Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Politics and its Discontents: Kevin Page On Canada’s ‘Grotesquely Wrong Elites’

Former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, about whom I have written many times on this blog, is without question one of Canada’s true heroes. The reason? He insisted upon doing his job with the kind of thoroughness and integrity that exemplify the highest ideals of public service. Like Munir Sheikh, who resigned his position as head of Statistics Canada rather than allow the Harper government to use him to legitimize its abandonment of the mandatory long-form census, Page deserves our respect for fearlessness in exposing the lie that is our current regime.

Presumably, once his term ended last year, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Mitchell Anderson compares the results of corporate-friendly Thatcherism to the alternative of public resource ownership and development in the interest of citizens – and finds far better results arising from the latter: Thirty-five years after she swept to power as British prime minister, it is ironic that socialist Norway now has $830 billion in the bank and enjoys fully funded social programs that most of us can only dream of. Meanwhile the U.K. is enduring another round of wrenching austerity and owes over £1.3 trillion — about US$2.2 trillion. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Leo Panitch reminds us that the term “reform” was once understood to represent efforts to bolster the public interest against unbridled market forces – and suggests it’s well past time to take the word back from the business interests who have turned it into just the opposite. 

- Paul Krugman comments on the twin myths of the undeserving poor and the deserving rich. And Sam Polk writes from experience about the mindset that drives money addicts to demand that others’ basic needs give way to their desire to accumulate: I’d always (Read more…)

Alex's Blog: Canada’s Dangerously Distorted Tax Conversation

“(In)visible Dialogue”. Installation by Wang King Road. 2011. Wikipedia Commons.

(This post was written by Alex and Jordan Himelfarb; an abridged version appeared in the Star here.)

We don’t like paying taxes. This is not big news: we don’t much like paying any bills, and there’s probably never been a time when we didn’t grumble in particular about taxes. But somehow “tax” has gone from irritant to four-letter word, not to be uttered in public and certainly not to be discussed favourably in politics. It seems the Canadian political consensus is that you’d have to be nuts to talk (Read more…)

Alex's Blog: Canada’s Dangerously Distorted Tax Conversation

“(In)visible Dialogue”. Installation by Wang King Road. 2011. Wikipedia Commons.

(This post was written by Alex and Jordan Himelfarb; an abridged version appeared in the Star here.)

We don’t like paying taxes. This is not big news: we don’t much like paying any bills, and there’s probably never been a time when we didn’t grumble in particular about taxes. But somehow “tax” has gone from irritant to four-letter word, not to be uttered in public and certainly not to be discussed favourably in politics. It seems the Canadian political consensus is that you’d have to be nuts to talk (Read more…)

OPSEU Diablogue: “My office will start to unravel” – former federal budget watchdog Kevin Page

Federal Conservatives sure liked to talk about accountability while in opposition. In power? Not so much. Kevin Page, Canada’s first parliamentary budget officer, said no governments want more accountability. It’s not even a partisan issue. That puts a budget watchdog … Continue reading →

The Canadian Progressive: Federal Court dismisses former PBO Kevin Page’s application

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: The Federal Court of Canada has dismissed a request by former Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, to clarify the office’s mandate. In his application, Page had also sought ”judgment affirming he has the jurisdiction to seek the information” relating to the $5.2 billion in fiscal savings outlined in [...]

The post Federal Court dismisses former PBO Kevin Page’s application appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Politics and its Discontents: More Praise for Kevin Page

Readers of this blog will know that I have a deep and abiding respect for people of real integrity, those capable of moving beyond narrow self-interest to embrace ethics and principles in the conduct of their lives. Kevin Page, of whom I have written several times, is one such individual who has set a sterling example for all of us.

Today’s Star has several letters of praise for the former Parliamentary Budget Officer, several of which I am reproducing below. Please be sure to check out the full array of them on the Star website. The respect accorded him in

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: More Praise for Kevin Page

Cowichan Conversations: Senior Civil Servant Risks Career – Goes Public!

Richard Hub Hughes-Political Blogger

Kevin Page took on the challenge of setting up and overseeing the first Parliamentary Budget Office.

He managed and maintained this enormous undertaking and he did it while mourning the death of his 20 year old son.

In the linked post below Canada’s first Parliamentary Budget Officer, tells us of a Harper Government that has hidden the truth about serious and significant fiscal matters that must be disclosed to parliamentarians if parliament is to function with accountability and transparency.

It seems that major decisions are taken with far reaching impacts by the MP’s when essentially they are being blindfolded by an

. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Senior Civil Servant Risks Career – Goes Public!

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Con Pit Bulls

When you stare at the public face of Stephen Harper's sinister Con regime, what you see is horrifying enough.A tired, morally corrupt regime, that is willing to lie, muzzle people, or do anything to cling to power.But what most Canadians don't see, what is hidden from their view, is even more frightening.Read more »

Politics and its Discontents: Some Inspiration From Kevin Page

There is an excellent piece in this morning’s Star by outgoing Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page. In it, he talks about how his son’s death was the catalyst for his abandoning a natural desire for job security and his subsequent pursuit of the job which has incurred so much Harper wrath while at the same time endearing him to millions of Canadians. Unfortunately, the piece seems to be only in the print edition, but should it become available online, I will provide a link.

At the end of his article, Page urges all of us to write to our M.

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Some Inspiration From Kevin Page

Politics and its Discontents: The Face of Integrity

With a transcript of the extended interview.

H/t Alex Himelfarb Recommend this Post

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Bea Vongdouangchanh reports on Kevin Page’s concerns that the Cons are set to effectively destroy the PBO. And the Star’s editorial board slams Stephen Harper’s war against transparency and accountability in general: Stonewalling, foot-dragging and contempt for Parliament pay. At least that’s what the federal government appears to have concluded in the wake of the 2011 election. Toppled two years ago after being found in contempt of Parliament for failing to disclose fiscal information, the Conservatives were nonetheless rewarded in the polls with a majority government — a victory that has served as . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- The Star’s editorial board highlights why our elected representatives should be countering the effect of precarious employment (rather than exacerbating them as the Cons have done): Simply put, programs like Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan were created back in the days when employees received wrist watches for 40 years of service. Unemployment was considered a temporary misfortune, and big companies were expected to provide adequate pensions to be topped up by government cheques. Those programs have not adapted to the new, more “precarious” world.

For example, EI benefits have been pared

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Politics and its Discontents: They Still Walk Among Us

I have always felt a deep, abiding respect and affection for people of integrity. During my career as an English teacher, I took special delight in teaching plays like Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Robert Bolt’s Man For All Seasons, which told sories of real-life people who made the ultimate sacrifice to stay true to themselves and their beliefs.

Happily, those with integrity are not confined to either the history or literary pages. They still walk among us. People like Munir Sheikh, the former head of Statistics Canada who resigned his post rather than have his name, reputation

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: They Still Walk Among Us

The Canadian Progressive: Thomas Mulcair Wants A Stronger Parliamentary Budget Officer for Canada

The Official Opposition leader’s private members’s bill seeks to reign in the belligerent Harper Conservatives. By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 25, 2013: The CBC News is reporting that NDP leader Tom Mulcair will table a private member’s bill on Monday evening calling for the strengthening the mandate of the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. “The READ MORE

The Canadian Progressive: Aagh, Harper Conservatives Nuked Democratic NDP Motion On Role Of PBO

By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 14, 2013: Showing their burgeoning disdain for accountability, transparency, financial oversight and the independence of federal watchdogs, the Harper Conservatives earlier this week nuked a progressive NDP motion on the role of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO). The motion, tabled by the Official Opposition’s Finance critic, Peggy Nash, sought to extend the mandate READ MORE

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Tim Harper writes about Scott Vaughan’s final report as the federal environmental commissioner: Scott Vaughan doesn’t have the profile of some of his contemporaries but as the environmental commissioner bowed out with a final report Tuesday, he reminded official Ottawa how much he will be missed.

Vaughan is leaving after five years of what he calls — in typical understatement — identifying “gaps” in the environmental policies of the Conservative government. More often than not, those gaps are more like chasms.

He also departs at a time when the environment and the economy

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: On predetermination

Shorter Brent Rathgeber:

What government backbencher would dare consider asking the Parliamentary Budget Officer for information if he can’t suppress any inconvenient findings? I’d rather stay ignorant, thank you very much.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Saturday reading.

- Hamida Ghafour writes about the effect of tax avoidance by the world’s wealthy on the lives of the rest of the population – particularly when coupled with austerity pushed based on a lack of revenue: The OECD is a fierce defender of free-market capitalism. But Saint-Amans says politicians are realizing that rules set up in the 1920s need reform because allowing corporations and the very rich to hang on to huge amounts of wealth is bad for the economy. “When you have a political crisis, I am sad to say it, you . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Montreal Simon: Jimbo Flaherty’s War on Kevin Page

As you know Jimbo Flaherty, the Con man now posing as a Finance Minister, really hates Kevin Page, the Parliamentary Budget Officer. And for all the right reasons.For proving him wrong over and over again, and making him look like he doesn't know what he's doing.Read more »

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- In addition to providing my latest tagline, Alex Himelfarb takes aim at the austerians who seem happy to attack social well-being and economic development alike in the name of government-slashing: (A)usterity had never been driven by fiscal policy or economics or evidence.  It was driven by ideology.  Market fundamentalism.  A desire to make government much smaller, eliminate or reduce, as much as politics allowed, so-called entitlements, create a “pro-business” climate of less regulation, less government, and, above all, lower taxes.

Think about the irony of this: that the huge recession-induced deficits

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Northern Reflections: The Last Honourable Man

Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page will soon be out of a job. His term will end in March — and he will not be reappointed. The job he holds was a Conservative idea. But Stephen Harper and Company will be glad to see him go. The reason is simple. Every time he does his job, he highlights the fact that Harper and Company are engaged in system-wide fraud:

The impact of the new PBO was evident after Page’s first major report estimating the cost to Canada’s purse of the decision to commit troops to Afghanistan — an operation Ottawa refused

. . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: The Last Honourable Man

The Canadian Progressive: Is Chief Theresa Spence your 2012 newsmaker of the year? POLL

Is hunger striker Chief Theresa Spence, who entered Day 20 of her peaceful protest today, your 2012 newsmaker of the year? Is it the Idle No More movement? The Quebec student movement? Beleaguered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford? Is it Kevin Page, Canada’s fearless gallant Parliamentary Budget Officer, who showed uncommon courage recently when he took the Harper government to court seeking accountability and READ MORE

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Steven Hoffman highlights the Cons’ utter refusal to recognize that foreign aid – as defined by global treaties – doesn’t mean the same thing as corporate giveaways: Reports and commentary on Canada’s new foreign aid policy reveal the extent to which international development means different things to different people. Some see it as public charity, others as the way a country projects its values to the world. Still others, including International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino, argue that it’s “a part of Canadian foreign policy” and the fulfilment of “a duty and a responsibility

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links