This and that for your Sunday reading.
- Adam Lent highlights the strong majority of respondents in the UK who see the political system as serving the powerful rather than the public. And Elizabeth Warren explains why the same conclusion applies in the U.S., while making the case that there’s room to improve matters simply by emphasizing the choices voters face: The system is rigged. And now that I’ve been in Washington and seen it up close and personal, I just see new ways in which that happens. But we have to stop and back up, and you (Read more…)
In my last post I said that Stephen Harper may have dodged the robocall scandal, so far. But he cannot escape the moral responsibility for what happened.For having created a depraved culture where some of his fanatic young followers obviously thought it was OK to try to steal an election.But of course there is also the question of CRIMINAL responsibility. Because two judges have now said that they believe there was a wider conspiracy. And Elections Canada needs to re-open the robocall investigation, and go after the other shadowy Con operatives who carried out this crime against democracy. Read more »
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Neil Irwin highlights the reality that top-heavy economic growth has done nothing to reduce poverty in the U.S. over the past 40 years: In Kennedy’s era, [the "rising tide lifts all boats" theory] had the benefit of being true. From 1959 to 1973, the nation’s economy per person grew 82 percent, and that was enough to drive the proportion of the poor population from 22 percent to 11 percent. But over the last generation in the United States, that simply hasn’t happened. Growth has been pretty good, up 147 percent per capita. (Read more…)
He has been lucky so far. The robocall scandal hasn't yet penetrated the darkness of his foul PMO.But now the robocall trial of Michael Sona is about to begin. Who knows who he might call upon to testify?And this can't be good news.Read more »
Shorter anonymous Conservative MP: Of course we want nothing more than fairness out of Canada’s electoral oversight bodies. And by that, we of course mean they should stop damaging our party’s cause with this annoying habit of investigating Conservative wrongdoing.
Assorted content to end your week.
- Larry Bartels highlights how class plays a particularly large role in U.S. politics, as opinions about the role of government are particularly polarized based on income. And Paul Krugman notes that as a consequence, any demand to “stop class warfare” in favour of imposing the austerity preferred by the upper class amounts to a demand that lower-income citizens forfeit their right to be heard.
- Carol Goar discusses how poverty and inequality are serious barriers to access to health care in Canada, particularly when it comes to increasingly-costly prescription drugs: People with (Read more…)
Shorter Linda Frum: As one of Stephen Harper’s hand-picked counterweights to the troublesome democratic rabble, I refuse to acknowledge any difference between “encouraging voter turnout” and “abetting electoral fraud”. The less people with a voice in how this country is run, the better.
by: Obert Madondo | April 12, 2014
This week Canada’s two main opposition parties declared war on the Conservatives’ Orwellian Fair Elections Act. One that could bring down Harper during the 2015 federal election.
While falling short of declaring the Fair Elections Act an election issue for 2015, both the Official Opposition and third-placed Liberals are vowing to stand up for our right to vote.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says the focus of next election will be the ‘Fair Elections Act’. He wants Bill C-23 overhauled.
“We’re going to do everything we can to stop this thing,” Mulcair told delegates in (Read more…)
Inspired by this headline: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/linda-frum-stirs-controversy-with-elections-canada-questions-1.2606836
Greenpeace Canada info-graphic showing connections among the far-right Conservative Party of Canada activists behind the so-called Ethical Oil Institute. Below: Dr. James Talbot; Dr. John O’Connor; Ezra Levant.
Alberta’s chief medical officer has now confirmed that statistics released a couple of weeks ago indicate there really is a cancer cluster in Fort Chipewyan, a predominantly native community about 280 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.
Fort Chip, as it is often known, has long been a subject of controversy about the health impacts of bitumen sands development because – possibly coincidentally, and possibly not – it is not far downstream and (Read more…)
Anita Vandenbeld, past federal candidate in Ottawa West-Nepean and green lit candidate for the 2015 nomination has written a fantastic post for iPolitics about the “Fair” Elections Act and how regressive it truly is.
“The last time I worked in a country where a government used its majority in Parliament to ram through changes to an election law without public input was in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011. I never would have expected this in Canada.”
“I can honestly say that in all my years of working on democratic development with the United Nations, OSCE, NDI (Read more…)
Unelected Conservative Senators have a surprising amount of electoral expertise. It must come from all those years of not getting elected.
@JDanAiken @bruceanderson Elections Canada should not have a vested interest in recording a high voter turnout. That’s a conflict.
— Senator Linda Frum (@LindaFrum) April 9, 2014
Every day these posers are proving the irrelevance of a partisan Senate…. this is not the stuff of sober second thought. Its stuff you expect from a bunch of drunks in a kitchen-party at 24 Sussex.
The post The Senate is drunk on partisanship appeared first on The Right-Wing Observer.
#PMSH goes #BananaRepublic: the (un) #FairElectionsAct lets incumbents SUPERVISE their own election! pic.twitter.com/SG3IT8GMAz #cdnpoli
— Politics, Re-Spun (@PoliticsReSpun) April 6, 2014
Just how stupid does Stephen Harper think we are?
He thinks that we’re fine with the idea that incumbent parties should be able to pick the poll supervisors in the next election.
I kid you not.
This kind of contempt for democracy and embrace of corruption is the worst part of this brand new [un]Fair Elections Act.
This is the kind of thing for which Occupy Vancouver and Occupy Canada should be occupying every single Conservative (Read more…)
Full disclosure: Tom Lukiwski is a four-letter word in my home. The fact this man continues to get elected in our home province embarrasses us deeply. He has a demonstrated ability, practiced really over decades, to offend people with thoughtless comments. Thankfully, we don’t live in his riding, so our shame is balanced by our pride in being represented by the honourable Ralph Goodale.
Context: Lukiwski serves on the PROC committee, currently studying everyone’s favorite piece of legislation since the last omnibus budget bill. Witness after witness is giving them an earful of negativity against Pierre Poilievre’s ‘terrific’ piece of (Read more…)
Sheila Fraser was once one of Stephen Harper’s favourite people. When she, in her capacity of auditor-general, exposed the Chretien government’s sponsorship scandal, sewing the seeds that would bring down the Liberals, Mr. Harper praised her handsomely as the “mother of all accountants” and in a neat turn of phrase remarked she “did not say that she thought that something smelled fishy. She
A poll was commissioned by The Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students, and LeadNow.ca to find out how Canadians feel about the Fair Elections Act. The poll was conducted in late February and early March.
I started to put together a visualization of this data, starting with the first two questions asked in the survey. The questions asked about the bill were:
Please indicate how familiar you are with this Bill: very familiar, somewhat familiar, somewhat unfamiliar, or very unfamiliar. Please indicate how you feel about this Bill: Strongly oppose, somewhat oppose, neutral, somewhat support, strongly (Read more…)
Michael Harris: The Big 10
A must read for all who fear for our democracy, Michael Harris has done all Canadians a favour by spelling out ten questions he wants answered, along with some supporting facts that are background to each question he has posed. The inaction or lack of response by those whose job it is guard our democracy from voter suppression beggars belief. I trust that the three opposition parties will raise his article in iPolitics and his 10 questions during Question Period. And that they will demand that someone from Elections Canada appear to explain what is (Read more…)
by: Council of Canadians | Press Release
A new poll released today shows that a majority of Canadians oppose central features of the so-called “Fair” Elections Act, known as Bill C-23.
The provisions in the Unfair Elections Act that would eliminate the voucher system, prevent Elections Canada from publicly reporting on election fraud, and cancel Elections Canada’s research and public education programs received the most significant opposition. The poll was jointly commissioned by the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students, and LeadNow.ca.
Seventy per cent of respondents said that the act’s elimination of Elections Canada’s ability to (Read more…)
We, the undersigned, international scholars and political scientists, are concerned that Canada’s international reputation as one of the world’s guardians of democracy and human rights is threatened by passage of the proposed Fair Elections Act.
We believe that this Act would prove [to] be deeply damaging for electoral integrity within Canada, as well as providing an example which, if emulated elsewhere, may potentially harm international standards of electoral rights around the world.
In particular, the governing party in Canada has proposed a set of wide-ranging changes, which if enacted, would, we believe, undermine the integrity of the Canadian (Read more…)
When a person or an organization observes an opportunity for profit or gain and are then confronted with laws that make it illegal to proceed, they usually have to make a choice between two or three vastly different courses of action:
Break the law and attempt to escape detection, capture and punishment; Decide that the costs of being caught breaking the law are not worth the risk and forfeit said opportunity; or Decide that the law is morally right and therefore said opportunity does not actually exist.
In Ottawa, the Conservative Party of Canada currently reigns as the democratically elected, (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Tim Harford proposes four first steps to start combatting income inequality. And the Star’s editorial board makes clear that there’s tax room available for Ontario (among other jurisdictions) to pursue in order to serve the public good: Sousa promises to protect the “middle class” — whatever that is. But he need not fear a backlash if his spring budget increases the burden on those making substantially more than the average, whether that starts at $150,000 or some higher level. Four other provinces — including B.C., whose government leans right — have (Read more…)
The NDP is in the midst of its cross-country consultations on the Unfair Elections Act – with Charlie Angus’ visit to Regina today just one of the many stops along the way. But while the Cons’ insistence on ramming through changes to Canada’s elections law makes it unlikely that we’ll be able to work through all of the effects of the bill, let’s look at just a few as-of-yet-unexplored consequences of one of the more familiar provisions.
Here’s the language which rewrites the definition of an “election expense” to exclude communication with past donors: 376(3) The commercial value of services (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- Stewart Prest writes about the Cons’ war against experts: (I)n modern democratic states one of the most important sources for non-partisan information and expertise is the government itself. Government bureaucracies are the only institutions in the world today with the access, the resources, and the motivation to systematically monitor and study the entirety of a country’s population and the extent of its human and natural environment.
Examples are legion, from statisticians to health officials to diplomats to environmental scientists. They exist throughout the much maligned but nonetheless vital bureaucracy of the country. Crucially, (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Bruce Livesey discusses Tony Blair’s role in corporatizing social democracy. And Stephen Elliott-Buckley writes that there’s little reason to listen to the policy prescriptions of a financial elite class which is conspicuously ensuring that its future bears no resemblance to that of the general population.
- Jane Taber interviews Donald Savoie about the importance of our public service – and the decline it’s seen in recent years: What happened?
It was wrong to think that we could make the public sector look like the private sector. Well, frankly, it started with Margaret (Read more…)