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Politics and its Discontents: This Just In!

And it is very encouraging, in that it appears Canadians are beginning to wake up to the true nature of the Harper regime:

Nearly two-thirds of Canadians believe that the ruling Conservatives are settling political scores with their Fair Elections Act, a new poll has found. You can read all about it here.

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Politics and its Discontents: His Hands Are All Over It

Like an ugly stain that resists the most determined efforts at removal, Bill C-520, a ‘private member’s bill’ proposed by Conservative MP Mark Adler, has Stephen Harper’s signature and paranoid paw prints all over it.

The bill, about which I have written previously, would require all employees in parliamentary watchdog offices — such as the auditor general, ethics commissioner, or Elections Canada — to disclose any “partisan activity” in the decade before joining the office.

The fact that it has the full backing of the Prime Minister’s Office is key to understanding both its genesis and the mentality that (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Another Guest Post From The Salamander

I sincerely hope that other commentators on my blog do not think I am playing favourites when I repost another’s comments as a guest post. I sincerely welcome and value all of your comments. My reason for reposting The Salamander here, who offered the following comments in response to my piece, On Voter Engagement, is probably best expressed by my response:

Hi Salamander. As usual, your facility with language, your capacity for lacerating metaphor and simile in assessing the morass we currently find ourselves in, deserves a wider audience. I am therefore reposting your commentary as another guess post. (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: An Issue So Many Of Us Grapple With

This letter to the editor reflects an issue I think most of us in the progressive blogosphere struggle with, as do the folks at samara:

Voter turnout is the key to federal change

Eroding the fabric of the Canada we loveThe only way that we are going to get rid of King Stephen’s Reign of Control is by getting out the vote. It seems that every time I pick up a newspaper there is at least one and often more articles about how the Harper government is ripping another piece from the fabric of the once democratic, (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Telling Distinction

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Politics and its Discontents: Shoulder Shrug

Like many of the commentators and bloggers whom I read, I regularly feel a deep frustration over the passivity of people. No matter what the problem, be it political, social, environmental or a host of others, too many have a ‘can’t-do’ reaction that debases so many in a myriad of ways. Indeed, it appears to be one of our species’ defining characteristics, one at which Canadians seem to particularly excel, if our current political landscape is any indication.

Perhaps we need a national shoulder-shrug symbol as an expression of the what-can-you-do paralysis that cripples so many, a condition that undoubtedly (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: An Initial Reaction To The Budget

To paraphrase the Soup Nazi, young people, “No job for you!”

This message brought to you by the Harper government, not hard at work for you.

H/t PressProgress

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Politics and its Discontents: Peace Of Mind: An Elusive State

Do not go gentle into that good night.Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

- Dylan Thomas

I have now passed seven years of my ‘official’ retirement; it will be eight years this June since it actually began, given that I took a six-month leave before starting to draw my pension. According to all of the ‘good life commercials,’ I should be wiling away the rest of my days on the golf course, on some non-existent yacht, or fleeing harsh Canadian winters via the snowbird route.

Instead, I find myself increasingly restless and angry. Instead of disengaging from (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Rick Mercer Takes Aim At Julian Fantino

Rick Mercer surely is one of our national treasures:

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Politics and its Discontents: Too Good To Resist

And, of course, Fantino and the entire cabal showed what they are really made of yesterday in The House of Commons.

For an incisive evisceration of Fantino et al., check out The Galloping Beaver’s post. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: UPDATE: A Shameful Minister With No Shame

I can think of not one positive thing to say about Julian Fantino. Apparently, Toronto Star readers can’t either:

Fantino ‘absolutely regrets’ clash with veterans, Jan. 30

There is no possible excuse for the shameful treatment of our veterans by the federal Conservative government. Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino’s arrogant and disdainful behaviour with a delegation of veterans who met with him to lobby for keeping eight regional Veterans’ Affairs offices open is another low point of his career. He should resign or be fired.

These veterans put their lives on the line for our country without questioning whatever political (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: The Measure Of The Man

Sounds like Rick Mercer has the Harper cabal’s number:

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Politics and its Discontents: Refusing To Become What The Harper Government Wants Us To Be

While Stephen Harper’s trip to Israel is receiving wide domestic media coverage, coverage that I have been studiously avoiding out of deference to my at-times delicate sensibilities and constitution, the following Harper encomium strikes me as both chillingly ironic and hypocritical:

Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has rooted itself in the ideals of “freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”

Over time, … this is the only ground “in which human rights, political stability and economic prosperity may flourish.”

Strange, this pronouncement of praise for a political principle that the Prime Minister and his (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: The Harper Legacy: Empty Mantras And Empty Ideology

I hope readers don’t think I have grown lazy or burnt-out when I reprint letters from The Toronto Star. It is just that their observations and ideas are frequently so nicely expressed that I think they merit some exposure in the blogosphere.

Today’s offers a sharp rebuke to the tired Tory ideology of low corporate taxes as the path to prosperity, a mantra that has been repeatedly shown to be as devoid of value as the head of their leader and our Prime Minister is devoid of ideas and vision.

Re: Canada hit by unexpected rise in jobless rate, Jan. (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A World Badly In Need Of Inspired Leadership

Since he was elected to the position, I have written several posts related to Pope Francis; several of them express a renewed hope that the plain-speaking pontiff can generate some hope in a world badly in need of inspiring leadership, something almost wholly absent in our current crop of politicos, obsessed as they are first and foremost with the attainment and retention of power.

In response to a recent article by the Star’s Carol Goar, readers offer their perspective on what politicians could learn from Francis:

Goar: World leaders respond to Pope’s message, Opinion Jan. 12

Carol Goar’s piece on (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Can Loyalty Oaths Be Far Behind?

In yet another development in the dangerous drift toward autocratic rule, the Harper cabal, under the guise of a private member’s bill introduced by Mark Adler, the Conservative MP for York Centre, wants parliamentary watchdogs and their employees to disclose previous political activities.

Bill C-520, which has the full backing of Mr. Harper,

would require every applicant for a job with an agent of Parliament — such as the auditor general, or the chief electoral officer — to disclose if they’ve held a “partisan position” in the previous decade. The legislation would be retroactive, requiring any current employees to (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Faint Ray Of Hope?

Those of us who write blogs on a regular basis, I suspect, have a high tolerance for the uglier aspects of humanity that we regularly confront in our exploration of the political arena. Greed, deception, avarice and rampant egoism seem pervasive, concern for the collective good little more than a platitude. Yet we continue on, in part buoyed by the hope of a better future landscape where demagoguery and ideology are supplanted by reason and empiricism. One lives in hope.

Over at Northern Reflections, Owen, as usual, has an excellent post, this one on how the American politicos in (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Motivational Video

If Stephen Harper’s contempt for the things we hold dear as Canadians isn’t reason enough to vote, what is?

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Politics and its Discontents: An Unspeakably Sad Picture

But this photo of materials tossed in a dumpster upon the closure of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada library in Mont-Joli, Que. also speaks volumes about the Harper contempt for any knowledge or research that contradicts his regressive and destructive policies.

A war on science indeed.

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Politics and its Discontents: Shameful, Absolutely Shameful

It’s terrible, isn’t it, when people resort to stereotypes to express their political displeasure? An absolute disgrace. Unconscionable. Heh heh.

H/t Occupy Canada Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Another Clear And Cogent Explanation Of The Polar Vortex

This explanation is offered by President Barack Obama’s science advisor, Dr. John Holdren. Even if Stephen Harper hadn’t abolished the position of National Science Advisor in 2008, it is hard to imagine anyone in his employ speaking so frankly.

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Politics and its Discontents: That Didn’t Take Long

Bob ‘Mad Dog’ Runciman has a solution for those pesky protestors who dare embarrass the Prime Minister. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Some Things Never Change

Although the following Rick Mercer rant was made early in 2013, most, I think, would agree that nothing has changed in the interim:

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Politics and its Discontents: A Letter We Should Widely Share

Although he likely doesn’t articulate anything that progressive bloggers don’t already know, Star letter-writer Paul Kahnert of Markham neatly and succinctly addresses the real design behind tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. It deserves to be shared widely with those who may not be fully aware of some essential facts.

Have we had enough? Insight Jan. 4Tories like Stephen Harper and Rob Ford (and Tim Hudak) follow the Tory plan of tax cuts, which mostly goes to corporations and the wealthy. Tax cuts then create a crisis in public services. Then the Tories bring in privatization to deal (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Harper’s New Year’s Resolution?

Thanks to the Salamander for alerting me to this tweet from Stephen Lautens:

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