Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Democracy Under Fire: Blind Obedience, the Tool of Tyrants

A guest post by Pamela Mac Neil

“Here is how you’re going to vote and here are your talking points”

On capital hill the above line is the kind of conversation, probably repeated many times, initiated by junior in the PMO’s office, to Harpers backbenchers and various cabinet MP’s. He/she may continue to say, the PM wants this bill passed at tomorrows question period and by the way, junior may add to the selected MP, usually a back bencher, the PM would also like you to ask this question in the House. Could the PM elaborate on “unconfirmed reports (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: A Stark Contrast.

I dont often comment upon the daily actions of politicians on this blog preferring to look at the broader picture of how their actions affect out democracy but one recent report realy got my attention in its stark contrast between a potential leader and the current one. The way in which our ‘leaders’ interact with our local and national media, be they the press, television new outlets or simply citizen bloggers has much to do with democratic freedom and our need to know and understand what ‘government’ is doing on our behalf.

This item from Matt Guerin outlines the contrast….. (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Democracy and Freedom in Harperland

A guest post by Pamela Mac Neil There have been Canadian Prime Ministers I have disliked and Prime Ministers whose ideas I have disagreed with. I have never however, with any of these Prime Ministers, worried about losing our democracy and consequently our freedom. That is until Stephen Harper as our PM was given a majority government in 2011. I knew what he was capable of before he got his majority, but I never worried as long as he had minority governments. When he got his majority, I took notice and proceeded to study him closely on a daily basis. (Read more…)

Trashy's World: Leadership – it’s vital

After watching the municipal campaigns in Ottawa unfold thus far, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the defining issue is leadership. Pro green bin or not (I pity the fools!), love Phase 2 of the LRT or scrap it, raise taxes, lower them or keep them the same, what really sets out one candidate from […]

Democracy Under Fire: Peacekeepers ignored by Harper.

Today our Canadian military members and veterans as well as police officers come together in ceremonies across the country to honour and remember all Canadian peacekeepers who have served or are currently serving in support of peace operations around the world. Among those who will NOT be there are PM Stephen Harper, Veterans Minister Julian Fantino, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, Veterans Affairs have condescended to send a parliamentary secretary provided that the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping write his speech!

It remains to be seen if the regimes censors will (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: What can the results of the last Ontario PC leadership race tell us about the current one? That Elliott could be hard to beat

Long-time readers will remember when I did some fairly in-depth coverage of the 2009 Ontario PC leadership race. I was reading over some blog posts from that era, bit of a trip down memory lane. I kind of forgot Hudak’s big selling point to grassroots conservatives was pledging to eliminate Human Rights Tribunals, Christine Elliott running on a flat tax to increase her appeal beyond just red Tories, and of course Hudak Bingo!

The map at the top of this post shows the first round results from the 2009 leadership results, coloured in by which candidate won plurality (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: New study reveals best and worst cities to be a woman in Canada

by: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives | Press Release | April 23, 2014

OTTAWA—A new study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) reveals the best and worst cities to be a woman in Canada. According to the study, Québec City is the best city to be a woman and Edmonton is the worst.

The study, by Kate McInturff, a Senior Researcher at the CCPA, ranks Canada’s 20 largest metropolitan areas based on a comparison of how men and women are faring in five areas: economic security, leadership, health, personal security, and education.

“Canada has made great (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Best of Both Worlds

A guest article by Jared Milne.

Politically, 2013 wasn’t much different than previous years. In Toronto, Rob Ford accused his opponents of wanting to keep the “gravy train” going, while his opponents accused him of hypocrisy and failing to live up to his promises. In Ottawa, the Conservative government accused the opposition parties of wanting to drastically raise taxes to pay for their political promises, while the official Opposition accused the Conservatives of slashing essential services and transfers to Canadians. In St. Albert, critics of the city government’s current direction stated that our current level of spending is unsustainable, while (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the link between personality politics and the culture of scandal that’s developed around Stephen Harper, Rob Ford and other political figures.

For further reading…- Once again, Dan Leger and Leslie MacKinnon provide the column’s starting point in discussing the central focus on scandals in 2013.- Eric Grenier’s year-end political grades offer a prime example of the type of election-results-only evaluation that feeds into the problem.- And Frank Graves discusses the Canadian public’s waning trust in its current crop of politicians.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman highlights why inequality is indeed an issue which demands action – both for its own sake, and for its impact on other goals such as economic sustainability. And Bill Moyers discusses the difference between a government responsive to its people and one completely controlled by elites: The historian Plutarch warned us long ago of what happens when there is no brake on the power of great wealth to subvert the electorate. “The abuse of buying and selling votes,” he wrote of Rome, “crept in and money began to play an important (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Backbenchers Grow a Backbone?

Many of us have been sounding the alarm bell for some time about the amount of power and control the Prime Minister and the PMO have over both the daily working of parliament and more particularly the amount of control exercised over MPs and senators elected or appointed under the Conservative banner. Now it would seem a few backbenchers have finally become tired of following orders and want to do what they were elected to do, represent their constituents without having to rigidly follow the scrip provided by the PMO. “Tired of being a $160,200-a-yearvoting machines, the group (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: TV or Democracy

With the next set of promises recently presented in the House after several days of targeted leaks of some of the content which highlighted ‘more choice of cable & satellite TV channels’ I wonder if Canadians are really as shallow as the Harper Regime seems to think. Can we really be bought by a promise to give us more choice in selecting TV channels and similar meaningless goodies, is this such an important thing that it needs to be in the throne speech and have legislation brought forward to force the companies concerned to open up more choice, a move (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Save Democracy from Politics

The title says it all, our very democracy is in danger of being totally subverted by partisan actions which are aimed at keeping or gaining power with little regard to the well being of Canadian peoples or our country. Elizabeth May is correct when she says there is no consensus on how to achieve the replacement of the flawed and highly biased first past the post electoral system. I fully support the Green party in their long held view that the system is broken and requires a major reform and applaud Ms May’s efforts to leave partisan politics behind and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On independent thought

It’s for the best that the idle speculation and gossip about a single point of policy difference between Thomas Mulcair and Linda McQuaig have been put to rest. But let’s make clear just how pernicious the “ZOMG!!! Candidate X occasionally thinks for herself!!! Clearly she must be muzzled!!!” line of political analysis actually is.

Simply put, there’s absolutely no contradiction between:- a party leader promising that a given policy that will form part of the party’s platform; and- a candidate holding the personal opinion that a particular different policy would produce superior outcomes, while nonetheless supporting the (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Dysfunctional Legislatures

Is there any such thing as a fully “functional” legislature in Canada? I am starting to wonder. I do not follow all the various provincial maneuverings but it seems to me that many of our governing institutions across the country are in disarray. Certainly the only time our federal government can be called somewhat functional is when the legislature is not sitting, which situation appears to be the preferred option of the Harper regime and now the BC government. I cant speak to the rest of the provinces but it seems to me that they will take note that if (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Of rules and rulers

I’ll readily agree with the Star’s editorial board that we should expect our lawmakers to have some respect for the law. But while David Climenhaga draws one contrast between Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper, I’ll point out what looks to be a more apt comparison – one which also involves sheer personal indulgence rather than any statement of principle: Prime Minister Stephen Harper went ATVing today…on the runway at Tuktoyaktuk.

He took off, and left his RCMP detail in the dust. They then chased him. Two officers on ATVs, and some more in pickup trucks.

Harper roared up and (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: New Leadership Team Proposed for Unifor

The CAW and CEP have created a team of union leaders proposed to lead Unifor, Canada’s new super union, after its founding convention on September 1.

The post New Leadership Team Proposed for Unifor appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Liberal Scarf: More shots fired in Ontario PC civil war as Education Critic Lisa MacLeod savages Transportation Critic Frank Klees on Twitter

As the Ontario PC civil war over Tim Hudak’s continued leadership rages on, here is what PC Education Critic (and many say potential future leadership candidate Lisa MacLeod) had to say to her fellow PC frontbencher and Transportation Critic Frank Klees.

Next time the Hudak PC’s ask to be taken seriously on the transit file, remember that this is the opinion his Transportation critic is held in by one of his highest profile MPPs.

calgaryliberal.com: Admitting My Failure

At the Alberta Liberal Party’s annual general meeting in June more than two thirds voted to shut down the supporter system. As someone who championed the system when it was first introduced, and then pushed for it nationally for the federal Liberals, I must admit my failure to both Albertans and to the provincial party. And [...]

The Canadian Progressive: President Obama showed leadership on climate change: Environmental Defence

President Barack Obama (Photo: Pete Souza)

In his much-anticipated speech on climate change and the environment this week, US President Barack didn’t exactly kill TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline as environmentalists had hoped. He simply stated that Keystone should only be approved if it doesn’t lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Still, Environmental Defence, one of Canada’s leading environmental action organizations, believes Obama showed leadership on climate change. The kind that may actually result in the US rejection of Keystone XL. That’s because pipeline is “a gateway to tar sands expansion and the scientific community agrees (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Four GTA-based organizations recognized for embracing diversity

By: Maytree Foundation | Press Release:

Photo: DiverseCity

TORONTO, June 19, 2013 – At an awards ceremony on Wednesday evening, DiverseCity onBoard recognized Blue Hills Child and Family Centre, the City of Markham, and William Osler Health System for embracing diversity in board governance and making it a priority to recruit board members from diverse backgrounds.

A corporate award, presented by the Canadian Board Diversity Council, recognized BMO Financial Group.

“Good practice in board governance includes finding the right people to lead,” explained Ratna Omidvar, President of Maytree and co-chair of DiverseCity. “In a region as diverse as ours, (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Four GTA-based organizations recognized for embracing diversity

Accidental Deliberations: On tests of character

Dr. Dawg has rightly pointed out the Cons’ attempt to invent a story based on Tom Mulcair’s audiacity in driving to his own parking spot. (Though we can be assured that members of the limo-propelled Con cabinet will never face precisely that same scenario.)

But if there is a story worth noting, I’d see it in comparing Mulcair’s response to a simple misunderstanding to the way far worse stories have been handled by his political counterparts.

Here’s Mulcair’s reaction to the incident: Thursday morning, however, a new guard was on duty at the checkpoint and she didn’t recognize Mulcair.

(Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Harper Says New Anti-Trudeau Flier Is Part Of “Democratic Debate”

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: Stephen Harper wants us all to believe that the Conservatives’ new anti-Trudeau household flier is part of “democratic debate.” The Harper Conservatives greeted Justin Trudeau‘s election as Liberal leader with a below-the-belt TV ad rejected by Canadians. This week, the Conservatives launched a tax-payer-funded flyer campaign attacking [...]

The post Harper Says New Anti-Trudeau Flier Is Part Of “Democratic Debate” appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Why an economist makes a bad leader

At least one of the reasons. Stephen Harper has an MA in economics, and he has other issues. You know what gives you a better background than economics? Camp counsellor. Alltop went to Camp Ha Ha.

Democracy Under Fire: Take Your Shirt Off for Democracy.

I am not sure that any of the major political parties gets it, but Harper definitely does not, attacking the leader of a party as if he and he alone is responsible for decisions of policy or as if he alone would be responsible for proposing or passing legislation is ridiculous. Effective perhaps, but totally without merit. True the Harper Regime is VERY centralized and VERY autocratic but even they must surely come to some kind of consensus within their inner caucus and thus we must criticize the “Harper Regime” not just Harper.. There are two extremes of leadership ‘style’ (Read more…) and Democratic, Harper’s style is very much the former whist most of us would think that in a democratic society the leadership style should lean much more towards the latter. Only if the leadership is totally autocratic can we lay the blame for decisions and policies entirely in . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: Take Your Shirt Off for Democracy.