Chalk River: Crisis ‘foreseeable and preventable’

UPDATE! I’m out of town and not blog-reading.  Here’s updated material from JimBobby and TGB which I read *after* I posted what’s below!

It becomes clearer, with each bit of information, that Parliament was seriously hoodwinked on the Chalk River issue by Harper. From the Inbox:

—- Original Message —–

From: Gordon Edwards
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2008 1:47 PM
Subject: Isotope suppliers could have met 250% of world market needs
Clarification on isotopes:
It is important to realize that technetium-99m is not used
for therapeutic purposes but for diagnostic purposes, so
it is completely untrue that “lives” were at risk during the
so-called Chalk River isotope crisis. In fact it was a major
inconvenience and upset hospital schedules considerably,
but it put no lives at risk. And in fact the inconvenience
was avoidable.
Frank von Hippel is a very careful and credible researcher.
In a 2006 article he said that 250% of world demand for
short-lived radioisotopes like molybdenum-99 (the source
material needed for making technetium-99m available) could
be met by the world’s isotope suppliers and that even
without Canada, 100% of demand could be met.
Thus all the talk about a “crisis” was actually foreseeable
and preventable. If AECL and Nordion had plainly informed
their customers that the MAPLE isotope-production reactors
were seven years behind schedule (because those reactors
were seriously flawed in both design and construction) and
that Canadian supply depended on a 50-year old geriatric NRU
reactor that was not up to modern safety standards, then the
customers could have arranged for other suppliers to be prepa-
red to take up the slack. Result: no crisis.

Connecting the dots

OK, I’ll admit to an ego.

I get such a charge when I check my blog stats and see things like this: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Visit

This is the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a great thing to have, I suppose. It’s at 7000 East Avenue • Livermore, CA 94550 and is operated by the University of California for the US Department of Energy’s and their National Nuclear Security Administration. And those National Nukes folks have a “Reliable Replacement Warhead Program” and are “working diligently through its Stockpile Stewardship Program to extend the life of these current weapons.” Gosh, I wonder how much of Saskatchewan’s uranium makes it into nuclear warheads…

Fascinating, don’t you think, that those folks working so diligently on matters of energy for the US of A, would be at all interested in what one feminist poet posts on the interweb, eh? Even more fascinating to this poet is the page on which those interested folks choose to enter and leave P’n’P. If it were a one-time thing, I’d blow it off, but it’s getting a little boring to see the stats for the Blog-for-Choice page rise each time I post a mildly NO NUKES piece. Or, is it that the folks at LINL are truly concerned for women’s right to reproductive freedom?
Truth be told, I don’t know and I don’t really care. But I’m really happy I thought to check my stats on this hot prairie day.

Iraq Unmasks the American State

Interesting analysis, this, courtesy The Business of Emotions.  Long, but well worth the read.

I was particularly interested in these points about “America’s emotional and moral malaise” before the writer launches into how the Iraq Resistance shows the American State for what it is.

America’s Emotional and Moral Malaise
The explanation of Bush’s hold on the United States developed in The Business of Emotions over the past few years, can be summarized thus:

1. Without authentic emotions, the vital connection between thinking and feeling is lost and the ability to act, morally and politically, for oneself and for others, is compromised…

2. People who lack emotional authenticity are incapable of recognizing its absence in others…

3. People who lack authentic emotions are susceptible to the predations of emotional marketers…

4. Thinking without feeling, talking without meaning…

Thanks to

Harper nuking Canada

Begin forwarded message:

Subject: [Rad-waste] Unresolved questions remain about environmental implications and costs. (nuke waste)


Nuclear energy endorsement may be linked to tar sands and climate change pressure

Unresolved questions remain about environmental implications and costs.

Ottawa, June 18, 2007 ­ Why is the minority Conservative government proceeding on nuclear energy at a time when it is fighting to regain public support after a difficult spring?

Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn announced Friday the Harper government’s endorsement of nuclear power and its approval of going ahead with storing high-level radioactive waste underground.

“Really, what this will allow is a permanent storage and a deep geological depository,” Lunn said. “This is an important decision for the government of Canada. As you know, the nuclear industry is very, very important.”

For years, the lack of long-term disposal plans has hobbled the nuclear industry, which has lobbied heavily for burying waste deep. Canadians, however, have always said no when asked to have nuclear waste disposal sites in their communities. At the news conference, Lunn dismissed concerns raised by environmentalists about the risks of nuclear energy as well as economic concerns about safe storage plans.

“This is just the beginning of a long process but they (the industry) will be able to begin that process today. It will allow the fuel to be retrieved as technology moves forward and, more importantly, allow it to be monitored continuously as it’s going through the storage process.”

The announcement makes sense for three key corporate sectors: tar sands, nuclear and construction/development. With the government under pressure to do something about greenhouse gas emissions related to the growth of oil extraction in the Alberta tar sands, nuclear seems an ideal option.

In the June 8, 2007 issue of Executive Intelligence Review, Rob Ainsworth, of the arch-right-wing Canadian LaRouche Youth Movement reports, as have others, of “a project in the Alberta tar sands to construct two 1,100-megawatt reactors, providing power to the area, as well as heat and steam for industrial purposes.” It takes an enormous amount of energy to extract oil from tar sands, and nuclear is been touted as a way to greatly reduce the amount of oil burned to support the process.

Every aspect of nuclear power development is both enormously expensive for governments and profitable for the corporations involved. “Most of the top engineering and heavy construction firms serve the energy sector in one form or another,” writes Vance Cariaga in Investor’s Business Daily. “Some go straight to the wellhead by offering design and management services for oil and gas production. Others build hydrocarbon processing plants, liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and nuclear power facilities.”

The licensing of more reactors would also be a great boon, at potentially greater public expense, to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, which has received subsidies of $17.5 billion over 50 years, according to the Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout.

The Conservatives’ announcement allows existing reactor sites to continue accumulating waste indefinitely, and it initiates a search for an “informed community” willing to host a “deep repository” for burial of wastes. It will also explore moving wastes to a central location for temporary, shallow underground storage and recycling of nuclear fuel.

As Susan Riley writes in today’s Ottawa Citizen, “Apart from the experimental nature of the proposed solution, many hurdles remain ­ notably, finding a community desperate enough to become a nuclear dumping ground. It has been long supposed that some remote northern town would be the lucky winner, given the technological preference for disposing of the waste deep in the Canadian shield. But recent research suggests the sedimentary rock underlying much of southern Ontario would also be suitable. That said, the prospect of a bidding war between Oakville and Rosedale appears unlikely.”

With these plans, the Harper government has made an unequivocal commitment to nuclear power and ignores difficult issues of radioactive wastes that have never been resolved by scientists or the Canadian public. Nuclear power remains vulnerable to human carelessness, as well as deliberate acts of terrorism or other sabotage. Even the best-designed radioactive waste repository will leak and expose future generations to radiation. The federal environmental assessment panel concluded in 1998 that from a social perspective, the safety of deep geological disposal has not been adequately demonstrated, has never been officially contradicted or disproved.

“From a technical perspective, safety of the AECL concept has been on balance adequately demonstrated for a conceptual stage of development, but from a social perspective, it has not,” the report stated. “As it stands, the AECL concept for deep geological disposal has not been demonstrated to have broad public support.”

Nuclear power has left unresolved environmental problems in Canada. Uranium mining has killed Saskatchewan lakes. Processing uranium has created a permanent toxic legacy in the town of Port Hope, Ontario. CANDU reactors routinely release radioactive carbon dioxide and radioactive water contaminated with tritium during their operations, polluting air and water and jeopardizing human health, as confirmed last week in a report commissioned by Greenpeace Canada.

The government announcement reflects recommendations in a report by the government-appointed Nuclear Waste Management Association, which is largely made up of nuclear industry or ex-industry personnel. The Sierra Club of Canada’s Emilie Moorhouse said, “Its interests are not public health. Its interests are the promotion of this industry.”

Related individuals, organizations and significant events
Intensity-based targets promote oil industry frame

Harper Conservative vs. Public Values Frame
Long process / Unstoppable expansion
Green / Unresolved public safety questions
Economical / Massive subsidies

Links and sources
Feds back underground disposal of nuclear waste , Canadian Press, June 15, 2007
Susan Riley, Going nuclear by stealth , The Ottawa Citizen, June 18, 2007
The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
Canadian LaRouche Youth Movement.
Rob Ainsworth, Will Canada Join the Rail and Nuclear Renaissance? , Executive Intelligence Review, June 8, 2007
Vance Cariaga, Heavy Construction Firms Busy Helping Thriving Energy Sector , Investor’s Business Daily, May 22, 2007
Tyler Hamilton, Hot granite and steam could clean up oil sands, Toronto Star, May 30, 2007
Environmental Assessment Report on High Level Waste Disposal Concept, 1998
Chinta Puxley, Radioactive tritium in Great Lakes puts kids at risk: study , London Free Press, June 13, 2007
Canadian Nuclear Subsidies: Fifty Years of Futile Funding, Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout

Posted: June 18, 2007 at


Rad-waste mailing list

134 Million Investment in Frankenfood

Just what we don’t need.  More frankenfood and more commercialization of our lives.  But I’ll bet there are some fat cats who’ll get fatter off this dropping!

134 Million Investment by Canadas New Government to Boost Commercialization of Agri-Based Innovation

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, January 23, 2007 – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today announced a major investment of $134 million towards the Agri-Opportunities Program, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) program that will focus on the commercialization of new agri-based products, processes and services.

“This is just one of the steps Canada’s New Government is taking to fulfill its commitment to invest in the development of new opportunities for the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector,” said Minister Strahl. “Agri-Opportunities will help increase the demand for primary agricultural products – grains, oilseeds and other traditional and non-traditional products – for the benefit both of farmers and of the entire agricultural sector.”

The Agri-Opportunities program will help good ideas get from the drawing board and into the market. Funding will be provided for projects that can be expected to increase market opportunities for the Canadian agricultural industry across the value chain and generate demand for primary agricultural products.

Individuals, producers, agri-businesses, cooperatives, non-profit and for-profit organizations and academia are eligible to apply for the funding, which will be delivered through contribution agreements. Maximum contribution per project and per applicant will be capped at $10 million over a five-year period.

Agri-Opportunities will be delivered nationally by AAFC in all provinces and territories.


For more information, media may contact:

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario

So You Trust Our Secret Police? Think Again.

Here’s another piece by Dr. John F. Conway. If you missed the earlier piece, it’s Safe and Secure in Our Beds?.

So You Trust Our Secret Police? Think Again.

by J. F. Conway

Conway is a University of Regina political sociologist and the author of The West: The History of a Region in Confederation and Debts to Pay: The Future of Federalism in Quebec.

An Innovative Research Group poll taken after the early June bust of “the Toronto 17” should cause deep concern among all Canadians. Sixty-two per cent of Canadians agreed with the proposition that without national security all other rights of Canadians were simply theoretical. This is the argument presented by federal lawyers before the Supreme Court in an effort to defend the constitutionality of the use of “security certificates,” i.e., the right of the secret police to incarcerate suspected terrorists for an indefinite time without laying charges or proceeding to trial. Another 40 per cent declared a willingness to see our civil liberties eroded in the name of national security. One in three expressed worries that they could be personally victimized by terrorist acts, and one in four felt that they or someone close to them could have been killed or injured by the actions of “the Toronto 17.” The campaign of terror and fear by our secret police and the Harper government is working. Fear is stalking the land, infecting our democracy.

Fear, deliberately provoked and orchestrated, has always been a favourite tool of governments in efforts to win public support for questionable, controversial policies. In this particular case, the Harper government chose to mount arguably the biggest peacetime combined police and military operation since the 1970 War Measures Act to round up a gang of hapless, abjectly stupid ideological zealots suffering from terrorist fantasies and delusions of grandeur. Based on the evidence so far reported on “the Toronto 17,” they would have difficulty successfully organizing a community soccer tournament.

Canadians should resist giving instant credence to unsubstantiated claims made by our secret police, and hysterically echoed by Prime Minister Harper and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, given the Harper government’s political agenda. That agenda has been further clarified in recent days. Besides trying to stampede a reluctant Canadian public into supporting the deployment of Canadian troops in Afghanistan and appeasing the U.S. government’s demands that Canada enthusiastically join the global war on terror, Harper now wants to persuade Canadians to support a massive $15 billion increased defence spending program billed as essential for our participation in this war. And this $15 billion is not earmarked for military tools for the defence of Canada, or for UN peacekeeping abroad, but rather for acquiring the military equipment essential for wars of aggression, invasion and occupation of foreign territories.

Let us remember the lessons about our secret police so painfully learned during Canada’s last brush with terrorism and its suppression – the 1970 FLQ crisis and the invocation of the War Measures Act. Public hysteria was whipped up by leaked claims of the secret police, and politicians and governments who uncritically echoed them: FLQ terrorists had infiltrated all key institutions of Quebec; 3000 armed FLQ terrorists were ready to begin an insurrection; the FLQ had a “hit list” of 200 Quebec leaders marked for assassination; the kidnappings of the British diplomat and the Quebec Labour Minister were but the first step in a revolutionary plot for takeover; a massive bombing campaign was in the works; there would be a bloodbath of executions followed by the installation of a provisional government. It was all a pack of lies, but led to a wave of arrests and violations of civil liberties focussed in Quebec, but affecting suspected individuals and groups all across Canada. And the suppression enjoyed almost universal public support.

In the years after the crisis Canadians learned how they had been manipulated by the secret police and politicians in power, thanks to Ottawa’s Royal Commission of Inquiry Into Certain Activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Policy (the McDonald Commission) and Quebec’s Keable Inquiry into Illegal Police Activities. These inquiries exposed the dirty tricks and illegal actions employed by the secret police against not only the FLQ, but the democratic sovereignty movement, as well as other individuals and groups on a list of “the politically suspect” (including members of parliament, candidates for election, student groups and trade unions). Seventeen past and present members of the RCMP’s Security Service were charged with 44 offences following the release of the Keable Report (there would have been more, but the federal government stonewalled the Commission’s request for documents). The McDonald Commission also reported a long list of dirty tricks and illegal actions carried out by the secret police, though these did not result in charges and trials (and portions of the report have yet to be released). These included over 400 illegal break-ins, thefts of dynamite, theft of the membership list of the Parti Québécois, an act of arson, unauthorized mail openings, surveillance of MPs and candidates for office, investigations of the NDP’s Waffle group, illegal detentions involving psychological and physical violence to recruit informers, forging and releasing documents under the FLQ’s name calling for violence to win independence, the massive infiltration of the FLQ to the point where by 1972 secret police agents had a voting majority in the organization. The list goes on and on.

Most of the perpetrators of the dirty tricks and illegal activities among the ranks of the secret police were never charged, and those who were charged either received unconditional discharges upon pleading guilty, or the charges were later dropped. In other words, the secret police were, in practice, not subject to the laws of the land but could cynically violate them at will in the name of “national security.” As a result, the McDonald Royal Commission recommended that, in future, the police, including the secret police, cease illegal activities, that mail openings and break-ins occur only under the oversight of a judge, and, allegedly most importantly, that the secret police be removed from the RCMP and that a civilian secret police agency be set up. In 1984, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) was accordingly established.

This was an entirely cosmetic move and smeared the RCMP, suggesting that the secret police got out of control due to failures of the RCMP’s command structure. This is nonsense. The secret police was doing what the secret police always does, and continues to do under the CSIS structure. And they were doing it under the political direction of the government of the day. Indeed, it can be reasonably argued that the RCMP’s command structure, history and culture may well have imposed a bit of restraint on the activities of the secret police, a restraint that is absent in CSIS. Testimony before the McDonald Commission revealed that some rather bizarre plots proposed by secret police zealots were denied authorization at senior levels. Hence, I trust CSIS even less than I trusted the RCMP’s Security Service.

And what about the directive from the McDonald Commission that the police, including the secret police, always act within the law? Such a rule makes it very tough for the secret police to do what secret police do. Well, that problem has been solved. There is a new “doublethink” law allowing the police to act illegally while upholding the law. If that sounds a bit Orwellian, it is because it is – a law making breaking the law legal while enforcing the law. The new so-called Immunity Law was passed in February 2002 and allows police agents of all sorts to commit crimes in the line of duty. Any crime can be committed except those involving obstructing justice, sex crimes, and violence causing bodily harm (making violence that leaves no marks or breaks no bones perfectly legal). During 2004-05 Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day recently admitted that many crimes were committed by police covered by the immunity statute.

Therefore, secret police agents can actively work with suspects, or with individuals and groups targeted for political reasons, in order to encourage violations of the new, draconian anti-terrorist law, particularly in actively encouraging elaborate conspiracies to carry out fantastic terrorist plans. And all those illegal actions carried out by secret police in the 60s and 70s that led to the government inquiries would now be perfectly legal.

Our secret police is now unconstrained by law. Our democracy and our civil liberties are in big trouble. The next sensational terrorist bust could well involve a “sleeper cell” containing a majority of secret police agents.

Dr. J. F. (John) ConwayProfessor and Chair
Department of Sociology and Social Studies
University of Regina
Wascana Parkway
Regina, SK S4S 0A2

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Climate Change is a women’s issue

Here’s the story. No need to reproduce it in full here, but just to pique your interest here’s a taste:

Climate Change Is a Women’s Issue

By Bojana Stoparic, Women’s eNews. Posted July 10, 2006.

Some women’s advocates are demanding that new climate policies address the different ways men and women will be affected by global warming.

If climate change predictions by researchers at the University of Toronto prove to be right, low-lying Bangladesh will suffer some of the worst effects of global warming. Already, about a fifth of the country is flooded annually. As temperatures and sea levels rise, flooding may increase up to 40 percent.

For Bangladeshi women, this is particularly bad news. In some past floods–such as in April 1991 following a Category 4 cyclone–the death rate for women was five times that of men.


Neither the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change–the first international treaty to address global warming, which entered into force in 1994–nor the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 through legally binding measures, mentions gender.

Read the full article

Thanks to Debra at Bread and Roses for the heads-up.

Safe and Secure in Our Beds?

Below is an article a little longer than I tend to post, but well worth the read. It puts together the pieces of the story of the Toronto Terrorist [sic] arrests in a way that the mainstream media has not.

Dr. John F. Conway is a University of Regina political sociologist and the author of Debts to Pay: The Future of Federalism in Quebec and The West: The History of a Region in Confederation. He is a regular contributor to the Prairie Dog. The article is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

Safe and Secure in Our Beds?

by J. F. Conway

On the weekend of June 3, a combined task force of 400 police officers and security agents raided a number of homes and a storage facility in Toronto, scooping up 15 alleged terrorists involved in a plot they had named Operation Badr. In case things deteriorated, a JTF-2 squad of commandos and a helicopter gun ship were on standby just minutes away. Police reported that the evidence collected included weapons and bomb-making materials.

In subsequent days further information about the plot, the alleged terrorists, and the evidence seized appeared in dribs and drabs in the press, accompanied by sensational headlines. The suspects – the 15 plus two already in jail for gun smuggling – were charged with a variety of offences: smuggling weapons, training terrorists, and conspiracy to commit a variety of terrorist acts including the assassination of politicians and truck-bombing targets in Toronto. The raids were triggered by the delivery of three tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, the main ingredient used by Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building in 1995.

The public reacted with shock, fear, and, finally, gratitude at the decisive actions of our protectors.

Then the credibility of the circus began to unravel. The suspects are all Canadians – “home-grown terrorists” – and all but two are very young. Five of them are teenagers young enough to come under young offenders provisions, two are 19, eight are in their early 20s, one is 30 and one is 43. The alleged ring leader is a 21 year old father of two. A 43 year old school bus driver is alleged to have been the ideological leader and mentor of the group. Apparently the conspiracy is two years old and began on the Mississauga Meadowvale Secondary School soccer field.

The suspects became radicalized and began to visit radical Islamic internet sites and to post blogs in “jihad rap” (a fad among alienated Islamic youth, the equivalent of “gangsta rap”). They began to fantasize about joining the holy war and dying for the cause. CSIS agents visited the home of the ringleader and allegedly got into a shoving match with his 19 year old wife. The earlier arrest of two of the 17 for trying to smuggle two hand guns and some ammunition (including one bullet secreted in a sock for some reason), across the border, as well as further interviews of family members by CSIS made it clear to the group that they were under close surveillance.

Despite this the suspects continued in their delusional behaviour. They went off to a campground to do some training with paintball guns and for target practice with a handgun. They continued discussion of an increasingly bizarre and elaborate plot. They would storm the House of Commons and behead the primer minister. One of them fantasized about sitting in the Speaker’s Chair and beheading one MP every 30 minutes until those held on security certificates were released and Canada’s troops in Afghanistan were withdrawn. They discussed bombing the Peace Tower, the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the CSIS office in Toronto, the CN Tower, and the Toronto CBC Broadcast Centre. Another alternative discussed was to open fire in a public space, killing as many as possible until they were killed.

Then they abandoned the Ottawa plans since they didn’t know enough about the city’s layout (apparently none of them had a CAA membership entitling them to free maps, nor were they aware of all the detailed maps freely available to tourists and the general public). The group split over the issue of a willingness to die, and those willing proceeded to pose as student farmers to buy the fertilizer for $4000. The RCMP, in a “sting” operation, obliged them by selling and delivering what was purported to be ammonium nitrate (but was in fact a harmless substance). This “overt act” triggered the raids and charges.

It is difficult to see these individuals as hardened, dangerous terrorists. Delusional, yes. Suicidal, obviously (I mean, to continue after visits by CSIS!). Alienated and angry, clearly. They were obviously swept up into a terrorist fantasy with delusions of grandeur. They needed to be dealt with, deflected, and stopped. But it appears they were allowed to continue in their fantasies and allowed to cross the line into an “overt act,” obligingly facilitated by the RCMP. Quite frankly, the plots they fantasized appear to be informed by a mixture of grade B terrorist movies and some vague awareness of past terrorist attacks.

What about the physical evidence (besides the “ammonium nitrate”)? Were there automatic weapons, grenade launchers, machine guns, AK 47s? The following is the list gleaned from the press: a barbecue grill, tongs, duct tape, eight Duracell ‘D’ batteries, a dismantled cell phone described as “a crude cell phone detonator,” one 9 mm Luger, one air rife, one paintball gun (where are the others?), one “Rambo-style” hunting knife (for the beheadings?), camouflage clothing, flashlights, two-way radios. Let’s face it, the average serious hunter in Saskatchewan has a more substantial arsenal than all 17 “home-grown terrorists” combined. If the two handguns stopped at the border in the smuggling bust had been added, our conspirators would have had an arsenal of three handguns with which to storm the House of Commons.

Why the huge operation, costing millions – and with long, expensive show trials to follow? This can only be understood as a political event. An operation of this magnitude had to have had the approval of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day. Their fingerprints are all over it and both have made comments clearly presuming the guilt of the 17 suspects. What possible political objectives are served by this circus?

First, CSIS and the government have egg on their faces over the failure of two busts of alleged domestic terrorist cells since September 11. Both busts were given sensational press coverage and both fell apart before charges were laid. They also involved claims of fantastic plots by al-Qaeda “sleeper cells” to blow up a Pickering nuclear power station, the CN Tower, the U.S. embassy and Parliament. Since the alleged terrorists were not citizens most were deported, while others have been held for years under security certificates without charge or trial. CSIS and the government needed a bust that leads to real charges and real trials – and perhaps convictions (hence the facilitation of the “overt act” by the RCMP). CSIS, the government, and all other security forces badly need a success.

Second, the Canadian public was turning against participation by Canadian troops in the “war on terror” in Afghanistan, with a growing majority favouring bringing the troops home. By bringing the “war on terror” home to our front door step, public opinion might be swayed back to support the Afghan adventure.

What has been the political fallout of the Toronto busts? According to the polls, fear of terrorism here at home has increased dramatically among Canadians. More significantly, support for Canadian participation in the Afghan war has turned around on a dime – now 48 per cent support Canadian participation while 44 per cent oppose it.

A third political objective has also been served. The Harper government is upset about continuing American charges that Canada is “soft on terrorism” and “a terrorist haven,” charges Harper supported against the Martin government. This bust proves Canada is tough on terror, right up there in the big leagues. Both Condoleezza Rice and George Bush have personally congratulated Harper on the Toronto raids. Canada under Harper has turned a corner, decisively proving we are loyal allies in the American-led “war on terror,” including against terrorists at home.

Tommy Douglas once accused Trudeau of using a sledgehammer to crush a peanut by imposing the War Measures Act on Quebec after the 1970 FLQ kidnapping of a British diplomat and the Quebec labour minister (Pierre Laporte was murdered when his kidnappers panicked after the invocation of the War Measures Act). Stephen Harper has used maximum military force to crush what one commentator referred to as “The Homer Simpson Gang.”

My question is: who will protect us from our protectors? It is a question that needs repeated asking in any democracy with a secret police that gets out of control. And, by the way, the media failed to critically investigate this event, choosing to serve as a loyal propaganda arm of the police and the government, whipping up public hysteria.

Dr. J. F. (John) Conway
Professor and Chair
Department of Sociology and Social Studies
University of Regina
Wascana Parkway
Regina, SK S4S 0A2