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Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Sherri Torjman comments on the importance of social policy among our political choices, while lamenting its absence from the first leaders’ debate: (M)arket economies go through cycles, with periods of stability followed by periods of slump and uncertainty. Canada has weathered these economic cycles, and even major recessions, largely because of our social-policy initiatives. Income-security programs, in particular, are vital economic measures. The problem is that most of these have withered and shrunk in recent years and are in need of major repair.

Why is social policy so important to the economy? (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On transitions

Bob Hepburn makes clear that while the Libs may still be in denial about the importance of cooperating to remove the Harper Cons from power, their best friends in the media are under no such illusions. But the most noteworthy contribution to Canada’s discussion about post-election options comes from Aaron Wherry – particularly in highlighting what factors have, and have not, been taken into account in determining who gets a chance to form government: (A) Progressive Conservative government in Ontario in 1985 was defeated in the legislature and replaced by a Liberal government that had signed a governing accord with (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On balanced options

Dave McGrane offers a historical perspective on how deficits for their own sake shouldn’t be seen as an element of left-wing or progressive policy, while Excited Delerium takes a look at the policies on offer in Canada’s federal election to see how it’s possible to pursue substantive progressive change within a balanced budget. But let’s examine more closely why it’s wrong to draw any equivalence between the Trudeau Libs’ platform, deficits and progressive policies (despite their frantic efforts to pretend there’s no difference between the three).

Taking the Libs at their word, their current plan is to engage in deficit (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On crystallized positions

I’ve largely held off on discussing federal polls since few of them seem to be out of line with my initial assessment of the election as a three-way race with the NDP in a narrow lead, but with plenty of room for movement during the election campaign.

But EKOS’ latest signals that we may have reached the point where more of the same is news in and of itself – particularly for the party which most needs to try to change the direction of public opinion.

While there might once have been reason to wonder whether public assessments of the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On needless machinery

Those of us who have seen the Libs focus much of this year on criticizing the Cons’ partisan advertising might be rather surprised to learn they don’t think there’s any room to cut or redirect any current federal spending, and in fact consider it offensive that anybody might suggest such room exists.

But on a closer look, there’s actually a consistent theme behind the Libs’ message. While their petition on advertising criticizes the Cons for wasteful spending, it doesn’t promise to change anything other than to create a new commissioner position to oversee future publicity – meaning that it could (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michal Rozworski reminds us that austerity in Canada is nothing new under Con or Lib governments, while pointing out what the public needs to do to repel it: The campaigning Stephen Harper boasts that his tough austerity policies saved the Canadian economy. Lost in the rhetoric are two important facts. As most economists will tell you today, austerity measures are lousy ways to expand jobs and investment. And Harper’s Conservatives were just carrying on the work of their austerity embracing Liberal predecessors.…

The first round of Liberal cutbacks were quick and deep. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On cautionary tales

I’ve previously offered my take on why all opposition parties – including the Libs – should and will ultimately vote the Harper Cons out of power when given the chance. But I’ll note that Don Lenihan’s argument toward the same conclusion actually offers a reminder why there’s reason for concern.

Whatever lesson one wants to take from C-51 and Eve Adams (among so many other stories), one can’t claim for a second that they offer examples of Justin Trudeau and company valuing the support of progressive voters over cynical measures to appease the right. And there’s been no evidence that (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On separation anxieties

Following up on this post, let’s take a look at the first of Bob Hepburn’s theorized lines of attack against the NDP – which gets its own separate post since it needs to be analyzed in radically different ways depending on the party who launches it: Worse, the Conservatives are expected to unleash a furious barrage of attacks on Mulcair’s perceived weak spots, or vulnerabilities.  These weak spots include: 1) Quebec separation: Many Canadians could never vote for Mulcair because of the NDP’s policy that Quebec could split from Canada with a referendum vote of just 50-per-cent-plus-one. Mulcair (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Laurie Penny argues that Jeremy Corbyn’s remarkable run to lead the Labour Party represents an important challenge to the theory that left-wing parties should avoid talking about principles in the name of winning power – particularly since the result hasn’t been much success on either front. – Trevor Pott discusses Canada’s popular backlash against an unaccountable and security state, particularly when it’s deployed primarily to silence dissenting political views.

- Bruce Johnstone writes that contempt for the law is par for the course from the Harper Cons. And Bruce Livesey reports on (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On guiding influences

Adam Radwanski points out in his latest column that several weeks into the election campaign, it’s hard to see what message might be used against Tom Mulcair and the NDP to any meaningful effect. But let’s note that the factors working in the NDP’s favour – and the challenges for the competing parties – are even stronger than Radwanski’s column might suggest.

For example, for all the talk of a polarized electorate when it comes to policy, all indications are that Mulcair has a huge advantage over his competitors over a range of issues.

On every single one of the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On twisted outcomes

At the moment, plenty of Canadians are looking forward to waking up on October 20 and finding that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have lost the election, to be replaced by a government determined by the MPs elected by voters. And we should certainly be hoping for, and working toward, that outcome.

But imagine if the electoral process worked differently, potentially rendering all of our efforts useless.

Imagine if the Conservatives could dictate that incumbents would keep their seats unless they were defeated by some amount which was never stated in advance. Stephen Harper could then retroactively set the required opposition margin (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alex Munter discusses the connection between public health and economic development, along with the need to take a far longer-term view of both. And PressProgress points out Matthew Stanbrook’s message (PDF) that the Cons are undermining Canada’s medical system through malign neglect.

- Doreen Nichol comments on the relationship between low-wage, precarious work and food insecurity. Michal Rozworski points out how the NDP’s plan for a $15 federal minimum wage will have an impact far beyond the people who receive that wage directly, while James Armstrong reports that there’s serious reason to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On trust issues

Susan Delacourt’s take on what we should expect to see happen if there’s a minority Parliament following this fall’s election covers most of the bases. But it’s worth expanding on one point: It’s true that Harper, by constitutional convention, would have first shot at forming a government if the Conservatives win the largest number of seats. But there’s a hurdle Harper has to leap first: he has to win a vote of confidence in the House of Commons.

Try as I might, I can’t imagine how that would happen.…The extra-long campaign was clearly designed to drain the bank accounts of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On progressive evaluations

I’ll give Emmett MacFarlane the benefit of the doubt in having missed one of the NDP’s key promises while assessing the Libs’ attempt to mimic Kathleen Wynne’s campaigning on the title of “progressive” in the absence of any intention to follow up while on power. But leaving aside the utter lack of credibility of Justin Trudeau’s role model, let’s remember what the NDP has proposed as a means of both reining in corporate benefits and reducing child poverty – which receives absolutely no mention in MacFarlane’s assessment of either: (A)n NDP government will close the tax loophole currently enjoyed by (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, expanding on this post as to how we should be criticizing the politicians who are wilfully misleading the public about the future of Canada’s oil industry – and not the ones who are willing to keep living in reality once a campaign is on.

And if Stephen Harper comes out of hiding today, it might offer a particularly opportune time to explain why he’s in agreement with the “decarbonisation of the global economy”, along with what his government plans to do to achieve that goal. 

For further reading…- Again, Justin Trudeau’s comment on the need to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On cooperative options

I’ve previously excoriated the Libs for the connection between their refusal to talk about cooperation with other parties and their complete lack of any idea what they supposedly stand for. And nothing in the campaign to date changes that analysis.

By the same token, I’ll give credit where due to Elizabeth May for being up-front about her test for support for a new government. And it’s particularly noteworthy that the conditions – most notably the repeal, rather than tweaking, of C-51 – are ones which the NDP will be far better positioned to meet than any other potential governing party.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition

ZOMG A CANDIDATE SAID UNFETTERED TARSANDS EXTRACTION WON’T GO ON FOREVER!!!! HERESY AGAINST OUR PETROLEUM OVERLORDS!!! THAT PARTY IS DOOMED!!! DOOMED I SEZ!!!

Also, pay no attention to this guy: Justin Trudeau:  The reason environmental groups in Canada and across the United States are so concerned about Canadian oil is because Mr. Harper has turned the oil sands into the scapegoat around the world for climate change. He is – has put a big target on our oil sands, which are going to be an important part of our economy for a number of years to come, although (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Christos Tsiolkas talks to Yanis Varoufakis about the Troika’s appalling contempt for Greek democracy. And Barbara Ehrenreich laments the fact that only well-off people are given any meaningful opportunity to speak about poverty and deprivation – though that should highlight the need for workers to organize to ensure their voices are heard: There are many thousands of people like these – gifted journalists who want to address serious social issues but cannot afford to do so in a media environment that thrives by refusing to pay, or anywhere near adequately pay, its “content (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: And the verdict is…

Having set out my criteria for watching tonight’s leaders’ debate in today’s column, I’ll offer a quick rundown as to my evaluation.

Justin Trudeau was by far the weakest of the lot in terms of both depth and flexibility of thought from the very beginning, answering Paul Wells’ question about whether he could do more than what was in his party’s economic platform by merely reciting talking points about the exact plan which was being challenged. And matters didn’t improve for Trudeau throughout: at best he was aware enough to find allies among the other leaders on some points, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, with my suggestions as to what viewers should watch for in tonight’s leaders’ debate – particularly in a campaign where we’ll have ample opportunity to see everything but interaction between party leaders.

For further reading…- David Reevely describes the staging behind most of the campaign events we’ll see between now and election day. And Scott Reid takes a look at the preparation which goes into each debate as well.- Macleans offers a primer on tonight’s debate. And Aaron Wherry, Bruce Anderson, Laura Payton, and Chantal Hebert all note a few additional points to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On end goals

We can fully expect Canada’s election campaign to feature plenty more talk about possible coalition outcomes – which are favoured by the public, and may represent the best way to ensure the Cons’ replacement if Stephen Harper again tries to cling to power. And as I’ve noted before, there remains little reason to take the Libs seriously in their threats not to cooperate.

But I’ll take a moment to answer the latest excuse as to how the Libs are trying to present themselves as a party of change while needlessly ruling out what may prove to be the only way (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On leadership failures

Among the many responses to the Cons’ latest Senate shenanigans, one (from someone who’s not exactly known for his recent NDP ties) stands out as being worthy of mention: In his 10 years in office how many meetings with the prov premiers did PMSH hold to discuss Senate reform or abolition ? Ans: 0 #cdnpoli

— Bob Rae (@BobRae48) July 24, 2015

That obviously represents an important rebuttal to the Cons’ claim that they’ve done everything they could – or indeed anything at all – to keep their past promises. But it seems to me an equally powerful argument against (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: The Lemming Party of Canada

Shorter Scott Reid: There is no indignity which we Libs we won’t suffer, and no evil which we won’t allow ourselves to be strongarmed into supporting, if it means marginally saving face for the leader irresponsible enough to embrace them in the first place.

Left Over: ..Stay Away from Runaround Soudas…

Dimitri Soudas buys Liberal membership ahead of Eve Adams’s nomination vote

Adams, rival Marco Mendicino vie Sunday for party’s nomination in Eglinton-Lawrence riding By Laura Payton, CBC News Posted: Jul 23, 2015 5:42 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 23, 2015 6:28 PM ET

OMG… Wish I could sand-blast my eyes to get rid of the image…but it’s too late…

The double-trouble sleazebag brigade has well and truly landed at the feet of Junior Trudeau, whose troubles of late are enormous, mostly self-inflicted…

Junior, your daddy would have been the first one to tell you to never try and trip up (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Change for the better

It seems so long ago when it was conventional wisdom that no party in contention for government in Canada would dare talk about cooperating to get things done, no matter how many voters wanted to see it happen.

But if there was any doubt that the NDP can change Ottawa’s underlying assumptions, we can put that to rest.