Like the dotty uncle no one wants to invite to family dinners anymore because of his wildly inappropriate comments, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver is fast becoming an international persona non grata.
With the passion of a senescent zealot, Oliver has drawn unfavorable attention to Canada in recent weeks over his attacks on those who disagree with his unbridled enthusiasm for Alberta’s dirty oil. There was, for example, his visit last month to Washington in which he lambasted a leading climate scientist, James Hansen, denouncing him for “exaggerated rhetoric,” that “doesn’t do the (environmentalists’) cause any good.” For good (Read more…)
I admit that I stopped being a regular viewer of the CBC years ago; I think the catalyst for my disaffection was its transparent policy of appeasement (under the pretext of balanced reporting) of the Harper regime which, of course, holds its funding strings. Especially evident in its flagship news program, The National, hosted by that one-time icon of journalistic integrity, Peter Mansbridge, the Corporation has become a parody of itself. And as I have written in past posts, Mansbridge himself has to take the bulk of the blame for its sad decline.
On February 8, The Star’s Rick
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The Synchronous Decline of Peter Mansbridge and The CBC
Assorted content for your Sunday reading.
- Ian Lovett reports on the use of “capital appreciation bonds” in California to ensure that future generations pay an inflated price to private-sector developers for infrastructure today.
- Justin Ling’s review of Joyce Murray’s message about electoral non-competition pacts is well worth a read – but I’ll particularly highlight this part: Do you want Stephen Harper to be defeated in the next federal election?
Alright, we’re already off to a rocky start.
Politics of negation is dangerous, ugly, and unfortunately rears its ugly head very often in leadership campaigns.
“Elect me and I’ll
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links
CBC’s Peter Mansbridge coulda bin a contender: Salutin:
As a follow-up to my post about former fluff broadcaster and current fraud artist Mike Duffy, here is a link to a Rick Salutin column about the fluffy news reader Peter Mansbridge, and about the decline of CBC news in general. As a bonus, here is my own take on Mansbridge.
Peter Mansbridge: big voice, big disappointment
Over the past decade or so, TV news anchor Peter Mansbridge, of the tax-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), has become a shell of his former self. He may have been a serious reporter
. . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: CBC’s Peter Mansbridge coulda bin a contender: Salutin
The title of my post today, taken from Act Five of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, occurs in a graveyard. Hamlet begins musing on what may become of one’s earthly remains, as even those of the most exalted in life, once their remains have fully decayed, may wind up as little more than a beer barrel stopper.
Horatio seems to feel that such speculation is a tad morbid and unhealthy.
Perhaps the same may be said about trying to dissect the mind of a politician, for fear of what we may discover.
In his column yesterday, The Star’s Rick Salutin goes down that
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: ”Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.’
Assorted content to end your week.- Rick Salutin offers an important take on the U.S. election by pointing out that the Occupy movement and its focus on inequality laid the groundwork for Barack Obama’s re-election:The aftermath to the bailouts was the… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
Assorted content to end your week.
- Jeffrey Simpson marks Peter Lougheed’s passing by discussing what he brought to Alberta’s political scene that’s been sorely lacking ever since: Mr. Lougheed, defending Alberta’s jurisdictional turf in conflicts with Liberal and Conservative governments in Ottawa, navigated his province through these shoals. The shame of his successors is that they took two of his cardinal convictions and discarded them in the rush for quick spoils and easy money – that natural resource revenues belong to the people and should be developed in a measured, balanced fashion, and that considerable money from those resources
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
We seem to be in the constant throes of anti-union sentiment during a time they are most needed. The right wing, including Ontario Conservative leader young Tim Hudak, seems to be especially enamored of the phrases “union bosses” and “workplace democracy,” both thinly-disguised anti-union euphemisms. And now that teachers are taking their fight against Dalton McGuinty’s theft of their collective bargaining rights into the schools, we can expect more self-serving pontifications from the usual suspects.
Amidst all of the hysterical propaganda, in his column today Rick Salutin offers a timely reminder of why teachers, who he describes as the
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Rick Salutin On Teacher Unions
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Rick Salutin discusses the link between parity of wealth and democratic participation, while pointing out why there’s reason for people to engage much more in the latter (W)hy didn’t the majority ever vote to expropriate the rich and take all their stuff? Perhaps it isn’t that they were duped by media or agreed with the way things were. Maybe their ambitions were always modest: they didn’t begrudge the 1 per cent what they had, so long as it left a decent life for them and their families.
Most people I know are fair-minded
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
Direct democracy is to representative democracy what extra-virgin olive oil is to refined olive oil. The latter is more cost effective and, perhaps according to some, just as good. But to the connoisseur, there is no substitute for the real stuff.
In the fourth article of his ongoing series on democracy, Toronto Star columnist Rick Salutin examines the real stuff in the form of Swiss referendums. Several national referendums are held together four times per year in Switzerland on everything from tax policy to constitutional amendments to international treaties. Direct democracy advocates all around the world look on enviously,
. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Referendums: The Perils and the Possibilities
“Democracy,” as Winston Churchill famously stated, “is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Somewhat less famously, he also remarked that “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
Notwithstanding this somewhat anemic endorsement, those who live under democracy tend to quite like it. We often devote ourselves to attempts at strengthening the people’s rule. A recent effort in this vein comes courtesy of columnist Rick Salutin and his series on democratic renewal for the Toronto Star.
Salutin, in the second
. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Rick Salutin on Democracy, Parties, and Electoral Reform
The problem with parties is they don’t exist to represent the views of the public, or even sections of it, or even their own members. Maybe they once did, or maybe not. But now they exist to win elections. They’re “election-day organizations,” to quote political scientist Donald Savoie. They take public opinion into account mainly in their strategic calculations.
Is some form of proportional representation the answer to the ‘democratic deficit’ reflected in the above excerpt from Part 2 of Rick Salutin’s series on democracy?
Salutin admits to an ambivalence about a reform he once enthusiastically embraced. The most popular
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Rick Salutin on Proportional Representation
Just back from a very brief holiday in western New York, I’m still feeling a bit too relaxed to post anything lengthy, but I do have a reading recommendation for anyone concerned about democracy in its various forms.
Earlier this year, The Star’s Rick Salutin took time off from his weekly column to do research on democracy. The results of that research begin today in the first part of a series. Entitled Democracy: Thinking outside the box, the piece offers some surprising statistics that challenge the notion that elections are the pinnacle of democratic expression.
Despite the fact that
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Defining Democracy
While the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge may often pronounce ponderously and authoritatively on issues, there is another source of information that should, in many ways, be taken more seriously, says Rick Salutin in his column today.
Well worth the read. Recommend this Post
Our self-absorbed society could do worse than read Rick Salutin’s thoughts on the pursuit of happiness found in today’s Star. Recommend this Post
News and notes from the last few days as the deadline to sign up looms just a week away in advance of a convention that’s set to far exceed the turnout the NDP expected.
- Niki Ashton responded to questions about whether she’d stay in the race with a strong indication that she won’t be pushed out.
- Nathan Cullen added a noteworthy endorsement from Brian Masse, who becomes the first MP from outside Cullen’s home province to back his leadership bid.
- Paul Dewar unveiled his foreign policy, while Daniel Leblanc wrote that this weekend’s Quebec City debate
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup
Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.
- Trish Hennessy points out that Rob Ford’s contemptuous attack on the idea of secure employment may offer an ideal contrast between the right-wing view of the economy and the stability citizens actually want for themselves: Remember when holding down a job for life was considered a sign of personal responsibility and integrity?
Remember when staying committed to a job for life was an example of how you could be relied upon, trusted? How you were viewed as stable and productive?
Remember when having a job for life was a symbol of the model
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links
Assorted content to end your week.
- Jeffrey Simpson manages to write an entire column on important political developments he managed to miss in 2011 without uttering the words “NDP” (or any member thereof). Which surely looks like an early nominee as a continued blind spot in 2012.
- Peter Thurley wishes for a national housing strategy in the new year. But judging from the Cons’ insistence on casting blame rather than doing anything to address even the most glaring needs for which the federal government has the most direct responsibility, I don’t see much reason for optimism.
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
As is so frequently the case, The Star’s Rick Salutin has written a thoughtful and original piece, this time on some of the factors involved in our increasingly dynamic resistance to traditional sources of authority. Thanks to the arrogance of the financial world, even after receiving massive taxpayer bailouts for their incompetence, coupled with the vast array of information afforded by the Internet, people now have a much greater opportunity to effectively challenge the status quo, as evidenced by the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, and even in the give-and-take of readers’ forums on media sites.
It is an
We live in time when the Harper government seems to be doing everything in its power to persuade Canadians that democracy is meaningless and that we, the citizens, have no power. In my view, the increasing invocation of closure on debate, sending more and more Parliamentary committees to meet behind closed doors, and egregiously and contemptuously ignoring all questions from the Opposition by responding with partisan ripostes, the Harperites are following an agenda to disenchant and disengage normal Canadians, leaving the field almost totally to their reactionary supporters.
Rick Salutin, in his latest video on The Star website, reminds us
My favorite columnist, Rick Salutin, has a brief video on The Star website in which he asserts that the NDP and the CBC are no more leftist than Rex Murphy, Kevin O’Leary, or Don Cherry. You can watch it here. Recommend this Post
Never an advocate of violence, I have been recently thinking of the power of its opposite, non-violence or passive resistance, especially in light of the contemptible yet very casual pepper-spraying of University of California – Davis students by campus police.
For me, the various pictures and stories circulating on the Internet of the ugly incident attest to two things: the wanton use of violence that is becoming increasingly common amongst authorities trying to quell the Occupy Movement, and the tremendous strength and spirit reflected in those who are willing to put their bodies on the line in pursuit of
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The Power of Non-Violence
As I have written elsewhere, in my view there are few Canadian columnists who can match or exceed the depth and range of intellect consistently reflected in the work of The Star’s Rick Salutin. In today’s piece, entitled Drawing inspiration from the … . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Another Excellent Column From Rick Salutin
Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.- Janet Bagnall discusses Canada’s steadily-growing income inequality:In the last 20 years, the income of 80 per cent of Americans has stagnated while that of the richest one per cent has nearly doubled. … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links