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Mind Bending Politics: Ontario Ombudsman: A Watch Dog That Isn’t Watching PT.1

(Ontario’s Watch Dog Caught Not Watching)   The Ontario Ombudsman’s office recently got new powers to investigate school boards, municipalities and universities. The early months of these new expanded powers has seen this office more run like a customer service wing of government rather than one with investigative powers to resolve issues. In fact, the […] . . . → Read More: Mind Bending Politics: Ontario Ombudsman: A Watch Dog That Isn’t Watching PT.1

In-Sights: A reader comments

I’ve been reporting information taken from annual and quarterly reports of BC Hydro. There are important economic issues and billions of dollars at stake and the people who benefit from the way BC Hydro operates are many, some of them influential. Corp… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: A reader comments

Mind Bending Politics: No Accountability on Provincial Funds, As Ontario’s Finances Are in Major Trouble

The Liberal Party in Ontario has been in power for over a decade. Most governments regardless of party get a little bit too comfy in their positions to actually govern and show up for work when called upon. In the last election, the people of Ontario rejected the far right position of austerity (many still […] . . . → Read More: Mind Bending Politics: No Accountability on Provincial Funds, As Ontario’s Finances Are in Major Trouble

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.- John Quiggin examines – and refutes – a few key complaints about fairer taxes on the wealthy. But Kathryn May reports that the Cons are eager to use public resources to investigate and punish public servants … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Dani Rodrik discusses the evolution of work, and notes that future development and sharing of wealth may need to follow a different model than the one that’s applied in the past:(T)he post-industrial economy o… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Mind Bending Politics: US Press Pool Can’t Figure Trump Out

Most Canadians are very familiar with “shock” politicians. We had one of our own, and Americans need only to look at former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to understand the political similarities of republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Trump has said many shocking things as of late; most recently wanting to ban Muslims from entering […] . . . → Read More: Mind Bending Politics: US Press Pool Can’t Figure Trump Out

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- David MacDonald offers some alternative suggestions that can do far more to reduce inequality and boost Canada’s economy than the Libs’ upper-class tax shuffle. And Karl Nerenberg reminds us that the most import… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- I’ll start in on my own review of the NDP’s election campaign over the next few days, focusing on what I see as being the crucial decisions as the campaign played out. But for those looking for some of what’s been written already, I’ll point out recaps and analysis from Charlie Demers, Tim Ellis, Hassan Arif, Evan Dyer, Jenn Jefferys, Christopher Majka, Gerald Caplan, Jim Quail, Elizabeth McSheffrey and Paul Dechene – while noting that I’ll be challenging and/or expanding on some of their analysis (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On unaccountability

Shorter Harper Cons: It has come to our attention that we may have come to power on a platform of “whistleblower protection“. This was a typo: our plan was instead to pursue “whistleblower prosecution”. Don’t you dare tell anybody about the error.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Michal Rozworski calls for the election to include far more discussion as to who benefits from our economy as it’s designed, and who gets left behind. Michael Wilson examines how Canada’s economy has become far less equal over the past few decades. And Michelle Zilio talks to Munir Sheikh about the “made in Canada recession” under the Harper Cons, as a rare divergence between Canada and the rest of the world is seeing us headed in the wrong direction even as the U.S. and other developed countries do relatively well.

- Joanna (Read more…)

Larry Hubich's Blog: Harperman, a Protest Song

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Howard Elliott writes about the need for senior levels of government to help address the housing needs facing Canadian communities. And the report from Saskatchewan’s advisory group on poverty reduction includes housing among its key priorities as well (while also favouring work on a basic income).

- Meanwhile, Armine Yalnizyan reminds us that the Cons’ destruction of the census is making it far more difficult to identify and address social problems.

- Justin Ling documents the latest example of Stephen Harper’s utter contempt for the concept of accountability, as national media outlets (Read more…)

Mind Bending Politics: Harper’s House of Cards is Falling Down

If you haven’t tuned into the Duffy trial over the past week, than you are living under a rock, or you’re missing one of the best political dramas in Canadian history. The cross examination of Nigel Wright in Senator Mike Duffy’s trial over inappropriate expenses, is becoming quite interesting to many Canadians. Canada seems to […] . . . → Read More: Mind Bending Politics: Harper’s House of Cards is Falling Down

Accidental Deliberations: On points of agreement

Let’s see if we can turn Stephen Harper’s otherwise laughable spin on his PMO’s widespread cover-up into a couple of points we can all agree on.

First, the ultimate responsibility for lies and cover-ups lies with superiors rather than subordinates – in Harper’s own words:

Second, exactly one person fits bears that responsibility when it comes to the unethical actions of the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff and central advisors.

And there are plenty of Conservatives ready to shout down anybody who tries to suggest otherwise.

Mind Bending Politics: The Munk School of Global Affairs on Possible Conflict of Interest In Debates

Last week, I wrote that the Munk School of Global Affairs received $9 million in federal research grants, and hinted about a possible conflict of interest this funding may have on the federal leaders debate, and with the leader selection processes for these debates. The Munk School of Global Affairs responded to that blog. Munk […] . . . → Read More: Mind Bending Politics: The Munk School of Global Affairs on Possible Conflict of Interest In Debates

Accidental Deliberations: On governing alternatives

As David Climenhaga points out, Brad Wall has positioned himself as the heir to Stephen Harper’s throne as the voice of the anti-democratic corporate elite. But let’s note that Wall and his mindset aren’t without some jarring approval within the media.

For example, I’ve already highlighted John Ibbitson’s argument that the federal NDP should be concealing the fact that it’s talking to people who can help with preparations in the event that voters choose to elect it. (As an aside, that theory is as politically inexplicable for a party focused on being “ready” for government as it is offensive (Read more…)

Mind Bending Politics: Big Media Influencing Canadian Election For Political Favoritism

As the debates over the debates has raged on over the past several months, one thing is becoming increasingly clear. Journalists in Canada seem to be throwing out their duty of independence and holding our political parties to account for political favors; thus Canadians can’t rely on the media to do their traditional role of […] . . . → Read More: Mind Bending Politics: Big Media Influencing Canadian Election For Political Favoritism

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jeffrey Sachs writes about the need to shape a more moral, less exploitative economy. So needless to say, the Cons are instead working on promoting corruption.

- Mark Weisbrot discusses how the Troika’s attempt to impose continued austerity on Greece in the face of public resistance can’t be seen as much more than an attempt at coercive regime change. And John Nichols reports on just a few of the voices rightly lauding the refusal of Greece’s electorate to go along with that plan.

- Scott Eric Kaufman talks to Erik Loomis about (Read more…)

In-Sights: Liberal strategy emerges to contain health scandal

Rob Shaw’s article in the Liberal Party’s urban newspaper of record indicates a search for new scapegoats in the Health Research Scandal is underway. It is reported that departed ministry advisor Alana James is still worried about “conflicts of interest, contracting, privacy breaches, data handling and financial matters involving ministry health research and contracting.”

This is more spin from friends of BC Liberals. James admits that MacIsaac — the person most deserving of sympathy — was a scapegoated victim but only refers to the other fired individuals as low hanging fruit. She reiterates accusations about “conflicts of interest, contracting, privacy breaches, data handling (Read more…)

In-Sights: Blood on their hands

An earlier In-Sights article included: I have no doubt BC Liberal involvement with Big Pharma is at the root of high-level government decisions to knee-cap research into the safety and efficacy of more than $25 billion worth of pharmaceuticals sold each year in Canada.

Writing in the Vancouver Observer, family practitioner Dr. Warren Bell emphasizes and enlarges upon my inference: B.C. Premier Christy Clark and her senior ministers are using every tactic in the book to avoid any sort of public disclosure of what happened behind the scenes when eight health researchers were illegitimately fired, one after the other, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Carol Goar discusses the contrasting messages being sent to Canada’s middle class in the lead up to Canada’s federal election campaign – and notes that the real decision for voters to make is whether they’re happy with marginally higher nominal incomes at the expense of greater inequality and more precarious lives. Mark Goldring makes the case for an economy oriented toward what’s best for people rather than short-term profits: Tackling inequality requires that people, not profit constitute the bottom line. We need everyone who is in a position of influence – business (Read more…)

In-Sights: Socialist hordes at the gates, this time for real

Merriam-Webster:“Socialism: a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government”

For years, leaders of the BC Business Party (AKA Social Credit or Liberal) echoed W.A.C. Bennett’s 1972 warning, “The socialist hordes are at the gates of British Columbia.”

Maclean’s Magazine reported in 1999 that Liberal leader Gordon Campbell “is promising to weed socialist apparatchiks from the civil service.”

In 2010, Liberal campaigner Jim Shepard said,

“You know, we lived through socialism in B.C. for 10 years. I know what it looks like and it is not (Read more…)

In-Sights: Enablers of misconduct, "if it is done here"

The current FIFA scandal illustrates a human behaviour that allows criminal behaviour to succeed. By nature, people tend to ignore the misconduct of others if preventing or revealing it extracts a higher price than ignoring it. Undoubtedly, insiders and observers were aware of high-level corruption at the international football organization. However, most FIFA Congress members disregarded the behaviour and discouraged reform efforts because they gained from the status quo and were unprepared to trade advantage for discomfort.

The same behaviour of people is evident elsewhere. In our unitary system of government, with power — the ability to reward or punish (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Toby Sanger takes a look at Canada’s balance sheets and finds that both households and governments are piling up debt while the corporate sector hoards cash: (A)ll the recent handwringing over rising household and debt levels ignores one critical point: any one person’s financial liability is someone else’s financial asset. Across all the sectors in the economy (households, corporations, governments and non-residents) in the national balance sheet, net borrowing and lending all balance out to zero.

The rising income share of the top one percent has been startling (and also echoed in increasing (Read more…)

Blevkog: Pierre Polievre does it again…

I do, I really do. I try not to lose it. I try to keep it civil. I try to hold it together. But then this: Pierre Polievre is a fucking worm.