Author Archives: shahrouzraz

Parliament hill shooting a smoke screen

​On October 22 2014, a young Michael Zehaf-Bibeau attacked parliament hill. He
appeared in Ottawa with an assault rifle, and a motive, to break into parliament, and kill
the prime minister, and any other MP’s he could. He managed to kill a soldier standing
guard at a war memorial nearby, but upon entering parliament, he was killed before he
could get anyone else. The country was in a state of shock. People could not believe
what had happened. Canada had never experienced an international terrorist attack,
especially one that struck so close to the chest (our parliament building). The reaction
by the Harper Conservatives however, is where the real nightmare begins. As the
Harper government introduce new bills to further strengthen its surveillance abilities on
Canadians, many begin to question whether or not it is warranted. Eric Wright describes
how Harper made the connection between an earlier hit and run terrorist attack on a
soldier in Quebec, without any evidence to suggest the two incidences were related.
Voices of condemnation regarding Harper’s newest terror initiatives have been
sprouting up in the New Democrat Party.

Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democrat Party, has already signaled the
Parties issues regarding the Conservative governments response to the Parliament Hill
attack. Mulcair has pointed out that the shooter on Parliament Hill was a criminal with
mental health issues, rather than a terrorist. In fact the shooter on Parliament hill was
described as behaving erratically, living in a homeless shelter in the days before the
shooting (Jordan, 2014). No link has ever been found between any international terrorist
organizations, and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack on parliament (Wright, 2014). In fact
the shooter has never been found to be in contact with any organization. He has been
described as having severe personality and mental disorders, and in these frequenting
mental states, he eventually decided to become a fighter for Islam (Jordan, 2014). This
was an attack he carried out on his own. However the Harper government considered it
an attack carried out by a terror organization. There is no evidence to suggest that the
terrorist organization, ISIS ever knew of, or had any involvement with Michael Zehaf-
Bibeau. So why would the government go in this direction, making these accusations,
and passing new laws extending the arm of surveillance in Canada? Because it gives
the government a greater degree of social control.
Just as alexis Ohanion, founder of Reddit pointed out, the NSA in the United
States is engaged in a surveillance program against its own citizens which emphasizes
a “collect everything” agenda. The Canadian government is also interested in engaging
in a similar program here in Canada for several reasons, including industry development
in Canada. However this can also be aligned with a need for increased security
surveillance over Canadians, not just exclusive to Muslim Canadians, but to any and all
Canadians that any Candian governments feel may pose a threat of any kind, even if that threat fails to extend any further than inconvenient protests regarding policy


Comments Off on Parliament hill shooting a smoke screen

Filed under Contributor Post

Surveillance, and Corporate Canada

Canada is a close ally to the United States. Canada often follows America’s lead, and unfortunately spying is one of those area’s Canada has followed along with America. The first of this came out with Edward Snowden, who revealed to the world that Canada had been involved in a very serious spying campaign against Brazil. Brazils mining corporations and projects were being watched closely by Canada. While this is likely a reflection of Canada spying on behalf of corporations (Ismi, 2013), there is another
factor to this. The NSA has been involved in a very elaborate campaign of surveillance on its own citizens for several years now. In fact they have been accused by Alexis Ohanion, founder of Reddit of engaging in a surveillance campaign whose main goal is
“collect everything.” This is regardless of who it is, how dangerous they are perceived to be. Canada’s NSA equivalent, the CSEC appears to be involved in a similar campaign against its citizens. For one thing, according to Ismi, the CSEC has had close relations
with the NSA for at least six decades. The two have been constantly sharing information on each other’s citizens (Ismi 2013). What Snowden has leaked is a reflection of corporate espionage, but it doesn’t end there. The Harper government has been a huge
proponent in the extraction of natural resources in Canada, and one of its major positions are with such projects as Enbridge’s pipeline for the coast of British Columbia. Recently it became public knowledge that the Harper government wished to “monitor”
protests in Canada, anywhere in Canada, regardless of what the meaning of the protests were. This made clear the Harper governments position on spying. If the CSEC was able to spy for the purposes of corporate espionage in Brazil, surely for the sake of
Enbridge and its pipeline, the CSEC would be “monitoring” not only the protests taking place regarding the pipeline, but also “monitoring” those involved in the protests. A Brazilian journalist who had contacts with Snowden says that the leaked documents
indicate that the NSA and the CSEC are engaged in “insidious hacking” of corporate, foreign, and private computer accounts (Ismi, 2013). If this is the case, Canada, which has been considered around the world as a leader in human rights and civil liberties, is in severe violation of her own citizens, and even foreign governments. The Brazilian government expressed outrage at Canada’s transgressions against its sovereignty, and its corporate interests, however Greenwald suggests that Brazil “was only the tip of the
iceberg,” meaning Canada has been engaged in this activity for a very long time now (Ismi, 2013). The claim that Canada has sacrificed a huge piece of itself to spy on its citizens in a post 9-11 world does not do this situation justice. Unfortunately, because of the Harper governments advocacy for resource development, this government has decided that the CSEC should not concentrate on domestic terror surveillance, but rather surveillance of groups protesting resource projects in Canada. The surveillance
campaign has nothing to do with protecting Canada, or national security. The whole campaign is in the interest of corporate Canada, and such incidences, like the one which occurred on parliament hill are simply a smoke screen, a way to legitimize some of its spying. Canada is not spying on her own citizens in the interests and security of our nation, rather in the interests and convenience of corporate Canada.

1 Comment

Filed under Contributor Post

A Marxist look at the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Canada

One of the best examples of the functionality of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program would be the summer tomato harvests in Ontario. Ontario is the largest grower of tomatoes in North America, and the prime season for picking and harvesting those tomatoes is imaginably the summer months. For decades now, foreign workers have been coming up to Canada from Mexico to participate in these harvests. They are generally in the country for over half the year, they work far longer hours than the average Canadian, and up until only a short while ago, they were getting paid around $7 an hour. Their wage has climbed in the last few years to something in the ball park of $11. The foreign workers, who have already been split from their families, are provided food, and shelter paid for by their employers, however the living quarters are unreasonable at best, as a group of 20 or more men may be living in one house at a time. This is coupled with the fact that these workers are away from their wives and children for 6 to 8 months of the year, every year, the poor pay, and the incredibly draining hours they work, this program is absolutely beneficial to the corporations, and detrimental to society as a whole. Marx would cringe at the sight of this. Workers have not become so much a necessity to these organizations, rather a commodity, one that can be purchased and maintained at the lowest prices possible. Here we can really see Marx’s theories of society playing a huge role in a Capitalist society. By looking for alternatives to expensive Canadian workers, Corporations can get their work output at a far lesser price. The government of course has perpetuated this by allowing employers to pay such low wages, and house the workers in such dreadful living conditions. While some fields of business and development may have business actually acquiring foreign workers, such corporations such as McDonalds do not, as there is no shortage of individuals willing to do unskilled retail or service work. However even these corporations have attempted to take full advantage of the program because it is a method that creates a similar work output, for half the price. Marx signaled that the Bourgeois was only concerned in the maximum profit, and the greatest work output, which can clearly be seen in these temporary foreign worker programs.

Comments Off on A Marxist look at the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Canada

Filed under Contributor Post