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Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Peter Schroeder reports on a galling lobbying effort to keep the U.S.’ government paying free money to banks. And Jeremy Smith discusses how corporate groups have pushed to treat any form of public-interest regulation or fair taxation as an imposition on financial-sector profiteering: Mr Das outflanks even Ms Reinhart in the scope of what he includes (as it appears) within the scope of “financial repression”.  It also covers – according to his article – higher taxes, co-paying for government services, cuts in benefits, raising pensionable retirement dates, currency devaluations, as well as (Read more…)

Alberta Politics: The Annals of Government Relations: B.C. lobbyists with faint Dipper links keep turning up in Alberta

PHOTOS: A line of “government relations” specialists with packs full of resumes mentioning past NDP connections make their way over a mountain pass from British Columbia into Alberta. Actual lineups of B.C.-based lobbyists may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Brad Zubyk, principal of Vancouver-based Wazuku Advisory Group, which is about to set up shop […]

The post The Annals of Government Relations: B.C. lobbyists with faint Dipper links keep turning up in Alberta appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Alberta Politics: One government change and Big Tobacco’s effort to sidestep menthol cigarette ban goes up in smoke

PHOTOS: Young cigarette smokers. Youthful menthol smokers in Alberta may not appear exactly as illustrated, although it’ll stunt their growth just the same. Below: Health Minister Sarah Hoffman and former health minister Stephen Mandel. HALIFAX, N.S. What next? Apparently Alberta’s NDP government is now making decisions based on the best interests of the province’s citizens! […]

The post One government change and Big Tobacco’s effort to sidestep menthol cigarette ban goes up in smoke appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jordan Brennan discusses the utter failure of past trade agreements to live up to their promises, making it all the more unclear why we should be prepared to accept a new wave of even more inflexible restrictions against democratic decision-making. The trade and investment liberalization regime led to rapid and relentless restructuring of North American corporate ownership by opening the door to the two largest merger waves in Canadian history. On the world stage, these merger waves led to higher levels of Canadian corporate ownership abroad. Domestically, heightened amalgamation activity created larger Canadian-based (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Meesha Nehru reminds us of the importance of fair taxes (and tax authorities capable of ensuring they’re paid). And Fair Tax Mark notes that for the first time, a company on the U.K.’s main stock exchange has made the effort to be accredited as paying its taxes fairly.

- But in less pleasant news, Chris Rose exposes the hundreds of millions of dollars the fossil fuel industry spent lobbying and influencing U.S. politicians last year – and the multi-trillion dollar reward they received for exploiting resources and the public alike. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the politics and economics of energy production are changing around the world – and how Canada is being left behind due to governments focused solely on pushing oil interests.

For further reading…- Again, Vivek Radhwa discusses the progress that’s being made in developing – and broadly implementing – renewable alternatives to fossil fuel energy. And Clean Energy Canada studies how we’re missing the boat. – Aaron Wherry reminds us that Stephen Harper was at least once willing to talk about climate change – but only apparently when he saw no political choice. And again, there’s (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta Premier Jim Prentice repudiates controversial Redford Era triple-entry financial bookkeeping scheme

Alberta Health Minister Stephen Mandel and Premier Jim Prentice, neither elected just yet. Below: Former finance minister Doug Horner, current Education Minister Gordon Dirks, also unelected, and Emperor Augustus. Notice the similarity of the emperor to Mr. Mandel.

Well, nuts to you, Doug Horner!

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice continued his (almost) clean sweep of Redford Era Progressive Conservative Government policies yesterday, whisking away the former party leadership’s weird system of triple-entry bookkeeping that was introduced last year by Mr. Horner in his role as Alison Redford’s finance minister.

As of yesterday, it’s safe to say that the confusing financial reporting (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Alberta tar sands claim the soul of Conservative MP Rob Merrifield

Conservative MP Rob Merrifield resigned his elected seat this week to work as Alberta Premier Jim Prentice’s leading tar sands lobbyist in Washington.

The post Alberta tar sands claim the soul of Conservative MP Rob Merrifield appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Umut Oszu contrasts the impoverished conception of rights being pushed thanks to the Cons’ highly politicized museum against the type of rights we should be demanding: In their modern incarnation, human rights were fashioned after the Second World War and entered into widespread circulation in the 1970s and 80s, when they came to be deployed by Western governments and non-governmental organizations as part of a Cold War “battle of ideas.” Designed in predominantly civil and political rather than social and economic terms, the rhetoric of human rights has since been mobilized to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- In a theme all too familiar based on Brad Wall’s use of millions of public dollars to pay for access to U.S. lawmakers, Simon Enoch discusses the connections between Wall and ALEC: Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough is both a member and State corporate co-chair the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). You might know ALEC as the United States’ premier “corporate bill mill.” ALEC has also been characterized by the New York Times as a “stealth business lobbyist” and as a “bill laundry” for corporate policy ideas by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.…Some of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On paid access

Shorter Brad Wall: As far as I’m concerned, paying large sums of money to cynical political operatives for insider access to decision-makers is just how business gets done with the U.S. government. Also, please don’t draw any obvious inferences about how business gets done with my government.

Joe Fantauzzi: Post-Democratic Trend Lines in Etobicoke

Since news broke of the decision by Toronto mayor candidate Rob Ford to step away from the mayor’s race and be replaced by his brother Doug the term “feudal” has been thrown around a lot. The argument quite often associated with the use of this term generally appears to be that the Ford family is treating Etobicoke […]

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Linda McQuaig writes that while the Cons don’t want to bother listening to the public about much of anything, they’ll always make time for a disgraced former advisor lobbying on behalf of oil barons: In…new RCMP allegations,… [Bruce] Carson was working for the Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC), described in the media as a “non-profit group formed by business organizations in the energy sector.”

This rather benign description fails to convey what EPIC really is: a lobbying vehicle for dozens of extremely wealthy, powerful fossil fuel companies, including Enbridge, Imperial (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Ex-Harper aide charged with illegal lobbying, influence peddling

by: Obert Madondo | May 18, 2014

Obert Madondo, Editor, The Canadian Progressive

The RCMP last week charged Bruce Carson, a former aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, with illegal lobbying and influence peddling.

This is further confirmation that Harper is the world’s worst talent scout. Even more interesting is the fact that the charges against Carson mirror the Harper government’s petrostate-style support of Big Oil and the Alberta tar sands.

As CTV News reports:

Carson has been charged with three counts of lobbying while prohibited and one count of influence peddling in relation to his work for the (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Ex-Harper aide charged with illegal lobbying, influence peddling

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, discussing what Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page found (PDF) in looking at which preferences actually shape U.S. public policy – and what needs to happen for the needs of the general public to be given some actual weight in government policy choices.

For further reading…- Again, Larry Bartels, Kathleen Geier and Paul Krugman are among many who have also commented on the study.- Sanders Deionne charts the connection between lobbying payouts and tax giveaways for a number of large U.S. corporations. – On the Canadian side, I’ll point again to Therea Tedesco and Jen (Read more…)

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Non-voters and Influence #nlpoli

There is a new scourge among us.

An evil that causes “problems”.

Russell Wangersky found them and wrote about them this past weekend.

They are the people who do not vote.

(Read more…)

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Who is lobbying whom these days? #nlpoli

When it needed a lobbyist in Ottawa to monitor the federal environmental review process for its Kami project, Alderon Iron Ore turned to Summa Strategies and a well-connected fellow named Tim Powers.

You can find out information like this thanks to the federal registry of lobbyists.  Powers’ registration number for the Alderon gig is 777504-308605.  It’s a matter of public record.

For those who may not know, Powers is also a registered lobbyist (777504-14002) for Nalcor Energy in its dealings with the federal government.  Again, it’s a matter of public record. 

But what about Alderon’s dealings with the provincial government and its agency, Nalcor Energy?  Did they have anyone interceding on their behalf? 

Good question. 

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer.

(Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Lobbying Act’s ban on lobbying by former ministers no hindrance if they’re hired as presidents and CEOs of lobby firms

A Conservative cabinet minister turned lobbying firm president, top row, centre right, with part of the team of lobbyists he supervises. Actual lobby group CEOs and their lobbying staffs may not appear exactly as illustrated. For one thing, even one bow tie would never be allowed! Below, an actual former federal minister of state turned lobby organization president and CEO, Ted Menzies.

Perhaps like me, you imagined the federal Lobbying Act’s unequivocal five-year ban on lobbying by Designated Public Office Holders like former cabinet ministers would prevent such persons from becoming presidents and CEOs of lobbying organizations.

If that’s what (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On self-interest

With Chuck Strahl’s massive conflict of interest between lobbying and patronage appointments already making news, the revelation that Vic Toews has found his way into the lobbying industry (having seemingly planned for it before he’d even resigned from Parliament) looks all the more noteworthy. And Toews’ assertion that a lawyer who would seem to have accumulated substantial pensions through three different public roles has “got to make a living” trading off his political connections speaks volumes about how far removed Stephen Harper and has cabinet ministers are from the reality facing most Canadians.

That said, Toews’ position does seem (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Former federal Tory Chuck Strahl’s lobbying activities break no laws, but highlight a problem

Lobbyists gather in the lobby of the House of Commons at Westminster. Below: Politician turned lobbyist Chuck Strahl, B.C. Lobbying Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

Notwithstanding his classification as a Designated Public Office Holder under the federal Lobbying Act, former Reform Party, Canadian Alliance and Conservative office holder Chuck Strahl is breaking no laws or regulations by registering and operating as a lobbyist in British Columbia.

Something is wrong with this picture if you accept the rationale for most Canadian lobbying legislation, but you can hardly blame Mr. Strahl for it unless you’re one of those folks who thinks citizens should (Read more…)

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Skinner and the useless provincial lobby law #nlpoli

Shawn Skinner used to be a provincial cabinet minister.

Now he works for a construction company trying to get a major contract at Muskrat Falls. Skinner is the senior director of business development with Aecon.

Presumably that job involves him meeting with or arranging meetings with people at Nalcor and the provincial government in an effort to land the Big Contract.

So why isn’t Shawn  – or anyone else connected to his company – registered as a lobbyist as required by the lobbyist registration law Shawn and his Conservative colleagues introduced in 2004?

Good question.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Robert Reich asks a few impertinent (but important) questions about plutocratic encroachment on the U.S.’ political system.

- Catherine McKenna explains why it’s important to try to make a difference in our political system. But Chris Cobb reports on what happens to those who try under the Cons’ regime.

- Gerald Caplan wonders whether anybody involved in the Clusterduff – including Stephen Harper, his chief of staff, his hand-picked senators and his core office staff – has ever told anything approaching the truth. But I think we’ve already established the (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Keystone XL Pipeline Lobbyists Have Deep Ties to White House

By: Pratap Chatterjee

Keystone Pipeline Handout

TransCanada and the provincial government of Alberta are paying former advisors to the Obama administration – as well as former staff of the Hillary Clinton and John Kerry presidential campaigns – to help them lobby for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to transport tar sands fuel to the U.S.

The pipeline from Alberta – which is to be built by TransCanada – has been delayed for over four years pending approval from the U.S. State Department which has final say because it crosses the international border. President Barack Obama is expected to (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Massive anti-tar sands protest to greet PM Stephen Harper in London

By: Obert Madondo Twitter: @Obiemad

A massive anti-tar sands protest will greet Prime Minister Stephen Harper when he arrives in London on Thursday en route to the June 17-18 G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland.

The UK Tar Sands Network and a coalition of environmentalists hope to show Harper “that there is huge opposition to tar sands in the UK”. And that Canada’s lobbying against the EU’s fuel quality directive is unacceptable.

The organizers also argue that Harper is unworthy of the honour of addressing the UK Parliament. Harper is scheduled to deliver the first speech by a Canadian PM to the British (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Tories spend on Keystone XL ads, while cutting environment funding

Canadians should be outraged that the Harper Conservatives are spending millions of taxpayers money lobbying for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. while cutting environmental funding.

The post Tories spend on Keystone XL ads, while cutting environment funding appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.