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Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

– David MacDonald examines how Canada’s tax expenditures systematically favour higher-income individuals over the people who actually have a reasonable claim to public support: This study finds that Canada’s personal income tax expenditures disproportionately benefit the rich and cost the federal treasury nearly as much as it collects in . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, comparing the Conservative Party’s leadership race based on fear and division to the NDP’s which looks set to bring a progressive coalition together.

For further reading…– Bob Hepburn also notes that fear and hatred are the main themes emerging from the Cons’ candidates so far. And while it’s fair enough for Andrew Coyne to . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Why Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair Have Got it so Wrong on ISIS

Recently the Toronto Star posted a piece on Thomas Mulcair and the fight against ISIS:  Mulcair Would Pull Canada From U.S. Led Mission in Mid-East if Elected. This is a big mistake, not only politically, but from a humanitarian angle.  There is no argument that George Bush’s ill-conceived war in Iraq, or in . . . → Read More: Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Why Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair Have Got it so Wrong on ISIS

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Why Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair Have Got it so Wrong on ISIS


Recently the Toronto Star posted a piece on Thomas Mulcair and the fight against ISIS:  Mulcair Would Pull Canada From U.S. Led Mission in Mid-East if Elected.

This is a big mistake, not only politically, but from a humanitarian angle.  There is no argument that George Bush’s ill-conceived war in Iraq, or in fact the decades of invasions in the region, gave rise to ISIS; but abandonment is not the answer.

As part of his reasoning, Mulcair claims that this is neither a NATO nor a UN mission, but he is wrong. Nato is involved and were involved in most, if not all, engagements in the Middle East.  The United Nations has resolved to stop the flow of money and arms going to ISIS, but many of the arms they are using, are those left by the Americans

And the NATO missions that Mulcair is promoting, have destabilized regions, making them ripe for terrorist takeover.  You can be a pacifist and oppose war, but if you support any war, you are no longer a pacifist. His stand is a bit confusing.

As to stopping the flow of money going to ISIS that too will be difficult.  The west has been bombing oil refineries, one source of revenue, and some nations are refusing to pay ransoms, and yet the organization is still able to pay their bills, as well as provide money to run, according to the Economist, “services across the areas it controls, paying schoolteachers and providing for the poor and widowed.”

We run the risk of further alienating the occupied, if ISIS can blame the west for not being able to take care of the people.  We need to stop bombing, but we can’t just leave.  Humanitarian aid and training is still necessary.

Radicalization and NDP Naivete

When Stephen Harper announced that he would stop Canadians from travelling to countries engaged in “terrorist” activities, Mulcair said he would support the initiative, but questioned whether it would help in the fight against “terrorism”.  He went on to say that C-51 did not do enough to combat the “radicalization of youth”.

This was actually a topic for debate in the Commons, as the NDP tried to push through an amendment to C-51, reading in part, that the Bill “…does not include the type of concrete, effective measures that have been proven to work, such as providing support to communities that are struggling to counter radicalization.

What communities do they mean?

I rarely agree with anything Peter Van Loan says, but he did raise the issue that it was “ill defined”.  Do they mean Muslim communities?  Peter Julian had this to say:

The mosque that is in my riding in Burnaby—New Westminster was the mosque the man who murdered Cpl. Nathan Cirillo attended. I travelled to that mosque within a couple of days of what happened on October 22 here on the Hill. What the mosque members told me was quite stark. They said that they knew he had profound mental illness. They knew that he had a drug addiction. They tried to seek help, and there was nothing available. This is something we have heard from communities right across the country.

It sounds like the issue is more about mental illness and drug addiction, issues that are discussed in many places, and not confined to Mosques.  It would appear that the NDP believe, like the Conservatives, that terrorism is associated with Islam.  This is not only Xenophobic but incorrect.  While the Islamic State is using the religious angle, their motives are not religious, but political.

According to Huffington Post, Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed, the two Brits who went to Syria to join the rebels, first purchased off Amazon, two books:  Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies  They were not devout Muslims.  Nor were the 9/11 hijackers who reportedly used cocaine, drank alcohol, slept with prostitutes and attended strip clubs, but never belonged to a mosque. 

A 2008 report published in the Guardian, dispelled the stereotypes of those who become involved in terrorism:   “ They are mostly British nationals, not illegal immigrants and, far from being Islamist fundamentalists, most are religious novices. Nor, the analysis says, are they “mad and bad”. and “Far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly.”

Didier François, a French journalist who was held by Isis in Syria for ten months before being released in April 2014, has provided some insight into the life of those fighting for ISIS, in a CNN interview.

“There was never really discussion about texts.  It was not a religious discussion. It was a political discussion.  It was more hammering what they were believing than teaching us about the Quran. Because it has nothing to do with the Quran. We didn’t even have the Quran. They didn’t want even to give us a Quran.”

This is a political movement, not a Jihad one.  President Obama has been trying to stress that, but his words are falling on deaf ears. I often learn a lot by reading the comments section of media reports, and in one, there is a debate between two readers.  One was trying to stress that all terrorists are Muslim but their opponent fired back by saying: “Christians are also terrorists.  They just call it ‘shock and awe'”.

It is not religion that is fuelling this war, it’s war itself.

The Radicalization of Youth Has Little to do With Communities

Al Jazeera also published the results of a study, defining the risk factors for  violent radicalization:  Youth, wealth and academia appear to predispose individuals to sympathizing with acts of terrorism.

Perhaps surprisingly, religious practice, mental health, social inequality and political engagement were not significant factors.

“We’re offering a new paradigm for sympathies as an early phase of radicalization that can be measured,” Kamaldeep Bhui, the study’s lead author and a cultural psychology professor at the university, told Al Jazeera. 

While just 2.4 percent of people expressed some sympathy for violence overall, researchers found that those under the age 20, those in full-time education rather than employment, and those with annual incomes above $125,000 were more prone to express sympathy for violent protests and “terrorism.”

The attack on Parliament Hill was perpetrated by a mentally ill, homeless man, but mental illness is a separate issue, just as drug addiction and homelessness are.

“One explanation for homegrown terrorism in high-income countries is that it’s about inequality-related grievances,” Bhui said in a phone interview. “We were surprised that [the] inequality paradigm seems not to be supported. The study essentially seemed to show that those born in the U.K. consistent with the radicalization paradigm are actually more affluent or well off.” 

Two other findings stood in conflict with prevailing stereotypes about so-called homegrown terrorism in the West: Immigrants and those who speak a non-English language at home, as well as those who reported suffering from anxiety or depression, were less likely to express sympathy for terrorist acts.

If we really want to “stop the flow”, we need to stop invading countries, and taking part in “regime changes”, simply because they are not willing to conduct business on our terms. Many of the sympathizers are well educated, and intelligent enough to know that there have been grave injustices committed, while society at large blames the victims.  Who are the “terrorists”?

I agree with supporting “at risk” communities, dealing with poverty and youth unemployment, but that will not stop terrorists.  As studies have found, they are not poor, uneducated or unemployed and rarely religious.  In fact, the stereotypical description of radicalized youth, are often the ones who believe that all terrorists are Muslims.

That’s where we have to “stop the flow”.  Misinformation.

. . . → Read More: Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Why Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair Have Got it so Wrong on ISIS

The Canadian Progressive: Peter Penashue: Harper’s “strong voice” rarely heard in the House

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: A new analysis by democracy advocacy group, Samara, suggests that the Conservatives’ characterization of Peter Penashue as a “strong voice” for Labrador in the House of Commons is a grotesque political exaggeration. In fact, the Conservatives insulted our collective intelligence when they warned that “if Newfoundland and Labrador . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Peter Penashue: Harper’s “strong voice” rarely heard in the House

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

– Paul Dechene interviews Marc Spooner about Saskatchewan residents left behind in the province’s boom: One way that our growing income gap can be hand-waved away is by pointing to the fact that every other province that goes through an economic boom faces this.

Perhaps it’s just a natural . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– If there’s anything missing from Mark Weidbrot’s musings about the possibility of a U.S. debt downgrade, it’s that the only significant threat to the country paying its bills has been the Republicans’ reckless willingness to block routine approvals in the name of exactly the austerity policies the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

– T.C. Norris points out that one of the most important developing themes in economic research is the recognition that reductions in employment insurance benefits only force job-seekers into damaging situations rather than creating economic benefits. But as we all know, mere facts won’t stop the Cons from turning . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics blog: life after dutch disease: thomas mulcair to visit alberta on may 31.

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Thomas Mulcair

After weeks of warring words about the economic influence of Western Canadian oilsands development on the crumbling Central Canadian manufacturing sector, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair will visit Alberta on May 31 to meet with business and political leaders. This will be Mr. Mulcair’s first visit to Alberta since being selected as . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta politics blog: life after dutch disease: thomas mulcair to visit alberta on may 31.

Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review – April 3, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 saw the final day of debate at second reading of the Cons’ budget – and once again featured plenty of work by Peter Julian to introduce the types of perspectives the Cons would never tolerate if they could avoid it.

The Big Issue

Once again, Julian focused largely on bringing forward . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review – April 3, 2012

Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review – April 2, 2012

Monday, April 2 saw the second day of Peter Julian’s extended budget speech. And perhaps the point most worth noting is how many Canadians outside of Parliament took the opportunity have their voices heard in the budget debate.

The Big Issue

So let’s focus this review on some of the input Julian received from across . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review – April 2, 2012

Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review – March 30, 2012

Friday, March 30 was the first day of Peter Julian’s budget filibuster. But while it accomplished its goal of avoiding several hours worth of Con talking points, was there much to take from Julian’s own comments?

The Big Issue

Well, let’s highlight a few of his more noteworthy observations. First, on the Cons’ own plan . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review – March 30, 2012

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics blog: a wildrose government will need a real opposition.

Danielle Smith with Wildrose MLA's Paul Hinman, Heather Forsyth, and Rob Anderson in 2010.

Despite questioning climate science and refusing to remove one candidate who railed against a policy to protect sexual minorities in public schools and another who claimed his skin colour as a political advantage, Danielle Smith‘s Wildrose Party appears set . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta politics blog: a wildrose government will need a real opposition.

Accidental Deliberations: On areas of agreement

There’s plenty of room for debate as to whether Peter Julian’s budget filibuster should be seen to have its greatest impact in empowering Canadians who don’t hold a seat in Parliament, or in limiting participation by other elected representatives.

But it does seem worth noting that while even a couple of NDP MPs raised . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On areas of agreement

the reeves report: NDP MP Peter Julian defends Canadian football with Bill C-360

NDP MP Peter Julian

I came across this odd nugget of parliamentary protectionism courtesy of iPolitics.ca – Peter Julian, four-time elected NDP MP for Burnaby-New Westminster, has introduced “An act to support Canadian professional football,” a.k.a. Bill C-360, a.k.a. the Canadian Football Act.

The bill acknowledges that Canadian football, as played by the . . . → Read More: the reeves report: NDP MP Peter Julian defends Canadian football with Bill C-360

A BCer in Toronto: Belated random thoughts on political happenings

I’ve found myself too busy with work and what not lately to be blogging as much as I should be, so here’s some short random thoughts on recent events until I can write something longer. Which I promise to do soon. Ish. * Montreal’s crumbling Champlain … . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Belated random thoughts on political happenings

Blunt Objects: Mulcair In, Julian Out

Well, I got one of the two right:Quebec NDP MP Thomas Mulcair will be among those vying for his party’s leadership, Radio-Canada has learned.The Official Opposition’s deputy leader is preparing to make the announcement some time next week. Mulcair said… . . . → Read More: Blunt Objects: Mulcair In, Julian Out

Accidental Deliberations: NDP Leadership Roundup

A few very quick updates since my last commentary on the NDP leadership race…Martin Singh, Nathan Cullen and Paul Dewar are in, while Thomas Mulcair should be shortly (with Phil Edmonston’s endorsement). Brian Topp’s new endorsers include Libby Davie… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: NDP Leadership Roundup

Blunt Objects: Mulcair – the NDP’s Best Option?

He is according to Angus Reid’s latest poll, which says that Mulcair would lead the NDP to the best result in a general election today, and is the most well-thought-of among NDP members and the general public.This being said, the results are so small b… . . . → Read More: Blunt Objects: Mulcair – the NDP’s Best Option?

Accidental Deliberations: By way of comparison

Tim Naumetz points out what strikes me as a surprising trend of potential NDP leadership candidates expressing concern about the cost of participating in the race:“Money is a big deal,” Nova Scotia NDP MP Robert Chisholm (Dartmouth-Cole Harbor, N.S… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: By way of comparison

Accidental Deliberations: Taking shape

With the NDP’s leadership rules now set, let’s take a look at how the race is shaping up. As best I can tell, the Mark’s list of candidates looks to reflect the group most likely to enter the race, featuring Brian Topp, Thomas Mulcair, Niki Ashton, Pet… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Taking shape