Here is a letter from today’s Star that puts responsibility for the proliferating problem of deceitful, inept, corrupt and demagogic political leaders where it belongs: on all of our shoulders:
Re: How to cover a deceiver without airing mistruth? Opinion Nov. 6
Publisher John Cruickshank’s wonderful piece addresses what should be a deep concern in our society: the prevalent and amoral use of “spin.” In the 1960s, when I was being raised in Toronto, we called “spin” what it was: a lie.
The temerity of many people in our society, most notably those with whom we should have the (Read more…)
As fashionable as it is to denigrate the mainstream media for their frequent timidity and conservatism, public knowledge about both Rob Ford’s disgraceful performance as Mayor of Toronto and the current Senate scandal embroiling Stephen Harper, impeaching the integrity and honesty of both politicians, would not exist were it not for a diligent media, especially the press.
I have often stated in this blog that I am both proud and pleased to subscribe to The Toronto Star, given the integrity of its work and the fact that many of its investigations have resulted in change at both the local and (Read more…)
If the above interests you, you may wish to take a few minutes to check out Haroon Siddiqui’s column in today’s Star. Entitled Pauline Marois issues fatwa on Quebec secularism, his thesis can be summed up in his final paragraph:
Marois is engaged in an ugly cultural warfare of the rightwing Republican kind. She is using religious minorities to fire up her base constituency. She figures that the more English Canada reacts strongly, the better for her. But we cannot fall into the trap of abandoning fundamental Canadian constitutional values.
While Siddiqui concentrates on the damage the Quebec purity (Read more…)
As usual, Star readers offer their penetrating commentary on recent events and the benighted Tim Hudak. Enjoy!
80-year-old woman tasered a day after rules changed, Sept. 4
I find it extremely disturbing that Peel Region police officers called to Thomas St. and Erin Mills Parkway on Aug. 28 around 3:30 a.m. were unable to “talk down” an obviously anguished 80-year-old woman. According to the article, the woman was “walking along the road,” which is not at all busy with traffic at that time of the morning. Surely, even if they could not get her off the road of her (Read more…)
Were I a Toronto resident, Richtree Market, a restaurant located in the Eaton Centre, is a business I would refuse to patronize. Its union-busting tactics should appall anyone who cares in the least about workers’ rights.
As reported in The Toronto Star, Reichtree Market began its dark anti-union journey in January, when it terminated all of its employees and closed the business. For Nazrul Islam, their chef for 25 years, it was a devastating blow:
“It was my first job in Canada and it had good benefits,” said the 57-year-old man who came from Bangladesh. “I was king of (Read more…)
Leadership is a word that evokes many associations; strength, vision, determination and resolve are a few of the positive ones. Selfishness, careerism, expediency and cowardice are but a few of many negative associations. In my own working life, I had perhaps three administrators I looked up to, the ones who put the good of education above personal ambition, pettiness and self-centreness. They were people I would have done anything for.
The rest I merely endured because I had no choice.
As I have often written in this blog, I see Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair as a failed leader, one (Read more…)
Despite the misspelling in the caption, I rather like this cartoon, probably for obvious reasons.
As well, you may enjoy these letters from Star readers who have an even less flattering view of Mr. Harper as it pertains to his northern junket, escaping the heat via prorogation, and his ongoing senate ‘problems.’
Recommend this Post
When you are leading a major provincial political party, it is never a good sign when the country’s largest-circulating newpaper makes editorial sport of you:
Memo to Tim Hudak: Please stay as Ontario PC leader: Editorial
You lost an Ontario election in 2011 that you were to supposed to win; failed in two byelections last year; and dropped four out of five this month against a tired and scandal-prone government. But so what? You’re Tim Hudak, head of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, and winning isn’t everything.
Ignore the growing number of Tories worried they’ll never achieve power as long as (Read more…)
Reflecting upon a recent visit to Berlin, Toronto Star columnist Edward Greenspon had this to say:
I was particularly struck by the lessons to be drawn from 1933 and 1934, when the Nazis were not yet at full swagger. Arguably, as the depths of their hatreds quickly surfaced, they could have been tripped up by foreign pressures and a modicum of domestic spine. But elite opinion and statecraft took the passive course of hoping the accidental chancellor would fall to his own excesses. When he didn’t, foreign powers sought to mollify rather than confront him.
He goes on to write:
When it is proclaimed by Chris Spence, the disgraced former Director of the Toronto District School Board who lost his job earlier this year for extensive plagiarism.
In what the Toronto Star describes as a ‘far reaching interview,’ Spence says “there are no excuses for what I did; I didn’t give credit where credit was due.” Yet in the next breath he blames the work of a number of assistants over many years for the unattributed material.
Spence talks about the ‘soul-destroying depression’ that has engulfed him since the scandal broke, but also blames his own (Read more…)
Last evening I wrote a very brief post with a link to pictures depicting the violence that ensued in St. Petersburg, Russia recently at a small gay pride gathering. I opined that one might want to carefully consider whether to spend one’s tourist dollars in a country where hatred and prejudice against gays is widespread. Getting ready for bed, I said to my wife that I suppose if one were to use national behaviour as a travel criterion, while Canada would likely fair reasonably well in attitudes toward the gay community, it would not come out very well in its (Read more…)
Both Richard Nixon and Stephen Harper certainly seem to have been raised with the same bedtime story, and to have taken it at face value.
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Some days, all I have to do is open my newspaper for my blog post. Today is one of those days. Enjoy.
Harper kept public in dark, July 6
When the stuff hits the fan, “plausible deniability” allows politicians to say, “I didn’t know; no-one told me.” This is what our Prime Minister would have us believe about Mike Duffy’s bailout with Nigel Wright’s cheque.
But now we hear from the RCMP that at least three others in his office, besides Wright, knew about it. This contradicts the Prime Minister’s claim that it was all Wright’s doing.
By all (Read more…)
Many in the blogosphere are doing a stellar job covering the climate-change beat, including The Disaffected Lib, who has had several recent thought-provoking posts on the subject. So I really have nothing new or insightful to add, other than to draw your attention to a story covered in today’s Star, written by its environment reporter, Raveena Aulakh.
Writing her story around a new report released by the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization covering the world’s climate from 2001-2010, Aulakh reports the following:
It was the warmest decade for both hemispheres.
There was a rapid decline in Arctic sea (Read more…)
For me, one of the most disappointing aspects of the media coverage of the Alberta floods has been the relative dearth of commentary linking this monumental environmental disaster to climate change. To be sure, some prominent people have made that linkage, but by and large it has been omitted from mainstream coverage of what is probably Canada’s worst flooding in our history. Television networks and major newspapers have seemed quite reticent about putting the two topics in the same story, for reasons I’ll leave you to consider.
Always outside and beyond the mainstream, my newspaper of record, The Toronto Star, (Read more…)
David Lewis, the one-time head of the federal NDP and father of Stephen Lewis, used the phrase corporate welfare bums in his 1972 federal election campaign to describe the various subsidies handed out to the corporate world. It was a withering jab at the world of business, so proud to trumpet the merits of unfettered capitalism while not too proud to take every bit of free money that government has to offer it.
Today, that concept has never been more relevant. Probably the most egregious example of corporate welfare will become apparent in the coming months as the rest (Read more…)
Many of us who blog, tweet, or post political views on Facebook cannot, I suspect, avoid the periodic and unsettling notion that we are simply ‘preaching to the converted’ instead of reaching a larger audience with our perspectives and commentaries. Yet we persevere, both as a catharsis for our own outrage over social and political injustices, especially (at least for me) those induced by the Harper cabal, and in the hope that our words may influence those who don’t necessarily feel as we do. But it is always just a hope.
That is why I take such delight when I (Read more…)
I’ll probably have more to write later, but for now, here are some always reliable insights by Star readers on the ‘apology’ from RBC CEO Gord Nixon:
Royal Bank chief executive makes public apology, April 11
An open letter to RBC President and CEO Gord Nixon:
Don’t outsource jobs at your Canadian operations at the expense of your Canadian employees. That’s the message we RBC customers want you to get and act upon. Your Canadian customers and shareholders are the ones who made your bank rich enough to expand around the world. Show us and your loyal hard-working employees some
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: On Insincere Apologies
I have a busy morning ahead, so for now I take the liberty of reproducing two letters from this morning’s Star that make some excellent points as to how to apportion blame for the outrageous corporate practice of outsourcing Canadian jobs, most apparent in the current RBC imbroglio. As well, if you have the time, check out this column by Heather Mallick, who writes on the same topic.
Royal Bank faces heat over foreign worker plan, April 8
The outsourcing by the Royal Bank of Canada of work done by Canadians to foreigners is the logical outcome of the Conservative
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: More On RBC’s Outsourcing From Star Readers
As noted in a previous post, many of our more prosperous citizens feel no obligation to the country that made their great wealth possible. Rather, they are quite happy to hide it in offshore financial institutions, which, while being ethically questionable, is not illegal. However, many of them are also committing crimes by not declaring profits that accrue to them in those faraway places, and tax evasion is most definitely illegal.
Today’s Star readers weigh in on the issue in their usual insightful manner. I am taking the liberty of reproducing their letters below:
Rich can no longer hide
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: More On Wealthy Tax Cheats
Those of a certain age will remember the much beloved 1970′s sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Set in a television newsroom in Minneapolis, the series chronicled life both inside and outside the studio of its many and varied employees, who ranged from the gruff but ultimately lovable Lou Grant, played by Ed Asner, to the vapid but ultimately harmless news anchor, Ted Baxter, played by the late Ted Knight. The handsome broadcaster was essentially a sendup of all those ‘pretty faces’ one sees on TV who in reality are as sharp as the proverbial bag of hammers.
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Just Another Pretty Face
I wish I could take credit for the title sobriquet describing Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, but that distinction lies with Val Patrick of Hamilton whose letter, along with several others that appear in today’s Star, I am taking the liberty of reproducing below. Enjoy!
Tea Party Tim Hudak has launched into another round of union-bashing. This time he is focused on the thousands who have no right to strike and are required by law to have wage and benefit disputes settled by arbitration. His target this day was the firefighters of Stratford.
Attacking the decision in their
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Some Thoughts on ‘Tea Party Tim’
The host of letters appearing in today’s Star attests to the ongoing public outrage over the Senate porkbarrellers. Although in many ways a mere sideshow to the endemic and systemic problems that face our governance, it nonetheless illustrates that Canadian anger, when it can be aroused, can be formidable.
I am taking the liberty of reproducing a few of the shorter missives below, and I also highly recommend Thomas Walkom’s column, in which he lambastes the almost jesuitical reasoning being propounded by defenders of this Senate malfeascence:
They preach austerity but secretly practice gluttony, stealing from the poorest of
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Ongoing Outrage
Continuing with the theme of yesterday’s post, I am taking the liberty of reproducing some letters that appear in today’s Star on free trade. They nicely puncture the myth, propagated and perpetuated by the right, of its unalloyed benefits to Canada:
Brian Mulroney and the harsh reality of Canada-U.S. free trade: Hepburn, Feb. 21
For many years before and after Brian Mulroney’s free trade agreement I worked as a mechanical engineer with consulting firms. During those years I was involved in the design of a number of food processing plants. At least four of the plants were “grassroots”
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Free Trade – Part 2