Prominent Conservative MP calls out sexual harassment on Twitter
Michelle Rempel, MP for Calgary-Nosehill, shared a little sample of what women in parliament have to endure. She shared a screen shot of an email that requested “a piece of that booty” and was signed “Yours sincerely, Hardwood.”
Rempel tweeted ” My small team of staff, who often work long hours to review legislation and help constituents, are paid by taxpayers. They’re not paid to respond to requests like this, nor am I. You might think it’s cute or funny or nice, but it’s not something we want.”
In a follow-up tweet, Rempel said, “I’m a leader, and a servant of the community, not a piece of ass.”
While online harassment of women in politics is nothing new, it’s distressing to catch such a candid glimpse of it. Michelle Rempel reminded us today of what women all too often have to put up with.
What do you think about the online harassment of women in parliament? Let us know in the comments below.
Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner confirmed on Twitter Wednesday night that former prime minister Stephen Harper will not be seeking Conservative leadership.
The announcement, Rempel says, was from Harper himself, after days of online murmurs and a thin field of Conservative candidates had many of the party’s supporters crossing their fingers that the former prime minister would return from his life away from the political centre stage.
The confirmation is yet another ding in the Tory leadership, as the number of strong potential Conservative candidates drops lower by the day.
For those keeping track, former interim leader Rona Ambrose announced that she had no intention of running. Jean Charest seemed up for the job for a hot second, though he too would steer clear, following some dramatics.
Though Conservative social media put their faith in Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre, he too would decide to not run for leadership, citing his desire to spend time with his family.
With a number of candidates now officially out, Conservative members now face three viable contenders: Former Veteran Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole, who also serves as the Conservative Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu, and former Harper minister Peter MacKay, who’s polling as the clear front runner.
Candidates will have until Feb. 27 to decide to enter the race. The votes will be counted and announced June 27.
Would the International Criminal Court prosecutor opening an investigation into Palestine be a good idea?
Sarah Teich is a lawyer and a consultant to the Canadian Coalition Against Terror. She holds a law degree from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in Counter-Terrorism. She spent four months in 2016 working with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague and received a commendation for her work.
On December 20, 2019, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, announced that she was prepared to open an investigation into the situation in Palestine, following a four-year preliminary examination. Ms. Bensouda articulated that she was satisfied there was a “reasonable basis to believe” that war crimes have been or are being committed on Palestinian territory–which she defines as the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
This is a loaded announcement, and a brief backgrounder on how the Court operates and the history of Palestinian interaction with it–is essential to understanding this development.
Generally, there are three stages to Prosecution at the Court: the preliminary examination, the investigation, and the trial. The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) currently has several situations in preliminary examination. Most situations are referred to the Court by the State Party in question (“self-referrals”), from governments who lack the capacity to take on these cases domestically. The OTP conducts many preliminary examinations, but not all make it to the investigation stage. For the OTP to open an investigation, it needs to be satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes have been committed, that the Court has jurisdiction over the situation, that no domestic proceedings are covering the issue, and that the situation is of sufficient gravity to warrant use of the Court’s limited resources.
Critically, the OTP only has jurisdiction to investigate crimes that occur in the territory of a State Party, or crimes by State Party nationals. That is, unless the Court has received a specific declaration by a non-state party accepting jurisdiction, or a mandate from the U.N. Security Council to investigate a specific situation.
Despite Ms. Bensouda’s assertion that there is a “reasonable basis” to believe war crimes have been committed in Palestine, there are serious jurisdictional concerns to be considered before any investigation may be initiated.
For starters, is Palestine really a “State”, such that it can confer jurisdiction to the Court? Ms. Bensouda posits that because Palestine is a State Party to the Rome Statute, that is sufficient to close this debate and label Palestine a State. However, this interpretation is inconsistent with well-established principles of public international law.
Specifically, article 1 of the Montevideo Convention, which Ms. Bensouda herself acknowledges as “the most accepted formulation of statehood criteria in international law”–establishes four criteria for statehood. These criteria are permanent population, defined territory, effective government, and capacity to enter into relations with foreign states. Palestinians do appear to have a permanent population, but the other three criteria are lacking. To fulfill the territorial requirement, there must be exclusive control of territory within fixed boundaries. Then, there must be effective government capable of controlling the territory. As Ms. Bensouda acknowledges, the Palestinian Authority does not have control over all territories claimed. The Palestinian Authority does not control Gaza (Hamas does), and Israel has full control over East Jerusalem and large swaths of the West Bank. Palestine may have some capacity to enter foreign relations, as it is able to sign treaties and join international bodies–but this is also disputed, due to provisions of the Oslo Accords.
Ms. Bensouda suggests that this type of analysis should essentially be side-stepped because Palestine is already a State Party to the Rome Statute. But perhaps Palestine should not have been permitted to become a State Party. In fact, this was the position taken by the Government of Canada; that Palestine should not have been permitted to become a State Party. Canada believed this was both legally wrong, and also diminished the likelihood of a sustainable, negotiated peace between Israel and Palestine–down the road.
Even if the Court gets past the difficulties with Palestinian statehood, there is the next question of territorial jurisdiction. Does the Court have jurisdiction to investigate crimes in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza? Palestine is a State Party to the Rome Statute, but Israel is not, and the Court only has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the territory of a State Party. So, the next question becomes: what constitutes the territory of Palestine? Does the territory of Palestine include the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza? That is the position taken by Palestine and adopted by Ms. Bensouda. However, for the Court to take this position would be problematic. As Ms. Bensouda acknowledges, these borders are disputed.
Precisely because of the disputed nature of the borders, Ms. Bensouda is now asking a panel of Court judges to rule on the scope of her territorial jurisdiction – to “confirm” that Palestinian territory for purposes of jurisdiction includes the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. For the Court to step into this highly politicized arena and to essentially draw the borders of two states without their consent–is a dramatic overstep and would be detrimental to the ongoing peace process. These questions that the Court is now tasked with answering, are matters of policy and diplomacy, not international crime. The issues are best left to the negotiation table, not the courtroom.
When Palestine became a State Party, Canada objected. Canada also objected to Palestine’s “self-referral” to the Court of this situation back in 2015. Canada should continue to object to these moves. This is not what the International Criminal Court was designed to do.
While WHO decided today that it was too early to call the coronavirus a “public health crisis,” the world is now keeping a watchful eye on China, where the virus first originated.
China’s track record when it comes to pandemics is not a good one. In November of 2002, an outbreak of the now well-known SARS virus—which is similar in nature to the new coronavirus—began in China’s Guangdong province, with a population in 133 million. The People’s Republic of China did not notify the WHO until February 10, 2003, reporting that 305 cases including 105 health-care workers, and five deaths.
The People’s Republic, in an effort to hide the truth from its citizens, a common practice used to keep up morale, discouraged the nation’s press from reporting on the SARS outbreak, and even hid reports from the World Health Organization.
China would even go so far as to prevent WHO teams from visiting the Guangdong province where the disease first spread, not allowing entry until April.
The reason for China’s shifty and suspicious behaviour of not disclosing information regarding when plagues and natural disasters (i.e. 2009 earthquake) could be thanks partly to a traditional belief called the Mandate of Heaven. According to the mandate, great disasters like famine, floods, plagues, and earthquakes were a sign from the heavens that the gods were displeased with the current ruler—reluctance to admit this to the public would often lead to civil unrest, as the masses believed the heavens were warning the people of the ruler’s illegitimacy.
The virus continued to spread throughout the world thanks to China’s inaction. In February of 2004, an elderly woman returned to Toronto from Hong Kong. She died after infecting her son, who would go on to spread the disease at Scarborough Grace Hospital, before himself succumbing to the virus.
If Canada were to learn from the past, the country would immediately and unapologetically forbid all direct flights from China to enter Canada. With the knowledge that the virus can spread person-to-person, it’s vital that the country delay the virus’ entry at all costs—though it may already be too late. Two Quebec hospitals are supervising five potential carriers, all of whom recently returned from China.
SARS eventually ended up killing 44 people in Canada, which would make it the only country not in Asia to have deaths from the virus.
We can now see that China is in a full-blown panic regarding the virus. The country has taken several massive steps, including cancelling the world’s busiest travel year, the solar New Year, in the nation’s capital. The country has also put three major cities into quarantine, a massive step which will prevent people from leaving or entering city limits. Plans have also been announced that the city will construct dedicated coronavirus hospitals in just six days time.
The origins of the virus have been traced back to a market in the Wuhan city center, but some have started to question this. With China’s history of dishonesty, is it really that out of the question that the origins lie in something more malevolent?
Take for example the Wuhan maximum security biolab which opened in 2017, one of many planned facilities of that nature across China. According to Nature, Wuhan built a lab to deal with “the world’s most dangerous pathogens,”
According to the Nature article, scientists outside China worried about pathogens escaping, and that “the addition of a biological dimension to geopolitical tensions between China and other nations.”
Whether this had any part in the virus will probably never come to light. But with certainty, Canadians and the world should be wary of any official information released from China’s regime.
Canada’s national archives was hit by a “major flood” that damaged much of the collection containing priceless records and books. Despite this, information about the flooding was withheld from the public, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
More seriously, however, the agency has denied that a single part of the collection had been ruined through water damage. This denial came in spite of an official auditors report that stated that there was indeed “damage” to the collection.
As well as this, photographs that were discovered through an access of information request seem to show significant damage to the collection—showing an inch of water on the floor of the building.
The archive’s spokesperson, however, stated that “No collection material was damaged by water … one bay of books, apparently thirty items, were damp but were immediately air dried.”
When the damage was audited in 2019, reports confirmed that the “major flood” had caused substantial harm. “Some items that were damaged by the water were still undergoing treatment,” the report stated.
Finally, after being presented with irrefutable proof, the library’s spokesperson acknowledged that the archive’s collection had been “affected by this leak … some of the items had water on them.”
It is unclear why Canada’s national archives were attempting to keep this a secret.
Canada’s national archives receives $127.4 million annual budget.