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Politics and its Discontents: An Empty Podium

Given the firm rejection by Mr. Harper to join in the leaders’ debates being arranged by a consortium of broadcasters, it would seem only fitting to have an empty podium onstage with his name attached, in case he changes his mind at the last minute, and to serve as a useful reminder of the prime minister’s disdain (fear?) of honest and unbiasd formats.

With their usual perspicacity, Star readers offer their insights about this sad decision. All are excellent, but I am reproducing only a few below:

Confused about leaders debates? It’s Harperology 101, May 16 I’m surprised Stephen (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: What’s That Sound I Hear?

Lesser morals might baldly accuse Stephen Harper of cowardice. Editorial cartoonists have a better way:

H/t The Toronto Star

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Politics and its Discontents: Harper’s Jihad – Part Two

As I have written elsewhere on this blog, I am convinced that humans (along with other primates) have an innate sense of fairness, one that is regularly violated in so many ways by the Harper regime. Yesterday I wrote a post about the bald and unsavoury political motivations behind Dear Leader’s crusade against Muslims both domestic and foreign. One egregious example is his ongoing war against Omar Khadr, the latest skirmish involving the government’s efforts to prevent the former child soldier from being released on bail.

Happily, there is ample evidence from a host of Star letter writers that Canadians (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Sidelining The Youth Vote

The potential of the youth vote, about which I have written several times on this blog, is, without question, great. The fact that only a low number of young people turn out to vote should be a source of grave concern for all those who desire real change in Canada.

Sadly, those low numbers are a cause for celebration among our main political parties, their occasional rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding.

The math is simple. If a group does not vote, their concerns can be ignored. And the more their concerns are ignored, the less appealing the act of voting (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Meanwhile, Back At Campaign Central

Hate campaign, that is. True to form, the Harper regime wasted no time in denouncing the decision to release Omar Khadr on bail pending his appeal. And in addition to playing to their rabid base, they took the opportunity to excoriate both Trudeau and Mulcair with some verbal prestidigitation:

Meanwhile, Thomas Walkom offers a good analysis of the government’s strategy: Conservative Roxanne James, [seen in the above video] the government’s designated spokesperson, said Ottawa opposes Khadr’s release because he has been convicted of “heinous crimes.”

What she should have said is that, in the lead-up to this fall’s election, (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: This Deserves To Be Watched Regularly Until October

Journalist Michael Harris (Party of One) recently appeared on Steve Paikin’s TVO show, The Agenda. People shuold watch this on a regular basis to be reminded regularly of Stephen Harper’s anti-democratic and contemptuous ways.


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Politics and its Discontents: For Those Who Value Democracy

After watching Pierre Polievre make the Sunday rounds extolling his government’s achievements, it would be easy for the politically disengaged and ignorant to conclude that the Harper regime is the greatest thing since the proverbial sliced bread. By Polievre’s account, his government has put more money into the pockets of ‘hardworking Canadians’ than any other in Canada’s history. What’s not to like about TFSAs (a leg up for both working and retired seniors, according to trickster Pierre), income-splitting and new pending budget measures for seniors. All is well with the world.

Except that it is not. Scratch beneath the surface (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Attention, Young People: Here Is Why You Should Vote

This brief but powerful video should be viewed by all those who are politically disengaged, especially our young citizens:

H/t OperationMaple Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: How Do You Define A Threat?

It’s all a matter of perspective, I guess:

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Politics and its Discontents: Meanwhile, In Canada

H/t Anne Montgomery Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: A Solution Lacking Political Will

While reading the following, I found myself pining for the kind of scenario Jerry Ginsburg adumbrates. Then I had my second cup of coffee and reawoke to the prime motivation enveloping our current crop of ‘leaders (excepting Elizabeth May): the bald and venal pursuit of power. Stephen Harper’s Canada is not my Canada. More importantly, it’s not the Canada desired by most Canadians. Two-thirds of us, judging from polls and the last election, don’t want a Canada where policy-making relies on bullying and the suppression of dissent, where military intervention and one-sided bluster have replaced peacemaking as our foreign (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Fear In The Streets? It’s What He Wants

Those of us who have been following the machinations of our Machiavellian prime minster know that he seems intent on remaking Canada in his own malevolent image – a land where fear, suspicion, and division prevail, a land where only he and his party deserve the people’s electoral trust to keep a panoply of hobgoblins at bay.

Immobilized by Islamophobia? Mr. Harper is on the job, protecting our values from the niqab and fighting ISIS for all that is good and holy. Intimidated by domestic terrorism? Bill C-51 is the answer. Horrified at the prospect of rural renegades? Gun ownership (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: An Imperiled Democracy: Civic Illiteracy In Canada

I imagine that bloggers have any number of reasons for doing what they do, ranging from writing as catharsis to sharing information and insights in the hope of informing and/or changing people’s views. And while I read a number of blogs on a daily basis that further inform my worldview, I am under scant illusion that our collective efforts have much chance of altering people’s perspectives, largely due to the self-selection involved in the reading process. In other words, progressives tend to read progressives’ blogs, while regressives reactionaries read the scribblings of fellow travellers. Rarely do the twain meet. The (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Some Much Deserved Mockery


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Politics and its Discontents: Resisting The Fashion Fascists

If his shrill demagoguery is any indication, I suppose Herr Harper and his regime can be considered to be at war with Islam; the latter’s offences range from embracing jihadism to being a culture that, according to our self-appointed fascist fashionista, is ‘anti-women.’

In that war, Zunera Ishaq is what we might consider a resistance fighter. You will recall that the Pakistani woman and devout Sunni Muslim who is seeking Canadian citizenship, while willing to remove her niqab to an official before taking the citizenship test, wanted to remain veiled for the swearing-in ceremony. A federal judge (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: On The Politics Of Fear

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed the relative frequency with which I provide links to and samples of Star readers’ letters. One of the obvious reasons is that they tend to have the same political sensibilities as all progressive bloggers, i.e., they are acutely aware of the ongoing damage to our country that Mr. Harper and his acolytes are the engineers of. The other reason is the hope that these missives will be disseminated as widely as possible on others’ social networks, be they Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. It is only by spreading the word on (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Who’s Watching The Spies?

This from the folks at

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Politics and its Discontents: Where There’s Smoke….

H/t Mary Ellen Davis Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: And For Those Who Think Bill C-51 Is A Good Thing

Think again. The RCMP has labelled the “anti-petroleum” movement as a growing and violent threat to Canada’s security, raising fears among environmentalists that they face increased surveillance, and possibly worse, under the Harper government’s new terrorism legislation.

In highly charged language that reflects the government’s hostility toward environmental activists, an RCMP intelligence assessment warns that foreign-funded groups are bent on blocking oil sands expansion and pipeline construction, and that the extremists in the movement are willing to resort to violence.

The report, dated January 24, 2014, was obtained by Greenpeace and uses the kind of language one would expect from (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Don’t Canadians Deserve Better Than This?

Dear Demagogue (a.k.a. Stephen Harper) is out and about sowing his usual hateful divisiveness: Prime Minister Stephen Harper says “a lot” of Radio-Canada employees “hate” conservative values.

Harper says those values that are loathed by many employees of CBC’s French-language network are the same ones that he says are supported by a large number of Quebecers.

Harper made the comments during a French-language interview with Quebec City radio station FM93, conducted last Friday and aired today.

His remarks were described as “petty” by an NDP MP.

Pay no attention to this little man. He does not speak for the majority of Canadians. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: A Definitive Rejection Of Bill C-51

It is only human nature, I suppose, that when crisis strikes, our immediate reaction is that we would do almost anything to protect ourselves and our loved ones. When Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measure Act in 1970 as a response to the FLQ crisis, the vast majority went along with the measure, I suspect, for that reason.

The world we live in today is vastly different. Thanks to grisly images on the Internet and crass manipulation by ‘democratic’ governments, many perceive us as being in a perpetual war that threatens all of us. A war without end. A war (Read more…)

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…)