Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Democracy Under Fire: Harper History, Part 5B – G20, Census Axed, Contempt.

June 2010 – Mar 2011 In this the second half of part 5 of the ongoing Harper History series intended to remind our citizens exactly how little respect the Harper Regime has for our Democracy we touch upon the G20 fiasco, the killing of the census and the inability of the PBO to get information as to how the ‘stimulus’ funds were spent. Parliament continued to be ‘dysfunctional’ with the opposition seeming unable to hold Harper to account despite his refusal to release the information necessary for them to make informed decisions for fear of precipitating an election they were (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: BGOS Greens AGM

The following is presented as a service to my local Greens

The Annual General Meeting of the Bruce-Grey Owen Sound Green Party of Canada Electoral District Association will be held Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 7:00 pm at the Williamsford Mill Book Store & Cafe, 316070 Highway 6, Williamsford, ON.

A new executive is elected at the AGM. Nominations will be taken from the floor for the positions of President (CEO), Chief Financial Officer and other executive positions. The meeting is open to all Green supporters and to the general public. Green Party of Canada memberships will be available and (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Do conservatives believe in democracy?

Watching the Alberta election results on TV, the comments of a pundit representing the Conservative view caught my attention. The lady insisted that if the NDP won, oil companies would be closing their offices in Calgary, investment would move out of province, etc.—Armageddon waiting in the wings. Well, the NDP won, and this doesn’t seem to be happening, but in any case it wasn’t the

Democracy Under Fire: Like Lemmings off a Cliff

Canadians who have been taking notice will be aware that C51, the police state law, has past 3rd reading in the house and now goes before the Senate for final reading. It will come as no surprise that the Conservatives vote en-block for the bill for even if some of them had actually read the bill and had reservations they dare not vote except as directed by the PMO if they wished to remain in caucus. It is not surprising that the NDP all voted against this deeply flawed bill for it hard to see how any who care (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Can academics serve two masters?

The steady encroaching of the corporate sector into the decision-making processes of our societies is the greatest threat to twenty-first century democracy. This includes encroachment into academia.

This troubling development was brought to light in the recent Alberta election. The NDP proposed a two per cent increase in the corporate tax rate. Jack Mintz, an esteemed University of Calgary

Bill Longstaff: The Alberta NDP and proportional representation

I never thought I’d live long enough to see the day, but here it is. The NDP have been elected to the government of Alberta. I am ecstatic. Nonetheless, while my emotions soar, my logical self reminds me that they won a majority only because of our corrupt first past the post electoral system. It’s comforting to know the system rewards the good guys as well as the bad guys, but it’s still an

OpenMedia.ca: LAST CHANCE: Just 24 hours to tell your MP to #RejectFear and #StopC51

This is it folks – there are now just 24 hours before tomorrow’s FINAL House of Commons vote on Bill C-51.

That’s right – there are just hours left to tell your MP to vote against this reckless Bill that will endanger our rights, turn CSIS into a secret police force, and make us all less safe.

As the clock ticks down, we need to pull out all the stops to tell MPs to side with Canadians, do the right thing, and vote against this reckless, dangerous, and ineffective legislation.

read more

Pop The Stack: If an election falls in the forest and nothing changes…ever, is it still a democracy?

I’m an outsider to Alberta politics so I will attempt to refrain from making any statement about who I think should win or what the important issues are in the election. But there are some disturbing, anti-democratic threads in the wave of editorial endorsements for the ruling PC party in Alberta that I want to highlight.

I was going to build a careful argument about the message in the editorials but some of their ideas seem so directly absurd, cautious or insulting to democracy that I think they can almost stand on their own, all emphasis added is my (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: More Public Money on False Ads

As the Conservative Regime move forward with their new branding efforts in an attempt to persuade the public that they are the greatest thing since the 1936 regime in Germany we learn that “the Conservative government has booked $13.5 million for an all-out blitzin April and May to advertise its 2015 pre-election budget.”

Now I have no real problem the the Conservative Party of Canada promoting their proposals on TV and radio any more than I do with any other political party doing so but that is NOT what is happening. These Ads are being issued from (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Harper History, Part 5A – Information witheld , Omnibus Budget

Mar 2010 – June 2010

If the period before the second prorogation of Parliament was deemed “dysfunctional” the period from when parliament returned in March and the following 12 months till the 2011 election should be classed as totally without any redeeming features. It includes an ongoing and never-ending series of efforts by the Harper regime to control or suppress information about or from government departments, the g20 spending fiasco, the 2010 800+ page omnibus budget that amongst other things killed many environmental protection regulations, and doing away with reliable census returns. The liberals in opposition did little to oppose (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: “Strong, Proud, Free”

The above is apparently the ‘branding’ that the Conservatives are now going to be inundating us with for the foreseeable future, it remains to be seen if we finally see the end of the “Economic Action Plan” Ads that have plagued us for years in attempting to persuade us that they actually had one. We know that these Ads are designed to promote the Conservative Regime and actually provide very minimal real information about government services but now with an election in the offing and Harper being spun as the great protector of Canadians and with our getting increasingly involved (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Opposed to Coalition?

Yesterday’s news:

.@davidcommon Odd report by @ElliottLouise about @JustinTrudeau & @ThomasMulcair #coalition didn't mention @ElizabethMay & @CanadianGreens.

— Saskboy K. (@saskboy) April 15, 2015

Today’s news: Most Canadians are opposed to a coalition government. Presently the only party with the word “coalition” in its founding documents is the Conservative Party of Canada, and yes it’s true as Trudeau said today, that most Canadians are opposed to the Conservative government.

The problem is, if you have a real conversation with Canadians, you’ll learn they aren’t really opposed to a coalition government, they are just afraid of political instability they’ve associated with (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: How the Fearsome Become the Fearful

A Weapon of Weakness?

How did we become indentured to a culture of fear?  Fear-mongering has become a modus operandi in today’s morally corrupt, visionless politics.  It is the stock in trade of authoritarians like our own Stephen Harper and it’s effective.

The thing is democracy cannot thrive in the presence of a culture of fear.  It may not even be sustainable in that toxic milieu.

The culture of fear quickly comes to dominate aspects of how we are governed, how the nation state operates.  It even extends into national security structures and how we wage wars.  Until recently war (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Balanced-Budget Law, fiscal or political?

With Canadians still waiting to see whats in the much delayed budget Finance Minister Joe Oliver has just announced plans for a balanced-budget law (as promised by the Conservatives in the 2013 throne speech). Call me a cynic but after having inherited a 13.8 Billion surplus from the Liberals and having then spent it all BEFORE the recession hit and then produced 7 consecutive budget deficits is this more about handcuffing any incoming government from fixing their mess than concern about the national debt?

“The only acceptable deficit would be one that responds to a recession or to an (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Sorry, Your Partisan Slip is Showing

We know that the House public safety committee has been ‘studying’ the government’s anti-terror bill and that despite the long list of influential and knowledgeable people wishing to speak to the dangers of this bill to our freedoms and privacy the list of those permitted to participate was severely restricted. We also know that throughout the process the Conservative members routinely defended the bill as written and showed no interest in amendments proposed by various presenters. They even deliberately blocked the Leader of the Green Party, who later was permitted to present but not speak to, multiple amendments from presenting (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Haters Gonna Hate

And Liars Gonna Lie.

So, one might expect @jkenney to retract that statement today but, I'm guessing, blame the mistake on bad information from DND and/or CDS.

— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) April 1, 2015

Here's @jkenney's statement in #HOC about precision-guided munitions, that has since be contradicted by the CDS. http://t.co/X46iazLvap

— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) April 1, 2015

The Disaffected Lib: Why Syrzia Matters. It’s About a Good Deal More than Austerity. It’s About Salvaging Democracy.

Le Monde reminds all of us why Syrzia matters not just in Greece, but across Europe and even on our side of the North Atlantic.

The Greeks don’t need to have the meaning of the word “democracy” explained to them. Even so, they have been given countless lectures since voting in a leftwing government determined to end the austerity policies that have made their lives a misery for six years. The schoolmasterly reprimands have come from people who know what they are talking about: they are people who imposed treaties their electorates had voted against and reneged on campaign promises (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Samara’s Democracy 360 Report

Samara, the Canadian Democracy Measurement folks have just released their latest report on the state of our democracy and its not good! This is no surprise to those of us who have been taking notice but with generally 40% or less giving any time to even discuss political issues with anybody (online or in person) it would seem that the majority don’t even care.

The following are a few extracts from their report “Samara’s Democracy 360, a report card on the state of Canada’s democracy” (260K PDF)

“Only 31% of Canadians believe politics affects them every day.Only 37% give (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Fisk On Harper

It’s articles like this one that make you wonder if the Canadian media is telling you everything you need to know. (Seriously though, that’s plainly obvious.)

If Stephen Harper is serious about criminalising ‘barbaric cultural practices’, then he should arrest himself for even suggesting it

And while he’s at it, he can lock up all the other Western leaders who have savaged the Muslim world too.

Harper […] is about to push a truly eccentric piece of legislation through parliament in Ottawa. It’s called – and I urge readers to repeat the words lest they think it’s already April (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: A Study in Tyranny (Part 1)

“Message Control and Vetting” A guest post by Pamela Mac NeilCanadians for the first time in our history must confront the menacing truth, that our Prime Minister is a dictator and the Conservative Government for the most part are enabling him in turning Canada into a dictatorship, incremental or otherwise.There are some who are aware of Harpers authoritarian agenda and some who have even written and written well about it. What many Canadians tend to do though when talking about his desire for power and the extreme control that he executes over his government, the media and policy (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Harper History, Part 4 – Con Minority, Prorogued x2

Oct 2008 – Dec 2009,

With conservatives reelected with an increased minority we begin to see their true colours with increased self promotion on taxpayers money using 10%ers, the start of those iniquitous Economic Action Plan TV ads and clear disdain for parliamentary procedure. It becomes increasing difficult to obtain information from them be it by the press whose questions are carefully screened or by parliamentarians be it in the House or in committee. Any semblance of listening to alternative ideas and considering amendments to legislation is rapidly falling by the wayside.

The Conservatives were reelected Oct 14 2008 with (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Three Eras of Canada’s Democracy or How We Got to Where We Are Today.

I first voted in the 60s and I’ve watched Canadian democracy evolve, not always in a good way, ever since.

I’ve witnessed three political eras in my lifetime.

There was an era of rights and freedoms, the years of Diefenbaker, Pearson and Trudeau.  Some might not realize it but Diefenbaker was a true champion of human rights.  Pearson brought Canada to the world stage as honest broker and peacekeeper.  Trudeau, of course, patriated the constitution and left us with perhaps the most important legislative enactment in our country’s history, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  That was the zenith of (Read more…)

Pop The Stack: Should America Make Voting Mandatory?

So US President Obama recently suggested that making voting mandatory. There are multiple reasons for this, one being that the people who don’t vote are more likely to be low income and democrat so it would favour his party. But he also suggested it would reduce the influence of money in politics since the candidates that can spend more to make sure their base get out would lose the advantage.

I don’t disagree but I think there are many better ways to get people voting, like ensuring every vote counts equally and that every significant voice is heard even if (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Podcast: Inequality, global and Canadian

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/podcast150320-inequality.mp3

 

I have two guests to talking about inequality today. First up is Branko Milanovic, who speaks with me about global inequality as well as the rise of a global plutocracy. One of the world’s foremost experts on inequality, Branko is professor at the CUNY Graduate Centre, where he also heads the local affiliate of the Luxembourg Income Study Centre, former chief economist at the World Bank’s research unit and author of the The Haves and the Have-nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality. He blogs regularly; it’s always interesting.

I’m also happy (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Don’t Be A Scared Tool

Here’s a song for radicalized Canadians to sing.

I’m white and scared (clap clap) They want my guns (clap clap) And veils are wrong (clap clap) Except on nuns! (clap clap)

“I’m white and scared (clap clap) you know it’s true (clap clap) I’m scared of terror (clap clap) Because I’m a tool (clap clap).”

— Hat tip to Jay Bird