Since one of the main issues talked about so far in relation to the Cons’ terror bill is the question of oversight, I’ll point back to what I said the last time we were told that the way to split the difference between abuses of power and a desire for secrecy was to allow only a small number of elected officials to know – but not act on – what’s going on: Remember that many of the worst abuses by the U.S. government under Bushco were defended later on the basis that Democrats were informed of their existence. And (Read more…)
Laila Yuile uncovered an indication that Stephen Harper has new plans for Gordon Campbell. It involves a telephone pollster with Conservative ties asking a call recipient if Gordon Campbell was trustworthy. In politics today, fact matters less than perception. The former Premier’s trustworthiness could be determined from the record but the PMO cares not about that, they care about how BC residents regard Campbell. Instead of being guided by principle, Conservatives prefer government by polls, focus groups and preferences of their petulant prince.
Nevertheless, to assist pollsters in the determination of whether Gordon Campbell is trustworthy enough to be a (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Linda McQuaig discusses who stands to lose out from a CETA designed to limit its benefits to the corporate elite. And PressProgress points out that Canada’s pay gap between CEOs and workers is higher than that of any other OECD country other than the U.S.
- Meanwhile, all indications are that the Canadian public is more than ready for a change in direction, as EKOS finds a significant shift toward more progressive positions in the past few years even on many of the issues where the Cons have focused the most (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Aaron Wherry reviews what the last week has told us about the functioning (or absence thereof) of our House of Commons – and points out that the most important problem is one which hasn’t yet surfaced in headlines or memes: (T)he most important sentence delivered last week about the state of our Parliament might’ve been found not on any screen, speaker or widely read page, but on page four of the Parliamentary Budget Office’s quarterly expenditure review: “The Government has refused to release data that is necessary for the PBO to determine whether the (Read more…)
Puffery is an exaggeration or overstatement expressed in broad, vague, and commendatory language. According to Law for Business (Barnes et al., 1991), “The elements of misrepresentation are ordinarily given as: Misrepresentation of a material fact justifiably relied upon to the detriment (causing harm to) to the person relying.”
As I noted a few days ago, Andrew Carnegie, a 19th century robber baron and 20th century philanthropist, once said, “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”
Tuesday, Elizabeth Denham, British Columbia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner gave us (Read more…)
Comparing remuneration of senior public officials in Washington State to BC counterparts can leave one astounded. The most obvious examples are at the publicly owned investment management agencies and the ferry operations. Despite paying substantially less to executives, both Washington State Investment Board and Washington State Ferries outperformed equivalents north of the border. In recent years, WSIB earned better investment returns than bcIMC and WSF had growing utilization while the opposite is true as BCF. My review of Washington’s senior civil servants is also demonstrating major differences.
I surmise that rules of open government in the neighboring State are great (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- David Atkins highlights how public policy and corporate strategy have both instead been directed toward squeezing every possible dime out of the public: The less noticed but potentially more consequential way that policymakers across the industrialized world set about accomplishing this goal was to push their middle classes to invest their wealth into assets, especially stocks and real estate, then use the levers of public policy to inflate the values of those assets in order to disguise the inevitable declines in wages. There was also a concerted effort to hide wage losses by (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Frances Russell writes about the corrosive effects of inequality. And Robert Reich points out one creative option California is considering to address inequality at the firm level: tying corporate tax levels to wage parity, under the theory that shareholders will then have an incentive to push for a fair distribution of wages.
- Peter Richardson reviews Matt Taibbi’s The Divide: Taibbi explores why Wall Street bankers are seemingly exempt from criminal prosecution, even as New York City targets petty crime — much of it manufactured by police in minority neighborhoods — more (Read more…)
It’s not exactly news that Harper has never liked Elections Canada. In fact, it’s less than news. His outraged utterances about Elections Canada when he was head of the National Citizens Coalition (NCC) in the 1990s set the tone for the content of Bill C-23.
“The jackasses at Elections Canada are out of control.”
In 2001, Stephen Harper was president of the National Citizens Coalition. That was his opening line in a fundraising letter.
His loathing for the election overseers was almost pathological, recalls Gerry Nicholls, the conservative commentator who worked with Mr. Harper at the NCC. (Read more…)
“Engaged City” was unanimously passed yesterday, and it seems like the pundits are all out criticizing the process. … Democratization of the planning process is a fundamental problem with bureaucratic institutions; government is fundamentally hierarchical. Do we target Vision Vancouver? NPA? Nah*- There is a problem with the plumbing and none of them are plumbers…. An Urbanarium, in its basic sense, is a three-dimensional model of the city. If a developer wanted to propose a development, they would have to create a 3-D model of the building(s) and place it on the model city for public review. I can still remember (Read more…)
Inconsiderate reporters waste the time of His Majesty Stephen Harper. Following video speaks volumes about Harper’s attitude. He is accountable to no one. It is a shame. Who would have thought that we will have dictatorship in Canada.
There is no doubt any more that Bill C-23 is deliberately designed to enable the CPC (or other political parties) to engage in the kind of electoral fraud that the CPC has attempted, and been caught out at repeatedly in the past. Worse, it goes so far as to politicize the staffing of voting stations. None of this can end well. Consider the following list of malfeasance on the part of the CPC since 2006: The “In and Out” Fundraising Scheme (Money Laundering Fraud) 2006 Dean del Mastro is facing charges relating to campaign spending in 2008 Peter Penashue forced (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- Following up on yesterday’s column, David Atkins discusses his own preference for front-end fixes to poverty and inequality: The standard way you’ll hear most progressives address inequality issues is to allow the labor market to run as usual, but levy heavy taxes on the back for redistribution.
No doubt that is the simplest way of doing it. But it also creates some problems, including a perception of unfairness, the potential to simply lower the tax rates when conservatives are put in charge, and capital mobility in which the richest people simply leave (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.
- David Atkins emphasizes the need for progressive parties and activists to discuss big ideas rather than settling for the path of least short-term resistance: Both the poor and the middle class feel threatened and increasingly pessimistic. Opinions of elite institutions across the board are at an all time low. Whether on the right or left, few believe anymore that anyone in government, business, or politics is actually looking out for their interests. In a world like this, the move to ensure that every single individual in society has an equal, infinitesimal chance to (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your weekend.
- Nick Kristof writes that the growing gap in income reflects a similarly growing gap in social perception – and that there’s plenty of need to reduce both: There is an income gap in America, but just as important is a compassion gap. Plenty of successful people see a picture of a needy child and their first impulse is not to help but to reproach. … There may be neurological biases at work. A professor at Princeton found that our brains sometimes process images of people who are poor or homeless as if they were (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Ken Georgetti discusses how the corporate tax giveaways of the past 15 years have hurt most Canadians: The Conservative government and special interest groups claim incessantly that cutting corporate income taxes is good for the economy and for individual Canadians. We have been led to believe that tax giveaways to corporations would lead companies to reinvest in research and development as well as machinery and staff training to boost productivity. This is supposed to stimulate economic growth and create better paying and more secure jobs. But that is not what has happened (Read more…)
Assorted content for your Sunday reading.
- Joseph Stiglitz discusses the link between perpetually-increasing inequality and the loss of social trust: Unfortunately, however, trust is becoming yet another casualty of our country’s staggering inequality: As the gap between Americans widens, the bonds that hold society together weaken. So, too, as more and more people lose faith in a system that seems inexorably stacked against them, and the 1 percent ascend to ever more distant heights, this vital element of our institutions and our way of life is eroding.
The undervaluing of trust has its roots in our most popular economic traditions. (Read more…)
Here, on how Michael Chong’s Reform Act privileges members of Parliament over party members and supporters – and how there’s far more reason for concern about a lack of genuine grassroots input as matters stand now than about the influence of MPs.
For further reading…- I’ll point to Andrew Coyne passim as the main cheerleader for the Reform Act. I refer in the column to some of the points made by Alice Funke and Don Lenihan. And Aaron Wherry surveys a few more responses – including Jeff Jedras’ proposal for a standardized primary system (which would seem to (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Alison chronicles how the definition of “accountability” has changed since the Cons’ own actions started to come under the microscope, while Paul Wells writes about the three different interests at play in the Cons’ scandal. And Tonda MacCharles explores how the Senate bribery scandal developed – though her willingness to take Con talking points at face value seems questionable given how consistently they’ve crumbled when compared to actual evidence, particularly when the likes of Chantal Hebert and Don Martin are eviscerating the Cons’ ever-more-farcical spin.
- Meanwhile, Don Lenihan discusses why gratuitous secrecy (Read more…)