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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Joe Fiorito discusses the spread of income inequality in Canada. And Doug Henwood reviews Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century, while wondering what will follow from the empirical observation that accumulated wealth tends to perpetuate itself to the detriment of most of the population: The core message of this enormous and enormously important book can be delivered in a few lines: Left to its own devices, wealth inevitably tends to concentrate in capitalist economies. There is no “natural” mechanism inherent in the structure of such economies for inhibiting, much less reversing, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Donovan Vincent reports on the Institute for Social Research’s study showing Canadians are highly concerned about income inequality: “People think the income gap has gotten worse. What was surprising to me was the universality of this belief. Younger people, older, higher levels of education, lower, men and women. The fact is, a wide cross-section of Canadian society believes that the income gap has gotten bigger, or much bigger in the last five years,” survey author David Northrup said in an interview.

“Usually we see a lot more variation in opinion in social (Read more…)

Impolitical: Restore our anthem politics

I support the “Restore our Anthem” initiative to replace the words “in all thy sons command” to the gender neutral “in all of us command.”

The reactions early on to this latest initiative in the letters to the editor sections of the National Post and Globe were fairly supportive, sometimes a little silly but definitely not reflective of a major backlash of the variety that was seen in 2010 following the Harper government’s effort to take this step.

The Harper Throne Speech of early 2010 came following Harper’s second prorogation of Parliament, both viewed as illegitimate. The second was (Read more…)


I have written this piece in an attempt to evaluate the actual contribution to society of a prominent Canadian who espouses extreme right-wing views. I feel it is important, from time to time, to compare actual performance to stated principles. If you find this critique of interest, please send the link to others.   Nick One of the champions of Canada’s right-wing corporate elite is finally calling it quits.

Gwyn Morgan, 66, is stepping down in May as Board Chairman of SNC-Lavalin, the troubled, giant engineering and construction firm trying to survive a series of scandals, a lack of public confidence, and fluctuating share values.

(Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Budget 2013: NDP Urges Harper To Change Course, Put Canadians First

Budget is an opportunity to start building a fairer, greener, more prosperous Canada By New Democrats (Press Release) |Feb. 21, 2013: OTTAWA – With our economy continuing to underperform and structural imbalances worsening, NDP Finance Critic Peggy Nash (Parkdale – High Park) is calling on the Conservative government to change course and take action to better READ MORE

The Canadian Progressive: Aagh, Harper Conservatives Nuked Democratic NDP Motion On Role Of PBO

By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 14, 2013: Showing their burgeoning disdain for accountability, transparency, financial oversight and the independence of federal watchdogs, the Harper Conservatives earlier this week nuked a progressive NDP motion on the role of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO). The motion, tabled by the Official Opposition’s Finance critic, Peggy Nash, sought to extend the mandate READ MORE

Progressive Proselytizing: NDP leadership election campaign debt

The NDP leadership campaign sparked considerable interest among Canadians and saw NDP membership soar, rising over 50% in six months to 128,351 on election day. Many of these first time members, such as myself, may well be interested in the NDP but may not be long term loyalists. After the campaign, the key is to convert as many of these members as possible into loyal NDP followers who can advocate for the party long into the future.  A perfect way to entrench interest in the NDP is to use the massive emailing list of new members to send out positive, . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: NDP leadership election campaign debt

centerandleft: Free Riders and Dire Needers

Breaking news: bad jobs exist.

In a classic case of Conservatives boiling down an issue to a wide-sweeping preposterous claim, Jim Flaherty claimed that “there is no bad job”. Yikes

Flaherty is proposing reforms to the Employment Insurance program, making it harder for Canadians to remain on the program for long periods. The Canadian Government has committed to redefining what should be considered “appropriate work” when unemployed citizens claiming EI are mulling a new career, which, in all likelihood, means finding skilled workers lower paying work.

I believe the reform motivation stems from an attempt to curb the (Read more…)

A BCer in Toronto: #ndpldr pics, video and a few thoughts

It was a very long Saturday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre — about 12 hours for me, longer for others — for the NDP to arrive at what, for many, was an inevitable result: the election of Thomas Mulcair as their new leader. With Mulcair set to take his seat as leader of the official opposition Monday, only one party in the House of Commons still lacks a permanent leader.

The weekend itself was an odd one, featuring some of the elements of a traditional delegated leadership convention: the candidate showcases, the war rooms, the swag, the flash

. . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: #ndpldr pics, video and a few thoughts

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Peggy Nash Survives Major Teleprmpter Malfunction

Suddenly, the text started zipping up the screen then it stopped, wound back, and then started zipping by again.  Peggy stumbled a bit, improvised re her collective bargaining victories, and the wind-up music kicked.  Peggy was ill-served on this one.  And the two municipal pols she brought in flubbed their lines.

My favorite so far is still Cullen, who went entirely lo tech ; Mulcair wailed through his text too fast, but has a nice voice

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 – Policy Highlights

With the NDP’s leadership convention set to start tomorrow (and assorted hospitality suites already starting up tonight), I won’t be able to finish off my initial plan to put together full policy reviews for each of the candidates. But instead, I’ll take some time to highlight a few innovative ideas which haven’t received a lot of media attention, but stand out as deserving more discussion within the NDP regardless of who wins the leadership.

Judicare, proposed by Niki Ashton: Ensuring that all Canadians are genuinely equal before the law starting by creating a dedicated federal transfer for “judicare”, modelled

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 – Policy Highlights

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

I didn’t think much could come along at this point in the NDP’s leadership campaign to significantly change my voting considerations [edit: other than the type of organizational problem discussed here]. But the CROP poll published in Le Soleil may well do just that.

No, it isn’t a surprise to see Thomas Mulcair well ahead of the field in Quebec. But for all the best efforts of the rest of the campaigns as well as two debates centred on the province, not a single other candidate ranks ahead of “none of the above”. And while I’ve emphasized the importance

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

Pop The Stack: For Once, I’m Glad I’m Not Voting

Democracy is the greatest sport on Earth. I feed on elections and leadership contests but I’m kind of glad I don’t have a vote this Saturday in the NDP leadership convention. Since I don’t have a vote I haven’t spent as much time researching all the leaders as I could have, but I know enough about them to know I’d have a hard choice in front of me. Other than the ongoing Robocall Scandal, the NDP leadership battle has been a hot topic in the Canadian blogosphere lately and particularly in my favourite corner of it, amongst democratic reform bloggers.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

Another day, another set of NDP leadership campaign stories.

- Niki Ashton won the support of the NDP’s Socialist Caucus.

- Nathan Cullen expanded on his joint nomination proposal with a far more appealing discussion of co-operation in general: Cullen isn’t shy about what he has in mind.

“If the explicit question is put to me: Am I willing to work with the Liberal party in a coalition government, then yes. I was last time.”

Moreover, he said the parties should make it clear while they are seeking votes from Canadians that a coalition is a “possible scenario.”

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup Even with a new leader, the NDP can’t defeat the Tories alone

I just can’t get excited about the NDP leadership race, which ends March 24 in Toronto, because irrespective of who wins, it’s hard to see it leading to a positive outcome for progressive politics in this country. Will Thomas Mulcair, the party outsider who reportedly flirted with the Tories prior to joining the NDP, win? Or [...]

Progressive Proselytizing: My NDP leadership ballot rankings

Let’s just get it over with:

 Nathan Cullen  Brian Topp  Peggy Nash  Paul Dewar  Niki Ashton  Thomas Mulcair  Martin Singh

These rankings are not necessarily who I think is best as the leader, but are for a variety of strategic reasons as written below. The major choices involved where I am showing a distinct preference for leadership are “not Mulcair” and “Nash over Dewar of the various not Mulcairs”.  These are the decisions that I think will be relevant in down ballot considerations which will most likely result in a race between Mulcair and one of the other contenders,

. . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: My NDP leadership ballot rankings

Accidental Deliberations: The decisive question

Following up on my candidate questionnaire and previous posts about party organization, I’ll offer my own observations on the final two questions I posed to the leadership candidates.

I start from the premise that the primary goals of a leader are to serve as the party’s public face and chief strategist. And while all of the candidates have shown at least some obvious ability in either or both of those areas, the biggest issue facing members this week will be to sort through the fact that there’s such a wide range of strengths which may not all be applied under

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: The decisive question

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

With the NDP’s leadership campaign entering its final week, it’s no great surprise to see plenty more punditry than usual surrounding the race. But what might influence the ballots cast this week (which may end up making all the difference)?

- The most attention over the last day or so has gone to Doris Layton’s letter in support of Brian Topp – which certainly offers a stronger and more sentimental appeal than a lot of the other late-campaign messages. But given that her endorsement had already been announced, I’m far from convinced the latest appeal will make all that much

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Candidate Rankings – March 18, 2012

Since last week, we’ve seen the NDP’s leadership campaign win plenty more attention in the media. But has any of the news managed to change the positioning of the candidates?

1. Thomas Mulcair (1)

Well, we’ve certainly seen Thomas Mulcair under the microscope more than he’s ever been. But while the week gave rise to a couple of points which may not help his cause (with controversy over his positions on marijuana decriminalization and Syria among the points which may lose him later-ballot support), he still looks likely to hold a significant first-ballot lead over the next tier of

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Candidate Rankings – March 18, 2012

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Questionnaire Response – Peggy Nash

Last week, I crowdsourced some questions to the NDP’s leadership candidates about their plans for party organization. (Unfortunately the comments have disappeared, and I’m still working on getting them to reappear – but as you’ll see I incorporated changes into my draft version.)

Obviously it’s been a busy time for the campaigns, and so I greatly appreciate that four have been able to provide at least some response so far. And I’ll give them each a post to highlight the response and my own quick analysis – starting in reverse alphabetical order with Peggy Nash. 1. As leader, what

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Questionnaire Response – Peggy Nash

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

The latest couple of days worth of news as the NDP’s leadership campaign enters its final week – aside from multiple candidates including Niki Ashton, Paul Dewar and Peggy Nash all taking the opportunity to call for unity in the wake of the continued overreaction to Ed Broadbent’s latest comments.

- Ashton made the case for the NDP to hold a prairie breakthrough conference.

- Cullen was profiled by Allan Woods, while earning endorsements from Stephen Elliott-Buckley and a noteworthy set of Saskatchewan stalwarts including Peter Prebble and Nettie Wiebe.

- Thomas Mulcair won a number of endorsements for

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

A couple more days’ worth of developments in the NDP’s leadership campaign…

- Niki Ashton argued that Canada’s grain supply should be considered a strategic resource in evaluating takeover bids for Viterra, and earned a glowing profile from Carol Goar.

- Nathan Cullen unveiled another caucus endorsement from Bruce Hyer (who also listed Thomas Mulcair and Paul Dewar as his ballot choices), while earning some fund-raising support from former B.C. Premier Glen Clark. And as pointed out by Dan, he also clarified that joint nominations aren’t the only possibility on the table to beat the Cons: Yahoo!: Are

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

Accidental Deliberations: On shifting alliances

Having pointed out the effect of Peggy Nash’s willingness to consider cross-party cooperation in my rankings post, I’ll double back to one of the other noteworthy developments today – as Thomas Mulcair may have utterly reshaped the expected movement of down-ballot support.

Since the start of the campaign, plenty of commentators have tried to divide the candidates into two camps – with the two consistent divisions being Mulcair/Nathan Cullen on one side as the candidates seeking to challenge party orthodoxy, and Peggy Nash/Brian Topp as the comparative traditionalists.

But by announcing that he’s not open to cooperation with the

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On shifting alliances

Progressive Proselytizing: Vancouver NDP leadership debate candidate rankings

The NDP’s final leadership debate wrapped up today in Vancouver in advance of the March 24th leadership convention. It has been a long road since the first debate back in Ottawa, and every candidate has managed to both improve their debating skills as well as set out key policy and stylistic differences between themselves and their competitors. Between watching a couple debates and reading platforms online, I believe that everyone can make an informed choice on March 24th. The following is my rankings and commentary for the Vancouver debate.

1) Tom Mulcair: It is always difficult to win a debate . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: Vancouver NDP leadership debate candidate rankings

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Candidate Rankings – March 11, 2012

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen what look to be a couple of noteworthy efforts among the NDP’s leadership candidates to reach out to other campaigns’ supporters in order to win over the down-ballot support that will likely decide the outcome of the campaign. So how have those efforts changed my rankings as to who’s most likely to emerge as the winner?

1. Thomas Mulcair (1)

Not much at the top, as Mulcair still looks like at least an even-odds candidate to win. He didn’t offer a great deal in response to a series of direct questions as

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Candidate Rankings – March 11, 2012