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Alberta Diary: In one day, the ground shifts in Alberta politics in ways unexpected, sometimes uplifting, sometimes troubling

On March 23, Lewis Cardinal became the first nominated federal NDP candidate in Canada for the expected 2015 election. (Photo by Dave Cournoyer, used with permission.) Yesterday he stepped aside in the face of undisclosed health problems. Below: Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson.

What a strange day it was yesterday, at times uplifting, at times profoundly depressing, and at times just disorienting.

In the morning, Alberta suddenly dropped most aspects of its official homophobia. This less formal kind will continue to longer for a spell, of course, but as an issue for most Albertans it’s done like the family’s (Read more…)

Illuminated By Street Lamps: Ontario: A leading jurisdiction for intense, coercive neoliberalism

By Joe Fantauzzi@jjfantauzzi Global capitalism has liberalized incrementally since the end of the Second World War. As the Keynesian welfare state fell out of favour in the late 1970s amid a stagnating economy and rising government spending, a new business-friendly approach dubbed neoliberalism (literally, “new liberalism”), emerged and ushered in an epoch of devotion to market principles as the solution to what ails Ontario both economically and socially. The implementation of the Canada-US Trade Agreement in 1987[1], North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994[2]and the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995[3] were (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: Senate Saves Canada… Again

How do you save democracy from itself? You appoint a Senate.

In 1990 the democratically elected House of Commons passed Bill C-43 which would have criminalized all abortions. That bill was defeated by the appointed Senate. To this day abortions remain legal solely because of the Senate’s actions. In 2013 the democratically elected House of Commons passed Bill C-377 which would have weakened labour unions. That bill was stopped by the appointed Senate.  Today the democratically elected House of Commons is preparing to pass Bill C-23 The Fair Elections Act which seeks to undermine democracy. The appointed Senate is (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Timothy Shenk discusses Thomas Piketty’s contribution to a critique of unfettered capitalism and gratuitous inequality: Seen from Piketty’s vantage point, thousands of feet above the rubble, the fragility of this moment becomes clear. Economic growth was a recent invention, major reductions to income inequality more recent still. Yet the aftermath of World War II was filled with prophets forecasting this union into eternity. Kuznets offered the most sophisticated expression of this cheerful projection. Extrapolating from the history of the United States between 1913 and 1948, he concluded that economic growth automatically reduced (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: Flaherty’s Curtain

Jim Flaherty was unethical, incompetent and he should have been fired. Those aren’t my words, they’re Thomas Mulcair’s, spoken just last year in Question Period. Yet after the former Finance Minister’s death, Mulcair has called him a good man and a great public servant.

There’s no doubt that the NDP Leader genuinely mourns the loss of  Jim Flaherty, but this recent death and the response to it by all politicians, not just Mulcair, shows the real tragedy of a political life.

Because it’s only now, after resorting to the lowest denominator in attacks against Mr.Flaherty for his whole political (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Fair Elections Act could sink Stephen Harper and Conservatives in 2015

by: Obert Madondo | April 12, 2014

This week Canada’s two main opposition parties declared war on the Conservatives’ Orwellian Fair Elections Act. One that could bring down Harper during the 2015 federal election.

While falling short of declaring the Fair Elections Act an election issue for 2015, both the Official Opposition and third-placed Liberals are vowing to stand up for our right to vote.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says the focus of next election will be the ‘Fair Elections Act’. He wants Bill C-23 overhauled.

“We’re going to do everything we can to stop this thing,” Mulcair told delegates in (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Time To Get Your Eye Back On The Ball, Tom

Apparently NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair hasn’t figured out what the ball is in Canadian politics today. He also took shots at both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Trudeau.Trudeau, in particular, bore the brunt of Mulcair’s attack.The Liberals under Trudeau have been trying to court middle-class voters in the run-up to the next election, scheduled for Oct 19, 2015.

Let me be abundantly clear, Tom:  The problem in this country today is sitting two sword-lengths away from you in the House of Commons.  It is not the third party in the house, it is not the leader of that party, nor (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s abuse of Challenger jets, government resources unacceptable

by: Obert Madondo | April 2, 2014

The Conservatives’ abuse of the Challenger jets and other government resources might end soon if the New Democrats are successful with their latest motion.

On Tuesday, the NDP tabled an opposition day motion in the House of Commons that would limit the use of the jests to Canadian government business only.

The NDP wants MPs to declare that, “in the opinion of the House, government planes, and in particular the plane used by the Prime Minister, should only be used for government purposes and should not be used to transport anyone other than those (Read more…)

Illuminated By Street Lamps: The Toronto G20 Summit: A State of Exception

By Joe Fantauzzi@jjfantauzziBetween June 26 and 27, 2010, thousands of demonstrators[1] descended on Toronto, Ontario to protest while the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies[2] met behind a protective fence built of steel and secretive legislative authority. When the tear gas cleared and the G20 Summit ended, 1,105 people had been detained. It has been described as “the largest peacetime mass arrest in Canadian history.”[3] Of those arrested, 779 — 80% — were released without any charges (as of June 2012).[4] Following Giorgio Agamben, I contend that the Province of Ontario employed (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On lasting influence

Murray Dobbin continues his quest to push for more big ideas from the federal NDP here. But it’s worth dividing his take into one theory well worth applying, and one which would be entirely counterproductive.

At the outset, I’ll agree with Dobbin’s take that a number of the NDP’s current policy themes reflect defensive positions or basic oppositional choices rather than a bold push into new political space: Megan Leslie lists a number of NDP policies which she describes as “bold,” but with all due respect, most are defensive, involve resisting Stephen Harper’s anti-democratic agenda, or are long-standing policies that (Read more…)

Left Over: Mikey Doesn’t Like It…

 

Former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt quits NDP Harcourt let membership lapse over many issues including the party’s opposition to carbon tax

CBC News Posted: Apr 01, 2014 8:10 AM PT Last Updated: Apr 01, 2014 8:10 AM PT

 

Have to agree with Mike, in principle, although my membership lapsed years ago, and though I vote for the NDP in spite of the things they do that I don’t like (the alternatives are unthinkable) I am, like so many BCers, leaning towards the Greens..I can’t speak for other Provinces , but here on the West Coast, (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Good advice for Alberta New Democrats from Quebec: this time, make it easy for voters to support you

Ray Guardia, one of the key architects of the federal NDP’s 2011 breakthrough in Quebec, at yesterday’s closing session of the Broadbent Institute’s 2014 Progress Summit in Ottawa. Below: Environmental activist Tzeporah Berman.

OTTAWA

Here’s a tip for Alberta New Democrats from one of the principal architects of Jack Layton’s historic 2011 Quebec campaign: don’t tell voters they’re stupid because they’ve been voting Tory for 43 years.

Ray Guardia was too diplomatic, of course, to put it quite like that in a panel discussion yesterday on winning progressive campaigns during the final session of the Broadbent Institute’s 2014 Progress Summit (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: "You’re either with working women and men or you’re…

“You’re either with working women and men or you’re against them.”

- Peter Kormos (1952-2013)

It has been one year since we lost Peter Kormos, a former Ontario MPP who died too young, at the age of 60. Kormos, who died on on March 30, 2013 of natural causes, wasn’t an ordinary politician. He set the bar high, as a political leader and as a member of his community. The above video is a tribute that was played at his memorial last May. It’s 11 minutes long, but it’s worth watching.

For those who don’t know (Read more…)

Illuminated By Street Lamps: Locating Canada’s State Multiculturalism As A Racist Doctrine

By Joe Fantauzzi@jjfantauzziCanada is a multicultural nation. More than four decades of policy, legislation and celebration have engraved this country’s pluralism into its national character. The ethnic diversity of this country is presented globally as a fundamental strength of the Canadian nation. But massive structural inequalities which have not been erased with state multiculturalism policies remain ─ and have, in some cases, been exacerbated. I contend that nationalism in Canada is highly predicated on race and a structural racism that is intrinsically linked to Canada’s brand of state-sponsored multiculturalism. Following Himani Bannerji, I argue this race-focused nationalism works (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: PHS Social enterprises are ESSENTIAL to poverty elimination in DTES

… social enterprises by PHS provide job/skills/alternative livelihoods to those in a tangle with poverty/addiction/unrealized-skills. These social economy opportunities can’t be taken away from people who face job discrimination in almost any other employment situation. ….

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: 2014 Stapleford Lecture on Senate Reform at #UofR

Part 1

I really have to disagree with Dr. Barnhart, who had the power to sign, or refuse to sign laws of Saskatchewan into effect while Lieutenant Governor, that he is a powerful person. Now his influence may be lessened, even to the point where Global TV won’t keep a promise to him, but he did get invited to to a prestigious lecture for the UofR too, didn’t he?

There’s a time to be modest, and a time to be real.

Part 2

The Progressive Economics Forum: Tony Blair and the Corporatization of Social Democracy

Tony Blair, by any sensible yardstick, is a douchebag.

Recently, The Guardian, under the headline “Toxic”, detailed Blair’s “downward spiral”. This included the revelation that he may have been having an affair with Wendi Murdoch, the now ex-wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Blair was once good pals with Murdoch and Wendi and is godparent to one of their two children.

Other recent revelations have emerged during the on-going Rebekah Brooks trial over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal playing out in a London courtroom. Brooks was once editor of this Murdoch-owned scandal sheet, which for years hacked (Read more…)

Northern Insight: Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable

Finley Peter Dunne is credited with the words above. I have a feeling this direction will be in the minds of more than a few politicos a year or so from now.

That’s because Monday night, John Horgan entered the race to lead the BC New Democratic Party. I’ve exchanged views with John on a number of occasions and remain impressed with his broad knowledge of public issues and, perhaps more importantly, his indignation about unprincipled and incompetent management of public affairs in British Columbia.

John is not dogmatic; he knows that politics, practiced well, is the art of the (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Parliament’s Sham Report on Missing, Murdered Aboriginal Women Trashed

by: Obert Madondo

Many had hoped the Special Parliamentary Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women would move Canada closer to addressing the perennial issue of more than 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.

The committee’s final report, delivered in parliament last week, turned out to be another government-sponsored sham. Most shocking is the fact that the report killed Canadians’ call for a national public inquiry, which is only a first step towards addressing this national tragedy.

Rights advocacy groups and opposition parties express their disappointed.

Once again, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is disappointed and frustrated.

(Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Quebec election: The real ballot box question

PQ lobster trap for unwitting Quebecers

Try as they might, the PQ cannot direct the definition of the ballot question in the upcoming provincial election into fields of their choosing. They would rather talk about their Charter of Values, which has given them a good crack at Francophone votes to boost them into a majority government position. Or the bright prospects for a Quebec economy, with debt reduced and business booming. But every time they try, those pesky journalists keep asking about the PQ’s plans to launch a permament campaign as a majority government, disguised as a White Paper process (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Pierre Poilievre and the Voter Suppression Monster

Oh. My. Zombie. I see that Pierre Poilievre is on the run again.And this time he's not just running from his foul voter suppression monster, which is threatening to swallow engulf him.He's running from the NDP !!!! Read more »

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jim Stanford writes that union-bashing has proven to be political poison for many of the parties who have tried to distract from increasing inequality with attacks on workers: (T)he biggest problem for Mr. Hudak’s crusade was a deeper sentiment in Canadian public opinion regarding unions and the role they play in society. No matter their warts, unions ultimately reflect their members: typical Canadians just trying to earn a decent income, support their families, and (hopefully) retire with some security, in an economy which rewards the rich and powerful more than ever before. Unions (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Quebec: The separatist Premier who is committed and not committed

The Impartial Premier – Trust Me

Premier Pauline Marois believes she can have her cake and eat it, too. So she is sucking and blowing at the same time about whether a vote for her Parti Quebecois is really also a vote to start the journey to yet another referendum on independence for Quebec. It seems that she believes that if she is careful with her choice of words, she can achieve two things – square the circle, blow hot and cold, turn black into white – at the same time, without anyone noticing. Premier Marois’ Open Agenda: In today’s (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Quebec: The separatist Premier who is committed and not committed

Politics and its Discontents: A New Motto For The Liberals and The NDP?

Many political observers and bloggers, including me, have lamented the fact that outside of style, little separates the policies of either the NDP or the Liberals from those of the Harper regime. Given their timidity when it comes to policy proclamations, the biggest clue to their abandonment of a progressive vision for the country lies in their use of language.

The following succinct letter from a Star reader speaks directly to that fact as it pertains to Mr. Trudeau’s leadership, but of course is equally applicable to Mr. Mulcair:

Young Mr. Trudeau continually makes reference to the middle class when (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: What happened to Tom "Captain Canada" Mulcair now that the writ has dropped in Quebec?

Looks like Captain Canada is staying “neutral” in the face of a PQ government which would almost certainly call a referendum and which of course, will be running on the regressive so-called “Charter of Values” that would ban observant Jews, Sikhs, Muslims, and Christians from being a part of the civil service.

If Mulcair is “neutral” against this, what will he take a stand for?