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CFPA efficient and effective

By: MrWhy Sunday March 14, 2010 11:12 am

What would the CFPA envisioned by Elizabeth Warren accomplish? Here’s a picture, courtesy of Huffington Post and the Consumer Federation of America.

status quo vs CFPA


Guardian gagged

By: MrWhy Tuesday October 13, 2009 9:53 am

The Guardian has been prevented from reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds which appear to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.

Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.

Ian Dale and others speculate that the underlying story is a 2006 toxic oil waste dump near Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire. British oil trader Trafigura had publicly claimed the waste was harmless, but recently offered to pay £100m damages.

The Lexicon of Canada’s Ministry of Truth – International Affairs

By: MrWhy Wednesday August 26, 2009 6:14 am

The government of Stephen Harper is changing the lexicon of Canadian diplomats. In particular, diplomats are being directed to soft pedal on humanitarian issues, child soldiers, and sexual violence. Tension between the diplomatic service and the Prime Minister’s Office have increased substantially since May, when a bureaucrat emailed several senior officials regarding his concerns about the policy changes implied by wholesale language changes.

The story is detailed in recent articles in Embassy, Canada’s foreign policy newsweekly. See in particular,

Jeff Davis – DFAIT memo documents struggle between PMO’s office and Foreign Service
Michelle Collins – "Gender Equality" axed from Foreign policy language
Lee Berthiaume – Tories Elected to Set Foreign Policy says Minister Lawrence Cannon

Examples of language changes are:

gender equality => equality of men and women
child soldiers => children in armed conflict
international humanitarian law => international law
good governance => -
the Responsibility to Protect => -
public diplomacy => -
human security => -
impunity => -
justice => -

NASA appointees confirmed

By: MrWhy Thursday July 16, 2009 2:04 am

The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed former astronaut Charlie Bolden as NASA’s administrator, and Lori Garver as deputy administrator.

Bolden has had extensive previous experience with NASA, four missions to space, assignment as Astronaut Office safety officer, overseeing return to flight after the 1986 Challenger accident, among other assignments.

For more details, see NASA press release here.

Protection from Embarrassment is Not Covered in Canadian Security Laws

By: MrWhy Friday July 10, 2009 8:07 pm

Justice Simon Noel of the Canadian Federal Court reasons that the public’s right to know outweighs the embarrassment that CSIS or the RCMP might suffer on publication of the 2006 inquiry report into the rendition and torture of Maher Arar. “Protection from embarrassment is not covered in our security laws,” Judge Noel wrote. Noel did allow some information in the report to remain secret.

The Canadian Press story by Jim Bronskill is available via the Globe and Mail.

NATO Job Opportunity – Secretary General

By: MrWhy Tuesday March 10, 2009 7:16 am

In January, The Economist was wondering who will replace Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as head of NATO. Several names were floated, Radek Sikorski from Poland, Solomon Passy from Bulgaria, Anders Fogh Rasmussen from Denmark, Des Browne from Britain, Peter MacKay from Canada.

Peter MacKay from Canada? He’s a better candidate for The Bachelor than Secretary General of NATO. He’s single, plays rugby, and he owns a dog. I’d suggest EW hold on to Mr EW, though, because MacKay’s judgment is suspect on just about everything else. The gossip circuit had Mr. MacKay, Canada’s nine-time sexiest MP, and Condoleezza Rice flirting with each other three years ago.

The Washington Post is reporting that Biden thinks MacKay would make a heckuva SecGen for NATO.

Menendez Blocks Science Advisor Nominations

By: MrWhy Tuesday March 3, 2009 7:20 pm

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has apparently placed a hold on the votes confirming John Holdren for the Office of Science & Technology, and Jane Lubchenko for NOAA. Menendez objects to language in a govt spending bill. The language loosens restrictions on relations with Cuba, allowing family visits and food and medical exports. WaPo has more.