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Canadian Dimension | Articles: Harper ramps up his war on independent thought

In the conservative quest to shape public debate in recent years, no tool has proved more useful than the think tank. Nobody understood this better than the director of the ultra-right wing U.S.-based ATLAS Foundation, who once stated that his mission was “to litter the world with free-market think tanks.”

Mission accomplished. Certainly the Canadian . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Harper ramps up his war on independent thought

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Can the NDP challenge Harper on the economy?

The NDP’s announcement that it will push for a national minimum wage if elected is good news and suggests that the party may finally be overcoming its decades-long aversion to engaging its Liberal and Conservative adversaries on the question of the economy. It’s too early to tell if they will follow up with other policy . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Can the NDP challenge Harper on the economy?

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Neoliberalism & the City

Municipalities have long been sites of neoliberal policy experimentation and contestation. Since the onset of the 2008 recession, the local state has come under new pressures to privatize social services and reduce the costs of public administration, often through seeking wage and benefit concessions from unionized municipal workers. For proponents of neoliberalism, states ought to . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Neoliberalism & the City

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Vancouver Votes: Hope for COPE?

For a city embraced by mountains on one side and ocean on the other, Vancouver can seem like an unhappy place. And with a civic election scheduled for November 15, smack in the middle of the rainy season, it will take some major mobilizing to improve the mood of left-wing residents.

Sitting mayor Gregor Robertson . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Vancouver Votes: Hope for COPE?

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Northern Gateway and class politics in British Columbia: ready for war?

This piece was originally published on rabble.ca and was republished here with the author’s permission.

“But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence… illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay sacredness is held to be enhanced . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Northern Gateway and class politics in British Columbia: ready for war?

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Who Needs $80 Billion? Starve Us Some More!

For years Stephen Harper often seemed at war with his own government, so consistently critical were reviews by its various independent oversight agencies. It seems that at least one “independent” body, the Parliamentary Budget Office, is now a little more PMO-friendly. A recent report from the PBO’s new chief Jean-Denis Fréchette declared that thanks to . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Who Needs $80 Billion? Starve Us Some More!

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Stephen Harper’s ‘Strategic’ Path to Ruin

The federal government, that is Stephen Harper, is expected to announce its long anticipated decision on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline sometime in June. The decision could well determine whether or not the Conservatives can win the 2015 election.

The momentum of opposition to the pipeline — and perhaps more importantly to the hundreds of supertankers . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Stephen Harper’s ‘Strategic’ Path to Ruin

Canadian Dimension | Articles: The Temporary Foreign Worker Program and labour solidarity

The context of migration not only makes it easier for employers to exploit TFWs, it also serves to obscure the common core of labour solidarity that should be at the basis of responses to the greater labour discipline that the TFWP enables.

The expansion of the TFWP and its increasing application to low-wage work has . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: The Temporary Foreign Worker Program and labour solidarity

Canadian Dimension | Articles: An open letter on the Fair Elections Act

Last month, more than 160 professors signed an open letter to express grave concerns about the damage to Canadian democracy that the “Fair Elections Act,” Bill C-23, would cause. Today, we the undersigned, an even larger group of professors who share a deep concern over this legislation, urge the government to withdraw the bill and . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: An open letter on the Fair Elections Act

Canadian Dimension | Articles: When it comes to political ideas, how big is ‘big’?

The notion of “big ideas” periodically raises its head in Canadian politics and I recently criticized the NDP for taking a good idea – a national day of action – and wasting it in on, well, small ideas. Specifically I suggested that the party’s focus on excessive interest rates and other charges effectively redefined citizens . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: When it comes to political ideas, how big is ‘big’?

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Big oil’s chokehold on Canadian democracy

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini

With the announcement by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) of formal complaints against the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) for illegally spying on environmental groups opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Big oil’s chokehold on Canadian democracy

Canadian Dimension | Articles: We need a federal politics of big ideas

Budget days should be days when Canadians are encouraged to imagine the possibilities for one of the richest countries in the world. Not the possibilities of the shopping mall or the offerings of Netflix, but the possibilities of building – or rebuilding – community.

At its best, that is what government is supposed to be . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: We need a federal politics of big ideas

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Selling prosperity in a time of austerity: Budget days in BC and Quebec

Two very different provincial governments tabled their budgets this week. The freshly-elected BC Liberals and the seemingly election-ready Parti Quebecois both delivered what they termed “responsible” budgets. While the two governments identify with opposing ends of the political spectrum and face distinct political climates, these differences did not prevent their budgets from displaying some eerie . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Selling prosperity in a time of austerity: Budget days in BC and Quebec

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Stephen Harper’s meanness may backfire

In politics, meanness can go only so far.

Ontario’s Mike Harris Conservatives discovered that — albeit only after Harris had stepped down as premier.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s federal Conservatives may be about to learn the same lesson.

Up to now, meanness — or hardball politics as it is euphemistically termed — has served Harper . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Stephen Harper’s meanness may backfire

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Canada’s new citizenship bill a Trojan horse

The federal government’s new citizenship bill is a Trojan horse.

It is presented as an attempt to reduce fraud and rationalize the process of becoming a Canadian citizen, both of which are sensible aims.

But it would also give Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government unprecedented authority to strip Canadians — including thousands born in . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Canada’s new citizenship bill a Trojan horse

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Ideology and Central Banking in the Crisis

‘Privatizing gains and socializing losses’ could be the motto for the neoliberal era. Alongside this and ‘there is no alternative,’ few slogans better capture the ideology that has been so successfully diffused throughout the world over the past several decades.

Five years after latest financial crisis, this motto rings true as ever. To say that . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Ideology and Central Banking in the Crisis

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Editorial: Building the Left to challenge Rob Ford

Toronto mayor Rob Ford is a political phenomenon deserving of close attention, but not for the reasons often cited. The mayor’s crack smoking, binge drinking and seemingly terminal foot-in-mouth disease grab headlines, but the media coverage seldom serves up anything approaching political analysis.

Instead, it relies on simplistic, divisive explanations for Ford’s success: suburbs . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Editorial: Building the Left to challenge Rob Ford

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Building the Left to challenge Rob Ford

Toronto mayor Rob Ford is a political phenomenon deserving of close attention, but not for the reasons often cited. The mayor’s crack smoking, binge drinking and seemingly terminal foot-in-mouth disease grab headlines, but the media coverage seldom serves up anything approaching political analysis.

Instead, it relies on simplistic, divisive explanations for Ford’s success: suburbs . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Building the Left to challenge Rob Ford

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Crimes against Canada’s homeless

Here are some troubling facts that we should all know:

500,000+ homeless people across Canada;

4,000+ homeless people on Toronto streets and in overcrowded, disease-ridden shelters;

80,000-90,000 underhoused, at-risk families on Toronto’s “social housing” waiting list during last 5 years;

150,000+ people forced to use food banks in Ontario;

50,000+ children are hungry everyday in . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Crimes against Canada’s homeless

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Harper and His Movement Were No Friends to Mandela

Of all the hypocrisies revealed by Stephen Harper, perhaps none are so morally offensive as his sudden, solemn respect for Nelson Mandela. We will never know how Harper would reconcile his past attitudes towards apartheid with his trip to South Africa to honour the iconic statesman at his memorial.

In 1989 Harper was a member . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Harper and His Movement Were No Friends to Mandela

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Demand or destruction? Two ways out of the profitability puzzle

In my previous post, I outlined the disconnect between profitability and investment in Canada’s private sector. While businesses are doing well and profits have rebounded quickly after the global financial crisis of 2007, investment has continued its slow and steady 20-year decline. This decline is especially visible when investment is related directly to profits. Slightly . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Demand or destruction? Two ways out of the profitability puzzle

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Beyond Stop Harper

Confronting austerity and the Conservative agenda

Struggles for climate justice are working to stop corporate oil pipelines. Indigenous movements are fighting to decouple economic growth from the exploitation of traditional lands. Migrant justice advocates are struggling to halt the criminalization of immigrants and refugees. Students and workers are building struggles against neoliberal policies which undercut . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Beyond Stop Harper

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Why Tories Are So Afraid of What Deloitte’s Runia Might Testify

With all the reporting on the Senate scandal you might think there’s not much more to be discovered. But reading the actual documents the RCMP turned up in its Mike Duffy investigation is definitely worth the effort. The documents pull back the curtain on Harperland, a landscape so profoundly unethical Harper’s staff does not hesitate . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Why Tories Are So Afraid of What Deloitte’s Runia Might Testify

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Moving Beyond Our Obsession with Stephen Harper

Remember Brian Mulroney, the PM so many people loved to hate? We need to remember him so we can learn a lesson from that period in our political history: there is a real danger in demonizing prime ministers to the exclusion of other longer term political objectives. Mulroney’s unctuous manner, his arrogance and his shameless . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: Moving Beyond Our Obsession with Stephen Harper

Canadian Dimension | Articles: The Extradition Case of Dr. Hassan Diab

Hassan Diab is a mild-mannered Ottawa university professor with a passion for history and culinary skills that surely the French would appreciate. In fact, the French government has invested much energy to have Diab brought to Paris, but not for his vegetarian kebbah.

Rather, Dr. Diab is sought for questioning about his alleged role in . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension | Articles: The Extradition Case of Dr. Hassan Diab