Politics and its Discontents: In Case You Hadn’t Noticed

Meanwhile, Star letter writers offer their suggestions: Re: Chaos, fear and anger, Jan. 29 Canadians outraged at Trump’s ban on Muslims and refugees can take concrete action by contacting the United States embassy in Ottawa and pledging not to travel to the U.S. until the ban is overturned. We can’t vote south of the border, ...

Politics and its Discontents: The Power That Resides Within All Of Us

We live a world where far too many decisions are heavily influenced, if not determined, by economic considerations. The cost of everything, and the value of nothing, seems to be today’s ruling ethos, to the point where we regularly seem to be little more than cogs in a giant mercantile wheel. That can be a ...

Politics and its Discontents: Canada’s Carnival Sideshow

While people with normal cognitive abilities likely see the farce in Kevin O’Leary’s effort to become the next leader of the Conservative Party, it would be unwise to underestimate the power of less able and less stable people to influence the course of events. If nothing else, the Trump spectacle attests to the importance of ...

Politics and its Discontents: The Haves Certainly Have It

This from today’s Letters To The Editor, to which I have nothing to add: Re: Two richest men as wealthy as poorest 30 per cent, Jan. 16 It is telling that this news report was not a front-page headline in the Star. As if the world needed any more data on the abject failure of ...

Politics and its Discontents: "The Cancer Of Inequality"

In a recent post well-worth reading, The Mound reflected on the decline of support for liberal democracy. Today, Star readers respond to an article carried by the paper entitled, How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’. Their message is clear: inequality is at the root of the problem, fostered and promoted by the ...

Song of the Watermelon: Vancouver Sun Letter

For what is likely to be my last letter to the editor of 2016, see today’s Vancouver Sun (fourth letter from the top). The gist of my argument is that Kinder Morgan is bad. Fun fact: this ain’t the first time I’ve responded to a pro-Kinder Morgan op-ed by former NDP Premier Dan Miller. Filed ...

Politics and its Discontents: Star Readers Speak Out On CETA

Recently, my newspaper of record, The Toronto Star, wrote what I felt was an uncritical endorsement of CETA. The part that especially disturbed me was this: In the case of CETA, the demonization focuses on one part of the agreement, involving a process for resolving disputes between investors and governments. The so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement ...

Politics and its Discontents: Star Readers Write

These days, my faith in the future is quite limited. The proliferation of war and the ongoing reluctance of governments to do anything substantive about climate change, despite its increasingly obvious effects, both speak to the refusal of our species to rise above our base animal impulses and use the consciousness that supposedly separates us ...

Politics and its Discontents: Pillaging The Public Purse: On Hydro One’s Privatization

I have written in the past on my strong opposition to Kathleen Wynne’s selloff of 60% of Hydro One. She has no mandate for this pillaging of the public purse, and no good reason for it except her politically and ideologically-driven obsession with balancing the budget before Ontario’s next provincial election. She will not be ...

Politics and its Discontents: Pillaging The Public Purse: On Hydro One’s Privatization

I have written in the past on my strong opposition to Kathleen Wynne’s selloff of 60% of Hydro One. She has no mandate for this pillaging of the public purse, and no good reason for it except her politically and ideologically-driven obsession with balancing the budget before Ontario’s next provincial election. She will not be ...

Politics and its Discontents: A Time For Some Critical Thinking

With Canada’s police chiefs clamoring for new powers that would allow for a massive invasion of our collective privacy, Canadians need to take some time to think critically about our rights and freedoms. As you will see in the following, the first commentator, Rich van Abbe of Toronto, has done just that: Re: Police chiefs ...

Politics and its Discontents: A Time For Some Critical Thinking

With Canada’s police chiefs clamoring for new powers that would allow for a massive invasion of our collective privacy, Canadians need to take some time to think critically about our rights and freedoms. As you will see in the following, the first commentator, Rich van Abbe of Toronto, has done just that: Re: Police chiefs ...

Song of the Watermelon: National Post Letter

You will find a letter of mine in today’s National Post enumerating the many benefits of proportional representation. In order to read it, please click here and scroll down to the second last entry (or see the last entry in the print edition) under the heading “PR delivers the goods.” Filed under: Canadian Politics, Democracy, ...

Politics and its Discontents: The Party Of Lincoln

H/t Toronto Star A series of letters excoriating the deplorable state of American politics and society, epitomized by Donald Trump’s presidential nomination, is well-worth the read. Here are but three of them: The unthinkable has happened. The party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan has nominated Donald Trump for president. A storm is ...

Politics and its Discontents: More On Corporate Tax Evasion

The other day I posted some letters from The Star about corporate tax dodging and evasion as revealed by the Panama Papers, and included my doubts that Justin Trudeau will do anything to remediate the situation. An anonymous commentator took me to task: You never miss a chance to attack Justin Trudeau do you? None ...

Politics and its Discontents: Tax Fairness: A Doubtful Prospect

Recently I wrote a post expressing doubt that the tax treaties signed by Stephen Harper at the urging of big business will not in any way be amended by Justin Trudeau. Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs), as manipulated by Harper, allow for the legalized theft of countless billions of corporate tax dollars from the public ...

Politics and its Discontents: Our Unfathomable Equanimity

While the world convulses and gyrates over the results of the Brexit vote, I can’t help but wonder why not even a scintilla of that passion can be brought to a much greater threat to our collective well-being: climate change. Star reader Judith Deutsch of Toronto ponders our unfathomable equanimity: Re: Atmosphere hits grim milestone, ...

Song of the Watermelon: Vancouver Sun Letter

I have a letter on The Vancouver Sun’s website (online only, it would appear) replying to a ridiculous op-ed piece that blames the high cost of housing on “mass immigration.” My response is restrained in both tone and word count, but suffice it to say I disagree with the op-ed writer’s argument. To read my ...

Politics and its Discontents: In The Service Of Truth

There are many truths today that, thanks to the almost reflexive, visceral response of an often vitriolic social media, few dare to speak. Most recently, linking the terrible fires in Fort McMurray with climate change has been one of them. Is it insensitive and opportunistic to draw such a connection, or is it only stating ...

Politics and its Discontents: Measuring Democracy

One of the concerns that has motivated me throughout the years I have written this blog is public accountability. Far too often, whether examining politics at the federal, provincial or local level, it is evident that public accountability, when it occurs, is often an afterthought, not a prime mover of our overlords. It is safe ...

Politics and its Discontents: Morally Weak, Intellectually Contemptuous

That’s how I regard the justifications for continuing with the Saudi arms deal offered by Stephane Dion and his puppet master, Justin Trudeau. I see I am not alone in that assessment: Re: Approval of Saudi arms deal was illegal, lawyer argues, April 22 According to the Prime Minister, the Saudi arms deal must go ...

Politics and its Discontents: Andrea’s Damascene Moment

In the Book of Luke, Jesus is reported to have said the following: I tell you that … there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. In Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus is described: As he ...

Politics and its Discontents: The Outrage Continues

In the weekend Star, Tony Burman gave five reasons that Canada should cancel the Saudi arms deal, an immoral agreement which the Trudeau government refuses to budge on. I will simply give the headings of his arguments here: 1. Canadians oppose it 2. Canada is being bought off 3. Saudi Arabia is an awful regime ...

Politics and its Discontents: The High Cost Of Free Trade

Despite the rhetoric by our political and corporate overlords about the wondrous benefits of free trade, multitudes of people on both sides of the border are becoming increasingly aware of its true costs. In today’s Star, readers weigh in with their usual penetrating insights: Re: Next U.S. president won’t nix trade pacts, March 19 As ...

Politics and its Discontents: Time Grows Short

As The Mound of Sound points out, it is getting very late on the climate-change front. The goal of keeping global warming at below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 seems a fool’s errand, given that it is now predicted to be reached by 2030. A bitter truth that too many wish to ignore, some people ...