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  1. The answer is literally on the surface, or rather, on the TV screens and newspaper pages – observers have noted the emergence of trends toward a significant easing of legislation and law enforcement practices with respect to foreign human rights and non-commercial organizations. They link it to the fact that the liberal-minded new leader Tokayev replaced the conservative Nazarbayev. Tokayev’s reforms Tokayev has already stated that Kazakhstan will continue the course of political modernization. Four packages of political reforms have already been put forward, and more than 10 laws have been passed as part of their implementation. These include the law "On Rallies", changes in human rights legislation, lowering the registration barrier for organizing political parties and the threshold needed to enter the parliament, increasing the representation of women and young people in the Majilis and Maslikhats (local government bodies), and others. The upcoming reforms are very likely to result in the increase in the number of political parties, and young people, mostly educated in the West, will begin to enter politics. As a matter of fact, a number of serious changes are already visible. For instance, at the XXI Extraordinary Congress of the ruling party President Tokayev supported the idea of renaming Nursultan Nazarbayev's party "Nur Otan" ("Light of the Fatherland") into "Amanat", which in Kazakh means "Testament of ancestors". Thus, Tokayev closed the chapter on the Nazarbayev's era, showing that his intentions to create "new Kazakhstan" are indeed serious. However, it should be mentioned that part of Kazakh society considers Tokayev a pro-western reformer. Tokayev has to keep initiative The early presidential election was designed to strengthen the legitimacy of the government and allow Tokayev to keep the momentum. Kazakhstan’s government timed the elections perfectly. At least, we can say that the steps towards a significant easing of legislation and law enforcement practices in relation to western human rights and non-profit organizations received a positive assessment from the Kazakh opposition. President Tokayev stands out He shows his willingness to respond adequately to the serious challenges of the socio-political situation in the republic. This tendency becomes especially obvious in comparison with its neighbors – the leaders of Russia and Kyrgyzstan, Vladimir Putin and Sadyr Zhaparov, look like Tokayev’s vivid antagonists. However, while in Russia NGOs are actually no longer active (legislation has been tightened, opposition leaders have been convicted or have left the country), in Kyrgyzstan the fight against NGOs is rather declarative, in fact limited to attempts to control funding. As of yet, Kyrgyz NGOs have been active in virtually all spheres of socio-political life. But let’s come back to Kazakhstan for now. As we can see, in order to prevent last year’s protests from repeating, the president of Kazakhstan is willing to make certain concessions. Let’s take the Soros Foundation as an example, which has been active in Kazakhstan since 1995. The Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, which is headed by Yevgeny Zhovtis, actively cooperates with the Soros Foundation. The Youth Information Service of Kazakhstan (YISK), founded in the late 1990s, is another regular participant in the Foundation's projects. The Board of Trustees of the organization, whose task is to develop civic engagement among young people, is headed by Irina Mednikova. Another well-known Soros grantee is the Adil Soz Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech, headed by Tamara Kaleeva. The North Kazakhstan Legal Media Center, headed by Diana Okremova and working in the field of mass media, legal protection and training of journalists, can easily compete with the already mentioned Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law in the amount of grant support. The MediaNet International Center for Journalism, created by a group of Kazakh journalists in 2004, has also been largely supported by Soros. Elena Shvetsova's Erkindik Kanaty (Wings of Freedom) Foundation is also on the list. Obviously, many opinion leaders, public figures, journalists, media, and digital media projects are among the recipients of funds from the Soros Foundation as well. The organization OYAN QAZAQSTAN ("Wake Up, Kazakhstan") is also worth mentioning. It was represented by Suinbike Suleimenova, Kasymkhan Kapparov, Asem Japisheva, Leila Makhmudova, as well as the discussion club Rukh Pen Til ("Spirit and Language"), created by Jeanbolat Mamay, and the radio station Azattyk, which is the Kazakh branch of Radio Liberty, the Finnish Foundation for Media and Development, the non-governmental organization Article 19 and the NGO MLDI Media Legal Defense Initiative, and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange IFEX. It’s safe to say that the activities of the above-mentioned NGOs play a crucial role in protecting the rights of Kazakhstan citizens, who are fighting for the democratic change and the independence of their country. Their main goal is to defend and protect those, who have been wrongly labelled as ‘terrorists’. But, no matter what, Tokayev intends to pursue the policy of liberalization and democratization in Kazakhstan on the level of republican power, especially in justice and law-enforcement sectors. Obviously, physical force does not come into play here – no arms are going to be twisted and no mouths are going to be shut. On the contrary, it becomes evident that the down pressure on the opposition structures is weakening: the aforementioned law “On Rallies” illustrates it perfectly. So, what are the interim results? Major international organizations that have monitored the situation on this issue around the world for several years have noted some improvements in Kazakhstan, while maintaining recommendations to improve the legislation in the republic in terms of protecting the rights and freedoms of its citizens. One such example is the republic's cooperation with the European Union to implement best international practices in the field of human rights protection.
  2. Is anyone else disgusted by the draconian, unjust deep sixing of the Toronto BBQ owner who defied the lockdown order to open indoor dining for three days? This story illustrates exactly why people have become distrustful of the police and government. The $187,000 fine imposed on this business owner is vindictive and doesn't fit the crime. It does explain why small business owners and people in general are suspicious of restrictions that prevent someone from operating a business and earning a livelihood. I just don't think government should have the right to impose such restrictions. The right to earn a living is a basic human right. If you don't want to eat out, then don't. Ensuring social distancing and reduced capacity is one thing, destroying someone's business to make a point that police and government hold all the cards, right or wrong, isn't okay. What recourse does this guy have without taking expensive legal action that he probably can't afford? https://apple.news/A7SiAcw1sRxCR3d6CmZlinA
  3. The Canadian Government is planning to waste at least $235 million for a project, The Thirty Meter Telescope, which won't even be built on Canadian soil. The Thirty Meter Telescope most likely will employ few Canadians. To make matters worse, the telescope will be built in Hawaii, USA on land which is both environmentally and religiously sensitive to the indigenous Hawaiians. I hope everybody will protest against the waste of tax money and human rights abuses. Please sign the petition to stop the injustice happening within the USA at the expense of Canadian taxpayers. I am posting a link to an online petition against the Thirty Meter Telescope and waste of taxpayer money: https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-a-call-to-divest-canada-s-research-funding-for-the-thirty-meter-telescope-on-mauna-kea Please tell your friends to sign the petition too. Thank you for your time.
  4. Can you ever imagine a country like Canada not having clean drinking water? In the 1970s the Canadain government promised to bring clean drinking water to all of Canada. Now in 2020 100% of cities of clean drinking water and 99% of rural areas have clean drinking water. the 1% which is missing is the Indigenous reserves. People living on the reserves don't have access to clean drinking water. They are poorly funded. Now the question of what would the Canadian government do if Toronto had no cleaning drinking water? BTW if you guys want to know more about me and my youtube channel check it out. I interview high profile politicians including Former PMs and MPs and Senators.
  5. Harper and the Conservatives have been responsible for so many negative, divisive and disgraceful actions that it's hard to keep track of all of them. So, I thought it would be helpful to have a thread to catalogue them. Here is an opening list: - Ran huge deficits caused by ill-advised and ineffective tax cuts - Politicized non-partisan institutions by using or squabbling with the incombents; including the GG, Elections Canada, the PBO, and the SCC - Dramatically increased the centralization of power in the PMO - Interfered in the internal workings of the Senate - Appointed the most partisan and corrupt senators - Gutted environmental rules and laws - Used the CRA to attack environmental groups and charities that disagreed with his policies - Gagged scientists to prevent information that would not support his pro-oil agenda from reaching the public - Defunded pure scientific research in favour of applied science that would help his industry friends - Destroyed scientific documents with no assurance that they were digitized first - After being elected on a platform of accountability, did everything possible to evade accountability - Was found in contempt of parliament - Systematically interfered in the ability of Parliament to perform its duties by withholding information, proroguing parliament and writing omnibus bills so massive they couldn't properly be debated - Undermined democracy by deliberately disenfranchising groups of voters that are not inclined to vote for him and by changing media rules to better allow for negative campaiging - Damaged our international reputation through one-sided support of Israel and against the Palesinians - Damaged our international reputation and climate change efforts by withdrawing from Kyoto. This list isn't even close to being complete. There is a website called shd.ca Note: if you want to debate the actions of Chretien, Wynne, Pierre Trudeau, or anyone else, you're welcome to open a different thread.
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