On April 8, two Islamophobic attacks were carried out in Montreal. In the first case, in the early morning hours, an axe was thrown through a window the Centre communautaire islamique Assahaba with the words “Fuck Liberals” and “we will exterminate Muslims” written on it. Then, later that day, someone rode up on their bicycle, took out a baseball bat, and smashed the windows of three cars in front of the Madani mosque as their owners were inside saying their evening prayers.
The April 8 attacks came the day after the right-wing Liberal Party had defeated the equally right-wing incumbent (Read more…)
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…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- David Dayen discusses how prepaid debit cards are turning into the latest means for the financial sector to extract artificial fees from consumers. And Matt Taibbi reports on the looting of public pension funds in the U.S.: Nor did anyone know that part of Raimondo’s strategy for saving money involved handing more than $1 billion – 14 percent of the state fund – to hedge funds, including a trio of well-known New York-based funds: Dan Loeb’s Third Point Capital was given $66 million, Ken Garschina’s Mason Capital got $64 million and (Read more…)
Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, and Andrew Coyne, among others, are wrong to suggest separatism was recently defeated by Quebec voters. Well they aren’t just wrong, they’re hypocritical.
Since the close defeat of separatism in the 1995 referendum, federalists have demanded a clear question for any public decision on Quebec sovereignty. Parliament even passed the Clarity Act, enshrining such a requirement into law.
Considering the need therefore of a clear question to decide whether Quebeckers want to stay in Canada or not, it is mind-blowing to see our country’s politicians and pundits claim that the Parti Quebecois’s (Read more…)
A lot of euphoria last night from Liberal supporters and those many Canadians (including not a few Quebecers) who don’t want to hear about separation for another generation at least. Not only did the Liberals win, they won big, majority big.
Or at least the majority that counts which, unfortunately, is not a majority of Quebecers. A solid majority (58 per cent) did not vote Liberal.
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Livio Di Matteo discusses the wasted opportunity to improve Canada’s health care system through concerted national investments. And Ryan Meili asks who will provide future direction now that the Cons have scrapped the Health Council of Canada: Now we see the federal government making a bad situation worse by walking away from the process of rebuilding a national health system entirely instead of negotiating a more robust agreement with targets and timelines for innovation and cost-savings.
The elimination of the Health Council only further underlines this movement away from national planning for (Read more…)
The Parti Quebecois loss tonight shows just how hard it is for women politicians to actually have a chance in government. Pauline Marois will be the 3rd female Premier gone this year, leaving only two; Christy Clark in BC and Kathleen Wynn in Ontario.Why Marois’s loss tonight is bad for women is not because of her exit but because of her entrance. And that is she was doomed from the start.Successful political parties have a habit in Canada of not selecting women leaders, in fact it’s only when those parties are in desperation do they resort (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: From Five Female Premiers To Just Two
Maybe not entirely dead, but quite possibly in its death throes. Good work, PLQ! Et, pour les Péquistes – il faut savoir quand vous devriez quitter la soireé.. (2) Trashy, Ottawa, Ontario
In preparation for the Quebec provincial election on Monday, I mapped out some past Quebec election results, comparing the vote and seat share received by each party. Click the graph to embiggen, the vote share is on the left, seat share on the right.
In Quebec elections, the Parti Quebecois is often said to have a built in advantage, in that they have a more “efficient” vote. The Liberals win super-majorities in Montreal, while the PQ is able to squeak out more victories by a smaller margin in the regions by winning francophone voters, meaning that in theory, the PLQ (Read more…)
All federalists should want the Parti Quebecois to win Quebec’s election this Monday. Why? Because support for separation is so low that holding a referendum would end the issue for a generation, if not for good.
If the PQ loses however, which is looking likely, separatism will continue to simmer until the PQ forms government again, and who knows how popular the issue will be by then.
In voting against the PQ Quebeckers are exchanging a safe referendum outcome today for an uncertain one tomorrow.
Federalists may think they are making Canada stronger with a Quebec Liberal election victory next (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Paul Krugman compares the U.S.’ longtime recognition that concentrated wealth can do massive social harm to the Republicans’ recent efforts to claim that raising any revenue from the rich is somehow un-American: The truth is that, in the early 20th century, many leading Americans warned about the dangers of extreme wealth concentration, and urged that tax policy be used to limit the growth of great fortunes. Here’s another example: In 1919, the great economist Irving Fisher — whose theory of “debt deflation,” by the way, is essential in understanding our current (Read more…)
The National Capital Region will soon welcome a new CFL football club. This will be the third time the team rises from its ashes: the Ottawa Rough Riders went bankrupt in 1996, and again in 2006 under the Renegades moniker. At the time, Franco-Ontarian football fans (and those in nearby Gatineau, QC) expected a club in financial trouble would make efforts to reach as many supporters as possible, including 250,000 Francophones in the region. Fat chance. The Renegades even failed include French on their official website.
It was handled to poorly that the English media is begging the new football (Read more…)
Met John on Wellington in the late afternoon today at the annual maple syrup party and there is no way you normally see that much snow, ice and slush on the streets this time of year, but heck, it kind of really lays on that “cabane a sucre” atmosphere, right? From what I gathered talking to people the event has been very well attended over the weekend and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves despite this long, long, never, ending, winter.
. . . → Read More: PostArctica: Maple Syrup in Verdun
Quebec has numerous very legitimate issues in governance and economics that can, and should, be addressed in an election. In many ways, the Quebec model provides for Canada an example of a significantly more interventionist, egalitarian government – something I might advocate for on this blog – but poor management and misguided priorities have led to large challenges in the model, not the least of which is the highest debt per person of a province in Canada. Getting a mandate for a path forward is an important step.
However, the Quebec election will largely be fought, and won, over two (Read more…)
This week’s podcast takes on government economic policy.
First, Armine Yalnizyan looks back at the tenure of Jim Flaherty as federal Finance Minister; the interview is based on an article she recently published in the Globe and Mail. Armine is a senoir economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. She is also a founding member of the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab feature and the Progressive Economics Forum. You can find her on Twitter @ArmineYalnizyan.
I then talk to Eve-Lyne Couturier about the legacy of the last PQ government in Quebec and the economic debates going into the upcoming provincial election. Eve-Lyne is a (Read more…)
Premier Marois’ Lobster Strategy
What a difference a campaign can make! Just four weeks ago, it seemed the Marois-led PQ juggernaut was a shoo-in for a majority government in the province of Quebec, and now it seems the wheels have fallen off the machine, as pollster Three Hundred Eight illustrates. In less than 20 days Premier Marois has through her ill-advised lack of discipline moved the needle from a majority government to being a government clutching a pink slip in its sweaty hands, as its core Francophone constituency moves away:
Down 5% over 20 days in this core supporter (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Quebec election: 20 days and 5%
Students who come to Quebec to study at universities like McGill – as my brother has done – are in a rather uncomfortable position when it comes to voting in the upcoming provincial election. Whether they will be able to vote at all is not easily determined. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest there is active disenfranchisement. And they are certainly the subject of blatant demagoguery from the PQ that strongly touches on the identity issues present in past Quebec elections. The issue stems from the the question of what level of evidence is needed to demonstrate that one (Read more…)
I don’t like Pauline Marois. I never have. Frankly, she reminds me of a teacher I had in grade 6 who ruled the classroom through fear and intimidation … and she keeps on using political tactics that reek of the same stupidity. Today’s entry into the race for the bottom that is the Quebec Election comes from Marois in the form of “voter fraud” claims. The PQ called a news conference Sunday morning to express concern about media reports of English-speakers and other non-francophones from outside the province trying to vote in the April 7 election.
PQ candidate Bertrand St-Arnaud (Read more…)
So Pauline Marois wants to focus on issues other than a referendum on breaking up Canada.
“It’s not a priority for Quebecers at the moment and it’s not my priority either. Our priority is to reinforce Quebec, reinforce it in all areas, reinforce the economy and adopt a charter.” -Pauline Marois
“At the moment” … so it’s on the table then.
Therefore, it’s a valid thing for people to be obsessed with. It’s not a small thing. It’s not something you can just try out when you feel the time is right. It’s about the fundamental nature of our (Read more…)
The Day Stephen Harper Was Pounded By the Supreme Court
Have to admit I had to read it twice..but yes, Nadon was re-jected byHarper’s own appointees! Every one of ‘em…wow, it must be Canada, or something….
It’s a good day for Canadian citizens..and another round of eating crow (poor crow!) for Harper..waaaahhhh!!!!! Bet Obama is wishing that his Supremes were as supportive of the US Constitution. And, it’s equally wonderful to realize that Harper attempted to ‘stack’ the Court with rightwing judges..but, who could have even fantasized that they actually decided (Read more…)
The first debate in this unexpectedly interesting provincial election has yet again proved that the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. The Premier and her advisors had carefully planned a year long campaign designed to drive a wedge between the voters in preparation for the election, by holding public meetings to discuss their Charter of Values. And it seemed to be working well, crystallizing support among Francophones and leaving opponents waffling with Me, Too faint emulations. So Marois and her Brains Trust decided that if it worked with the Charter of Values, why (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Quebec: Premier Marois’ Walk into Darkness
As is so often the case when Quebec comes up in the news, the current provincial election has led to a lot of people calling for that province to simply leave Canada once and for all. However, I’m not sure that the people, both inside and outside Quebec, who want la belle province to leave have thought through exactly what the implications would be…
First of all, it’s pretty clear that separation would cause all kinds of economic grief for Quebec. But what’s the implication for Canada? Even with everything weighing it down Quebec still produces about 20% of Canada’s (Read more…)
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out– because I was not a communist; Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out– because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out– because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me– and there was no one left to speak out for me.
I am not a Muslim.
I am (Read more…)
Reaction to the PQ Lobster Strategy?
Battles for votes rise or fall on framing: the ballot question, your opponent, your own side, the issues. Framing happens, with you or without you; sometimes best with you.
Ms Marois and the PQ have recoiled in horror from any discussions of the independence referendum or of an independent Quebec, because their original election plan was to talk about their Charter of Values and get their majority, then launch their ongoing PR campaign to soften up their citizens regarding a referendum, known as their White Paper process, and then – but only once they (Read more…)