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Politics and its Discontents: Rick’s Latest

As usual, Mr. Mercer does us all proud as he yet again lambastes the obdurate, arrogant Mr. Harper, this time over the fact that he doesn’t play well with others (a.k.a. the provincial premiers).

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Politics and its Discontents: How Does Stephen Harper Get Away With It?

Because we let him. That is the question asked and answered by a Toronto Star letter-writer in response to a column on democracy by Bob Hepburn, which I posted about last week.

There is an array of excellent letters on this topic, one that could serve as a primer for those who are disengaged. I hope you will check out the full page and share with those who might benefit from the insights offered.

Election best chance to restore faith in democracy, Opinion Jan. 11 This summary is brilliant and speaks to the heart of Canada’s challenge. Poor choices, decisions (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Toward Democratic Renewal

I’m sure that all progressive bloggers are disheartened and bedeviled by the devolution of democracy in Canada. Not only has it been under consistent and sustained attack by the Harper regime, but it has also (perhaps as a result of those attacks) seen a substantial rise in the number of disaffected and disengaged citizens, attested to by the abysmal turnout in recent elections.

In today’s Star, Bob Hepburn has some suggestions on how to reverse this deplorable situation, posed in this way by Hepburn: How can Stephen Harper and other political leaders be prevented from running roughshod over our democracy?

(Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: More Than Rhetorical Questions

In today’s Star, Bob Hepburn has a piece that should be read by anyone who needs a brief refresher course in some of the more egregious attacks against democracy perpetrated by Stephen Harper. I offer only a short overview of the article here, as I hope everyone will read the original in its entirety: Since he became prime minister in 2006, Harper has displayed a stunning disrespect for democracy in Canada, either approving or turning a blind eye to decisions that have undermined our democratic traditions and institutions and our faith in democracy.

Over the years, Harper has taken advantage (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Harperian Hypocrisy

Keep spreading the word, brothers and sisters:

H/t Michael Nabert

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Politics and its Discontents: ‘Dear Leader’ Decries Attacks On Democracy

This is indeed rich.

Said Prime Minister Harper, in response to the French massacre: “When a trio of hooded men struck at some of our most cherished democratic principles — freedom of expression, freedom of the press — they assaulted democracy everywhere.

Actions, Sir, speak much louder than words.

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Politics and its Discontents: Uh Oh. Mr. Harper Will Not Like This

There are many ways in which the ‘Fair’ Elections Act makes it more difficult for Canadians to exercise their voting rights; a group especially hard hit are aboriginals, not known for their support of the Conservative Party of Canada. Previous federal elections have allowed a second person to vouch for the identity of a voter who lacks documents that contain an address. But last year’s controversial Fair Elections Act essentially ended the practice after the Harper government said it was open to abuse.

The act substitutes a new procedure — called “attestation” — which makes it more difficult and complicated (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: The Shape of Conservative Attack Ads To Come?

A new This Hour Has 22 Minutes song parody of Meghan Trainor’s hit “All About That Bass” reveals possible Conservative pre-election attack strategies aimed squarely at the Liberal party leader.

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Politics and its Discontents: Apparently, Nothing Is Sacred To These People

Thanks to Ed Tanas for this:

Ed asks in a tweet why the mainstream media aren’t covering this. A good question. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: A Sobering Remembrance Day Reminder

I have to confess that all of the extra ‘enthusiasm’ for this year’s Remberance Day makes me uneasy. Poppy sales are at an all time high. Special and protracted ceremonies are planned. Government propaganda is being churned out incessantly.

While I fully respect the fact that many people fought and died to protect our increasingly fragile freedoms, the reflexive reaction of a wide swath of citizenry to the military, especially since the events of last month, should be cause for some concern. It suggests to me a willingness to suspend critical faculties when they are most needed, given that we (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: The Harper War Against Unions Continues

So what else is new? In today’s Star, Tim Harper tells a tale of the ongoing indefatigable contempt Canada’s putative prime minister has for unions.

Like another Conservative entity, C-377 refuses to remain dead. The bill, proposed by a private member, Russ Hiebert, who is actually a front for Harper and Merit Canada, was actually severely amended/gutted by the senators (including 16 Conservatives), but when Harper prorogued Parliament, instead of going back to the Commons in amended form, [it] remained in the Upper House, restored to its original form, where it is now up for second reading.

(Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: You Can Never Be Too Careful

…I guess.

H/t Toronto Star Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Was Nathan Cirillo A Hero? – Part 2

Yesterday’s post revolved around a column by The Hamilton Spectator’s Andrew Dreschel in which he questioned whether the circumstances of Nathan Cirollo’s death qualified him as a hero. I predicted that he would likely be subject to a barrage of criticism, given that the young man’s death was so recent, and a state funeral had essentially been accorded him.

Today’s piece by editor-in-chief Paul Berton confirmed this. While some comments were supportive, others were not so complimentary: An online petition urged The Spectator to have Dreschel fired. Others wanted us to remove the column, which was apparently “going viral” on (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Was Nathan Cirillo A Hero?

As I noted on this blog previously, it is always a tragedy when a young person loses his or her life, whether to accident, disease, or mayhem. The lost potential is incalculable. Like me, however, I suspect many found the mythologizing of Nathan Cirillo’s murder, his passage on the Highway of Heroes, and what amounted to a state funeral, attended by an array of dignitaries, including the Prime Minister, a little much. And as a cynical observer of the political landscape, I cannot escape the notion that all of the ceremony will prove to be of great benefit to the (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Dystopian Present And Future

Those of us who consider ourselves progressive bloggers are well-aware of the dystopian nature of the world we live in. It is a world where black is often white, white is black, and deceit abounds. The perpetrators of environmental degradation and climate change offer us commercials showing pristine landscapes to ponder; the moneyed elite tell us that their success is our future success, and those who wage war tell us of their commitment to peace.

Sadly, Canada is not exempt from this madness. Now that the Harper regime has seized the narrative following the attacks in Quebec and Ottawa, almost (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: We Could All Be Joseph K.

“Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.” – The opening sentence of Franz Kafka’s The Trial

Having read The Trial many years ago, I remember being initially struck by the patent absurdity of the novel’s premise, that a man could be under arrest, allowed to move about with certain restrictions, and yet never learn the nature of the charges against him. The story does not end well for Josepsh K.

After reading it, of course, I realized that it was a metaphor for the (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: And Thus It Begins

One of the misgivings I expressed in yesterday’s post seems to be a little closer to reality today.

The National Post headline reads:

Conservatives mulling legislation making it illegal to condone terrorist acts online.

Says John Ivison, The Conservatives are understood to be considering new legislation that would make it an offence to condone terrorist acts online.

There is frustration in government, and among law enforcement agencies, that the authorities can’t detain or arrest people who express sympathy for atrocities committed overseas and who may pose a threat to public safety, one Conservative MP said. “Do we need new offences? (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Reactions To Michael Harris’ Book On Harper

Star readers weigh in with their usual perspicacity as they reflect on the message of Michael Harris’ new book, Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover, discussed previously in this blog:

Is there a despot in the House? Insight Oct. 19

As journalist Michael Harris’ book points out, Canada has already undergone a sea change under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s secretive, dominant rule. Soon the attack ads will try to convince us that we would be mad to trust anyone other than Harper’s steady hand at the tiller.

That he is leading us straight over a waterfall, (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Another Group Shames Harper

It is to be hoped that the closer we move to next year’s election, more and more Canadians will be wagging their fingers at Stephen Harper for his various acts of destruction in this country. For now, let’s enjoy the fact that this group is doing it for us: An organization known for its efforts to improve scientific integrity within the U.S. government is taking aim at Prime Minister Stephen Harper over policies and funding cuts that it says are detrimental to Canadian public science.

In an open letter released Tuesday, the Union of Concerned Scientists urged Mr. Harper (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Let The Sun Shine

Like the vampires of fiction who cling to the darkness as they carry out their nefarious, life-depleting ravages on their prey, the Harper regime best operates in the dark, away from the light of public scrutiny as it continues to suck the vitality out of our democracy. (Sorry for the lurid metaphor, but it does seem to be dramatically apt.) While it is a topic I have written about many times on this blog, I am sure I’m in good company when I say that only by bringing as many of these deeds into the light do we stand (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Just A Reminder About The Regime Under Which We Chafe

In case you missed the story of yet another Harper-led CRA threat against charities that object to the regime’s policies of environmental despoliation, you can read about it here, here, or here. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Michael Harris’ New Book

Veteran journalist and current national affairs columnist for iPolitics, Michael Harris, has just had his new book on Stephen Harper published. While the 500-page tome, entitled Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover, may offer nothing startlingly new to those of us who follow national politics closely, it serves as both a useful reminder of the democratic depredations Harper is responsible for, as well as an alert to those who are so disengaged as to regard him as a benign presence on the political landscape. While few of the latter will likely read the book, I suggest (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: We All have To Stand Against This Blatant Reign Of Intimidation And Tyranny

Although I have written many posts on this topic, each new incident once again evokes in me a visceral reponse bordering upon hatred for this government. The Harper regime is back at it again, using the CRA to intimidate people who are critical of its policies or in any way impede the flow of oil progress.

This time, the victims are birdwatchers, yes, that’s right, birdwatchers – The Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists.

CBC reports the following: The Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists, a registered charity, is apparently at risk of breaking tax agency rules that limit so-called political or partisan activities.

Earlier this (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: About That Fifth Columnist In Ottawa….

Star readers have much to say:

Harper downplays concerns about trade deal, Sept. 27

It’s a dangerous world but Big Oil, multinationals, banks, the wealthy and his party’s masters can rest easy in the knowledge that Secret Agent Stephen Harper has their collective backs.

He knows how to keep a secret and he’s always on the job fighting democracy and protecting the rights of those who count and those who pay to win. They know their rightful place as the rulers of Earth is assured.

The snivelling masses will be starved of inclusion (or even information) and begin to realize (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Offered For Your Consideration

While King Stephen has grown positively garrulous with the American media, there’s one little detail he seems to have forgotten:

H/t Graeme Mackay Recommend this Post