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The Disaffected Lib: Paul Martin Gives Tommy Angry Beard a Well-Deserved Kick in the Ass.

Paul Martin was the finance minister who plucked the federal government from the brink of fiscal chaos. It was a tough time for all including the provinces, even the Canadian Forces, but he balanced the budget and paid down $90 billion of our national debt. He kept the bankers in line and when he handed . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Paul Martin Gives Tommy Angry Beard a Well-Deserved Kick in the Ass.

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 . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Alberta Politics: Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone: As PM, Stephen Harper’s economic performance is a bust!

PHOTOS: From the sublime to the ridiculous? Liberal Lester Pearson, the top postwar economic performer among Canadian prime ministers. Below: Stephen Harper, the bottom. Below him: Pierre Trudeau (second best) and Brian Mulroney (second worst). Below them: Unifor economists Jim Stanford and Jordan Brennan. One of the most effective ways to keep a population quiet . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone: As PM, Stephen Harper’s economic performance is a bust!

A BCer in Ottawa: Firefighters run towards fires; politicians should stay out of the way

Stephen Harper’s forest fire firefighter photo-op gone wrong this week reminded me of the time a campaign I was involved in was faced with a similar fire-related choice.In the summer election of 2004, I was helping with communications in Skeena-Bulkley… . . . → Read More: A BCer in Ottawa: Firefighters run towards fires; politicians should stay out of the way

A BCer in Toronto: Firefighters run towards fires; politicians should stay out of the way

Stephen Harper’s forest fire firefighter photo-op gone wrong this week reminded me of the time a campaign I was involved in was faced with a similar fire-related choice.

In the summer election of 2004, I was helping with communications in Skeena-Bulkley Valley on the campaign of our Liberal candidate, Miles Richardson. It was a fun . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Firefighters run towards fires; politicians should stay out of the way

Political Eh-conomy: Canada’s Austerity Consensus

I have a longer piece out in Jacobin today on tracing the roots of today’s austerity consensus in Canada to the 1990s. In a way, it’s me coming to terms with the last twenty years of Canadian political economy.

How exceptional is Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his crop of Canadian conservatives? For not just . . . → Read More: Political Eh-conomy: Canada’s Austerity Consensus

Alberta Diary: Tory resistance to Wildrose interlopers? Don’t believe it! Here’s why Danielle Smith will soon get her cabinet post

Preston Manning joins the sales team for the new, new, newly united Wildrosey Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. Actual beloved godfathers of the conservative movement may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Manning smiling benevolently, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice in a Joe-Clark-like moment, former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith when . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Tory resistance to Wildrose interlopers? Don’t believe it! Here’s why Danielle Smith will soon get her cabinet post

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Is the Wildrose Caucus about to merge with the PC Caucus?

Tweet Are more Wildrose MLAs preparing to cross the floor to the Progressives Conservatives? Independent MLA Joe Anglin has told reporters that Danielle Smith‘s 15 MLA Wildrose Official Opposition Caucus will vote on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 on whether to join the governing PC Caucus. Mr. Anglin’s comments, claims published on an anonymously blog and . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta politics: Is the Wildrose Caucus about to merge with the PC Caucus?

Cowichan Conversations: Socialist Stephen Lewis Roars Once More in Takedown of the Stephen Harper Government

By: Tim Harper National Affairs, Published on Sun Nov 23 2014

At the age of 77, Stephen Lewis describes himself as being “happily in his dotage,” a man free to bare his soul and dispense with diplomatic niceties.

He did just that in Charlottetown last Friday. The one-time lion of the left unleashed a . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Socialist Stephen Lewis Roars Once More in Takedown of the Stephen Harper Government

Alberta Diary: Happy Thanksgiving! Would the Tories praising our health care system please stop trying to privatize it!

Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital waaay back in the day. Below: The modern Mis, the one in Edmonton’s west end that after 45 years is falling apart. Alberta Health Minister Stephen Mandel.

Happy Thanksgiving! With a case of a “potential contagious illness” in an unidentified Edmonton hospital last night, I guess we can be thankful . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Happy Thanksgiving! Would the Tories praising our health care system please stop trying to privatize it!

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: False Passengers and Fake Promises: Could the PC Party be choosing the next opposition leader?

TweetHere’s a question that isn’t often asked in Alberta: Which of the three Progressive Conservative leadership candidates would make the best Leader of the Opposition? An insane trail of scandal continues to leak out of the 43-year-long governing PC Party as it lurches towards a leadership vote on September 6. A CBC exclusive story alleged . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta politics: False Passengers and Fake Promises: Could the PC Party be choosing the next opposition leader?

Politics and its Discontents: Signs

While I have never been one to use the term fascist profligately, the creeping authoritarianism that has been the hallmark of the Harper regime gives pause for reconsideration. As the above graphic shows, and as any well-informed citizen knows, the cabal has been intent for many years on tearing down confidence in some institutions . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Signs

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Is the Jim Prentice Juggernaut unstoppable?

TweetHe is a leadership candidate backed by long-governing party establishment. He has chased away his potential rivals. He has experience in both the federal cabinet and the corporate sector. He is a respected party insider. He has a track record as a moderate conservative and can raise significant amounts of money for his party. The . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta politics: Is the Jim Prentice Juggernaut unstoppable?

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta politics 2013: The NDP Wildrose alliance

TweetPerhaps one of the most unexpected developments in Alberta politics in 2013 was the emergence of the informal alliance between the New Democratic Party and the Wildrose Official Opposition. It was not uncommon in 2013 to see NDP and Wildrose MLAs working together, or tackling the same issues during Question Period on the floor of . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta politics: Alberta politics 2013: The NDP Wildrose alliance

Alberta Diary: Polishing a … tarnished reputation: the ‘National Newspaper’ as Stephen Harper’s pathetic enabler

Your blogger with Rev. Bill Phipps, former United Church of Canada moderator and, in 2002, the NDP’s challenger to Stephen Harper. Below: Harper doubters Andrew Coyne and Tim Harper.

“The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures.”

– Junius, published . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Polishing a … tarnished reputation: the ‘National Newspaper’ as Stephen Harper’s pathetic enabler

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: The ghosts of senate reform haunt the Harper Conservatives

TweetThe ghosts of Senate reform will haunt Prime Minister Stephen Harper as his party establishment gathers in Calgary on Halloween to discuss and debate party policy. After more than seven years in office, Mr. Harper’s Conservatives have accomplished little on the issue of reforming the Canadian Senate. Who would have thought that a Senate scandal . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta politics: The ghosts of senate reform haunt the Harper Conservatives

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Mason vs Smith: Wildrose and NDP leaders on province-wide debate tour

TweetThree years before the next provincial election, a public debate tour might not be where you would expect to find the leaders of two political parties. Breaking convention, Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith and Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason are joining forces to bring provincial politics to college and university campuses across Alberta. In the . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta politics: Mason vs Smith: Wildrose and NDP leaders on province-wide debate tour

The Canadian Progressive: Paul Martin accuses residential schools of ‘cultural genocide’

  Residential schools engaged in “cultural genocide,” former prime minister Paul Martin said Friday at the hearings of the federal Truth And Reconciliation Commission, adding that aboriginal Canadians must now be offered the best educational system. “Let us understand that what happened at the residential schools was the use of […]

The post Paul Martin . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Paul Martin accuses residential schools of ‘cultural genocide’

calgaryliberal.com: How to End a Career in 24 Seconds: Dr. Flanagan

A Canadian Conservative has to do a lot to be punted by the Wildrose party and the Manning Centre. Thomas Flanagan did that on Wednesday by condoning child pornography. See the recorded video below of his response to a question on his views on child pornography. His argumentation basically noted that the individual act of . . . → Read More: calgaryliberal.com: How to End a Career in 24 Seconds: Dr. Flanagan

The Canadian Progressive: Harper Government should consider options for Sea King replacement: Report

By Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives | Feb. 11, 2013: OTTAWA – A major, deep-reaching report about the maritime helicopter procurement has just been released by the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. “The worst procurement in the history of Canada”: Solving the maritime helicopter crisis (PDF) was written by University of . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Harper Government should consider options for Sea King replacement: Report

The Canadian Progressive: Paul Martin says Ottawa has ‘no understanding’ of native issues

Former prime minister was the architect of the 2005 Kelowna Accord By Jennifer Clibbon | CBC News, Jan 17, 2013 4:58 AM ET Few Canadian leaders know the issues raised by Idle No More better than former prime minister Paul Martin. As Canada’s 21st prime minister, Martin will be remembered as the architect of the . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Paul Martin says Ottawa has ‘no understanding’ of native issues

Alberta Diary: Everythinggate: Perfect storm lands Alberta premier in shark-infested waters!

As a perfect storm blows, Alison Redford’s strategic brain trust parries Opposition attacks about the conduct of her government. The premier is in the centre of the boat, wearing a cowboy hat. Actual Alberta politicians may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Your blogger with Paul Martin; queue-jumping inquiry chief John Vertes. As the political … . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Everythinggate: Perfect storm lands Alberta premier in shark-infested waters!

Calgary Grit: Canada’s Greatest Losers

Last week, Martha Hall Findlay and Karen McCrimmon declared their candidacies for the Liberal leadership race. This week, George Takach has taken the plunge. I’ve posted one blog interview with David Merner, and will have others with David Bertschi and Alex Burton next week. Deborah Coyne, meanwhile, has already released more fresh ideas than we’ve seen from Stephen Harper during his entire tenure as Prime Minister. These are seven very different candidates with seven very different messages, but the one … . . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Canada’s Greatest Losers

An individual with opinions.: Underlooked Stephen Harper quotes P7: Stephen Harper likes Paul Martin and his onslaught and slashing of the public sector.

I’ve decided to add another part to my underlooked Harper series upon reflection with new information in mind. All of the Stephen Harper quotes, unless otherwise noted, are dug up from the leaked Harper database of controversial quotes. I’m covering them because these haven’t gotten the media or blogger attention I believe they deserve. You can (and should) read part one, two, three, four, five and six here.

“Whether I agree with what he’s doing or not, Paul Martin is obviously in the top of his area,” Harper says. “He has good support within his party, he’s very popular with within the cabinet and caucus and he’s just a very good performer as well.” “Those things all make him difficult to attack.”

24/07/1995

Harper had quite an appreciation for Paul Martin, and he made it vocal – and not just once, this isn’t an isolated incidence – there are at least 5 other quotes of fondness towards Paul Martin in the leaked compilation. It wasn’t just Harper, either, it was many on the right who had an admiration of sorts for Paul Martin, then Finance Minister under Jean Chrétien.

“The dirty secret of contempory Canadian politics,” neo-conservative David Frum wrote in 1998, “is that from the point of view of right-of-centre Canadians, the Liberals are running quite a tolerable government.” (1)

The reason for this is most obvious: under Chrétien and Paul Martin, the Liberals persisted, promoted and implemented economic neoliberalism – an assault on the public sector. Privatization, government downsizing, and of course, tax cuts.

If you noticed, Harper, and even David Frum, gave credit to the Liberals and Paul Martin well before he became Prime Minister in 2003. This is because Paul Martin had de-factor control of the economic direction of the federal government under Jean Chrétien.

Ministers and their ministries…effectively went into defensive mode….

In Chrétien’s government, Martin didn’t just decide how much had to be cut from total spending in the critically important 1995 budget; he and his senior officials actually decided how much each department would have to give up…

By allowing Martin and his financial officials to make all decisions, Chretien, in effect, handed the reins of government to his finance minister.  (2)

And, boy, was Martin cruel. His budget cuts were incredibly steep. During the build-up to the 1995 budget, Martin and his staff handed sheets to each department minister with expected budget cuts as percent of spending over the next three years, and “the size of the required cuts left the ministers gasping: in many cases, they were all well above 50 per cent [reductions].” (3) For the Department of Industry, Martin expected a 60% reduction, and in conclusion, actually got around 50% budget cuts for two departments (Natural Resource and Transport).

In their 1995 budget the Grits introduced $25 billion in cuts and eliminated 45,000 jobs, approximately fourteen times the spending promises in their election manifesto, the Red Book. By 1997 Chretien’s [and Martin’s] government had downloaded roughly $6 billion to the provincial governments, an overall 30 percent reduction .(1)

Some cuts were even steeper than Harper’s current expectations (around 30% from most departments – for example, in 2012, CBC is getting slashed 10 percent), a staggering reality*. Overall, though, they match**. Contrast to the expected loss of over 15,000 federal employees in 2012 thanks to the Conservatives.

Paul Martin appeased those on the right because Paul Martin did what those on the right wanted. Economically, there was barely any difference between the Liberal party and the Reform-then-Alliance (predecessor to the current Conservative party). Harper noticed this, too:

Only on some ‘social’ values are the Liberals and the Alliance [successor of the Reform party, predecessor of the CPC] radically different.

20/09/2000

Admitting there are only ‘social’ values that said parties disagreed on obviously means that economically, they’re quite similar, if not identical. Indeed, the economic direction of the Liberal party then is eerily similar to the economic policy of Harper’s government now – and it’s understandable. Martin did what Harper liked.

Harper even once referred to Paul Martin as the “messiah in waiting” for the Liberal party (07/10/2002).

Some claim it to be as much as a 40 percent reduction (5). Such cuts had dire consequences for the provinces,

Newfounland lost $73 million, the equivalent of more than half of all payment to physician; Nova Scotia lost $118, or twice the provincial spending on mental health services; Quebec saw a $1.1 billion cut, the equivalent of half of all payments for doctors’ services. Ontario took the biggest hit at $1.4 billion – twenty times the amount spent on community health centres – and Manitoba lost $139 million, the amount it takes to operate the provinces sixty-five smaller hospitals.(6)

 *Interesting note.

The departments that received the smallest cuts corresponded with what neo-liberals and economic rationalists traditionally saw as the core activities of the state: justice, immigration and foreign affairs and international trade… (4)

Again, very similar to the direction of our current Conservative government.

** Martin would later lighten up on his neoliberal fever for political reasons, similarly to Harper.

(1)Laird, Gordon. Slumming It at the Rodeo: The Cultural Roots of Canada’s Right-wing Revolution. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998. Page 123-124
(2) Dobbin, Murray. Paul Martin: CEO for Canada? Toronto: James Lorimer &, 2003. Print. Page 67-68
(3) Ibid Page 74
(4) Ibid Page 76
(5) Barlow, Maude, and Bruce Campbell. Straight through the Heart: How the Liberals Abandoned the Just Society and What Canadians Can Do about It. Toronto: HarperPerennial, 1996. Print. Page 150
(6) Dobbin, Murray. Page 78

. . . → Read More: An individual with opinions.: Underlooked Stephen Harper quotes P7: Stephen Harper likes Paul Martin and his onslaught and slashing of the public sector.

An individual with opinions.: Underlooked Stephen Harper quotes P7: Stephen Harper likes Paul Martin and his onslaught and slashing of the public sector.

I’ve decided to add another part to my underlooked Harper series upon reflection with new information in mind. All of the Stephen Harper quotes, unless otherwise noted, are dug up from the leaked Harper database of controversial quotes. I’m covering them because these haven’t gotten the media or blogger attention I believe they deserve. You . . . → Read More: An individual with opinions.: Underlooked Stephen Harper quotes P7: Stephen Harper likes Paul Martin and his onslaught and slashing of the public sector.