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Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Barrie McKenna takes a look at how the Cons are pushing serious liabilities onto future generations in order to hand out short-term tax baubles within a supposedly-balanced budget, while Jennifer Robson highlights the complete lack of policy merit behind those giveaways. And Ian McGugan writes that even as they’re trumpeted as attempts to improve saving none of the Cons’ plans have anything to do with actually improving retirement security, especially for the people who need it most: Our reliance on private savings to fund our retirements makes Canada an outlier among developed countries. (Read more…)

Andy Lehrer's blog: Fred Checkers is watching you (if you’re an NDPer)

Michael Laxer reports on his Left Chapter blog on Fred Checkers and the state of internal democracy in the NDP. 

Terahertz: How to lose an election

Alberta’s election continues to be far more entertaining than the one here in the UK.

Amid his party’s plummeting polling numbers, Progressive Conservative Premier Jim Prentice needed to re-connect with voters and rebuild trust for his party during the leaders debate last night.

Instead, he told the only woman on stage that “I know the math is difficult…” in a discussion around tax increases. Very soon after #MathIsHard started trending in the province and NDP leader Rachel Notley was able to remind viewers that this is the leader who doesn’t want Albertans to “worry their pretty little heads.”

There’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Choosing the wrong side

Following up on this morning’s column, let’s note that there’s another area where the Libs are stubbornly sticking to a previous position whose underpinnings have been even more thoroughly destroyed.

The Libs have been at pains to at least offer the perception of changing their direction from nearly everything done by both Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff as leaders. But the common theme of arrogantly ruling out cooperation with other parties continues to lie at the centre of the Libs’ messaging – even though it failed miserably in both of the last two federal elections, and looks downright absurd (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: The Prentice Campaign: How NOT to Frame the Debate

Frank Luntz, famed political consultant to the Republican Party, said when it comes to political hot buttons “those who define the debate will determine the outcome.*

Given the mess Mr Prentice has made of the “Team Prentice” campaign he may want to give Mr Luntz a call.

Mr Prentice defined the debate in Election 2015 as…what, exactly? The “once in a generation” budget that strikes the right balance between the hatchet wielding Wildrose and the tax-and-spend NDP or the “under new management” premier who is remaking his own corrupt party?

Let’s take a closer look.

The Budget

After months (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On guesswork

Shorter Bob Rae: Some people actually believe voters deserve a meaningful idea what political parties plan to do before choosing between them? That’s crazy talk.

Pop The Stack: On the significance of sound and fury.

Oh journalists, you love a strong response to an unanswerable question don’t you?

The media are really into nailing down what each party leader thinks about coalitions after the next election at the moment. Case in point, this week’s little drama with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau trying to answer questions about coalitions with the NDP after the election which he shouldn’t be answering:

Trudeau might be open to forming coalition with NDP, but not with Mulcair as leader Trudeau says he’d be more open to coalition with NDP if Mulcair wasn’t leader

The CBC even posted a video question on Facebook (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Opposed to Coalition?

Yesterday’s news:

.@davidcommon Odd report by @ElliottLouise about @JustinTrudeau & @ThomasMulcair #coalition didn't mention @ElizabethMay & @CanadianGreens.

— Saskboy K. (@saskboy) April 15, 2015

Today’s news: Most Canadians are opposed to a coalition government. Presently the only party with the word “coalition” in its founding documents is the Conservative Party of Canada, and yes it’s true as Trudeau said today, that most Canadians are opposed to the Conservative government.

The problem is, if you have a real conversation with Canadians, you’ll learn they aren’t really opposed to a coalition government, they are just afraid of political instability they’ve associated with (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: The petulant son

Shorter Justin Trudeau: When I say I plan to do politics differently, what I mean is that I’m willing to leave Stephen Harper in power based on the most petty and frivolous excuses anybody’s ever heard.

No longer is there any pretense that a flat “no” to a coalition with the NDP is based on policy differences (however implausible). Instead, Trudeau is ruling out the possibility of cooperation based on personal hostility toward Thomas Mulcair – which of course couldn’t be further from matching the public’s perception of the NDP’s leader, particularly among people with whom Trudeau supposedly (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: The NDP’s Brilliant Response to the Con Clown Joe Oliver

As you know, the thought that the old oil pimp Joe Oliver is Canada's Minister of Finance keeps me awake at night, with my wallet under my mattress.Because I don't think he knows what he's doing, or even what year it is.And his balanced budget proposal couldn't be more absurd. Joe Oliver won't table his next budget for two more weeks, but the federal finance minister announced today that he'll table a second bill this month — one to force future governments to keep their books in the black.Especially this part:Read more »

Susan on the Soapbox: Prentice Drops the “E” Word on Day One

Extremist: /ɛkˈstriːmɪst/ noun, chiefly derogatory: A person who holds extreme political or religious views, especially one who advocates illegal, violent or other extreme action—Oxford dictionary

Hysterical rhetoric

Of all the bonehead things Premier Prentice could have said in his campaign kick-off speech, warning Albertans to beware of “extreme ideas or ideologies” takes the cake.

Prime Minister Harper labeled ISIL “extremists” and “terrorists”. He girded his loins and sent in the troops.

Premier Prentice labelled the Wildrose and the NDP “the extreme right and the extreme left”. He girded his campaign team and sent in the spin doctors.

Are you an (Read more…)

Left Over: Toxic Spills and the Toxic Con (tsk, tsk…) Response….

 

James Moore fires back at ‘political jabs’ over Vancouver oil spill Industry minister criticizes rush to blame before all facts are known

CBC News Posted: Apr 10, 2015 4:33 PM PT Last Updated: Apr 10, 2015 9:42 PM PT

http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2015/04/the-bc-oil-spill-and-con-clown-james.html

 

As horrible as this event was, it did some good here in BC..this ugliness made it clear to all the naysayers bleating about jobs that NOTHING is worth even the chance of a spill..not to mention the fact that we need our Coast Guard and emergency stations, we need our lighthouses manned, we (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: A time and place for political deals

Election day in Ontario in 1985. On the way into a candidate’s campaign headquarters, Liberal Leader David Peterson’s executive assistant was leaving and we stopped to chat. There was no pussy-footing about the situation. “First thing tomorrow morning, you have to arrange a meeting with NDP Leader Bob Rae.” He was a bit taken aback by the bluntness but saw no point in sticking with any denial. We both knew that Frank Miller’s Conservatives Party would win a minority government but that the combined Liberal and New Democrat seats could take over the government.

What went without saying in (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Chris Hedges Calls Steve Harper A Pawn Or Puppet Of Corporations

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The Vancouver Observer has been a most welcome edition to the media mix in the Vancouver market and beyond.

They prove, dig and unapologetically provide us with hard hitting journalism with the integrity and purpose.

‘PM Stephen Harper has turned Canada into an advanced surveillance and security state’-Chris Hedges

Now that Harper has rammed Bill C 51-the supposed anti terror bill, report like Jenny Uechi and the Vancouver Observer are of increased value.

Jenny Uechi is Managing Director of Observer Media Group, and Managing Editor of The Vancouver Observer.

 

Chris Hedges photo by Jenny Uechi

  

Jenny (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Chris Hedges Calls Steve Harper A Pawn Or Puppet Of Corporations

Babel-on-the-Bay: We’re having a ‘Be Kind to Stephen Harper Month!’

At a recent meeting of the Broadbent Institute supposed communication experts were telling the New Democrats that they should not keep up the incessant attacks on the Conservative government. It is not that they are feeling sorry for the bastards. They just feel that those who oppose the Conservatives need to be more positive about their competitive programs. And we Liberals will when we can when we get some.

We are not forgetting New Democratic Leader Thomas Mulcair’s national day care plan. This plan sounds good. It sounded even better over the years when it was promoted by Canada’s Liberals. (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Who leads Canada’s progressives?

Canadian media are a lazy bunch. They follow the paths of least resistance and false assumptions. Take this past week when some supposed progressives were gathered at the Broadbent Institute in Ottawa for its Progress Summit. The one question that was never answered was ‘Who were the Liberal Progressives at the gathering?’

Ed Broadbent never invited this progressive Liberal. Nor would this Liberal attend. This is not sour grapes. We know that Ed Broadbent is not progressive nor are the sponsors of the meeting. Ed Broadbent is a staunch unionist with a closed mind. He believes in the collective (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On enduring foundations

The framing panel at the Progress Summit included plenty of ideas as to how the left can shape political debates. But I’ll note that it seemed to miss a couple of related issues.

Most notably, there was an almost exclusive focus on reaching out to swing voters rather than framing issues in a way that would actually serve to build the progressive movement in the longer term. But that of course utterly misses the point that one can’t afford to completely ignore base-building in the name of appealing to the currently-undecided – as even if one’s goals focused solely on (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Dollar for dollar

Thomas Mulcair’s Progress Summit commitment that an NDP government will redirect the value of a stock option tax loophole toward families in need will surely make for one of the most important moments of a summit directed at developing exactly those types of ideas.

So it’s unquestionably important that Mulcair is willing to take Canada in the direction of redirecting corporate giveaways toward people with a genuine need. That said, it’s worth taking a look at the numbers as to how far today’s announcement will go.

Canadians for Tax Fairness estimates the stock option loophole at a cost of $1 (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: New Contest. Spot the Progressive!

I’ll bet you’ve got inside yourself some sense of progress, progressive, progressivism.  Even bad people have a little.

The question today is whether progressivism remains a real construct in Canadian politics.  Have our political parties become so neoliberal as to eradicate progressivism?

Let’s take a look at some of the major problems of the day.  You think of how a progressive would respond.  Then compare that of any of the three main parties seeking power today.

What about an easy one, Palestine?  How would a progressive respond to that volatile and worsening problem?  How would Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair respond? (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: History repeating

2008, pre-election: Liberal bigwigs make a ridiculous spectacle of themselves proclaiming that they’ll never deign to cooperate with the likes of the NDP.

2008, post-election: Having spent the campaign echoing Stephen Harper’s desperate message that a coalition would be illegitimate, the Liberals conclude that they’re willing to cooperate after all, only to botch the job.

2011, pre-election: Liberal bigwigs make a ridiculous spectacle of themselves proclaiming that they’ll never deign to cooperate with the likes of the NDP.

2011, post-election: Having spent the campaign echoing Stephen Harper’s desperate message that a coalition would be illegitimate, the Liberals conclude that they’re (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What’s Wrong with Canada? We’re Not Denmark-ish

And I don’t mean we need to become Denmark, but we need to have the dialogue about why they can do what they do and we choose not to.

When Canadians are surveyed, a very large majority of us support these public goods. But those desires get subsumed with corporate, neoliberal, right wing government-cut rhetoric.

We need to explore the political sociology of Denmark to understand how they embraced the tax commitment to provide these public goods.

We can be Denmark, but we choose not to.

We need to respin the messages from the tax-hating corporations and make the economy (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Both Edward Keenan and the Star’s editorial board take note of Thomas Mulcair’s plan for urban renewal, with particular emphasis on its appeal across party lines: Speaking directly to Toronto city council and Mayor John Tory, who won election largely on the basis of his promised SmartTrack “surface subway,” Mulcair said he would be a partner on transit: “Together we will get the people of Toronto moving.”

No wonder Tory declared himself “gratified and pleased” with Mulcair’s approach. Other elements of the NDP’s urban agenda include: Appointing a minister responsible for urban (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Saskatchewan Needs a Real Change of Destination

Greg is making a good point in his latest column, but I had to throw in a Green campaign slogan into the title in good fun. The bottom line really is that the Sask Party is propping up the dying fossil fuels industry, while calls to divest from it are coming from around the world. There’s no stopping this change (for the better).

While the Saskatchewan Party remains bent on thinking small, any reasonable look at the world around us suggests it’s long past time for a big change in direction. And if if this year’s budget again fails (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On prospects for change

The latest round of discussion about the possibility of a coalition to offer something better than the Harper Cons seems to have taken an noteworthy turn. At this point, everybody but the Libs seems to have settled on the position that there’s no real obstacle to a coalition government – and the Libs’ spin machine has responded with little more than a plan to fabricate mistrust between themselves and the NDP.

But no matter how far that effort goes, the foreseeable outcomes of the next election feature a low probability of anybody holding a majority, and a strong prospect that (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Laurie Blakeman Takes a Symbolic Step…in the Wrong Direction

Crikey!

On Friday Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman announced that she’ll be running as a candidate for the Liberals, the Alberta Party and the Greens in the upcoming election…

…and on Sunday Ms Soapbox announced to her dad that she’d joined the NDP. He swears he’ll never speak to her again.

While I applaud the efforts of progressive MLAs and party leaders to cooperate I fail to understand how Ms Blakeman’s decision gets the progressives anywhere.

As journalist Graham Thomson points out this isn’t a merger of the Liberals, the Alberta Party and the Greens and it’s not a (Read more…)