’s story about a trans teddy bear.

“For families with a trans parent or family member, having a picture book that helps them have discussions about gender identity and the trans experience is important,” she said. “We’ve heard from parents who haven’t come out to their kids as trans yet, who plan to use this book to help them have that first conversation. I’m always moved by these stories, because these families are my family and those kids are me. I hope my book will say to the kids in those families, ‘things like names might change, and your parent or family member might wear something different too, but the love between you and that family member won’t change.’ For families where the parent or family member is already out, this book is about representation and celebration.”

From earlier in the article:

“My son’s grandma is not a taboo subject to be discussed when he’s older, and her gender identity is not confusing or inappropriate,” Walton told The Huffington Post.

Slay, Walton. Slaaay.


Political roundup: Albertan values edition

In case y’all ever wonder why I hate this Province, I present a reminder: a picture of a target made in the likeness of the Albertan Premier, Rachel Notley, was posted by the organizer of an oilmen’s golf tournament yesterday afternoon:

An organizer of a golf tournament says he’s not sorry for putting up a target displaying a photo of Premier Rachel Notley’s face on a golf course.

Ernest Bothi, president of the Brooks Big Country Oilmen’s Association, said the sign was displayed at a tournament held Friday at the Brooks Golf Club.

He said the photo of Notley was placed intentionally and was meant to be a target. Although he said no one actually hit the display, Bothi defended his right to have it there.

Oh Dog, not another one. Get yer bingo cards!

It’s called freedom of speech.

*stamps freeze peach*

“I’m the president of the organization. I take full responsibility for it. And I did it because I see a lot of frustrated people out there,” Bothi said.

*stamps psychological projection*

“The picture was just a headshot. It wasn’t anything of a lewd nature. We just went out, everybody played 18 holes. That was it.”

*stamps Mansplaining*

Bothi said that the group members of the Brooks Big Country Oilmen’s Association playing in the tournament are “fed up” with people being out of work and the increased cost of living.

*stamps misattribution error*

“This has nothing to do with a physical attack. We didn’t burn her in effigy or anything like that. We just wanted to release some steam,” Bothi said. “It’s just, enough’s enough.”

*stamps denialism*

Important observation: Bothi has exactly zero pending criminal charges laid against him. He is free to be a fucking asshat, just as we are free to call him one. Seriously, stop misusing the term freedom of fuck mothering speech.

Implying violent acts through the use of an identifiable target is pretty much always tasteless. Doubly tasteless right now, considering a British MP was recently assassinated for her policy. Triply tasteless, because violence against women is still epidemic in the West. I’m not sure what part of “haha, I blow off steam by fantasizing about violence against you” is funny.

Derek Fildebrandt, the Dickweed Wildrose MLA who apologized for getting caught endorsing a transphobic & homophobic comment without reading it, responds:

[Read more…]

Anti-Queer hate crime on the rise

MetroNews found from the Edmonton Police crime stats that anti-Queer hate crime in 2016 has already surpassed the entirety of incidents from 2015:

Attacks on LGBTQ residents have made up about 25 per cent of events investigated by the EPS Hate Crimes unit in 2016, compared to less than eight per cent last year, according to police.

Police told Metro Tuesday that nine of 38 occurrences forwarded to the Hate Crimes Unit this year have been directed toward LGBTQ people, and five were classified as crimes (the other four were “hate-motivated incidents”).

In all of 2015, police recorded just one hate-motivated crime and six hate-motivated incidents perpetrated against the LGBTQ community.

Now would be an excellent time to start confronting folks contributing to a culture of violence and ignorance.



Canadian professor imprisoned by Iranian authorities

Content Notice: torture, sexual assault.

Dr. Homa Hoodfar of Concordia University was arrested in Iran when she returned to visit her family following her husband’s death:

A Canadian academic researching women’s issues in the Middle East has been arrested and is being held in Iran’s Evin prison — a jail with a brutal history of violence toward its female inmates.

Initially hesitant to go public, the family of Concordia University professor Dr. Homa Hoodfar is now speaking out, saying they fear for her safety and health.

On March 10, while Hoodfar was visiting family and friends in Iran after the recent death of her husband, security officials raided her home and confiscated personal items including her computer and books, according to her niece Amanda Ghahremani. The raid happened only two days before the anthropologist was meant to return to Canada.

The Counter-Intelligence Unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards interrogated her several times over the next few days, arrested her and released her on bail, Ghahremani said in an interview with VICE News. Her passport was confiscated and she wasn’t allowed to leave the country.

The interrogations continued, and on June 6 — the last day her family had contact with her — she was arrested again. Her lawyer has had no access to her since then, and Iranian officials are not letting him view her file, so it’s not clear whether she is facing charges or not.

Evin Prison gained notoriety in Canada in 2003 when another Iranian-Canadian, Zahra Kazemi, died in Iranian custody after being arrested for taking pictures of the Evin Prison. The official story was, at first, that Kazemi went on a hunger strike and struck her head after fainting days later, resulting in her death. But a coroner later testified that Kazemi’s autopsy revealed extensive evidence of torture and rape, and that the immediate cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Iran expedited Kazemi’s burial, and no Canadian coroner has ever seen her body themselves, nor has any Canadian judge been asked to assess the charges against her. Diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran deteriorated shortly after. No shortage of stories following the brutal treatment of the Evin inmates has come out since.

[Read more…]

50 murdered in gay night club during domestic terrorist shooting

The night of June 11th now marks the worst mass shooting in US history, as 50 were murdered and another 53 injured in a domestic terror incident at a gay night club:

A gunman opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 50 people and injuring dozens more in a rampage that was the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history.

Authorities in Orlando said Sunday that the siege at Pulse, a popular gay bar and dance club, was quickly deemed an act of domestic terrorism. In addition to the 50 people killed, another 53 were injured, officials said.

Police had said earlier Sunday that 20 people were killed before saying that the toll was significantly higher. Until Sunday, the 2007 rampage at Virginia Tech — which saw 32 people killed and 30 others injured — was the country’s worst mass shooting.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that the toll from this latest mass slaughter could have been even greater, saying that a SWAT team “rescued at least 30 possible victims and brought them to safety.”

The gunman was killed by police officers in a shootout after the rampage, authorities said. It was not immediately clear if the death toll included the gunman.

While police have not publicly identified the gunman, law enforcement officials and relatives on Sunday identified him as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old from Fort Pierce, Fla.

“We’re dealing with something we never imagined and is unimaginable,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (D) said during a news briefing Sunday.

Dyer said he had issued a state of emergency in the city and asked Gov. Rick Scott(R) to issue a similar order for the state. Scott said he was traveling to Orlando to meet with officials there.

Police have not identified a possible motive, and details about Mateen’s background were scarce on Sunday morning.

The article goes on to describe a text message exchange with one of the victims and their mother shortly before their murder.

My thoughts go out to the victims and their families. A crime, a chilling message sent straight home to all of us, so soon after my local city celebrated Pride. My rainbows are back on today.

Comments policy for this: We focus on the victims and the families. We can talk politics and the shooter’s motivations on the next post.


Edit: It has also been brought to my attention that last night was the gay Latinx night.

The Canadian National Anthem is now gender neutral


…And no one (important) cares:

Bill C-210, which passed 219 to 79, proposes to switch just two words in the lyrics of “O Canada” — changing “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command” in one verse. The simple substitution is meant to do away with the exclusively male phrasing in part of the song, but it’s also causing an uproar among some conservative members of Canada’s government.

Yes yes, we know the story. Fabric of society, insulting to our glorious history, yadda yadda yadda.

Conservative MP Peter Van Loan also accused the Liberals of trying to impose their worldview on Canadians.

Coming from the political party that only weeks ago updated their definition of marriage?

Tastes like irony.

Now if we can go about getting rid of that “God” business, I’ll be… well, slightly less apathetic. I frankly give zero shits about our anthem.


Topless women and arbitrary nudity laws


This is old hat but it came up on my feed, and I have some thoughts:

A B.C. woman who asserted her legal right to go topless said she was told to cover up by a police officer, and then wrongly told by two other officials that she had broken a law.

Susan Rowbottom said she was tanning topless with a friend last week on a beach in Kelowna, B.C., when a male RCMP officer approached her and told her “put your top on.”

She said she complied, but then asked, “Why? Is there a reason, a law or anything?”

The officer informed the women it was against a city ordinance, Rowbottom said.

When she called a police station, a female officer told her the same. When she called bylaw officials, the person who answered the phone also agreed going topless was illegal.

Finally, she got a call from a city clerk who she said correctly informed her “it’s perfectly legal.”

First of all, this is ridiculous. The police assert that they have discretion to enforce something that isn’t against the law? Who the fuck is training these officers?

If any of you need a demonstration of how arbitrary topless laws are, allow me to ask a very poignant question:

At what point, exactly, does it become illegal for trans women to go topless?

I’d really appreciate a rational explanation for these laws that didn’t amount to, “let’s literally police women’s bodies.”