Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, condensing this post about the lessons the federal NDP can and should learn from past provincial elections.

For further reading…- Michelle Gagnon notes that one area where matters don’t seem to be in doubt is Quebec, where the NDP looks set to hold or even build on its 2011 wave. And with the NDP’s numbers looking strong in B.C. as well, that leaves Ontario as the largest piece of the puzzle which remains in substantial doubt.- Susan Delacourt comments on the ghosts looming over each of the federal parties.  – Finally, John Ivison writes (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on Donna Harpauer and the Saskatchewan Party are dismissing their own advisory group’s recommendation to work to cut Saskatchewan poverty in half by the end of the decade.

For further reading…- The StarPhoenix echoes Donna Harpauer’s defeatism.- Danielle Martin and Ryan Meili make the case for a basic income, which appears as one of the advisory group’s recommendations.  – And for a review of the multiplier effects of different fiscal choices, see Mark Zandi’s analysis here (PDF) – showing infrastructure spending and income supports accomplishing far more than tax cuts or corporate giveaways.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, summarizing these posts on the dangers of setting up past advocacy as a barrier to a place in public life.

For further reading…- Again, Sean Fine’s report on the Cons’ general ideological screening for judges is here.  – Glenn Kauth reports on Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin’s lack of concern about Justice Russell Brown’s past comments. – Rachel Aiello reports on how political parties vet candidates through their social media histories, while John Baglow follows up on the NDP’s vetting policy. And Jamie Weinman argues that we should expect more than to play “gotcha” with candidates’ past (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, expanding on this post as to how we should be criticizing the politicians who are wilfully misleading the public about the future of Canada’s oil industry – and not the ones who are willing to keep living in reality once a campaign is on.

And if Stephen Harper comes out of hiding today, it might offer a particularly opportune time to explain why he’s in agreement with the “decarbonisation of the global economy”, along with what his government plans to do to achieve that goal. 

For further reading…- Again, Justin Trudeau’s comment on the need to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, with my suggestions as to what viewers should watch for in tonight’s leaders’ debate – particularly in a campaign where we’ll have ample opportunity to see everything but interaction between party leaders.

For further reading…- David Reevely describes the staging behind most of the campaign events we’ll see between now and election day. And Scott Reid takes a look at the preparation which goes into each debate as well.- Macleans offers a primer on tonight’s debate. And Aaron Wherry, Bruce Anderson, Laura Payton, and Chantal Hebert all note a few additional points to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, reminding us that it’s our communities who ultimately pay the price for the poorly-thought-out election announcements from senior levels of government that we’ve seen so frequently recently.

For further reading…- CTV reported on last week’s Evraz Place expansion announcement, while the Leader-Post offered an all-too-obvious example of cheerleading for a shiny new project while paying no attention to the opportunity costs involved. – Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan Party’s regular announcements and re-announcements of what proved to be an ill-thought-out scheme for new school construction have lasted from last July to last November to just last month. – And (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, taking a look at the voter pools the NDP will be looking to win over in order to come out ahead in if this fall’s federal election turns into a two-party race. And I’ll note that while Alberta may serve as the most recent precedent, similar patterns can be found in the NDP’s previous rises to power in other provinces.

For further reading…- Both Nanos and EKOS have polled as to the federal parties’ accessible and second-choice support, with the NDP currently leading the pack on both fronts.- And for more about the business groups who (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, expanding on this post as to the Harper Cons’ choice between short-term tactics and long-term viability.

For further reading, Jamey Heath argues that the Libs are serving only split voters who have a common interest in change, and that the progressive vote should coalesce behind the NDP. But in contrast, Don Lenihan theorizes that the content-free brokerage model long associated with the Libs is set for a comeback dressed up as “open government”.

That said, it seems that there’s one possible outcome of this fall’s election and its aftermath which fits all of the above pieces together. It (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how we should be taking the crisis in Greece and other global instability as reasons to ensure Canada retains the authority to act in its own interest – rather than excuses for rendering ourselves just as helpless as Greece itself.

For further reading…

- Mark Blyth nicely documents the origins of the debt now being held over Greece’s head, while Sara Yasin and Emilie Munson take a look at who was really bailed out from Greece’s borrowing in the wake of the global financial crisis.

- Amanda Taub writes that neither Greece nor anybody else really knew (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, following up on these posts about the possibility the Cons might decide to ignore their own fixed election date and delay the election expected for October 19. 

For further reading…

- The Canada Elections Act is here. And for an interesting comparison, see Saskatchewan’s fixed election date provision from the Legislative Assembly Act, 2007: 8.1(1) Unless a general election has been held earlier because of the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, the first general election after the coming into force of this section must be held on Monday, November 7, 2011.(2) Subject to subsection (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Regina and its citizens did fairly well responding to a water shortage – but has plenty to learn in applying the lesson to the wider collective challenge of climate change.

For further reading…- The water shortage began a month ago, with CBC’s coverage here and here largely describing the problem and the City’s initial response. And CTV reported on the end to the immediate restrictions here. – In contrast, Rob Kuznia reports on Rancho Santa Fe’s appalling response to California’s drought, which has given rise to mandatory water use reductions.- The National Resources Defence (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Alberta’s strengthened political financing rules under Rachel Notley’s NDP only highlight how far Saskatchewan has fallen behind.

For further reading…- Bill 1 is here (PDF), while Alberta’s legislation which it amends to prohibit organizational donations is the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, RSA 2000, c E-2 found here. And by way of comparison, the closest Saskatchewan has to the current or amended versions of sections 16 and 17 of that legislation is section 242 of the Election Act, 1996, SS 1996, c E-6.01 here. – I’ll point again to Barret Weber’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the Senate’s failure to provide any second thought on C-51 may serve as the ultimate signal that it has nothing useful to offer Canadians.

For further reading…- PressProgress’ look at the Senate’s sad history is well worth a read. The CBC reports on the Auditor General’s findings about the widespread abuse of public money. And Ian Austen offers a U.S. perspective on what comes next for the Senate.- Meanwhile, Karl Nerenberg explains why abolition is well within reach if anybody is willing to take a leadership role in pursuing it without reopening other (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how we should expect our leaders to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on residential schools – and what we’ve seen from the Cons instead.

For further reading…- PressProgress offers the video of Bernard Valcourt sticking out like a sore thumb in his refusal to consider missing and murdered indigenous women to merit any action. And Lucia Lorenzi points out that the Cons are blocking action to deal with violence against women in any form.- CBC reports on the federal parties’ respective responses to the Commission’s report, while the Hansard text of Stephen (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the Saskatchewan Party’s devaluation of the music teacher (among other cultural and community-building parts of our schools).

For further reading…- CBC reported on the Prairie Spirit School Division’s decision to eliminate school bands here, and Janet French did likewise here.- The Star-Phoenix’ editorial board weighed in here. And now, even the Saskatchewan Party is pretending to oppose what its policy choices have wrought.- And for those looking to support the students trying to save their band program, Shawna Langer’s petition is here.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, expanding on this post about the new challenges the Cons are facing heading into this fall’s election.

For further reading…- Geoffrey Stevens offers his own take on the Cons’ weaknesses. – Meanwhile, Nik Nanos (as reported by Theophilos Argitis) focuses on the possibility of vote splitting working to the Cons’ benefit. But that analysis seems to miss the point that no amount of vote-splitting between two competitors can get the Cons into majority territory if their own support levels remain stuck in the low 30s.- And on a more interesting note, Robin Sears wonders whether the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Brad Wall looks to face plenty of new political challenges now that he can’t rely on an Alberta PC dynasty to do much of his dirty work for him.

For further reading…- I briefly addressed the same issue with a particular focus on privatized MRIs in this post. – Wall’s history of relying on Alberta donors (with PC help) is discussed here, here and here among other places. – Finally, Dave Cournoyer wonders what will become of the Alberta PCs’ remaining patronage appointments. And David Climenhaga discusses the limited future of the PCAA – (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the rise of Rachel Notley’s NDP serves largely to bring Alberta’s political system into step with those of its regional neighbours.

For further reading…- Murray Mandryk had previously pointed out why we should be cautious about reading too much into the Alberta results. But the most important distinction looks to be that Saskatchewan is currently functioning as a pure two-party system – so the support level which won Rachel Notley a resounding majority would leave the NDP on Saskatchewan’s opposition benches. – Dan Arnold and Andrew Coyne both confirm that a progressive victory in Alberta (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the treatment of Peter Bowden’s concerns about patient care demonstrate that the Saskatchewan Party can’t tell the difference between partisan and public interests.

For further reading…- The background to the story, including Bowden’s comment on understaffing at his Oliver Lodge workplace, was reported on by Clare Clancy here. CBC highlighted the apparent retaliation against Bowden here. And Mike McKinnon reported on the privacy breach involved in the release of details of Bowden’s suspension here.- And Murray Mandryk has already weighed in on the privacy concerns here and here. (Though I’ll note that the Saskatchewan (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the massive shift in public opinion against the Conservatives’ terror bill should remind us that people are more than willing to reconsider their initial position on a policy – and how it should signal to political parties that it might be a good idea to do the same.

For further reading…- My previous columns on the terror bill can be found at the links here, here and here, while general coverage of C-51 is here. And the B.C. Civil Liberties Association points out why the few amendments the Cons were prepared to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on Brad Wall’s appalling admission that the Saskatchewan Party’s plan for a low-carbon economy is to move into Ontario’s basement rather than pursuing sustainable development in Saskatchewan.

For further reading…- Wall’s comments and other provincial positions in the lead up to this week’s premiers’ meeting can be found here. – Geoffrey Vendeville reported on the earlier cap-and-trade agreement between Ontario and Quebec. And Yasmine Hassan discussed the massive Quebec climate change rally.- The Saskatchewan greenhouse gas bill which has been passed but never proclaimed in force can be found here (PDF).- Joe Romm reports on (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, discussing James Coleman’s research paper on the different messages corporations send to regulators as opposed to shareholders when it comes to proposed regulatory policies – and how it signals the need to be extremely skeptical when the business lobby complains that a policy will affect jobs or economic development.

For further reading…- Isolda Agazzi discusses how the CETA is designed to force governments to take corporate spin at face value. – Matthew Yglesias points out how Jeb Bush figures to continue his brother’s habit of handing Wall Street everything it could possibly ask for.- And Robert (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the Saskatchewan Party’s choice to turn the graduate retention credit into a purely political goodie rather than a program which could conceivably retain Saskatchewan graduates, while at the same time devaluing the very concept of education for its own sake.

For further reading…- The province’s explanation (such as it is) can be found here. And CBC reported on the changes here. – I allude in the column to Ontario’s choice to put tuition policy directly in the hands of employers as reported by Simona Chiose here. – And Kevin Milligan’s analysis of the problems with the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the need and opportunity to show some vision in our provincial budgeting and planning – even if the Wall government has no interest in bothering.

For further reading…- I posted previously on the Sask Party’s habit of locking Saskatchewan into ill-advised long-term contracts which serve nobody’s interests but the corporations involved. – Karri Munn-Venn discusses the UK Energy Research Centre’s report on which fossil fuels we can afford to exploint here. – Likewise, Ivan Semeniuk and Shawn McCarthy report on the Acting on Climate Change study showing how Canada can eliminate the use of non-renewable power (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, condensing this post on the component parts of the Cons’ terror bill.

For further reading…- Michael Geist writes that C-51 represents the evisceration of privacy in Canada. – Jim Bronskill reports on Amnesty International’s opposition to C-51 as a means of targeting activists. And Alyssa Stryker and Carmen Cheung highlight six elements protesters will want to understand about the bill. – Finally, Craig Forcese and Kent Roach discuss the international implications of C-51, including the express authorization for CSIS to operate outside the law of foreign countries. And Forcese also points out exactly what the term “lawful” (Read more…)