Tory MP Rob Anders: NDP ‘Bloodsuckers’ Want To Inject Kids With Heroin

With Halloween just around the corner, Conservative MP Rob Anders unleashed a scary story in the House of Commons this week.

And while private members statements — those speeches MPs give before the excitement of question period — don’t often get a lot of press, Anders’ rant is… something else.

Anders, who represents the riding of Calgary West, began Monday by saying Albertans fear a “repeat of scary National Energy program thinking.”

He claimed New Democrats, whom he called “socialist bloodsuckers,” want to institute a $21-billion carbon tax and “impale” Albertans with a gas hike tax of 10 cents a litre.

Then he took a thinly veiled shot at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

“There is this evil Liberal name that haunts us still and wants to hand out drugs to our kids,” he said.

Anders is seemingly referring to Trudeau’s support for the legalization of marijuana. Trudeau maintains that controlling, taxing and regulating the substance will actually help keep it out of the hands of children.

Then Anders turned to New Democrats.

“This ghost of the NDP wants to acquire heroin with taxpayer money and inject it into the veins of Canada’s children,” he said.

The controversial Conservative may have been referring to a recently closed “loophole” at Health Canada that allowed certain drugs, like heroin and cocaine, to be obtained for patients in exceptional circumstances under a federal special access program.

Conservatives brought forward new regulations to stop the practice earlier this month.

The ban came just weeks after Health Minister Rona Ambrose ripped her own department’s decision to authorize some B.C. doctors to prescribe heroin to 20 addicts for whom other treatments had failed.

Tories have since fundraised on the issue, saying the NDP and Liberals would make the program permanent if elected in 2015.

NDP health critic Libby Davies told iPolitics it was “sickening” to see Conservatives raise money on such an issue.

“I feel like this is a government that is abandoning any notion of public policy divisions, based on real evidence and expert advice,” she said. “Everything they do is wrapped in a partisan ideological message.”

Davies has said medicalized heroin maintenance has been used successfully and is part of treatment in places like Europe.

“It’s another example of the Conservative government ignoring sound public policy, driven by expert advice, and instead making decisions based on political dogma,” she said.

But Anders’ speech wasn’t all doom and gloom. He ended on a high note by speaking about something he doesn’t find scary — the Harper government’s trade agreement with the European Union.

With files from The Canadian Press

 

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Mission: Destroy freedom

Chevron, Bayer and Phillip Morris are all trying to use underhanded lawsuits to crush democratic challenges to their power.

We have a plan to fight back against this corporate attack — can you chip in just $1 to help make it happen?

Pitch in now

Axcella,

Tobacco giant Philip Morris is suing the Australian government to overturn public health laws aimed at reducing teenage smoking. Chevron has hired *2,000 lawyers* to avoid paying Ecuador $19 billion in damages due for the horrific oil spills they inflicted. And Bayer is suing Europe to overturn their ban on bee-killing pesticides — all while investing millions with Monsanto to defeat an effort to label GM foods in the US. All of this is actually happening, and happening right now.

This is corporate power gone crazy, and the world’s biggest corporations are determined to defeat any efforts of our democracies to hold them to account. By investing billions in dirty legal battles, corrupt backhand payments and lobbying campaigns, corporations are taking over our democracies — and only people power can stop them.

As powerful as these companies may appear, they are at the mercy of consumers — us. We might not be able beat a team of 2,000 corporate lawyers in court, but we have the numbers to hit back where it matters — their bottom line.

There’s 1.3 million of us and we’re growing fast — if we commit now to all come together every time a corporation tries to use the courts to overturn a public, democratic decision, we can make these multinationals think twice before engaging in these dirty tactics.

Can you donate just $1 now so that we can take on Philip Morris, Chevron and Bayer — and any other company who puts their profits ahead of our democracies?

We can stop these company’s evil ways, and we have the tools and know-how to do it — all we need now is more resources to keep this pressure going. We don’t want to give away all our tactics in case these corporate giants try and stop us, but if we have the funding, we’ll be able to do some of the following:

  • Invest in undercover exposés to show the way that companies buy votes and witnesses to ensure that decisions go their way — regardless of what the public thinks
  • Act quickly to build media interest whenever a company sues a government for holding them to account — and overwhelm the company with consumer opposition so they know that we’re watching
  • Fight lawsuits directly — even allowing thousands or hundreds of thousands of citizens and consumers to join in lawsuits — especially where we can establish key global precedents to keep corporations in check
  • Hold corporations to account through the trillions that our public pension funds have invested in them — taking them on and changing their policy from the inside.

Chip in just $1 now to make sure that we can keep standing up to corporations when they use the courts to take over our democracies.

The way that corporations are using the courts is one of the most frightening affronts our democracy. Chevron is throwing everything they have at avoiding paying the Ecuadorian people what they deserve — $19 billion for horrific oil damage inflicted over decades. They’ve already spent $1 billion on legal fees alone, called the judge who ruled against them “criminal” and said that it will “fight this until hell freezes over” — in a desperate attempt to avoid being held to account.

Meanwhile, tobacco giant Philip Morris is suing Australia for tackling teenage smoking under an obscure Australia-Hong Kong investment treaty — arguing that this arcane document takes precedence over the publicly-backed decisions of the Australian Parliament. And Bayer is ignoring all the scientific evidence that its pesticides are killing millions of bees, and fighting a dirty legal battle to overturn the decisions of the European Union to ban these products — bans that have massive public backing across the continent.

We can’t let them get away with this — and we know how to stop them. We can’t compete with them on raw dollars, but unlike their corrupting profits, our support comes from genuine people power and public support. Our community is as strong as we make it — and if we come together now, we can keep winning.

Can you chip in just $1 now to fight attempts by corporations to put themselves over and above our democracies?

In just a couple of years, we’ve already shown just how powerful coordinated consumer action can be. We’ve pushed Microsoft and other corporations to quit extreme right-wing lobby groups like the Heartland Institute, who work to undermine the work of our democracies. We’ve successfully demanded that big supermarkets like Trader Joe’s pay their suppliers’ workers a decent wage. And we’ve done much, much more.

The challenge ahead of us is big. But together, we can take that challenge on — and save our democracies from corporate takeover.

Thanks for everything you do,
Taren, Paul,Kaytee, and the rest of us at SumOfUs.org

SumOfUs is a world-wide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy. You can follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

 

Urgent update: Bayer is suing *Europe* for saving the bees

I know it’s less than 72 hours since we emailed you to update you on our bees campaign — but Bayer is now suing Europe to overturn the landmark ban on bee-killing pesticides! See the full story below, and let’s all sign now to stop this outrageous move! — Claiborne

Bayer has just sued the European Commission to stop the ban on its bee-killing pesticides — despite clear evidence its products are behind the massive bee die-offs.

We can’t let Bayer and Syngenta get away with this blatant threat while the bees disappear. Sign the petition to tell them to drop the lawsuits now!

Sign the Petition

I know it’s less than 72 hours since we emailed you to update you on our bees campaign — but Bayer is now suing Europe to overturn the landmark ban on bee-killing pesticides! See the full story below, and let’s all sign now to stop this outrageous move! — Claiborne

Wow. Bayer has just sued the European Commission to overturn a ban on the pesticides that are killing millions of bees around the world. A huge public push won this landmark ban only months ago — and we can’t sit back and let Big Pesticide overturn it while the bees vanish.

Bayer and Syngenta, two of the world’s largest chemical corporations, claim that the ban is “unjustified” and “disproportionate.” But clear scientific evidence shows their products are behind the massive bee die-off that puts our entire food chain in peril. 

Just last month, 37 million bees were discovered dead on a single Canadian farm. And unless we act now, the bees will keep dying. We have to show Bayer now that we won’t tolerate it putting its profits ahead of our planet’s health. If this giant corporation manages to bully Europe into submission, it would spell disaster for the bees.

Sign the petition to tell Bayer and Syngenta to drop their bee-killing lawsuits now.

The dangerous chemical Bayer makes is a neonicotinoid, or neonic. Neonics are soaked into seeds, spreading through the plant and killing insects stopping by for a snack. These pesticides can easily be replaced by other chemicals which don’t have such a devastating effect on the food chain. But companies like Bayer and Syngenta make a fortune from selling neonics — so they’ll do everything they can to protect their profits.

The EU banned these bee-killers this past May, after a massive public campaign and a clear scientific finding from the European Food Safety Authority that neonics pose huge risks to bee populations. Bayer fought against the ban every step of the way, using tactics taken from Big Tobacco — pouring millions into lobbying and fake science to stop decision-makers from taking action.

Now, we have to defend this landmark ban for the bees, and our food supply. Sign the petition now to tell Bayer and Syngenta to drop their aggressive lawsuits!

We have to stand up for the European ban now, from Europe and from around the world. The current ban only lasts for two years before it’s up for review, and Bayer is now determined to stop it before it even comes into force in December 2013. If it is allowed to intimidate the European authorities with impunity, then the pressure to overturn the ban will be huge. This will be a massive victory for the poison industry, and a devastating loss for the bees, and all of us. It will make every environmental regulation more difficult, because companies that can’t win on the facts can use their enormous profits to fund expensive, baseless lawsuits.

Bayer is an enormous company with a ton of public-facing brands. Neonics are a big part of its bottom line, but it can’t afford poor publicity on a global scale. And if word gets out that Bayer is wrecking our ecosystem and threatening a creature responsible for pollinating a third of all our crops, the company will have to back down.

SumOfUs staff and members have literally just gotten of the plane from a convention in Chicago where we took the fight for a ban in the US right to the industry itself — so we know how important it is to hold the line.

Sign the petition to tell Bayer and Syngenta to drop their bee-killing lawsuit now. Let’s build on this landmark victory and take the bee-killing pesticide ban global.

Thanks for all you do,
Claiborne, Kaytee, and the team at SumOfUs

 **********
More information:

EU insecticide ban triggers legal action, Nature News, 28 August, 2013

 

Bayer vs. the bees: we’re winning…

I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Chicago, where beekeepers from across the US were speaking out about the danger of bee-killing pesticides on behalf of thousands of SumOfUs supporters. And here’s what I learned: the pesticide industry really, really doesn’t want people to hear our message.

I went to Chicago to attend a massive commercial gardening convention, where the beekeepers (who call themselves ‘beeks’) and I were delivering the voices of over 140,000 SumOfUs supporters. Our message: stop selling the pesticides that are killing the bees! It wasn’t a message that Bayer and the pesticide giants wanted the world to hear. I was barely off the plane in Chicago when I learned that the industry-sponsored convention organizers had threatened SumOfUs with a lawsuit if we took our message inside the convention grounds!

But we had come prepared (thanks to thousands of donations from SumOfUs supporters!) — and we didn’t leave until the beekeepers had reached out to thousands of commercial garden center owners and the national media about the dangers of these bee-killing pesticides. Here’s the most remarkable thing: many of the garden center owners signed on in support as soon as they heard our message — exactly why Big Pesticide is scared of our campaign to save the bees.

Big Pesticide is determined to silence us, but we’re not going to let them — and we won’t back down to legal intimidation. Our colorful bus ads blanketed Chicago during the conference, and were featured on morning TV news across the US — and now, thanks to you, we’re taking the message straight to garden center owners themselves with ads in the biggest commercial garden publications. With your support, we’re going to keep fighting until these pesticides are banned around the world and the bees — and our food supply — are safe.

Click here to see more photos of the beekeepers delivering our message in Chicago, and to share the campaign with your friends to keep building the opposition to bee-killing pesticides.

The threat of a lawsuit wasn’t the only tactic they used to silence us in Chicago. They rolled out a full campaign of intimidation, including:

  • telling hotels across the city not to book rooms to our beekeepers, and not to allow us to screen a documentary about bees;
  • ordering security guards to prevent our accredited beekeepers and two human-size bees (okay, our friendly volunteers in bee costumes!) from entering the conference;
  • and even stopping an 85 year-old local beekeeper from delivering 140,000 signatures from SumOfUs members to Bayer, one of the largest manufacturers of bee-killing pesticides!

Meanwhile, Bayer spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on huge ads all over the convention center and a booth advocating their “bee care” program, all the while selling the pesticides that are killing them at the convention!

But despite these dirty tactics, we got our message out loud and clear. Our beekeeper friends had hundreds of one-on-one conversations with convention attendees, handed out thousands of flyers about the deadly effects of ‘neonics’, the pesticides that are killing the bees, plastered the city’s buses with our ads, and took the city by swarm.

Bayer’s reaction shows one thing — it’s scared. Europe has already banned these killer chemicals, so now the industry is fighting with all they’ve got to dump the neonics on North America. Just last week, Time Magazine wrote about the global bee die-off and neonic bee killers in its cover story, and this week, the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordering an immediate reduction in the use of these pesticides, and admitted that the chemical is partly responsible for the disappearance of honey bees. Big Pesticide is terrified that its profits will take a hit if we win in the US as well.

Thanks to your support, we’re going to keep up the fight. First up, we’re planning hard-hitting ads in gardening industry publications next month, to make sure the garden center owners get this vital information. And we’ve got more ideas in the works — but after the legal threats in Chicago, we’re keeping them under wraps to stop the industry from trying to block us again.

Together, we can save the bees. We hope you’ll stay with us until we win this fight.

On behalf of all of us,

Angus and the beekeepers (Terry, Reba, Sam, Amy, and Edie)

PS: we don’t take any corporate funding, so all of this and more is made possible through your support. If you want to donate to make sure that we can keep campaigning to save the bees in the months ahead, you can do that here.

Hungary is Fallen!

Blink and you’ve missed it: Hungary is no longer a democracy.

President János Áder has just signed away the rights of all that was left of Hungary’s opposition parties after years of gutting legislative powers, crippling the free press, and eliminating all mention of a “republic” in the country’s constitution.

If this trend doesn’t sound familiar, here’s something to jog your memory: along with criminalization of the homeless and attacks on women and the LGBT community, Hungary’s seen ahorrific spike in state-sanctioned antisemitism and racism, including the decoration of three men known for their connection to the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party.

We’ve seen the steps Áder’s taken before. We know these signs. And while the European Union continues to stay silent, the situation for women, ethnic minorities and religious groups in Hungary becomes deadlier by the second.

Please, join us in calling on the member states to act on Article VII of the EU Treaty, which demands they intervene to prevent any state from being robbed of its democratic freedoms. We still have time to stop Áder’s men from stripping Hungary’s people of more rights and protections — but we cannot afford to stay silent for long!

PETITION TO EU MEMBER STATES: We cannot afford to sit by while another European country represses state protections, targets minorities, and spreads antisemitism while eliminating free speech. Don’t let Hungary go the way of Nazi Germany — act on Article VII to ensure Hungarians‘ rights and freedoms!

Click here to sign — it just takes a second.

Thanks,
— The folks at Watchdog.net

P.S. If the other links aren’t working for you, please go here to sign: http://act.watchdog.net/petitions/2675?n=34820784.fQSlDv

Greece’s Hidden Brutality update

Reports of mass-imprisonment, violence and starvation are leaking out from Greece’s overwhelmed legal system. A new law means that police can test you, by force, for HIV, and lock you up if you are infected.

For years the country has been detaining illegal migrants who wash up on its island shores, but a growing number of reports are raising issues too serious to ignore – are people really kept 100 to a cell? Are children imprisoned for weeks in rooms with adult men – strangers to whom they are not related, that they have never met before? Are these people really denied food, burned with boiling water, and beaten viciously by under-trained, unsupervised camp guards?

DSC_1062

And now the story thickens – Greeks are also being sent to these illegal prison camps. Drug users arrested in Athens have been imprisoned in the detention camps for undocumented migrants, placing these people in the same facilities as immigrants whose only ‘crime’ is to be a refugee. This week a new law means that people can be medically tested by force, against their will, for HIV and other disease. The police can target people they suspect are illegal immigrants, refugees, have used drugs, or are sex-workers. Forced quarantine – imprisonment – is also allowed. Today a petition is online, suggesting that police will target transgender people as the next ‘undesirable’ to be sent to these camps.

THE UNDESIRABLES

Human rights activists say that these forced detentions and abuse of camp inmates reflects a bigger, more dangerous trend in Greek society. Racist attacks and the election of far right Golden Dawn members in 2012 have fuelled this concern. Police and politicians have begun to round up ‘undesirables’ from the streets, and lock them away in brutal detention camps. Unsubstantiated reports say that transgendered people are the next target.Located on the edge of the European Union, Greece and its many islands are seen as a ‘soft touch’ for immigrants trying to gain asylum or work in France, Britain, or other EU countries. When you’ve run from war in Syria or Iraq, it seems relatively easy to cross the Mediterranean on a small, inflatable boat from Africa, or to cross from Turkey by the Evros River. But many immigrants arrive dehydrated, disorientated and sick after days at sea in the soaring heat.

Increasingly, the Greek police who spot these people simply push them back out into the water, leaving them to drown on over-crowded boats. If they do make it in, Greece is an unhappy place for migrants – racism is on the rise and ‘work’ often turns into slave labour. This year 33 migrants were shot by their boss after they demanded pay for labouring on his farm. These people may be desperate, but they’ve paid a high price to smuggle themselves and their families this far – the extortionate fees of human-traffickers and the risk of death, rape and violence are well known, but still they come.

 

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Immigrants picked up by the Greek authorities are detained in specially built camps. These are barren places of barbed wire and bare concrete, designed to house hundreds but filled with thousands as the authorities are faced with a growing number of inmates and no money to deal with them. This camp was photographed by the author – built but never used by the government after protests from wealthy home owners in the neighbourhood – leaving others to be filled way over capacity in less prestigious areas.

DSC_1065

Notice the tannoy system and security cameras. It is important to stop people escaping from these detention camps, and now we see why they want to. Conditions inside the centres are so awful that many have attempted suicide. Amnesty International sent its own investigator to report on the conditions inside:

“I was forewarned about appalling conditions, but nothing could have prepared me for this. How can such places exist in this day and age, in Europe? Detention facilities surrounded by barbed wire; filthy, cold and damp cells where people spend months, going days on end without any exercise; toilets and showers where some detainees explain they have to hold their breaths not to faint due to the smell.

In Tychero, migrants and refugees talk to us through the small viewing window on the black steel door of their cell. When we tell them that we’re not allowed inside their cells, one says “I’ll tell you why they don’t let you in; no human being can stay here. A dog cannot live here. We eat, sit, sleep, shit here, and we look out of this window. They don’t want you to see how we live here.”

The world has watched as Greece, a beautiful and culturally vibrant country, has been crippled by economic recession in Europe. Public service workers – like high school teachers – took pay cuts of up to 40%. Orphanages in Athens started taking in ‘economic orphans‘ – children whose parents had lost their jobs to recession, and could no longer afford meals or clothing for their family. But how can this country, the birth place of European civilisation, have fallen so catastrophically to barbaric decline?

 

Scientists work to solve mystery of dying bees

David Suzuki Foundation

Scientists work to solve mystery of dying bees

bee
Photo Credit: Louise Docker via Flickr

When a swarm of bees landed on a tree in their yard a few years ago, a David Suzuki Foundation staffer and her husband became accidental beekeepers. They called an apiarist relative who came over and helped them capture the bees, build hives and round up equipment. Now they’re enjoying fresh honey and wax and have developed a fascination for the amazing insects. Staff shared that wonderment when she brought honeycombs and tools to the office for an impromptu lesson on beekeeping and bee behaviour.

Bees are endlessly intriguing, and incredibly useful to us – and not just for honey and wax. If bees disappeared, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to grow much of what we eat. Bees pollinate crops ranging from apples to zucchini. Blueberries and almonds are almost entirely dependent on them. Some experts say they’re responsible for one of every three bites of food we eat. The economic value of pollination services from honeybees alone is estimated at $14 billion in the U.S. and hundreds of millions in Canada.

Bees are good pollinators because – unlike some birds and other insects that are after nectar alone – they also seek out pollen, which they use along with nectar to feed the hive. In the process, they transfer pollen from the male part of one flower to the female part of another, fertilizing plants so they can develop seed-carrying fruits. Wild bees and domesticated honeybees are both important pollinators.

In fact, research indicates wild bees may be more important for food-crop pollination than honeybees. That’s in part because a single species, such as honeybees, is vulnerable to mass disease outbreaks. Wild bees also use a wider range of pollination techniques and visit more plants, and so increase chances of cross-pollination, according to an article in the Guardian.

Sadly, both wild and domesticated bees are in trouble, and that means we could be, too. Causes of phenomena such as colony collapse disorder and other declines in bee populations are not entirely understood, but scientists are getting closer to knowing why bees are dying. Ironically, much of it relates to agricultural practices. Modern methods of growing food are killing one of our biggest helpers in food production.

Wild bees also face threats from climate change and habitat loss. A recent study published in Science found half the wild bee species in the U.S. were wiped out during the 20th century. That’s been partly attributed to “an increasing mismatch between when plants flowered and when bees were active, a finding consistent with climate change,” according to the Guardian.

Causes of honeybee deaths are more complicated. Colony collapse disorder has wiped out millions of hives over the past decade, with pesticide use, parasites and poor nutrition eyed as likely culprits. Scientists from the University of Maryland and U.S. Department of Agriculture recently found pollen collected by honeybees was contaminated with a toxic mix of pesticides and fungicides. It appears the toxins make the bees more vulnerable to a parasite called Nosema ceranae, which is believed to cause colony collapse disorder. Pollen samples contained an average of nine different agricultural pesticides and fungicides, and as many as 21 in one case.

The European Union has imposed a two-year ban on three neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides thought to be responsible for the dramatic declines in Europe’s bee populations, but only for use on “crops attractive to bees”. However, according to the Maryland study’s lead author, Dennis vanEngelsdorp, quoted in the online news outlet Quartz, “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”

We need to get a handle on the toxic chemicals we use to grow food. If our practices kill insects and birds that make it possible to grow crops, we’re defeating their purpose and putting ourselves and the rest of nature at risk. As individuals, we can help bees. Stop using pesticides and join the call to ban the worst ones. Plant bee-friendly plants and gardens, make wild bee “houses” and learn more about our fuzzy, buzzing friends. Like our DSF staffer, you could even adopt a hive.

 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Communications Manager Ian Hanington.

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