March 2015


‘Rather be in prison than work for fascists’

– Crimean Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya

— Be sure to click on the additional videos

11 March 2015

The chief prosecutor of Russia’s Crimean Republic says Kiev Ukrainian law enforcers threatened her with prison and death for accepting the post, but failed to make her fear them.

“Agents from the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office called me and threatened me, said that they would throw me in prison, that they would kill me, tear me into pieces,” Natalya Poklonskaya told TASS in an interview just before the completion of her first year in office. The Supreme Legislature of the Crimean Republic appointed Poklonskaya to the post of chief prosecutor on March 11, 2014. (More)


Image: Detail of photo of BRICS leaders, Reuters / Ueslei Marcelino.
'And no, you won’t read this in any wacky US ‘Think Tankland’ forecast.'
'So Germany, sooner or later, must answer a categorical imperative — how to keep running massive trade surpluses while dumping their euro trade partners. The only possible answer is more trade with Russia, China and East Asia. It will take quite a while, and there will be many bumps on the road, but a Berlin-Moscow-Beijing trade/commercial axis — or the “RC” in BRICS meet Germany — is all but inevitable.'
By Pepe Escobar
Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.
01 March 2015 — Winston Churchill once said, “I feel lonely without a war.” He also badly missed the loss of empire. Churchill’s successor – The Empire of Chaos – now faces the same quandary. Some wars – as in Ukraine, by proxy – are not going so well.
And the loss of empire increasingly manifests itself in myriad moves by selected players aiming toward a multipolar world.
So no wonder US ‘Think Tankland’ is going bonkers, releasing wacky CIA-tinted “forecasts” where Russia is bound to disintegrate, and China is turning into a communist dictatorship. So much (imperial) wishful thinking, so little time to prolong hegemony. (More)

From the Desk of Izabella Tandutella

Image: Detail of photo of A protester being detained by riot police after a protest march to demand justice for the 43 missing students of the Ayotzinapa Teacher Training College, at Zocalo Square in Mexico City February 26, 2015 (Reuters / Henry Romero)

Violent arrests as hundreds rally

over 43 missing Mexican students
27 Feruary 2015 — Mexican police have violently arrested protesters rallying in the country's capital. The demonstrators are demanding a thorough investigation into the disappearance of 43 students in September.

Clashes between police and protesters broke out during the organized demonstration on the five-month anniversary of the disappearance of the students, who were attending a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, located in southwestern Guerrero state.

Thousands have been rallying in the streets of Mexico City, carrying banners with the portraits of the missing students. Their parents were leading the demonstration.

Speaking to the media, the spokesman for the families, Felipe de la Cruz, called the disappearance a "state crime" that "should not go unpunished". (More)


Tory law demands Canadians choose

between liberty and security: Mulcair

Bill C-51 won't prevent terrorism, NDP leader says
By Jeremy J. Nuttall
Image: Detail of photo of NDP leader Tom Mulcair standing in Centre Block. Photo by Cole Burston for The Tyee.2 March 2015 — "You should come and see this," says federal New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair before starting a brisk walk from the doors of the parliamentary library to the NDP caucus room.
Rays of light from the setting sun hit the windows of the House of Commons, casting a yellow glow on the grey walls of the corridor where just months ago, a young man thought to have mental health issues was shot and killed by security as he fired at them.
Bullet damage from that day can still be seen on the walls. Mulcair arrives at the door to the NDP caucus room and partly closes it and points to a bullet hole, then pulls back the door to show where the shot was stopped.
"That went through, it got stopped by a piece of metal," he told The Tyee, revealing a black mark on the inner door that blocked the bullet.
"We sit right on stage, there," he said gesturing at the NDP caucus room as he described the shooting. During meetings, Mulcair said, speakers stand behind a podium on a small stage while MPs listen from chairs. When gunfire erupted, MPs dove to the ground.
"It was a very brave guard who put his body against that door while we were on the floor," Mulcair said. (More)

9 weirdest things about RCMP

intelligence report on the "anti-petroleum movement"

Image: Bullet points highlighting RCMP concerns about enviromentalists
17 February 2015 — The Mounties always get their man.
But a newly disclosed intelligence assessment from the RCMP looking at the "anti-Canada petroleum movement" suggests the same might not always be true about their facts.
First reported in La Presse, and again Monday in the Globe and Mail, the RCMP report dated January 2014 warns of "a growing, highly organized and well-financed anti-Canada petroleum movement that consists of peaceful activists, militants and violent extremists who are opposed to society's reliance on fossil fuels."
The report surfaces amidst fresh debate in Parliament over the Tories new anti-terror legislation and its potential use against groups involved in peaceful protest and legitimate dissent. The Harper government already has a proven track record for gathering intelligence on opponents of the oil sands. (More)
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True North Perspective
Vol. 10, No. 3 (354)
March 01 2015

Editor's Notes

Harper playing the Islamaphobia card in politics of fear

as he betrays Canadian democracy in the name of security

Trudeau takes the bait while Mulcair again shows maturity
Stephen Harper has long expressed his contempt for Canada's system of government. More than once he has told American businessmen he would prefer the American Way. For more than this reason he has been an excited Washington attack dog.
Our man who would be president was more than eager to please Washington in Hilary Clinton's falsely justified attack on Libya. Now we have Canadian armed forces doing America's bidding in Iraq while Harper plans to use his seat majority in parliament to seriously expand our military involvement there. (More)

Edward Snowden's warning to Canada

World famous whistleblower talks Bill C-51 and 'weak' oversight of our intelligence agencies

4 March 2015

By Edward Snowden
Editor's note: What do Canadians need to push back against mass government surveillance? According to Edward Snowden, it's direct access to the facts -- not facts that are relayed through newspaper or media accounts, but through original documents. Snowden, the world’s most famous whistleblower, participated in a livestream Q&A this morning, hosted by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, as part of the release of the Snowden Archive, Canada's first searchable database of classified documents on global surveillance programs made publicly available by Snowden. In a wide-ranging discussion, he addressed the impact of his leak on governments and the governed, and offered his thoughts on Canada's new anti-terror legislation, Bill C-51. Below is an unofficial transcript of his opening remarks. Video in full above. (More)

Image: International Women's Day logo.

Sarah Harrison: How the WikiLeaks editor spirited

NSA leaker Edward Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow

“I didn’t expect that WikiLeaks was going to send a ninja to get me out.” — Edward Snowen

By Sara Corbett
Image: Detail of photo of Sarah Harrison by Anton Corbijn, via Vogue.19 February 2015 — Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport is, like so many international airports, a sprawling and bland place. It has six terminals, four Burger Kings, a sweep of shops selling duty-free caviar, and a rivering flow of anonymous travelers—all of them headed out or headed in or, in any event, never planning to stay long. But for nearly six weeks in the summer of 2013, the airport also housed two fugitives: Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who had just off-loaded an explosive trove of top-secret U.S. government documents to journalists, and a 31-year-old British woman named Sarah Harrison, described as a legal researcher who worked for the online organization WikiLeaks.
‘If you forced her to choose between disowning her principles or being burned at the stake, I think she’d hand you a match’
It was a tableau sprung from a spy novel—a turncoat intelligence contractor on the lam with an enigmatic blonde by his side. Snowden had based himself in Hong Kong for several weeks as his disclosures about government surveillance ripped across the global media. When the U.S. charged him under the Espionage Act on June 14, an extradition order was sent to Hong Kong. But it came too late: Before anybody made a move to capture him, Edward Snowden—led by Sarah Harrison — had quietly boarded a flight to Moscow and basically vanished. (More)

Eugenie Clark, scholar of the life aquatic, dies at 92

  Image: Photo of Eugenie Clark examining deep water sharks from Suruga Bay, Japan, in 1980. DAVID DOUBILET, photographer.  
By Robert D. McFadden
The New York Times
25 February 2015 — Eugenie Clark, whose childhood rapture with fish in a New York City aquarium led to a life of scholarly adventure in the littorals and depths of the Seven Seas and to a global reputation as a marine biologist and expert on sharks, died on Wednesday at her home in Sarasota, Fla. She was 92.
The cause was lung cancer, her son Nikolas Konstantinou said.
Long before “Jaws” scared the wits out of swimmers, Dr. Clark rode a 40-foot whale shark off Baja California, ran into killer great white sharks while scuba diving in Hawaii, studied “sleeping” sharks in undersea caves off the Yucatán, witnessed a shark’s birth and found a rare six-gill shark in a submersible dive off Bermuda.
She also swam into schools of man-eating barracuda and had disconcerting encounters with 500-pound clams and giant squid. Despite close calls, she was never attacked, and she tended to make light of the dangers. Indeed, she told of the privileges of exploring an undersea world of exotic creatures and enchanting beauty. (More)

The Old Man's Last Sauna
By Carl Dow
'Life is scary, frustrating and sometimes funny. All of these themes are explored in Carl Dow’s collection of short stories, told with the pristine elegance
that we haven’t seen since the likes of Stephen Leacock or even Pierre Berton.'
— Award-winning author Emily-Jane Hills Orford
Image: Link to BumblePuppy Press Amazon store

Click here for True North Humanist Perspective

A Jew reports from Israel
The power of a very loud silence
By Lia Tarachansky
Writer Director, On The Side Of The Road
Jaffa, Israel

The horror of Harper's Me-Too foreign policy

Why is the West spoiling for a fight with Russia?

A conflict over the Ukraine would be catastrophic


While Washington pivots to Asia/Pacific

China pivots everywhere, inside and out


Russian policy wins support from Europe's left and right


Who would arming Ukraine actually empower?
By Glenn Greenwald
The Intercept
Russian Jews blast Ukraine  for glorifying Nazi collaborators


TrueNorth Humanist Perspective

Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is Readers will be aware that his columns in True North Perspective have foreseen political and economic developments in Canada. This issue in ...

The Binkley Report

A lesson probably not learned

01 March 2015
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

Image: Cover of Humanity's Saving Grace, a novel by Alex Binkley. Click to purchase at Amazon.caLabor Minister Kellie Leitch’s response to the strike by CPR train crews was a classic political fail.

In the wake of the breakdown in contract negotiations between CPR and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, she fired off a press release vowing back to work legislation, hardly a surprising move. Then she went off the rails by heaping all the blame for the impasse on the union.

Any mature adult should know there are two sides to a dispute and leadership comes from helping them reach an acceptable compromise.

In the end, Leith caught a break as the union, having made its point, agreed to binding arbitration with CP and sent its members back to work. While she probably paid no attention, the NDP, Liberal and Green MPs gave her a well-earned dressing down when the bill came up for debate. (More)


Democratic deficit on Parliament Hill

We 'don't have a clue' what's in omnibus bills, say MPs

NDP MP Peter Stoffer pursues Private Members bill to put an end to the practice

Image: NDP MP Peter Stoffer at right. Detail of photo by Jay Wright, The Hill Times

By Rachel Aiello
The HIll Times
2 March 2015 — The Conservative-dominated Parliament has passed at least 10 massive omnibus bills that have amended hundreds of Canadian laws since Prime Minister Stephen Harper won government in 2011. But opposition MPs say most of the bills have flown out the door without proper scrutiny, which violates the fundamental rule of Parliament, and they want this legislative procedure to end.
Since 2011, the Harper government’s 10 omnibus bills have amended hundreds of acts, most of which have passed into law. 
In an interview with The Hill Times, NDP MP Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore, N.S.) said in his time in the House of Commons he has seen bills containing billions in spending receive little or no scrutiny, and some passed that nobody reads in their entirety. To say that Parliamentarians are being accountable to taxpayers “is a myth,” he said.
“We’re here [MPs] under false pretenses. We’re just filling up space because we’re not doing our job. And it bothers me—it doesn’t matter who the government is—it bothers me when you bring in a 458-page piece of legislation that nobody reads, contains billions of dollars of spending and we’re not holding anyone to account, or at least overseeing it. That is simply wrong,” he said. (More)

Canada's forgotten law on free, universal higher education

Wallowing in student debt? You've been robbed. Twice.

By Crawford Kilian

Image: Detail of Library photo via Shutterstock.2 March 2015 — If you've attended a Canadian college or university since 1976, you've been robbed. If you couldn't afford post-secondary at all, you've been robbed twice.
In May 1976, Canada became a signatory to the UN's International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Among many other rights, by signing the Covenant, Canada endorsed Article 13, recognizing "the right of everyone to an education." With clause 2(c), we agreed that "higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education."
All Canadian governments since Trudeau's have maintained a discreet silence about the Covenant. Similarly, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter signed the Covenant in 1979 but never sent it to the Senate for ratification. No president since has dared to do so either, probably because the Senate would reject the Covenant's obligation to provide universal healthcare as well as free post-secondary.
How badly have you been robbed? In 1976, a year's undergraduate tuition in arts, science and education at the University of British Columbia was $428, equivalent to $1,755 in today's dollars. Even so, the B.C. Socred government of the day imposed cutbacks and forced a 25 per cent increase in tuition for the following year. UBC's undergrad tuition is now $4,890, a 180 per cent increase in today's dollars. (More)

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Columnist and Contributing Editor

With the U.S. in global retreat, policy research director says

it's time for Canada to step forward and extend its influence

By Ian Brodie
The Globe and Mail

Ian Brodie is research director at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy. Before joining the School in 2013, Brodie spent four years as strategic adviser at the Inter-American Development Bank. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff to the Prime Minister of Canada and executive director of a national political party. He also serves on the advisory board of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.

Image: Photo of Ian Brodie.18 February 2015 — Over the last decade, the United States has suffered serious setbacks in its global role. Iraq, Afghanistan and the 2008 economic crisis hurt America’s standing abroad. At home, the crisis provoked deep partisan debates about American policy but little in the way of consensus on how to respond. Throughout the crisis, America’s rivals gained strength and a new south-south economy of investment and trade emerged. If the U.S. has lost some of its power to influence developments around the world, is it Canada’s moment to extend its global influence? (More)


From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Corporate Welfare Water

Image: Water photo by Shutterstock.

Nestle pays $2.25 to bottle and sell

at least one million litres of BC water

I repeat: Nestle pays $2.25 to bottle and sell one million litres of BC water

By Bill Tieleman
"The marketers can compete with free; it just has to be better. Look at bottled water if you don't believe me." — Psychologist Jonathan Potter
24 February 2015 — Have you ever paid $2.25 for a bottle of water? Of course, and you can pay a lot more than that if you go to a Vancouver Canucks game, a concert, movie theatre or restaurant.
So what if you could pay $2.25 not for a 500-millilitre bottle, not for a big office cooler full, but for 1 million litres of water?
Sounds ridiculous given the retail price, but that's the unbelievably low rate the BC Liberal government has given to giant multinational firm Nestle and others to extract fresh, clean groundwater to bottle and sell for exorbitant profits.
The price is so outrageous I have to repeat it. Nestle Waters Canada pays the province just $2.25 for every million litres of water. (More)
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Stockholm's transit expansion: big plans, few complaints

Swedes don't need plebiscite to build new subway lines
By Crawford Kilian
The Tyee
Image: Photo of a commuter train at Stockholm Central Station. Gustav Gullberg, Wikimedia Commons.18 February 2015, Vancouver CanadaYear by year our traffic gets worse. Radio stations spend more time alerting listeners to accidents and stalls on Vancouver's streets and highways, while untold thousands of commuter hours are wasted in "busy" traffic jams.
Yet somehow we really can't get behind the idea of a serious public transit system. To many Vancouverites, the bus is still the "loser cruiser," and SkyTrain (if it even goes where we want it to) involves too much walking. Each new SkyTrain line seems to involve political acrimony, as when the Canada Line's construction threw Cambie Street businesses into disarray for years. (More)

Granny Witch bids us adieu

Here is the latest and the last of the Granny Witch series, as I am putting the old dear out to pasture.
Nothing to do with TNP of course. It's just that Dear Granny Witch needs to take more time for herself and her beloved artist, Julien Mercure.
You have supported the GW project right from the time I proposed it and have been very patient with my comings and goings in the last few months, granting me several deadline extensions. I very much appreciate that.
I wish you the best with the continuation of TNP. You are working very hard at many levels, to maintain the quality of writing that you wish for in your publication. I am certain this is not always easy. I commend you for your courage, perseverance and creativity.
Many thanks,
Geneviève Hone
Sorry to learn of  Granny Witch bidding us adieu, Geneviève. Her wisdom, compassion, and gentle humour were digging deep in breadth and depth. Let's leave the door open so that you could step in again with a brief series or with single, unrelated shots. — Carl Dow

Where There Is A Family

By Geneviève Hone

There's always advice from Granny Witch

A company of strangers

Hone, small image.

Image: Detail of drawing, 'A Company of Strangers', by Julien Mercure.Dear Granny Witch,

What exactly is a family meant to be? I suppose there are probably as many answers as there are people, since everybody’s perception of their family is unique, but something happened recently at our house which led to numerous discussions with my wife. Before these discussions turn into arguments, we thought we should get your opinion on the matter.

This year, Valentine’s Day and Family Day fell on the same weekend, as you would know if you live in one of the Canadian provinces that officially celebrate having a family. I thought that it might be fun to mark these occasions by inviting members of both my close and extended families to visit us for the weekend, including a few relatives we hadn’t seen or talked with for years. It would be nice to get together and strengthen our bonds so to speak. My wife had reservations about the project because my family has a history of difficult relationships with periods of estrangements and even feuds. She reminded me that some of my relatives are masters at carrying grudges and, of course, this makes for difficult reunions. “But what can go wrong?” I argued. “Between Valentine’s Day and Family Day, people will certainly make an effort to act lovingly towards each other.” My wife just answered that, as usual, she would support my project and she designed a lovely invitation card. My wife will let me dig my own graves if this is what I choose to do, but she will also help me climb out of them. I have to give her that. (More)


Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Whatever it takes, let's make it happen!

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more:

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-Sinclair

Image: Detail of cartoon by Patrick LaMontagne. Click to visit his website.1 March 2015 — Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
One of the themes of this year’s International Women’s Day is Make It Happen and the colour purple, which symbolizes justice and dignity, has been chosen for this year’s event.
Even in our modern society, gender equality is still something that needs to be worked on. Certain responsibilities are overwhelmingly left up to women in all societies. One of them is caring for children, the helpless, the sick, and the dying. I would like to pay homage to every woman who has embraced the role of caregiver during her life. Caregiving is not always something you choose; sometimes it is thrust upon you and it can change your life in a dramatic way. (More)

Image: International Women's Day logo.

What do women want!?

Freud couldn't figure it out even though the call was loud and clear

Give us bread; but give us roses!

By Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective/True North Humanist Perspective

Sigmund Freud went to his grave muttering that he had failed in one of his life-long quests — to understand women.

Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, died in 1939 convinced that infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex were the prime causes of hysteria and other neurotic problems.

It's too bad Freud didn't pay more attention to what women had to say beyond his couch. For example, on January 12, 1912, 27 years before his death, 22 thousand women in Lawrence, Massachusetts, made it very clear to all who would listen, just exactly what women want. (More)


More Amazing Women

The teenage girls who hammered Hitler

from Stalingrad on the Volga to Berlin

By Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective/True North Humanist Perspective

Image: Detail of cover of When Titans Clashed, by David M. Glantz and Jonathon House. Click to buy the book!While Hollywood Actor John Wayne* cowardly and successfully dodged the draft when the United States entered World War II more than one million Soviet women, most of them teenagers, rose up from the factories, farms, and schools to take on the invading Germans in direct combat in the air and on the ground.

On June 22, 1941, it was a confident Hitler who hurled his armed forces of 3,750,000 men against the Soviet Union. Why should he not have been confident? He had easily flattened Poland and then conquered France while kicking the British out of Europe in action time-spans that could be counted in weeks. His military machine was at peak strength. All that stood between him and the breadbasket of the Ukraine and the oil fields of central Asia were a mélange of subhuman Slavs. According to two American retired colonels, Colonel David M. Glantz, who saw action in Vietnam, and Lt. Colonel Jonathon M. House, whose active duty included command positions in Korea, and who both taught university level military history, the war Hitler started on his Eastern Front saw a staggering 29 million military casualties. It cost the Red Army 10 million to stop Hitler, another 10 million to throw the Nazi war machine back, and a final nine million to take Berlin.

Kazimiera Jean Cottam, a retired member of Ottawa Independent Writers, has written a series of books that reveal the human face of the young Soviet women who volunteered by the tens of thousands for frontline action against the Nazi invaders. Prompted by love of country that transcended the politics of Stalinism many of them made the ultimate sacrifice in direct combat with the Germans on the ground and in the air.

When it came to their demand for active duty the women would not take no for an answer.

One teenager who had won her wings at a civilian flying club wanted to enlist as a fighter pilot as soon as the war started. She was told to go back to her mother. Here is how she describes her adventure. (More)


05 March 2015

Russia ranks highest for female top managers

MOSCOW — Russia is leading the way when it comes to women’s career development, with 40 percent of top managers women.

Russia women generally succeed in information technology, retail, media, manufacturing, transport, communications and politics, according to research by Grant Thornton published Thursday 05 March. Professions in such fields as gas, oil and metals are mainly led by men. (More)

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

01 March 2015 —Eighty-six years ago I stretched and wiggled in the semi dark of my uterine confines.  Only a few more days were left before my emergence into the light. Outside they talked about me. In those days the infant’s gender could only be guessed at unlike today when with x rays and other means the pre-born’s sex and features are revealed.

One day my grandfather placed his hand on my mother’s abdomen to feel the movements underneath. Sadly it would be the closest that he would come to his grandson. He died before my birth. My other grandparent, mother’s father, passed away with tuberculosis decades earlier. Thus I never met any of my grandfathers and therefore am aware of the great privilege I have had in seeing my granddaughter shortly after her birth on 12 February 2007 and then to watch her grow and develop talents, wisdom  and an indomitable sense of curiosity, as well as a beautiful head of red hair. You bet we’ll celebrate. (More)


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From the Desk of Darren Jerome

A continuing update on the war against WikiLeaks transparency

Please be advised that the below is not just the same old thing. By clicking on it you'll find the petition in support of Julian Assange and discover fascinating on-going reports and videos related to one of the most important events in modern history, and the desperate attempts to put a lid on information that everyone should know. Don't miss this special opportunity to stay informed.

There can be no life without laughter

Ottawa asking deceased veterans to confirm status every 3 years

Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25

                      — Mary Anne Tebide, Colorado Springs Republican State Senator

• Brit parents worry radicalised girls travel south to join the Tory party

• Mom could have used few more days to self before missing daughter returned

Miracle cure kills fifth patient

From the Desk of Kevin Dooley

Darren Jerome's novel Lower Town is a class act that reveals a little known turbulent time in the history of Canada's capital city while Ottawa was still called Bytown and before Canada was named a country. The novel strongly calls to mind The Gangs of New York and the violence found there and then. Though the principal protagonists, two brothers, are of the author's imagination, the story is rich in historical fact. Congratulations Darren Jerome in capturing forever a universally human experience in a unique Canadian-specific expression to which all can identify.

O Canada! Getting to know you!

This is one of a series on the heartbeat of Canada

Lower Town — a novel by Darren Jerome

Here following is a summary, the bare bones, of Lower Town, a novel by Darren Jerome. By buying the book you'll reap the excitement generated by one of Canada's best authors.
Image: Cover of Lower Town, by Darren Jerome. Click to buy from perfectly masks its origins as a harsh lumber town which, less than two hundred years ago, was arguably one of North America’s most dangerous places. Little remains of this “Bytown”, as it was then called, save for the flights of locks along the canal itself, and rare buildings such as the old Commissariat which now houses the Bytown Museum. Not easy to spot, it sits nestled, nearly hidden from view, at the bottom of what was once Barracks, now Parliament, Hill. Otherwise there are rare maps, watercolour paintings and a handful of written records for those who care to look (not to mention the odd bones of those once laid to rest which are rediscovered during construction). The fact that so little remains is not surprising. New replaces old, and cheaply-made wooden buildings do not tend to last. Almost anything that could burn that was still standing at the beginning of the last century was engulfed by the great fire which cut through the town in June, 1900.

Bytown started off small (there were less than 2,000 residents in 1835), and quickly became divided along geographic and cultural-economic lines. The largely Irish/French populace of Lowertown (a drained swampland east of the canal) and English/Scottish Uppertown (just west of Parliament Hill) were separated by canal, brush and swamp, linked only by a single path that ran through what is now the city's downtown core. At its midpoint was the town cemetery, bigger than a city block, it was fenced in with tall wooden pikes and separated into Protestant and Catholic halves.

Twice ravaged by cholera, the populace of Lowertown struggled to survive in the wake of severe poverty and unemployment once canal construction was complete in 1832. With law enforcement scant at best, violence was commonplace and fighting raged on, often along ethnic lines. Many Irish became known as shiners, a word whose origin has been linked to the derisive term ‘cheneurs’ or oak cutters, in reference to the wood they cleared during canal construction. The violence increased further still in 1835 with the appearance of a successful lumber baron named Peter Aylen. Attempting to establish a monopoly in a lucrative industry, Aylen successfully galvanized collective shiner angst in an effort to intimidate any who stood in his path. This bloody period, which ran until 1837, became known as The Shiner War. (More)

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Hitler’s Chosen People fight back and win

Holocaust scholars hid story of heroic Jews who refused

to quietly go to their death in Nazi extermination camps

It took a non-Jew to break the silence of arrogant 'experts'

Escape from Sobibor by Richard Rashke

By Carl Dow
Publisher and Editor
True North Perspective/True North Humanist Perspective
Cover of Escape from Sobibor by Richard Rashke. Click image to purchase from March 2015 — Up until his landmark book, Escape from Sobibor by American non-Jew Richard Rashke (1982), the world was led to believe that European Jews passively allowed Germany's Nazis to herd them by the millions into the scientifically perfected death camps designed to exterminate all Europoean Jews. This false impression was encouraged by Holocaust scholars, who said there was not enough documentation to support eye-witness accounts of resistance and revenge. Instead, these men of letters relied on millions of documents left over by the conquered Germans.
Below, Richard Rashke describes his frustration with Holocaust 'historians' who wrote without due diligence about the German criminals and those who fought them.

Holocaust historians' intellectual snobbery

caused Jewish people more intense suffering

In retrospect, Escape from Sobibor played a small but important role in raising the consciousness of Jews, especially American Jews. Time and again, younger Jews who privately nursed feelings of shame over the alleged passivity of Holocaust victims suddenly showed angry interest.
“How come I never heard about any of this?” they would demand in almost disbelief.
Since the publication of my book in 1982, other writers, researchers, and filmmakers have begun to explore the resistance theme, and teachers of social history have become increasingly hungry for more stories about the Jews who fought back and the Christians who helped them. (More)

As one who was raised as a Christian, my first experience with Holocaust literature was a 1948 Polish movie, The Last Stop, the protagonist of which was a Polish Jewish woman who led women's resistance at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland.

Wanda Jakubowska, a Polish filmmaker, Communist, and concentration camp survivor, returned to Auschwitz in 1948 to fashion one of the most powerful and historically accurate feature films about the experiences of women in the death camp. The Last Stop celebrates the resilience of female solidarity and was one of the few films made in the actual place where the events happened, by the survivors themselves. Scripted by Jakubowska and Gerda Schneider in 1945, the story is based on observations of events during their internment. Unlike later films about the Holocaust, this one shows both brave opposition and cowardly acquiescence to the Nazis, and both class differences and solidarity between the Jewish, Polish, Russian and French prisoners. As in many Polish post-war films, hope lies in the Communist resistance; but unlike films by male directors, the film resolutely focuses on the female experience of war. The Last Stop includes images one will never forget.
While never a student of the genre, I finally gave up on Holocaust literature because the focus was on surrender and what I thought was a glossing over of Nazi cruelty. Then, in 1982, while I, as an editor, was nursing thousands of copies of newspapers off the press at Toronto's Eveready Printers, I stumbled across a new book called Escape from Sobibor by American Richard Rashke. I speed read the book, wincing in advance in preparation for another dismal story of surrender and destruction, and because I didn't need to be reminded about the monstrous Nazis who had been spawned by Germany.
But I was soon pleased to have my expectations denied. Escape from Soibibor was a book about Jews fighting back and winning. (More)

Media Watch

Once upon a TIME

Main Street Media grieves on a multi-billion dollar platform

while losing audience of millions who just want honest reporting

U.S. Time magazine touts an inside look at RT but reduces a

one-and-a-half hour interview with its Editor-in-Chief to 60 words

09 March 2015
By Margarita Simonyan
RT's Editor-in-Chief

Once upon a time – last October 2014, to be precise – I gave an interview to a TIME magazine correspondent for the publication’s indepth profile on RT. Late last week that piece finally appeared on America’s newsstands.

The opus is an object lesson in writing on RT, which over the last year or so has blossomed into its own cottage industry: full of half-truths, half-quotes, and full-on commitment to fitting your subject into an existing narrative box, rather than an attempt to understand or discover anything new.

In an effort to give the article a sense of timeliness, the author uses the backdrop of Boris Nemtsov’s murder to frame the RT story. How did RT treat this tragic, headline-grabbing event that reverberated around the world, and the tens of thousands-strong Moscow march that followed it? According to TIME: “On March 1, when a massive march began in Moscow to protest Nemtsov’s murder – with many carrying signs that read propaganda kills – RT was showing a documentary about American racism and xenophobia.”

Would you like to know what TIME was writing about on March 1? It was comparing the merits of two new models of the Samsung smartphone. A poignant story indeed!

If this example seems like an attempt to purposefully mislead the audience about the quality TIME’s journalism, it’s because it is. But it’s the same as TIME’s deliberate avoidance of the fact that the Nemtsov mourning rally was the lead story on RT’s March 1 hourly news bulletins from 8 am till midnight, with live updates published across our websites and social media platforms throughout the day. (More)


Net Neutrality: An amazing win for the little guy

Jubilant Vancouver campaigners celebrate milestone victory for an open web

By Bob Mackin
Image: Woman holds sign in support of Net Neurality.27 February 2015 — There will be no paid express lanes on the Information Superhighway, all legal traffic can proceed normally and Internet service providers won't be allowed to slow anyone down.
Those are the outcomes of the milestone Federal Communications Commission net neutrality decision that sent ripple effects around the world and were felt by jubilant campaigners in Vancouver.
"We were thrilled — couldn't have been happier," said's Josh Tabish. "This is an amazing case of the little guy winning. Millions of Internet users, thousands of businesses, dozens of public interest groups up against the second or third most-powerful lobbying group in the world and we won today." (More)

Sun News burned by changing broadcasting climate

No longer shielded by government, channels can now spark and flame out

By Michael Geist
Image: Screenshot of Ford Nation program on late Sun News Network24 February 2015 — The abrupt end of the Sun News Network — its owners pulled the plug on the all-news channel without warning earlier in February — sparked considerable commentary, with many lamenting the lost jobs, others examining the quality of the content, and some celebrating the end of a service that was controversial from the moment it launched. Largely left unsaid, however, is that its demise signals the beginning of a new era in Canadian broadcasting in which services are allowed to fail rather than being propped up through regulatory or government support.
The Canadian broadcasting system has long been shielded from market forces through a broad array of regulations that offer both financial compensation and marketplace protection. Those rules have been a boon to broadcasters, who have seen some services succeed with limited viewers and original content.
Mandatory carriage is the best-known support mechanism. The regulatory equivalent of a winning lottery ticket, inclusion on the list of "must carry" services guarantees subscription payments from all cable and satellite subscribers. The Sun News Network applied for mandatory carriage, but the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rejected its request along with virtually all other applications for the privileged status. (More)

Kerry panics over RT, forgets that Voice of America has been

broadcasting in Russian since 1947, grossly inflates RT budget


Image: Screenshot of John Kerry26 February 2015 — Not everyone agrees that American claims on the nature of the global media war are factually correct. Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute, Daniel McAdams, is one dissenting voice.

“I think the problem the US has is they have an unlimited advertising budget, but the product they’re selling is not very attractive overseas. People are tired of US interventionism; they’re tired of US exceptionalism; they’re tired of the US bombing their country – if you’re a Somalian, you don’t care about listening to a radio broadcast from the US, you just wish the US would stop bombing you,” McAdams believes. (More)

Health watch

What Cuba can teach Canada about vaccines

The majority of Cubans are knowledgeable about vaccines and
their personal immunization history. How did they do it?
By Rachel Browne
Image: In this Feb 8, 2013 photo, a nurse checks a patient’s blood pressure at the Dr. Gustavo Lima Aldereguía Hospital in Cienfuegos, Cuba. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)11 February 2015 — When a group of doctors and professors from Nova Scotia took a trip to Cuba in 2006 to study how the country managed infectious diseases, they were struck by how knowledgeable the average person was about vaccines, and decided to conduct an informal experiment: Quiz random passersby on the streets of Havana about their basic knowledge of their country’s vaccine safety program (the process by which vaccines are created and made safe) and their personal immunization records.
“Without fail, everyone knew exactly what immunizations they already had, the scientific evidence behind them, and at what ages they needed to be updated,” says John Kirk, professor of Spanish and Latin American studies at Dalhousie University,whose research focuses on Cuba’s health care system.  The research team also asked the Cubans their opinion on anti-vaccine movements in countries such as Canada and the U.S. “They were dumbfounded. They thought we were joking,” Kirk recalls. “I guarantee you won’t meet a single person there who has doubted vaccines for a moment. For Cubans, vaccines aren’t only seen as a basic human right, but also as an obligation.” (More.)