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The Cracked Crystal Ball II: On The WRP Collapse

Much has been made of the WRP’s collapse in Alberta this past week.  Everything from speculation about the role of various people, to Ms. Smith more or less admitting that she was being undermined by the Social Conservative rump of the party.  

Back when the WRP was just getting itself going, and Ms. Smith was a mere candidate for the leadership, I had thought that the WRP was going to follow the same trajectory that Preston Manning’s Reform party had back in the 80s.  Start off with some reasonable, if unrealistic dreams about a more open, democratic government; (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: The Singing Dictator

A guest post by Pamela Mac Neil “Music is always a commentary on society” Frank Zappa

Whenever I hear that Harpers base is made up of primarily seniors I am a bit perplexed. Not that I don’t think it’s true, because it is. Boomers of which I am one are now seniors, so when I think of older people or seniors, I think of the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Randy Bachman , Leonard Cohen, Dylan or Van Morrison to name a few. It is musical artists that come to my mind not just because I love their music, but because (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Truth in Advertising.

As Susan Delacourt of the Star said this week if you are sick of political advertising now wait until next year and she goes on to highlight a recent blog post by former Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber wherein he says “It is shameful how a supposedly conservative government wastes tax dollars on blatant, self- serving, political advertising.” In his scathing article Mr Rathgeber goes on to point out that the Harper Regime continues to boast of programs that have not passed through the legislative process are are not in fact in place and does so with half truths and (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Your Information is in the Mail

I see a Con MP is proposing to increase the $5 fee for an Access to Information Request which given what Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault saysmay at first seem like a reasonable idea.

“We need more investigators, and it is not my office that is in a crisis, it is the fact that Canadians’ right to access government information is in jeopardy, that is the real issue,” Legault said. ”Because my office is underfunded to such an extent that we can’t investigate their complaint in a timely manner, their rights are being thwarted.” 

However as a number of observers have said not only (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: In the Time of the "Official Truth" There’s No Room for Journalism

John Pilger looks at what the Western media offer up as journalism and sees instead propaganda.  He sees the essence of the mainstream media as not information but power.

The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003. The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: Conservatives’ “(technically) clean hands” #RoboCon

Check out @LindaMcQuaig latest column: Why the robocalls conspiracy will happen again — quietly | iPolitics http://t.co/rPdhmu380t #cdnpoli

— Yamina Tsalamlal (@YaminaTsa) December 4, 2014

Avoiding any responsibility was no small feat for the Conservative party, given how strongly the evidence pointed to some sort of organized scheme, presumably involving the authorization — or at least the tacit co-operation — of high-level officials within the party.

Indeed, in a 100-page ruling, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley found that there was an organized campaign of voter suppression, and that the information used to make misleading phone calls to non-Conservative voters (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Vitriolic nastiness does not breed respect.

Stephen Lewis , the former Ontario NDP leader, United Nations ambassador and lifelong human rights advocate recently took aim at the “pre-paleolithic Neanderthals” in office and their role in the decline of Parliament, the suppression of dissent, the plight of First Nations, their blinkered climate-change policy and our plummeting world status. That his words have been picked up by numerous newspapers and bloggers this week makes it no less important that his assessment of the Harper Regime be repeated here, they are words that need repeating time and time again.

Lewis told the Symons Lecture on the future of confederation: (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: International Day of Action for Burnaby Mountain and ALL Land Defenders

This is an international day of action, so check the event page to see what’s up in your town, for TOMORROW!

And if there’s nothing at your home, be the change!

Let’s consolidate our recent victories and continue moving public opinion to transitioning to the post-carbon energy infrastructure: wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, rail, transit, energy retrofits, solar roadways, ET3 hyperloop system.

via International Day of Action for Burnaby Mountain and ALL Land Defenders.

August 11, 2014 Welcome to the 1,000th Politics, Re-Spun Editorial! (1) June 16, 2014 Hey, BC: Want More Jobs? Dump the LNG and Pipelines! (1) July (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: International Day of Action for Burnaby Mountain and ALL Land Defenders

Thus Prate the Pundit » Social Critique: “Strategic” Voting Weakens Democracy

“Strategic” voting is a bad idea. Organized “strategic” voting improves nothing. Worse, “strategic” voting creates an illusion of trust where there are no possible checks and balances. It’s a scheme just asking to be gamed. Participants in “strategic” voting schemes will get taken advantage of and lose their voices. The aberration of “strategic” voting results from a poorly structured democratic system. We still have a flawed, first-past-the-post system in Canada but that flaw does not justify “strategic” voting’s ina … Continue Reading →

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: May was never contacted about #elxnfraud complaint in #RoboCon

“If the Commissioner of Canada Elections is prepared to ignore the findings of two judges, I think that will speak very poorly of the powers of investigations we have in this country to explore electoral fraud.”

Côté has not yet responded to May’s complaint.

It’s absolutely unacceptable that Elections Canada failed to contact the leader of a national political party after they made a formal complaint in 2011 alleging election fraud took place on a wide scale.

Green party's Elizabeth May wants new investigation of 2011 election robocalls. http://t.co/y6rbWJBMJs

— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) November 27, 2014

Meanwhile (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: More of Harper’s First Nations Racism

The federal government tells CBC News that 84 First Nations have until Wednesday to post their audited financial statements for the last fiscal year, including the salaries and expenses of their chiefs and councillors.

Pam Palmater is one of the most important voices in Canada in this young century so far. Here’s another reason why:

Below she calls out some racism in the form of settler-occupied hypocrisy.

The first nations, so go the racists, are incompetent and corrupt. Like the unions and the poor. That’s why we have Bill C-377 to make the unions pay for working for working people. (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Blind Obedience, the Tool of Tyrants

A guest post by Pamela Mac Neil

“Here is how you’re going to vote and here are your talking points”

On capital hill the above line is the kind of conversation, probably repeated many times, initiated by junior in the PMO’s office, to Harpers backbenchers and various cabinet MP’s. He/she may continue to say, the PM wants this bill passed at tomorrows question period and by the way, junior may add to the selected MP, usually a back bencher, the PM would also like you to ask this question in the House. Could the PM elaborate on “unconfirmed reports (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: On the Benevolence of Slippery Slopes: Women Taking the Lead

I had the pleasure last week of attending a public talk called “Women’s Voices: What Difference Do They Make?” featuring Canada’s first and only female prime minister, Kim Campbell.

Appearing at Vancouver’s Harbour Centre campus of Simon Fraser University, the former PM sat down with Shari Graydon of Informed Opinions to discuss women’s participation in government, business, and the media. She spoke with ease and humour about her time in politics, relating such anecdotes as the aura of stunned silence which prevailed when, having recently been promoted to cabinet, she disrupted the old boys’ atmosphere by launching into a (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Canada: The Eternal Rebuilding Project

Personal relationships enrich us, work makes us feel useful, and goals give us purpose

via Lecture 1 – Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio.

Adrienne Clarkson speaks in this Massey Lecture about belonging.

The first peoples were here first. They established a sense of this land.

Europeans came to conquer and exploit and seek whatever noble goals orbited their economy. They helped remake and redefine the land and its people. For better or worse.

Since then, new people have come and contribute to this eternal project of ever-rebuilding Canada.

Harper isn’t interested in (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: “Clean and Ethical Campaign” #RoboCon #elxnfraud

Because the Guelph Liberal campaign was fined for not self-identifying in a robocall about their opponent’s position on abortion, the Conservatives ran a “clean and ethical campaign”. The crime of another party washes them clean. It’s very Jesus-like, somehow. Have them explain it to you, it’s beyond me.

“The Conservative Party ran a clean and ethical campaign. We spend our campaigns identifying supporters and getting them out to vote,” Cory Hann wrote in an email.

This, in response to knowing that the Conservatives’ communications worker on the Guelph campaign has been found guilty of criminal election fraud. It’s really a (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Whitby-Oshawa Shows the Need for Active NDP-Liberal Cooperation

The Pundits Guide has a spectacular analysis of what it takes to almost take out a strong Conservative seat in a by-election. See below.

It shows that a relatively weak NDP campaign with a very strong Liberal campaign almost is enough.

What more does it take? Ask Nathan Cullen and others in the NDP and Liberal orbits who know that more actual NDP-Liberal cooperation and coordination is necessary to defeat the Conservatives. They won’t be decimated, but they will still be in government without far more intentional Anything But Conservative coordination in our broken electoral system.

If NDP and (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: A Stark Contrast.

I dont often comment upon the daily actions of politicians on this blog preferring to look at the broader picture of how their actions affect out democracy but one recent report realy got my attention in its stark contrast between a potential leader and the current one. The way in which our ‘leaders’ interact with our local and national media, be they the press, television new outlets or simply citizen bloggers has much to do with democratic freedom and our need to know and understand what ‘government’ is doing on our behalf.

This item from Matt Guerin outlines the contrast….. (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Democracy and Freedom in Harperland

A guest post by Pamela Mac Neil There have been Canadian Prime Ministers I have disliked and Prime Ministers whose ideas I have disagreed with. I have never however, with any of these Prime Ministers, worried about losing our democracy and consequently our freedom. That is until Stephen Harper as our PM was given a majority government in 2011. I knew what he was capable of before he got his majority, but I never worried as long as he had minority governments. When he got his majority, I took notice and proceeded to study him closely on a daily basis. (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Lest We Forget

Indeed we must not forget, not just the terrible toll that war takes upon those who engage in it both directly and indirectly but we must also not forget what the second world war was about and how it all started.

I must give a brief history lesson here of the period BEFORE the war in Europe which in my view is important to understand when talking about democracy as I do in this blog. It all started with one megalomaniac who was the leader of a political party and was elected to a MINORITY government in 1933, that he (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Clearing The Forest

The Queen’s act against this homeless woman is unkind, and Canada’s laws shouldn’t be unkind for the sake of protecting unused land from First Nations people building a temporary home. Further, we don’t need to urbanize more people, and this law is clearly aimed at clearing Canada’s wilderness of humans, and putting them into overcrowded cities without the means to buy food, shelter, and drink.

Canada should stop at Clearing the Plains, and not push the same outdated, genocidal agenda into this century.

The Disaffected Lib: Ask Yourself, Have You Been "Tuned Up" Yet?

This breathes new meaning into the phrase “bored to death.”

Behavioural pschology suggests we may have been conditioned to submit to neoliberalism.  We have been made susceptible to manipulation and control.

Alfie Kohn, in Punished by Rewards (1993), documents with copious research how behavior modification works best on dependent, powerless, infantilized, bored, and institutionalized people. And so for authorities who get a buzz from controlling others, this creates a terrifying incentive to construct a society that creates dependent, powerless, infantilized, bored, and institutionalized people.  Similarly, researcher Paul Thorne reports in the journal International Management (“Fitting Rewards,” 1990) that in order to get people (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: A Year Without Politics – Month 1

Just after 9am on October 1st, I sat down at my computer, left every political group I was a member of, unfollowed every political page I was a fan of (except PRS, because I write here), and hid every political post in my newsfeed posted in the previous 12 hours. I ended up hiding 16 posts, including almost every post made by one of my favourite people… and the bulk of those 12 hours were overnight.

I found myself questioning what constituted “political” an awful lot. This study that shows children who grow up on dairy farms have 1/10th the (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Casualty of War?

This week has seen a multitude of individuals expressing concern that the Harper Regime will use the so called “terrorist attack” upon parliament to further increase the ability of the RCMP and CSIS to investigate Canadian citizens whilst reducing the already minimal oversight over their activities.

There is little doubt that any country must protect its citizens, infrastructure and institutions from those who would use violence and destruction for whatever reason. To do so without restraints, without recourse for the accused or without checks upon those charged with this power is however very dangerous for our democracy, finding the right (Read more…)

Larry Hubich's Blog: Project:Community – We can do more, together

The Disaffected Lib: Capitalism Off the Rails

Those at the very top of today’s neoliberal, free-market capitalist, global economy see the writing on the wall – capitalism has just about run its course.

It’s hard to get your head around the idea, isn’t it?  It sure is for me.  Imagine, the economic model around which our society has been structured is bogus.  It is the product of 18th century economics, 19th century industrialism and 20th century geo-politics.  It worked for a couple of hundred years, perhaps right up until the early 70s, but it’s now dawning on us that it doesn’t work any more.  It’s lost its (Read more…)