Until yesterday, I suspect very few Canadian outside of the airlines industry actually knew that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN organization which promotes regulation of international air travel, had its headquarters in Montreal. Some more Canadians probably know it is today, and, as you probably know, the Harper government is trying to make it a cause celebre in their campaign to discredit the “international community” and, increasingly, to isolate Canada from the outside world.
This is a bit of a tempest in a teapot. It’s very unlikely that ICAO will actually relocate to Qatar, which has put (Read more…)
The NDP’s position on trade policy has of course been a hot-button issue both inside and outside the party – making it the area I’d see needing some discussion in Montreal. And while a number of other resolutions deal with the issue, one offers a particularly neat means to add an explicit commitment to the bigger picture while allowing for the approval of reasonable trade agreements (and avoiding unnecessary modifications to what’s already a well-worded section of the policy book). 4-21-13Resolution on Unfair Trade Practices Submitted by Beaches-East YorkBE IT RESOLVED the following clause be added to Section
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: #mtlqc13 Priority Resolution – International Affairs
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Lori Theresa Waller provides her own take on the Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights’ study on labour rights and inequality: In the 1970s, all provinces used the simple card check system, whereby an employer must legally recognize a union if the majority of workers sign membership cards. Since then, B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia have moved to requiring that workplaces also hold a vote before the union will be legally recognized.
…Studies have found that the additional requirement of holding a vote decreases the success of union organizing drives
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Edward Greenspon discusses the importance of a public service whose focus extends beyond the narrow interests of the government of the day: The hundreds of thousands of Canadians who work for governments, particularly those employed – in the evolving argot of recent decades – as knowledge workers or symbolic analysts or members of the creative class, are, in a sense, servants. They owe a duty of loyalty to carry out the programs and policies of the elected government of the day. But they also have a broader public duty to the pursuit . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
When it comes to trying to justify perpetually-increasing restrictions on democratic governance in the guise of “free trade” agreements, advocates present two polar opposite views as to what such agreements are intended to accomplish.
The first – and more plausible – view of the actual and intended effect of trade agreements is that they primarily serve the purposes of the parties who push and negotiate them. When corporate interests and their pet Randians meet behind closed doors to draft agreements which will be subject to zero public accountability, it’s a safe bet that it’s the general public which stands to
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On unbalanced trade
Assorted content to end your Family Day.
- Gerald Caplan comments that it’s long past time to put the Senate out of its misery: Who knew that when well-known Canadians in 2011 begged old acquaintances now turned Conservative Senators to back a bill for cheap generic AIDS drugs for Africa, the senators would follow party orders instead? The bill had passed the House in the face of opposition by Stephen Harper’s minority government. Even many Conservative MPs supported it. Yet the Conservative majority in the Senate made sure it failed.…(T)here they were deliberately thwarting the wishes of the democratically
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Afternoon Links
By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 14, 2013: Those of us who live in Ottawa are quite used to the talk and sightings of Zombies on Parliament Hill. Today was different. It all started with the NDP‘s outspoken Winnipeg MP, Pat Martin, asking Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird if he’s “working with his American counterparts to develop READ MORE
Much as I generally promote open access to information, I’m starting to come around to the idea that the Cons should feel free to apply a “national security” exemption to pretty much any information about their decision-making. After all, if anybody around the globe knew exactly what they’re dealing with in the Cons, Canada would all too likely be a second-rate protectorate of Burundi within a week.
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Thomas Walkom discusses the meaning of the Ontario Libs’ attempt to take collective bargaining rights away from teachers in the context of the wider labour movement: The union movement is one of the last remnants of the great postwar pact between labour, capital and government.
That pact provided Canadians with things they still value, from medicare to public pension plans. Good wages in union shops kept pay high, even in workplaces that weren’t organized. Unions agitated for and won better health and safety laws that covered all.
True, union rules made it
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
Earlier this morning, I noted that the NDP is developing on a promising line of economic messaging – highlighting the Cons’ determination to place the interests of the wealthy and privileged over those of mere working Canadians. And I’d expect that principle to factor into the NDP’s foreign policy as well.
But Campbell Clark suggests otherwise – reporting that the party plans to make the mistake of trying to match the Cons’ “free trade” spin word for word. So let’s take a quick look at another option available to the NDP if it’s indeed searching for a foreign-policy theme.
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On diverging paths
Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith prepares to set off on her 19-day American tour. Future America-friendly leaders may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Ms. Smith for real.
With tout le monde political Alberta focusing on the province’s final farewell to Peter Lougheed, founder of the 41-year Conservative dynasty who passed on last Thursday, Alberta Opposition Leader Danielle Smith was set to slip out of town yesterday on what was billed by her party as her first international tour.
Well, that should lend her efforts to become Premier of Alberta a veneer of credibility, dontcha think?
A news release from
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Yikes! U.S. program with remarkable knack for spotting future foreign leaders picks … Danielle Smith
There’s this news that prompts a spontaneous moment of reflection and good will from Canadians across party lines: “Tributes pour in for a gravely ill Peter Lougheed.” Considered one of Canada’s greatest statesmen and an unabashed champion for his home province of Alberta, former premier Peter Lougheed remains gravely ill in hospital, according to his successor, Don Getty.
And then there’s this news that prompts a ton of response in the Globe, off the charts in terms of the recent numbers of comments you will see there: “Harper, honoured in N.Y. as statesman of the year, aims
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: Annals of statesmanship
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Don Lenihan responds to Allan Gregg’s recent critique of Canadian politics, featuring this on the connection that ought to exist between ideology and policy: First, the fact that a policy is based on ideological conviction does not mean it is opposed to reason. According to Gregg, “to follow a course based on dogma or ideology, it becomes necessary to remove science and reason.” I disagree. As I wrote a few weeks ago, each of us has only a limited knowledge of the society around us. An ideology is a system
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
When Peter MacKay’s outspoken wife Nazanin Afshin-jam announced in July that Canada should shut down the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, on the nebulous charge that it was using cultural events to distribute propaganda (something which Canadian embassies have traditionally also done, incidentally), I almost wrote a post telling her to get realistic. Outside of crises demanding some sort of heavy symbolic action, or outright wars for obvious reasons, embassies don’t usually get shut down for an obvious reason: if you close down your embassy, what happens next week, or next month, or next year, when you urgently need to communicate
. . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Why was the Iran Embassy Closed?
At a press conference held today, 5 July 2012, at the Frontline Club in London, WikiLeaks spokesperson Sarah Harrison announced that over the coming months, WikiLeaks will release a database of over two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies, dating from August 2006 to March 2012. This extraordinary data set derives from 680 Syria-related entities or domain names, including those of the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture.
At this time Syria is undergoing a violent internal conflict that has killed between 6,000 and 15,000 people in the last 18 months.
. . . → Read More: CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: WikiLeaks Begins Publishing The “Syria Files”
This and that to end your week.
- Jeffrey Simpson discusses how the Cons have diminished Canada’s place on the world stage: For those who care about Canada’s international reputation and Canada’s ability to influence others in the pursuit of Canada’s self-interest, these are discouraging days.
Everywhere, there is penny-pinching that makes no sense, a hectoring tone not appreciated by others, and a misunderstanding about how international affairs really work. For a government that has proclaimed Canada is “back” on the international stage, what is actually happening would be funny were it not serious.…Canada has retreated into an anglospheric
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Evening Links
Recently an editor from the increasingly pro-Conservative Montreal think tank the Institute for Research on Public Policy published a preposterous fluff piece in Postmedia papers praising foreign minister John Baird. I offer this blog post as a counterweight and as a sharp dose of realistic thinking.
When Stephen Harper announced during his latest European excursion that that continent’s debt-ridden governments were “running out of runway,” and then his pet MPs in Ottawa loyally chimed in, the reactions in Canada were fairly predictable. Pro-regime people, a category increasingly scarce except in the Conservative caucus and in the professional media,
. . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: The Failures and Embarrassments of Harper Regime Foreign Policy
Well this seems to have gone well, what with the takeaway platitudes of agreement between Hollande and Harper about the need for growth and for there to be stability in order to have growth.
But wait! “After Harper meets socialist president, Tories take ‘sumptuous’ Europe to task.” Well, I’m sure the French ambassador to Canada wouldn’t have taken offence to the good cop-bad cop two step thing the Conservatives had going on yesterday. Do these ambassador types ever notice such things anyway? Then relay such comments back to the mother ship?
Let’s ask the German one. Ouf.
“Tories criticized for vastly divergent reactions to Canadians on death row.” As well they should be. The Canadian government’s urgent appeal to stop Iran from executing a Canadian citizen imprisoned there may be blunted by its “grudging” support for another condemned Canadian — Montana death-row inmate Ronald Smith — says the former top federal bureaucrat responsible for protecting Canadian citizens abroad.
Gar Pardy, the retired head of the consular affairs division at the Department of Foreign Affairs, said the Conservative government’s “hypocritical” approach to death-penalty cases in different countries is sending a mixed message to the world and
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: Canada’s lack of consistency on death penalty policy getting attention
It is good to see this news of the Canadian government pleading for clemency for a Canadian in Iran facing execution: “Canada is gravely concerned by indications that the execution of Mr. Ghassemi-Shall may be carried out imminently,” Baird said in a joint statement Sunday with Diane Ablonczy, the junior minister for foreign affairs.
Baird called on the Iranian government to grant clemency to Ghassemi-Shall on compassionate and humanitarian grounds and to respect its international human rights obligations.
The move is being criticized, however, for coming at a late date in Hamid Ghassemi-Shall’s detention and in the face of
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: Death penalty: Canada needs to be consistent
Dan Tan weighs in on Thomas Mulcair’s principled position on Iran – which may come as a pleasant surprise to anybody concerned that he’d be more interested in appealing to the Very Serious People than thinking carefully about whether military intervention is justified: North American & European capitals are inundated with the squawks of chicken-hawks. Why not? The technological superiority of our militaries has reduced the amount of life lost on our side. The economic & voluntary nature of military involvement has reduced the perceived value of the lives pledged. Politicians have license to act as Greek gods, treating our
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Guest Post: Mulcair vs. the Chickenhawks
Dan Tan offers another guest post – this one responding to a bit of misplaced advice from Embassy with a helpful reminder as to how policy is formulated within the NDP: The foreign-affairs publication ‘Embassy’ recently published the following article: Advocates hope new Opposition leader shifts NDP position on Israel The election of Thomas Mulcair as leader of the New Democratic Party could signal a coming shift in the party’s policy on Israel, some advocates predict…
I am sure many NDP members will treat its content as a sort of “prophecy”. But in reality, the article is actually engaging
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Guest Post: On governing authorities
With the NDP’s leadership convention set to start tomorrow (and assorted hospitality suites already starting up tonight), I won’t be able to finish off my initial plan to put together full policy reviews for each of the candidates. But instead, I’ll take some time to highlight a few innovative ideas which haven’t received a lot of media attention, but stand out as deserving more discussion within the NDP regardless of who wins the leadership.
Judicare, proposed by Niki Ashton: Ensuring that all Canadians are genuinely equal before the law starting by creating a dedicated federal transfer for “judicare”, modelled
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 – Policy Highlights
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher uncover an apparently-fictitious employee listed as one of Con contractor RackNine’s key contacts – nicely paralleling the obvious coverup behind “Pierre Poutine”. And Dr. Dawg places the latest revelations in context with the rest of the Cons’ misdirections and coverups.
- Meanwhile, the Cons are applying their theory that “the less anybody knows, the better” on the international stage as well.
- Hugh Mackenzie deconstructs the questionable assumptions used in Don Drummond’s report to try to foist massive cuts onto the province without any real assessment of
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Afternoon Links