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Politics and its Discontents: The Harperian Concept Of Justice

I don’t especially feel like writing today, so I offer you this from Walt Heinzie:

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Politics and its Discontents: Our Monochromatic Political Leadership

The images are graphic and heartbreaking – buildings reduced to rubble, maimed and dead children strewn among that rubble, families fractured, lives broken beyond repair. Were it not for the distancing effect that television news inevitably brings, the pictures would be overwhelming, leaving room for nothing but despair.

Thus is the reality of the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza, a seemingly insoluble situation aided and abetted by a West that offers nothing but the staunch bromide of Israeli’s ‘right to defend itself,’ an assertion with which few would disagree.

And therein lies the problem. That reflexive cliche whenever Israeli ‘excesses’ (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Yet Another Desperate and Despicable Ploy: More Harper Narrowcasting

The politics have a look of desperation about them. As they see their electoral chances diminishing among the wider Canadian public with each new sordid revelation, it looks like the Harper crowd is doubling down with its base, a strategy that I questioned in my earlier post today.

Steven Blaney, who could only be considered a Public Safety Minister in a Canada that has grown decidedly Orwellian, has announced a plan that will erode public safety but perhaps fire up the base. CBC News reports the regime minion has announced the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act which would make (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: No Shame, No Shame At All

There is no situation, however tragic, that Harper and his regime won’t exploit for political advantage. I guess that comes as no surprise to anyone:

Be sure to check out the Conservative Party website for more evidence, as well as Alison’s caricature at Creekside. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Thomas Walkom Misses The Mark

One of the reasons I subscribe to The Toronto Star is the quality of its columnists. Tim Harper, Martin Regg Cohn, Thomas Walkom, Heather Mallick, etc. rarely disappoint. However, no one is perfect, and today’s column by Walkom is not up to his usual critical standards.

Entitled Conservatives’ downfall could be Stephen Harper’s dismissive tone, the piece seems to suggest that if Harper were nicer, people wouldn’t perceive his government in nearly as bad a light as they do:

When the obituary is finally written on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, it is the tone that will stand out.

(Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: I Have A Simpler Solution

The headline reads, Restaurant owners seek meeting with PM over foreign worker freeze

The group representing Canada’s restaurant owners is calling for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the freeze on temporary foreign workers in the restaurant industry.

“The recent moratorium on temporary foreign workers in the food service industry has turned the labour shortage into a crisis,” Restaurants Canada CEO Garth Whyte said during a news conference in Charlottetown today.

The solution proposed by Restaurants Canada is threefold:

- Lift the moratorium on the food service industry immediately.

- Strengthen the rules of the program (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A New Enemy Of The State

When it comes to the media, it is common knowledge that the right-wing sees the CBC as a repository of leftists bent on perverting all that is sacred in Harperland. Hence the ongoing funding cuts, despite the Mother Corp’s repeated efforts at appeasement. What is surprising, however, is the fact that now the broader media have joined the Harper Enemies List.

In a letter to significant Conservative Party contributors, the Harper regime is asking them to reach deeply into their pockets, warning of next year’s election battle that will be a choice between Stephen Harper’s economic record and “inexperienced Liberals (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: In Harperland, The Worst ‘Crime’ Imaginable

… apparently is hanging the flag upside down.* Crypto fascists have always been thus.

*Hanging the flag upside down is recognized as a symbol of distress. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: We’re Not Paying You To Tell Us Something We Don’t Want To Know

That would seem to be the mentality behind the Harper regime’s chopping of $1.2 million from the federal Justice Department’s research budget.

As reported by the CBC, the cut, which represents 20% of the department’s research budget and will result in the termination of eight very experienced legal researchers, seems to have been prompted by its penchant for uncovering some inconvenient truths that run counter to the regime’s simplistic law-and-order agenda:

Previous legal research in the department sometimes caught senior officials “off-guard … and may even have run contrary to government direction,” says an internal report for deputy minister (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Why Is The Harper Regime Surveilling Us?

It’s a good question, but unfortunately and predictably, the government is providing us with no answers.

As reported in today’s Star,

The federal privacy watchdog’s concerns over electronic snooping are being met with silence from members of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet.

Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier directly appealed to four cabinet ministers and the federal government’s chief bureaucrat to reform Ottawa’s electronic snooping practices between February and March. Only one cabinet minister, Treasury Board President Tony Clement, has responded to Bernier’s letter.

Meanwhile, a Star reader offers a pungent assessment of how our country has devolved under the (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Is Dear Leader Trending Downward?

I certainly hope so:

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Politics and its Discontents: Well-Said

While I may write something of my own later today, the letters in this morning’s Star are both incisive and damning of the Harper regime’s penchant for insinuating itself into our lives by bribing telecoms and social media to turn over our private date at the rrate of $1 to $3 each. Enjoy:

They are watching you, April 30

Alex Boutilier makes it clear why the telcom companies are so willing, indeed delighted, to cooperate with government spy agencies and deliver up, for just the asking, our private communications for scrutiny. They get paid for it. This is part of (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Are We Feeling Any Outrage Yet?

If we care a scintilla about privacy or any measure of aversion to government snooping into our private business, we damn well should be. As I wrote in yesterday’s post, the Harper regime and its complicit agencies, intoxicated with power, have been requesting (sans warrants) and receiving data on us from the major telecoms and social media sites.

Now word comes that these Judases are being paid for their obsequious compliance by our tax dollars:

The Toronto Star reports the following:

Canadian taxpayers are footing the bill for government agencies to buy their private data from telecom companies without (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Failed Puppet Master?

In a withering assessment of Stephen Harper, that is the conclusion Andrew Coyne seems to draw in his National Post column:

We are so heavily invested, we media types, in the notion of Harper as master strategist, able to see around corners and think seven moves ahead and what not, that we tend not to notice how many times he has been screwing up of late. The sudden and more or less complete rewriting, on the same day as the Supreme Court decision, of the colossally misjudged Fair Elections Act, after weeks of waving off any and all criticism (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Two Sentiments That Will Resonate With Many

Today’s Star brings two letters, one on despotic rule and the other on electoral reform, that many would find hard to argue against:

Harper’s on a lonely road to political isolation, April 15

Aristotle once remarked that all forms of government — democracy, oligarchy, monarchy, tyranny — are inherently unstable, all political regimes are inherently transitional and that the stability of all regimes is corrupted by the corrosive power of time.

To prolong the viability of democratic form of government, his advice had been constant turnover of leaderships to renew the political process.After eight years in power, Prime Minister (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: The House That Ronald Built

… seems to be undergoing some serious perturbations these days. Earlier in the month came the story of three McDonald’s outlets in British Columbia abusing the Harper regime’s TFWP (Temporary Foreign Workers Program) by hiring temporary workers instead of available local people and reducing the hours of Canadian employees.

Now comes word from Edmonton of more abuse by the hamburger giant, this time of its temporary workers. CBC News reports the following:

Foreign workers recruited from Belize are accusing McDonald’s Canada of treating them like “slaves,” by effectively forcing them to share an expensive apartment – then deducting almost half their (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Goodbye, Jim

The other day I wrote a post on Jim Flaherty and his ‘legacy,’ inspired by two columns published in The Star. On this day of his state funeral, it seems appropriate to offer the views of a few Star readers on Flaherty’s record, and the posthumous accolades and state funeral offered him:

Re: Tale of two tragedies reveals Flaherty’s flaws, April 14Re: Former finance minister made sacrifices for public, April 12

Decorum suggest that we be gracious in remembering long-serving parliamentarians such as Jim Flaherty. True, he was a talented politician who impacted many people in his professional life. (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: I Come Not To Praise Flaherty

I have thus far avoided writing about Jim Flaherty’s passing for a very simple reason; it is difficult, if not impossible to keep separate his family’s personal loss with the man’s record as a politician. Yet two pieces I read in yesterday’s Star convinced me otherwise, and they allow me to offer my own views without disrespect for the dead.

The first, a fine piece of writing by Jim Coyle, is entitled Jim Flaherty gave up so much to serve us. His thesis is this:

…our politics would … improve mightily if the Canadian public saw politicians as human beings much (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Tip And An Idea From The Salamander

Although I have never met him, the Salamander, from his frequent commentary on my blog and others’, is unquestionably a passionate Canadian who wants the best for our country. Based on his searing metaphors and observations, I think it is safe to say that he believes, as do most progressives, the Harper regime does not share that goal.

That there is something manifestly unhealthy in the prime minster’s psyche is undeniable. His easy disposal of people no longer useful to him, his obsessive hatred of Trudeau, his win-at-any-cost, no matter how parliamentary traditions, democracy, etc. suffer, all attest to this.

(Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: The Choices Bloggers Make

Yesterday I put up a post entitled Apocalyptic Scenes, which featured a video clip of severe storms in the U.S. The Mound of Sound, currently on hiatus from his blog, The Disaffected Lib, left a comment about the relative dearth of bloggers covering issues such as climate change. The Mound, if you have read him, has consistently provided exemplary and comprehensive coverage of what undoubtedly is the greatest threat to our species’ long-term survival.

Here is what I wrote in response:

One of the many things I miss about your blog posts, Mound, is your comprehensive coverage (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: …Gone?

The tale of Eve Adams gets increasingly melodramatic, and increasingly reminiscent of Helena Guergis. That she will suffer Helena’s political fate is looking more likely with each passing day.

Readers may recall that prior to her fall from grace, Helena Guergis, at the Charlottetown airport in February of 2010, allegedly threw a tantrum and screamed obscenities at staff who asked her to take her boots off for security screening. An airport worker said it was among the worst meltdowns he had ever seen.

Fast forward a few years and a similar outrageous sense of political entitlement was acted out (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: What A Friend We Have In Stephen*

* With apologies to Joseph Scriven’s original hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

One can only assume that these days there are far fewer congregants lustily singing the praises of their dark lord and master, Stephen Harper, in that hallowed place of worship known as the Conservative caucus. Their faith has, in recent times, been sorely shaken.

From the Moses-like figure who led them out of the political wilderness, Harper became a Jesus-figure, welcoming all into a family of shared values, righteousness, and integrity, intent on driving the money-changers from the temples of Parliament. That dream quickly faded, (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Simple Truth

But one, of course, that our political overlords have no interest in considering:

Re: Polls expert fears Bill C-23 imperils voters’ rights, March 26

The response from Minister Pierre Poilievre’s office that “the Fair Elections Act simply requires voters to demonstrate who they are and where they live” shows a lack of understanding of the situation that many Canadians (by some estimates about 120,000) in remote areas, seniors homes and some students find themselves in. Many of these people simply cannot prove on paper where they live.

To disenfranchise them by eliminating the vouching alternative is patently unfair and (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: On Tory Intractability And Contempt

Today’s blog entry is really a video one, based on the testimony yesterday of Harry Neufeld, the elections expert and former B.C. Chief Electoral Officer whose report is being consistently misrepresented by Pierre Poilievre in his zeal to suppress the vote through the misnamed ‘Fair’ Elections Act. Perhaps one of the most disturbing points to emerge is Neufeld’s estimation that, with the elimination of both vouching and the use of voter information cards as acceptable identification at the ballot box, up to 500,000 Canadians will be unable to vote in the next election.

I am posting four videos: the (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: I Guess Sometimes It Doesn’t Pay To Have Friends In High Places

Although I have no sympathy for those who work, either directly or indirectly, for the Harper regime, there is a story in Toronto Life entitled, With Friends Like Harper: how Nigel Wright went from golden boy to fall guy which made for some interesting reading.

Part profile of Wright and part portrait of a cold, calculating and ruthless Prime Minister willing to jettison even those closest to him, the article revealed things I was quite unaware of. For example, I did not know that Wright and Tom Long were instrumental in luring Harper back into politics after he left following (Read more…)