Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: An Open Letter From Academics on Bill C-23

Published in The Globe and Mail.

Highlights:  (much of which have been discussed in more depth on this blog)

Investigating electoral fraud. Bill C-23 fails to provide the Commissioner of Elections power to compel witness testimony in investigating systematic electoral fraud such as the 2011 “robocalls” scandal. Witnesses with knowledge of fraudulent activity can – and regularly do – refuse to provide information to investigators. The bill’s proposed voter contact registry will not greatly enhance the capacity to prosecute fraud, and its increased penalties for fraud do nothing if investigators cannot prove crimes. 

Polling supervision. Under Bill C-23, (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: The Con Regime and the Whale Songs of Resistance

When I was a boy I sometimes used to dream about running away to sea. So the sight of that old sugar boat today, made me dream for a moment of sailing to some place far from Harperland.Because this tortured country is getting crazier by the day.And so is the monster who would destroy it.Read more »

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: If You Love Canada … Read This

I don’t usually use this space to promote posts at other blogs, but at iPolitics Michael Harris has an excellent column that summarizes what Harper is doing to Canada.

http://www.ipolitics.ca/2014/04/20/harper-sees-role-as-protector-of-the-richest-few/

Read.  Take it to heart, pass it along.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Michael Harris writes that the Cons’ primary purpose while in power has been to hand further power and wealth to those who already have more than they know what to do with: These corporations and their political mouthpiece, the Republican Party, are Stephen Harper’s heroes. He has spent his entire political career marching Canada down the same corporate road that leads to oligarchy. He is less the prime minister of a country, than a super-salesman of corporate interests. That’s why his policies often look so wacky but aren’t. They do exactly what they (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Edward Snowden and the Scary Secrets of Stephen Harper

I'm glad that The Guardian and the Washington Post have been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the out of control activities of the National Security Agency. And that Edward Snowden has been vindicated in his own country.It has been nearly a year since a thin, pale computer whiz kid named Edward Snowden dramatically burst into our consciousness and became the most important whistleblower of modern times. As a result of his actions, we now live in a very different world and it is one — I would argue — that is better than before. At (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Harperland and the Winds of Change

Sometimes I think that getting Canadians to take any kind of political action is like that swan trying to get the wooden ones to follow. Because we must be one of the most democratically complacent people on Earth. But even in this frigid spring, even in Harperland, the winds of change are blowing.

Read more »

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Canada’s Autism Disgrace 2007: 2014 Update

Photo from Ameriquebec.net 

In December 2007 I wrote Canada’s Autism Disgrace, describing the lack of a real National Autism Strategy in Canada.  It is now 2014 and nothing has changed. Canada still lacks a real National Autism Strategy. The words I wrote in 2007, reprinted below, are as true and accurate today as they were then:

What is Canada’s National Autism Strategy? The answer is simple; we don’t have one. And as long as Stephen Harper’s Reform-Alliance-Conservative government rules Canada with an iron fist we will not have a National Autism Strategy. My friends of Conservative background (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Canada’s Autism Disgrace 2007: 2014 Update

LeDaro: Vladimir Putin basically told Stephen Harper to go and take a hike

Stephen Harper thinks he is a world leader. He has been prominent in criticizing Russia over Ukraine and promised Ukraine some military help. Putin primarily told him to go and ‘screw yourself’.

A toast to Stevie

“The Conservative government’s tough rhetoric over Russia’s actions in Ukraine may play well to some voters domestically, but analysts doubt it will have any impact on curtailing Moscow’s policies in the region. “I think the only people Putin’s going to pay any attention to, if he pays any attention at all, are going to be the United States and the European Union, above all (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman explains how one’s political values figure to affect one’s view of evidence as to the success or failure of a policy: (T)he liberal and conservative movements are not at all symmetric in their goals. Conservatives want smaller government as an end in itself; liberals don’t seek bigger government per se — they want government to achieve certain things, which is quite different. You’ll never see liberals boasting about raising the share of government spending in GDP the way conservatives talk proudly about bringing that share down. Because liberals want government to (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Not So Good Good Friday

Lordy. I see that Stephen Harper didn't have a very good Good Friday.His Easter Message was no doubt well received by his dwindling flock, the 28% of Canadians who still support him.Because they all agree that Jimbo Flaherty would want the Cons to keep his legacy alive.Canada’s budget watchdog says the federal public service has already lost more jobs than expected and projects thousands more cuts.By killing government in his memory.Read more »

Montreal Simon: Harperland, the Con Monsters, and the Death of Reason

Once upon a time Canada seemed like a brighter, better place to me than it does today.A more hopeful, more optimistic, more decent country.A country where an opposition MP could write a polite letter to a Minister like this one. (PDF)And expect to get a reasonable reply.But this is Harperland, and this is Pierre Poilievre…Read more »

LeDaro: Stephen Harper -the Portraits

I did a picture of Harper on a horse in front of Parliament, as the leader who is set to conquer the world. Now a Canadian artist has done an interesting portrait of Harper on a horse. It looks good.

Mahshid Farhoudi

This one looks good too.

By Tony Clark

See more portraits here

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Canonization of Jimbo Flaherty

Well I knew what he was going to do from the moment he announced that Jim Flaherty would have a state funeral, for no good reason.And then let it be known that he had PERSONALLY written the eulogy he would deliver.And sure enough he did turn that solemn occasion into yet another giant photo-op for the glorification of HIMSELF. Read more »

The Ranting Canadian: "I can’t even get my friends to like me." Mark this date:…

“I can’t even get my friends to like me.”

Mark this date: April 16, 2014. Disgraced Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper tells the truth for the first time in his political career, as he campaigns at the state funeral of former finance minister Jim Flaherty. The rest of Harper’s speech was full of lies and propaganda, as usual.

Harper should be more like Flaherty (in his current state).

Alberta Diary: Redford-Hancock Government moves ahead with plan to gut public sector pensions

Alberta Environment Minister Robin Campbell, right, in one of the rather undistinguished jackets that are causing such a brouhaha in the provincial Legislature this week. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Doug Horner, below, is moving to attack the pensions of 300,000 Alberta public employees and no one is paying much attention. Below him, NDP Leader Brian Mason, who opposes his plans, and former prime ministerial chief of staff Nigel Wright. But you’ll have to read to the bottom if you want to know what Mr. Wright has to do with this story.

Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner gave notice yesterday that the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

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…)

Montreal Simon: Is Stephen Harper Losing His Grip on Power And His Marbles?

As you know, I've been watching Stephen Harper closely for eight long and horrible years, like some people watch birds.And I can honestly say I've rarely seen him looking worse. Or more deeply disturbed.I can't get what what Tom Flanagan says about him in his new book out of my mind:“He can be suspicious, secretive, and vindictive, prone to sudden eruptions of white-hot rage over meaningless trivia, at other times falling into week-long depressions in which he is incapable of making decisions.” So the last thing I needed to see him talking about was the Third World War. Read more »

Alberta Diary: The ‘Self Preservation Society’ wants Jim Prentice for ‘The Alberta Job’ – but can he forgo his ambition to be PM?

“The Alberta Job.” Will the original “Self Preservation Society” get to keep the Tory gold? Is Jim Prentice – above, not exactly as illustrated – the man to help them do it? Read on to find out why we’ll probably never find out. Below: The actual Jim Prentice. Below him: Possible, rumoured, putative PC leadership candidate Stephen Mandel.

The question Jim Prentice really needs to ask himself is this: “Do I really want to ride that bus all the way to the bottom of the cliff and be sitting in it when it bursts into flames?”

The (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Michael Harris observes that the Cons’ vote suppression tactics match the worst abuses we’d expect from the Tea Party: Stephen Harper would make a good governor of Arizona.

In addition to the lies and sleaziness his government has been serving up during its majority, its sickening reliance on marketing over truth, its dishonest use of technology in political matters, and its shameful abuse of language, the prime minister is blighting democracy in the name of political advantage.

When Stephen Harper gave Canada fixed elections dates, no one expected a whole lot more “fixing” (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Advice to progressives: Don’t airbrush Jim Flaherty’s record out of sympathy for his family

The late Jim Flaherty tries on the traditional new shoes just before delivering his 2012 federal budget. Below, some of Mr. Flaherty’s friends and colleagues: former Ontario premier Mike Harris, in whose government he also served; Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Decent people naturally feel sympathy with the loved ones of any person taken unexpectedly from life, as just-retired federal Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was last week.

We are naturally more inclined to experience such feelings of vicarious loss when the person who has died is charming and engaging – as Mr. Flaherty was said by (Read more…)

A Different Point of View....: Flaherty’s Legacy – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The unexpected, shocking death of Jim Flaherty, the Conservative Party’s only Finance Minister until his retirement less than a month ago, has resulted in hundreds of warm tributes for his commitment to public life and praise from those in business and conservative circles who approved of his financial and economic policies.

Flaherty the man, who was only 64, was devoted to his family and one of the most popular Members of Parliament. Friends indicated that Flaherty was headed for a high-paying job on Bay Street, so he could make the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars he had sacrificed by taking a lower paying government job.

PM Stephen Harper with Flaherty: Nixing stimulus, killing revenue. Photo courtesy of The Tyee

While Jim Flaherty’s life achievements and humanity should be praised, it also needs to be said that his policies severely discriminated against the vast majority of Canadians.

Flaherty had control of purse strings . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Flaherty’s Legacy – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Montreal Simon: Rob Anders: The Con Loon Finally Bites the Dust

He tried every dirty trick in the book to try to win his nomination battle.He smeared his opponents as closet Liberals. He used misleading robocalls against them. He called on his rabid religious base to save him.But nothing could stop the Con loon Rob Anders from facing his own personal Armageddon. Read more »

Alberta Diary: Rob Anders loses by a nose in Signal Hill as Cowtown Cons make the best of a bad choice

Lost by a nose … but what a nose! A 22-year-old Rob Anders in 1994, heckling an Oklahoma politician. Below: Calgary Signal Hill nomination victor Ron Liepert; Mr. Anders as he looks today.

There was blood in the water of the Bow River as it flowed through Cowtown last night.

After a while, it became clear the metaphorical blood had been shed by the ever-embarrassing Rob Anders, who at a mere 42 years of age had served an excruciating six terms as the Reform, Alliance and Conservative Member of Parliament for the Calgary West riding, which will soon cease to (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Canadians will forever be indebted because of Jim…

Canadians will forever be indebted because of Jim Flaherty.

Regardless of what one thinks of the recently deceased man on a personal level, if one uses objective, non-emotional criteria, it is clear that he was probably the worst finance minister in Canadian history. Unfortunately for us, his replacement, Joe Oliver, will likely be much worse.

Almost immediately after Flaherty’s death became public, the fawning political praise and sickening historical revisionism flooded in like oil from an Enbridge pipeline spill. Over-the-top accolades for the small callous man have been stomach-churning, and is an insult to his many victims. It is (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: What happens now that we know there really is a cancer cluster in Fort Chip? Nothing?

Greenpeace Canada info-graphic showing connections among the far-right Conservative Party of Canada activists behind the so-called Ethical Oil Institute. Below: Dr. James Talbot; Dr. John O’Connor; Ezra Levant.

Alberta’s chief medical officer has now confirmed that statistics released a couple of weeks ago indicate there really is a cancer cluster in Fort Chipewyan, a predominantly native community about 280 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.

Fort Chip, as it is often known, has long been a subject of controversy about the health impacts of bitumen sands development because – possibly coincidentally, and possibly not – it is not far downstream and (Read more…)