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CuriosityCat: Quebec election: The real ballot box question

PQ lobster trap for unwitting Quebecers

Try as they might, the PQ cannot direct the definition of the ballot question in the upcoming provincial election into fields of their choosing. They would rather talk about their Charter of Values, which has given them a good crack at Francophone votes to boost them into a majority government position. Or the bright prospects for a Quebec economy, with debt reduced and business booming. But every time they try, those pesky journalists keep asking about the PQ’s plans to launch a permament campaign as a majority government, disguised as a White Paper process (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Following up on yesterday’s column, David Atkins discusses his own preference for front-end fixes to poverty and inequality: The standard way you’ll hear most progressives address inequality issues is to allow the labor market to run as usual, but levy heavy taxes on the back for redistribution.

No doubt that is the simplest way of doing it. But it also creates some problems, including a perception of unfairness, the potential to simply lower the tax rates when conservatives are put in charge, and capital mobility in which the richest people simply leave (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On inspiring action

The NDP’s first National Day of Action last weekend looks to have received virtually no media attention despite involving numbers of participants comfortably within the range of similarly-timed conventions and conferences which routinely dominate national headlines for weeks at a time. And there’s reason for optimism that the NDP’s plan to hold several more may hint at a new stage in Canadian grassroots democracy.

But I’ll echo Murray Dobbin’s concern that while it’s well worth building a strong participatory structure, there’s reason to question the issue chosen for the first day of action: On February 22, in the aftermath of (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Thomas Mulcair Has A Change Of Heart About Working With Liberals

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has changed his mind about working with the Liberals.

The Opposition leader was adamant he would never join a coalition with the Grits in an interview with The Huffington Post Canada when he was running for the leadership of the New Democrats but now he is open to the idea. Read the full story here

Finally, it has donned on NDP leader Thomas Mulcair that he and his party had better step away from their dreams of forming a federal government.

Many of us on the centre left were left bewildered by such claims when Mulcair and his (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On top priorities

If there’s anything to question in the latest reporting about possible post-election cooperation between the NDP and the Libs, it’s the impression that Thomas Mulcair’s willingness to pursue a coalition to replace the Harper Cons with a better government somehow comes entirely out of the blue. But while the story may not be entirely new, it’s certainly well worth pointing out: The leader of the New Democrats said on Tuesday he is willing to form a coalition in order to take power after the next election, even as the other opposition party leader, Liberal Justin Trudeau, played down the idea. … (Read more…) - Alberta politics: Interesting federal nomination races emerging across Alberta

TweetInteresting nomination races are emerging across Alberta as parties prepare to choose candidates to run in the next federal election, slated for October 2015. Below are some of the most recent updates from ridings across the province, where candidates are seeking nominations to run in two by-elections and the general election. By-elections Macleod Conservative Party […]

CuriosityCat: The Senate: Will Mulcair’s rabbits and doves flee in all directions as Mulroney’s did?

Constitutional twins?

Thomas Mulcair gives the impression that he relishes the views of some of him as a tough guy. In Question Period, faced with a cornered Prime Minister Harper who has to appear (sometimes) and answer questions (even if with non-answers), Mulcair is the diligent, remorseless, forceful, and effective cross examiner. He shows that he has done his homework. He shows that he fears not his wily opponent. And he shows his obvious enjoyment in the detailed, meticulous and vast interchange of the minutia of political give and take and policy discussions. This is a man who revels in (Read more…) - Alberta politics: Five ways to save the Senate of Canada

Tweet Is the Senate of Canada broken? And if so, is it worth saving? Here are the positions held by Canada’s federal political parties: 1) Abolish the Senate The New Democratic Party of Canada, the official opposition since 2011, are staunchly in favour of entirely abolishing the Senate of Canada. “Unelected party hacks have no […]

Politics and its Discontents: I Shop, Therefore I Am

First and foremost, how do you see yourself? Are you a citizen more than a consumer, or vice-versa? Are high-minded principles and vision your defining characteristic, or is how to get the best value for your money what drives you?

The questions that I just posed are, of course, on one level ludicrous, inasmuch as they suggest an either/or answer. Realistically, or at least ideally, we can be both. Yet to examine the rhetoric of our political ‘leaders’, our lives are defined by angst over cable selection, gasoline prices, and cellphone bills, and little else.

One of the books I (Read more…) - Alberta politics: Big names running for federal party nominations in Alberta

TweetThere has been plenty of activity this week as candidates from all political parties put forward their names to run in Canada’s next federal election, scheduled to be held in October 2015. Wooing voters and potential candidates alike, both New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau travelled through Alberta this week. […]

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Robert Reich confirms the seemingly obvious reality that poverty and inequality are in fact major obstacle facing the poor. And Paul Krugman explains why any successful progressive movement in the U.S. will need to discuss inequality and the hoarding of wealth to challenge the entrenched (and expanding) influence of those who already have the most: (J)obs and inequality are closely linked if not identical issues. There’s a pretty good although not ironclad case that soaring inequality helped set the stage for our economic crisis, and that the highly unequal distribution of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On consensus positions

I won’t break down in detail the bevy of reviews of the current position of Tom Mulcair and the federal NDP – including pieces by Bruce Stewart, John Ibbitson and John Geddes. But it’s worth highlighting the areas where I’d see no need to challenge the consensus reflected in those articles – as well as the one where some pushback is absolutely needed.

On the bright side, there’s little reason to see anything but opportunity in the public’s views of both the NDP as a voting option, and Mulcair as a leader. As Geddes in particular notes, the main (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Justin Trudeau’s Culture Code for Canadians: Keeping it, with Fun

Dr. Clotiere Rapaille

Within 18 months of so Canadians will elect a new prime minister and a new government. Of the three contenders for the top job – Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau – which one offers Canadians a leader best in tune with what Canadians really, really want in their leader, deep down in the innermost recesses of their hearts?

Because if you are a leader offering them something else, that does not fit that deepest desire, you will not be the next prime minister. So what do Canadians want in their prime minister? Dr Clotaire Rapaille (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jim Stanford writes about the myth of a labour shortage in Canada: In this context of chronic un- and under-employment, it is jarring that so many employers, business lobbyists, and politicians continue to complain about a supposed shortage of available, willing, and adequately skilled workers. Employers routinely claim they can’t find qualified Canadians to perform even relatively straightforward jobs. They can’t entice Canadians to move from depressed regions, to areas with jobs. They can’t elicit desired levels of effort, discipline and loyalty.

According to this worldview, the biggest challenge facing our labour market (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Fear & Loathing in Calgary Signal Hill: rumble on the right breaks out in Calgary

Your blogger in 2011 with Ron Liepert, Alberta’s former Worst Provincial Cabinet Minister. Below: Calgary West Member of Parliament Rob Anders, Canada’s worst MP, with his friend and supporter, Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Coming soon to the new federal riding of Calgary Signal Hill: fear and loathing on the campaign trail.

Come with me on a savage journey into the heart of Alberta’s never-ending Conservative nightmare: Alberta’s former Worst Provincial Cabinet Minister is about to challenge Canada’s undisputed Worst Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in the redistributed southwest Calgary federal riding!

In the corner (Read more…) - Alberta politics: Ron Liepert versus Rob Anders: the next PC-Wildrose proxy war?

TweetWill former provincial cabinet minister Ron Liepert make the jump into federal politics? With the launch of the website today, rumours began to spread that the former two-term Calgary-West Progressive Conservative MLA turned consultant could challenge ultra-conservative Rob Anders for the Conservative Party nomination in the new Calgary Signal Hill riding. Mr. Liepert’s candidacy […]

CuriosityCat: The Battle for the Soul of Canada’s NDP

Tony Blair wrested control of the British Labour Party away from the hardliners who had successfully run that party into the ditch in election after election, by concentrating on a small core of voters, and offering policies that were outmoded, anti-capitalistic and unappetizing to most British voters. Thomas Mulcair faces the same problem that Blair faced: how to move a sluggish, redestribution-motivated, and out of date socialist party into the mainstream, so as to position it to gain power and implement its policies. Bruce Anderson describes Mulcair’s battle this way in the Globe & Mail: But becoming Official Opposition (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On concern trolling

Shorter Montreal Gazette: We suggest the NDP stay away from Quebec provincial politics in order to preserve its federal success which we tried so hard to squelch.

CuriosityCat: Canada, want a good Deputy Prime Minister? Look for the man with the hardball in his office

Two of these men could be PM in the next 18 months

Thomas Mulcair says he and his NDP have learned from the disasterous provincial NDP election: “It’s not enough to look at the electorate and say, ‘vote for me, I m good.’ You have to say, ‘vote for me, I’m a good person to replace the party that’s there, and the government has to be replaced for the following reasons.’ “And I don’t think they did a good enough job of defining what those reasons were.” Mulcair, who keeps a scuffed-up hardball on a table behind (Read more…)

Calgary Grit: 2013: Year in Review

January: SunTV applies for corporate welfare, arguing that they cannot survive unless the government forces people to watch them.

Later this year, they would give Rob and Doug Ford their own show…before cancelling it faster than Lucky 7.

Whoever could have guessed this fine young man would find himself at the centre of so much controversy?

February: Patrick Brazeau is knocked out of the Tory caucus. While the Senate has yet to change rules around travel expenses, they were quick to pass a “no pictures of senators in thongs” bill.

March: In what was really the only (Read more…) - Alberta politics: What a year 2014 has been in Alberta politics!

Tweet This year was a tumultuous time in Alberta politics. What does 2015 have in store for Albertans? December 20, 2014 Story by: Dirk Pranter, Edmonton Journal-Sun Building the next Alberta With the new year just weeks away, speculation is rampant Albertans could go to the polls early next year, less than four years after the last provincial […]

Calgary Grit: The Year in Photos

You know what they say: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have

Those left-wing media elites at the Toronto Sun have always had it in for Ford.

Tim Hortons provides the ultimate pick-me-up for a normally subdued Rob Ford

Harper deals with the Senate scandal.

Even at 79, he still looks better than Stockwell Day in a wetsuit

$20 says they’re telling Paul Martin jokes

Mulcair’s “pro-lettuce” stance is the kind of populist policy sure to excite voters

While Harper’s help with flood relief was appreciated, I can’t help but think the owners of this flood (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: The Year in Photos

Calgary Grit: Quotes of the Year

Scroll to the bottom to vote on your favourite quote…

“I am Conservative. I am a traditionalist. I wish I left Cabinet in the traditional way – with a sex scandal!” -Stephen Fletcher, after being removed from Cabinet

“When I stand back and look at the cast of candidates, even I would pick me. I have to be plain about that.” -Sandra Pupatello

“You know, there’s a level of of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jim Stanford counters the myth of labour shortages by pointing out Canada’s significant – and growing – number of potential workers who lack a job. And Janet French reports on how PCS’ job cuts have affected both the workers who were laid off, and the communities who depend on their spending to support local economies.

- CPJ’s infographic makes the case for a guaranteed livable income in Canada:

- CBC reports on the misleading statistics underlying claims that there’s no need to discuss rail safety in Canada – featuring cases of runaway trains (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Linda McQuaig’s cognitive dissonance on negative campaigning

The recent byelection in Toronto center – won handily by the Liberals’ Chrystia Freeland in a race against the NDP’s Linda McQuaig – ruffled quite a bit of feathers. Justin Trudeau’s victory speech in particular gained a lot of attention, in part because of the controversy it drummed up of quoting Layton’s final letter while accusing the NDP of running a negative campaign.

Linda McQuaig has now issued a post election op-ed, addressing the charge of the alleged NDP negative campaign head on: As the NDP candidate who ran against Freeland, I disagree. My campaign was heavily focused on issues, (Read more…)