Michael Chong’s Reform Act wins Commons approval

A Conservative backbencher who shepherded a bill through the House of Commons to rebalance power between MPs and their parties says that, even in watered-down form, the legislation will make Parliament more democratic.

Michael Chong’s Bill C-586, the Reform Act 2014, heads to the Senate after the Commons passed it Wednesday in a 260-to-17 vote.

“I’m thrilled that it was an overwhelming vote,” Chong said. “I think it sends a strong message about how the House and its caucuses want to govern themselves.”

The private member’s bill is designed to rebalance power within parties, including allowing caucuses to dump their leaders through a leadership review.

[…]

Some Highlights:

– The bill would have party caucuses hold an open, recorded vote after each election on whether to use a prescribed formula on leadership reviews, expelling and readmitting caucus members, and electing and removing caucus chairpersons.

– That formula would allow MPs to dump their party leader by secret ballot if one-fifth of the caucus publicly signede a request for a leadership review and presented it to a caucus chair they had elected.

– A similar public request and secret ballot would be required to expel an MP from their party, or re-admit an MP who had left their party. This rule would not apply for MPs seeking to join a different party.

Continue Reading.

Today, states only have to promise that they’re working to comply with PREA’s many requirements, including the separation of youth under 18 from older prisoners. If they fail to do so or simply refuse to certify their compliance, as the governors of seven states have done, they stand to lose 5 percent of their grant funding from the DOJ. While most states, including Michigan, are still assuring federal authorities that they are addressing prison rape, prisoners remain at risk. “You see a lot of states just making assurances,” said Carmen Daugherty, policy director of the Campaign for Youth Justice, “and it seems like they can do it indefinitely, year after year after year.”
Writing is a tool for self-excavation and self-care. And that’s maybe an approach that some artists may not feel, but we also see a whole lot of writers who sort of wave the courage flag and then go out and live fucked up, unaccountable lives. And I don’t want to be that. I want to use my writing to explore the things that make me scared about myself, my world, and my family, but also move out in the world with intention, naming those things, and trying to be a whole person.
—  Adam Falkner, interviewed by Hanif Abdurraqib for Union Station
Feminism does not exist to serve as a magical shield to protect women from criticism. I cringe as I write this, knowing that too many (sexist) men have said something very similar, usually while criticizing a woman on sexist grounds. But that’s not what I mean. What I mean is that we can’t, under the guise of feminist solidarity, allow abusive or abhorrent behavior to go unchecked and uncriticized.
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SW: 131.8
CW: 133.6

Fuck an actual duck. The harder I try, the more I sabotage. Obviously, breakfast, lunch and dinner is not the problem. It’s the 3:30-9:30 munchies.

So 3 good meal habits are firmly established. Exercise is not a problem; I love it! Just need to demolish the other habits and replace them with good ones. I’m 100% sure it’s leftovers from when I used to smoke. I’m basically reaching for a cigarette every time I munch on crap.

Also need to keep myself busy so I’m not standing in front of the pantry all the time!

I should post the opposite foods — not the good stuff, but the crap I ate. That worked well last year. Public humiliation, FTW!

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So I quit one of my jobs today. It was making me really stressed to either work 12 hours days a couple times a week or to have zero days off for like 14 days straight. I feel good about it and spent my afternoon after work fiblr lurking which inspired a workout.

I tried venturing to the gym but between the way the snow was coming down and my lack of reliable tires/vehicle I ended up turning around and settling for riding our exercise bike at home. I was lazy and only did 25 minutes and some squats, incline push-ups and calf raises but I know something is better than nothing.

I also wrote a list of goals (pictured) in a notebook that I thought was conveniently decorated. I’m terrible at motivation but I love organising and lists so I’m hoping having a notebook to write goals and progress and workouts and what ever else I feel like will encourage me to be more mindful around the clock.

Good thing we’re getting a whole new line of pastries that I’m required to sample in a week lol!

P.S. Enjoy my grumpy post lazy workout selfie! 😋

Canada’s federal police continued to snoop on Canadians’ cellphones and computers for at least a month after the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional, new documents prove.

Financial records obtained by VICE through the Access to Information Act show the extent to which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) used federal legislation to obtain information on Canadians from all major phone companies without warrants. Instead, police paid small fees for each of these requests.

The Supreme Court ruled that practise illegal in its June 13, 2014, decision on R. v. Spencer, writing that police need judicial authorization before making those sorts of requests.

However, the records show Telus and Bell both continued to fork over Canadians’ information even after that decision was handed down. […]

VICE’s analysis of the records show that the RCMP paid over $1.6 million to Canada’s cellphone companies since 2010 in order to skirt the normal process of having these requests approved by a judge.

The documents only deal with the RCMP, which is primarily tasked with federal investigations like child pornography and terrorism, but also do basic criminal investigations in many towns and cities. The documents do not include data from provincial police forces, who likely made the bulk of these Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) requests. Nor do they include the spy agencies Canadian Security Intelligence Service or Communications Security Establishment Canada, or the Canada Revenue Agency, which have also been known to use the process.

Spokespeople for both the telecommunications companies and the government deny that any sensitive information was being handed over through this process. Law enforcement often refers to the information provided as “tombstone” or “phonebook” information—usually a name, address, and phone number. All law enforcement needs to show the company in order to access this information is an IP address.

However, previous VICE investigations revealed that, thanks to the informal process and lack of oversight, police often used these powers to ask for, and obtain, users’ passwords, GPS location, and other other personal information. […]

Telus says that in 2013 it received more than 100,000 requests from law enforcement for subscriber information, and the vast majority appear to have been warrantless requests. Rogers received nearly 175,000 requests, but only half were made without a warrant. […]

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So it seems that last year when I was down to a really healthy weight, two things were working for me. One was MFP. The second was showing The Internet everything I eat. Whether or not The Internet cares doesn’t really matter, but in my head every post is like entering a contest — and I want to win! Expect to see more of my food, even though I pretty much eat the same thing all the time. :D

Bonus action shot of my fellas. Check out that high kick!

Ten Counterproductive Behaviors of Well-Intentioned People

[Image Description: The photograph shows adults of different races and genders. In the front, from left to right, are a bald brown-skinned man wearing a light blue shirt, a bald black man wearing a light blue shirt, and a blond white woman wearing a white shirt with a yellow sweater. In the back, from left to right, are a black woman wearing an orange sweater over a white shirt, a brown-skinned woman with long black hair, and a white man with short gray hair and a blue button-down shirt over a white t-shirt. All are looking into the camera and, except for the man in the back, all are smiling.]

January 3, 2015 by Cody Charles, Guest Writer

1. Quick to marginalize someone else’s experience.

I was walking through a hotel lobby with colleagues. We were headed to a conference social, wearing business attire. There were quite a few conference attendees roaming around the lobby area at that time, all wearing business attire as well. It was a fairly loud, mingling setting. An older white woman walked up to me and asked if I knew where she could get fresh towels. I was puzzled for a moment, which then indicated to the woman that I probably could not help her.

After the exchange, I looked at my friend in disbelief. Not utter disbelief or shock, because it was not my first time experiencing this marginalized view on the identities that I hold, but it did catch me off guard at my professional organization’s national conference — a place where we exchange ideas on how to better serve, educate, and develop the students that we work with. I remember telling a few colleagues later at dinner and getting this response: “I’m sure she didn’t mean it like that.”

When someone shares an experience like this with you, please STOP yourself from analyzing the situation. Listen, observe, connect with the emotion, and experience how real it is to the other person, which should in turn make it real to you. No questions; just listen and learn. Hold on to your questions, which are the manifestation of your wanting the world to be a kind, good-hearted place. It is because you see yourself in that older white woman. Get past that. Be there for your friend, colleague, and mentor/mentee. And maybe ask questions later.

2. Choose not to speak up.

You choosing not to speak up has either to do with the fear of your oppressed identity being pounced on or the presence of your privilege. Regardless, too often, the courageous few are tasked alone with holding the integrity of inclusiveness in spaces. Too often, the oppressed have to make a dynamic choice to either speak or stay silent. To stay silent comes with making peace with your inferiority to the dominant culture, self-hatred, and finding comfort in the status quo. To speak is to risk not being a team player, being identified as overly sensitive, pulling the race/gender/orientation card, not being asked to Happy Hour, not being considered for promotion, and falling into a simplified caricature of one’s already watered-down self. Do your work! Consider perspective as you enter and claim space. Pay attention, observe, and always consider that the ideas being explored in any space you enter are based on whiteness and a heteronormative, gender binary (specifically cis-male), abled-bodied, middle-upper class perspective. Speak up. Do not allow your colleagues and friends to take on the sole responsibility of shifting culture from “normal” to dynamic.

CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE ON WWW.THEBODYISNOTANAPOLOGY.COM.

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Workouts I seem to have been just going through the motions lately. Last week I decided to change things up, so I went online and got some new workout ideas. I’ve added some crossfit exercises, HIIT workouts and just changed my mindset to push myself harder during a workout.

So far things have been going well, I write my workout down the night before so I’m not flying by the seat of my pants at the gym and it’s been a big help. I’m also more energized during the day and feeling better about myself overall. Above is one of my new ab workouts I’m doing (it’s painful to get through but totally energized when I’m done) the other is called the 1000 rep igniter, I’m going to try that tomorrow, the goal is to get it done in 30 mins.

"We neither confirm nor deny that the records you requested exist. We are, however, advising you, as required by paragraph 10(1)(b) of the Act, that such records, if they existed, could reasonably be expected to be exempted."

Translation: we’re not telling.

In January, VICE filed an Access to Information (ATI) request, asking for a slew of financial reports from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. The specific documents we’re after are invoices for thousands, if not millions of payments made from various law enforcement bodies to Canada’s telecommunications companies.

For a decade, up until a surprise 2014 Supreme Court ruling, Canada’s investigators made informal requests to the country’s cellphone and internet providers for their customers’ personal information. They never had to go to a judge to make those requests. As an incentive, police paid nominal amounts of money per request—$1.50 here, $10 there—that they wouldn’t normally pay for requests authorized by a warrant.

A VICE investigation published in January revealed that Canada’s federal police made hundreds of thousands of those requests, costing taxpayers some $1.6 million.

Canada’s top court shut that down in June 2014, ruling that those searches were unconstitutional and that if police want information from telecommunications companies, they need to apply to a judge.

Police and the Harper government contended that the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or, PIPEDA, gave them the authority to do so. The court ruled that it did not. But they also argued that the searches were minimally intrusive, and that they were only ever requesting “phonebook information”—name, address, phone numbers.

However, VICE revealed last May that the searches weren’t that simple: law enforcement was obtaining users’ passwords and GPS coordinates, among other things.

CSIS was one client of the program, so VICE requested information on how much they paid out to cellphone and internet companies while citing its authority under PIPEDA.

They refused.

Citing sections of the Access to Information Act that allows departments to withhold information that they feel could be injurious to ongoing investigations and/or “the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities,” CSIS refused to acknowledge if the documents VICE requested even exist. […]

CSIS is the spy agency that is about to be given broad new powers by the Conservatives’ new anti-terrorism legislation, C-51. Critics of the bill have underlined the fact that there is a complete lack of adequate oversight of the spy agency. The spooks’ review body, SIRC, has frequently been frustrated by a refusal of the agency to hand over various documents. Last year’s annual report dropped words like “intolerable misrepresentation” and “disturbing,” in referring to CSIS’ refusal to provide documents to the high-security-clearance committee.

Vincent Gogolek, Executive Director of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, says that “CSIS seems to respond to everything that way right now.” […]

Gogolek points out that the RCMP is using the same excuse to avoid releasing its case files on former NDP leader Tommy Douglas, citing those documents as “operationally sensitive.” […]

Meanwhile, the minister responsible for the Access to Information regime, Tony Clement, told VICE in January that everything is a-okay.

"Canadians’ right to access is healthy right now," Clement said.

"I’m quite willing to take credit for that. Our government is willing to take credit for that."

When an independent group graded Canada’s ATI system, it got an F.

On accountability, Weight Watchers, etc.

Many moons ago I got sick and tired of being overweight, but had zero tools to help myself. Because I didn’t really know of any other options, by default I signed up for the Weight Watchers online program. And it worked really, really well for me. I started eating more fruits and vegetables, I learned about portion size, and I lost about forty pounds. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’d be the substantially healthier person I am today if I hadn’t gotten the ball rolling with WW those (nearly) five years ago.

After a couple of years I’d stalled in my progress, and—having learned the basics of healthy eating—canceled my subscription and switched to one of the free calorie counting sites. Ideally I’d eat intuitively, but I don’t, and this continued to work for me. I didn’t lose more weight, but I gradually came to accept that: a) I actually was at a healthy weight despite what I thought, and b) maybe this was my body’s happy place, so I should stop trying to force something unnatural.

Since this summer, I’ve started struggling a lot more with overeating, which I’ve talked about a bit here. I’d hoped that post-holidays I’d reign it in, and I have, but completely inconsistently. On my “cheat” days (hatehatehate that phrase) I don’t track and as a result I go waaaaay overboard, and way beyond eating just what I want to. Stuffing myself because THIS IS THE DAY I CAN. No bueno. I’m around 7 pounds above where I usually sit comfortably, and please. No protests of, “But ermagerd that’s nothing!” Because on my small frame it is. And I know where I feel my best.

Balance. I need balance and accountability. That’s all. That’s what has always worked. I just need something to help me achieve it.

And WW is doing their January special, so I took the plunge and signed up for three months of the service. Because it worked so well for me before, right? And I started plugging in the food I had eaten or am planning to eat today, at least the bits I knew. Some of it was nutritionally void (lolol thanks, Girl Scout cookies), but the rest was sound: lemon kale and quinoa salad with tuna, cara cara orange, and burrito bowl with chicken, tomatoes, black beans, and brown rice planned for later. Probably more since I’m planning to be on the elliptical for an hour this afternoon and I’m not about to fuel inefficiently during this grueling training.

I never got around to plugging in the rest of my food (like a bit of cheese and avocado for dinner), because I was only 2 points away from meeting my daily allotment. And that was only 948 calories. Those 2 points would have me barely cracking 1000.

And I’m sorry, but no.

Because the flip side to my experience with WW, and the part that I oh so conveniently tend to forget, is that it pushed me toward at least semi-disordered eating. Making it a game to never use up my weekly or activity points, even if I was hungry. Trying not to fill the void with “free” veggies or fruits because that was cheating, somehow. And though I no longer have access to these food logs, I continued the pattern on Daily Spark, eating a crazy low number of calories. I think my average was around 1100, and that doesn’t account for what I expended during exercise. And yes, I was definitely at my lowest weight, but I absolutely was not at my healthiest.

And staring at that tracker, seeing those sad, piddling 2 points looking back at me, I felt the anxiety rising up from my belly and closing around my throat. I knew where this would lead. Yes, I would lose the weight, but I’d also lose so much more—the ability to enjoy social outings, the ability to enjoy dinners out with my husband, the ability to not goddamn obsess about what I eat.

For those of you on this plan, please don’t take this the wrong way. I know that if I’d planned ahead better and loaded my eats up with way more vegetables and lean protein, those 26 daily points would probably have been closer to a much more reasonable 1400 calories. Again, this program did a lot of positive things for me, and my current negative reaction is largely just because of my own shit. I’m a big proponent of Whatever the Fuck Works for You. This is just not it for me anymore. I just need to stick with MFP, stuff more fruits and veg down my gullet, and chill the fuck out with treats.

So an hour later, I canceled. And I got on the horn with a rep and they refunded my money. So, on the plus side, I have really positive things to say about their customer service.