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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…)

Politics and its Discontents: Another Gem From Our National Treasure

Oh, Rick, may your voice never be silenced.

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Politics and its Discontents: TWO Judicial Setbacks In ONE Day!

I don’t want to chortle; I really don’t. Chortling bespeaks a certain pettiness and vindictiveness that I would like, in my more high-mined moments, to think I am above. But I am weak, and so today is a good day to indulge in some whole-hearted chortling.

First came the news this morning that Marc Nadon, the Harper cabal’s selection to take one of the Supreme Court’s Quebec seats, was rejected by that lofty body because he meets none of the qualifications to sit (a mere pesky detail, I suppose, to some I could name).

Also this morning, another judicial body, (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: An Evening Reminder Of Just How Hostile Stephen Harper Is To Canada’s Long-Term Interests

For more information, this link is a good place to start. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Each Day Seems To Bring A Fresh Outrage

I am someone who believes people should never be too happy or contented. Such states breed a complacency that can lead to an indifference, if not downright disengagement, from the pressing issues that citizenship demands. That being said, however, there are days when I almost wish that I could be blithely detached.

As many who read this will likely attest, being a Canadian with a government that betrays us in so many ways is at times very difficult to accept and endure.

Where to start in discussing those betrayals? Since this post would never end if I were to enumerate (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Law Professors Are Not Impressed By The ‘Fair’ Elections Act

Yasmin Dawood is one of 160 professors from across Canada behind an open letter to the government asking for major revisions to the ‘Fair’ Elections Act. Yesterday, she appeared on Power and Politics. As you will see, Dawood regards the act’s provisions as posing a grave threat to Canadian democracy:

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Politics and its Discontents: A New Post From The Salamander

In response to the letter I posted this morning, The Salamander offers some timely commentary, which I am posting below. While making his usual incisive observations, he also has some suggestions that we would all do well to take to heart:

.. don’t wear a poppy .. turn your back or raise your fist.. or your voice.. when confronted by hypocrisy.. obvious deceit, cowardice & secretive government.. Find your own individual and special way to honor our heroes and exemplars and make it blinding clear how you treasure the courage, sacrifice.. the gift they gave all of us

Stand tall.. bold .. feet (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Nice Compendium Of Recent Harper Offences Against Democracy

I am preparing to resume work on my flooring, so, in lieu of my own piece, I am posting a letter from the London Community News that offers some thoughts on the ‘Fair’ Elections Act and other Harper government misdeeds:

Dear editor,

Much noise has been made about what the Conservatives’ euphemistically call the “fair elections act” currently being tabled in the House of Commons. CBC personality Rick Mercer announced that if the bill passes then Canada would forfeit our title as one of the world’s greatest democracies.

Mercer’s televised rant focused on the aspect of the bill that makes (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: More Food For Thought

I am still working on my flooring, and as someone to whom the term handyman has little application, I am working very slowly. Therefore, in lieu of a post, I offer this wisdom from George Orwell:

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Politics and its Discontents: Few Escape The Bruce Carson Taint

Nigel Wright to Bruce Carson in 2011 as the later conducted his allegedly illegal lobbying:

“I’ve heard a lot of good things about you. Feel free to give me a call at any time.

You can read all about it here.

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Politics and its Discontents: More And More Canadians Are Rejecting The Mores and M.O. Of The Harper Regime

At least these letters from Star readers suggest thus:

Pollster warns Tories their support is slipping, March 1

In addition to the concerns of university-educated male voters between the ages 45 and 64 identified in the article, there is another significant reason that this and many other demographics are deserting the Conservative party. It has to do with the values that have evolved to become associated with the party brand.Whereas the demographic in question had hoped once that the Conservatives would herald economic prosperity based upon a broad new vision for Canada, what the Conservatives have delivered is a (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: On Democracy And Political Leadership

I have a somewhat busy morning ahead, so for the time being I offer the following:

Is the answer to things like this,


Re Manning Takes Aim at Tory Election Bill (March 3):

The Conservatives’ Fair Elections Act is anything but. Instead, it’s about ensuring they’ll form another majority in 2015. There’s only one realistic way to ensure that won’t happen: co-operation among the opposition parties.

Here’s a novel idea: We need leaders who will lead. Elizabeth May has already figured it out; Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair need to hold their noses and go for one-time-only co-operation. Kindergarten (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Some Days A Reactionary Just Can’t Catch A Break

At least if you are a reactionary in the Harper vein. First came the bad polling news showing increasing numbers of Canadians growing increasingly suspicious and weary of the relentless divide-and-conquer tactics of the so-called master tactician. Then came some stinging rebukes from that old icon of conservatism, Preston Manning, who, over the weekend, suggested that it is time for the Harper regime to start focusing on policy rather than politics, perhaps a veiled way of suggesting it might be time ‘to try that sincerity thing.’

Even that once-trusted source of cabal strategy, Tom Flanagan, weighed in as he (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Good Start To The Week

It is always gratifying to begin the week reading the thoughts of engaged Canadians who see through the thinly-veiled lies of the Harper cabal. In this morning’s Star, three letter-writers address the topic of Bill C-520, a ‘private member’s bill’ proposed by Conservative MP Mark Adler, about which I have previously written.


Watchdogs present united front against Tory disclosure bill, Feb. 26

Conservative MP Mark Adler’s claim that the desire for “transparency” is behind his private member’s bill is completely fraudulent. The bill would require all employees of the so-called “watchdog” agencies – like auditor-general’s office, the ethics commissioner, (Read more…)