Who would’ve thought we’d find a suitable reference to Riders Nation and Ethical Cannabis in one photograph? But courtesy the Calgary Sun, there it is! Note the hat, bottom right. Just saying. Below: Some guy standing in front of Rob Ford’s office.
Those of us who don’t regularly wear melons on our heads or particularly care about Canadian football are waiting impatiently for the results of today’s federal byelections so that we can spin them in ways that reinforce our personal political preferences.
For example, if you’re a conservative of any stripe, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.
- Sean McElwee discusses the crucial distinction between wealth and merit – while recognizing which actually serves to improve the condition of those around a particular individual: Because the wealthy are no longer willing to use their wealth for good, they have decided to glorify the wealth itself as good, thus, Harry Bingswanger writes in Forbes, Imagine the effect on our culture, particularly on the young, if the kind of fame and adulation bathing Lady Gaga attached to the more notable achievements of say, Warren Buffett. Or if the moral praise showered on (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Glen Pearson theorizes that inequality will be the defining theme of the current political era. Tavia Grant and Janet McFarland document the extreme (and continually-increasing) disparity between the top 1% and the rest of the world. And Eduardo Porter writes that education can only go so far in creating fair opportunities for everybody in the face of political and economic structures designed to leave most people behind.
- David MacDonald highlights the fact that the Cons’ needless program cuts and their brand-new fire sale of public assets both reflect utter mismanagement rather (Read more…)
Justin Trudeau at left, with some boring white guy in a tie that’s too wide. Don’t ever underrate the power of pixie dust! Below: The same boring guy with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and with well-known cage fighter Patrick Brazeau. Weirdly, everyone in these pictures appears exactly as illustrated!
Repeat after me: Rookie mistakes. Rookie mistakes. Rookie mistakes…
Do you think if we say it enough times, it’ll be true?
Plus, don’t forget Ladies’ Night, Red China and marijuana… I mean, like, really, is this a meme yet?
The entire Canadian punditocracy now seems to have jumped on the Justin-Trudeau-is-a-totally-flaky-rookie (Read more…)
Thomas Mulcair in Question Period
The leader of the NDP has done Canadians, and Canadian democracy, a service through his dogged, skillful, meticulous and highly professional questions posed to the Prime Minister during Question Period. Mulcair has clearly spent a great deal of time researching the facts of the Sentate expenses scandal, reviewing previous statements by the PM and other government spokespersons, and zeroing in on the essence of the manner. Of late, he has made a point of highlighting the evasions of the Prime Minister to questions, clearly spelling out exactly when the PM has refused to answer very (Read more…)
With much more of a whimper than a bang, Harper’s three ‘disgraced’ Senators have been suspended from the Senate. No doubt, Conservative insiders are patting each other on the back and sitting back and assuming that this headache is finally about the pass.
But is it?
Recent polling data has shown that the government, and particularly the Prime Minister, have taken a hit in popularity. Harper’s own personal credibility is in tatters, as many Canadians have stated that they do not believe Harper’s chain of events. Perhaps the biggest success story here is what Mike Duffy accomplished when he returned (Read more…)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper just one year ago. Actual Canadian prime ministers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Senator Mike Duffy and former Harper cabinet member Jim Prentice.
Last Halloween, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper went trick ’n’ treating, he was monarch of all he surveyed.
This year, he’s a ghost.
Oh, Mr. Harper is still corporeal enough. He passed through security Wednesday on his way to Calgary, I suppose, although one imagines prime ministers don’t have to take off their shoes and shuffle along in their stockings, or answer to why they failed to stow their toothpaste is (Read more…)
Ipsos Reid just released new federal poll numbers. Their latest poll was conducted between Oct. 25 and 28, 2013. Their previous poll covered Oct. 16 to 20, 2013.
Here is a comparison between their 2 polls
Oct. 20 Oct. 28 NDP 27% 31% up 4% Lib 33% 31% down 2% Con 31% 30% down 1% Grn 2% 2% Blc 6% 6%
With the Senate scandal being front and centre in the news for the past couple of weeks, and with the performance of Thomas Mulcair hammering away at Harper in Question Period, I think we can see Canadians (Read more…)
TweetThe ghosts of Senate reform will haunt Prime Minister Stephen Harper as his party establishment gathers in Calgary on Halloween to discuss and debate party policy. After more than seven years in office, Mr. Harper’s Conservatives have accomplished little on the issue of reforming the Canadian Senate. Who would have thought that a Senate scandal […]
Assorted content to end your week.
- Tom Bergin reports on a predictable corporate attack on the very idea of government sovereignty – as tax evaders are insisting that their own demand for “certainty” in the availability of tax havens should trump the ability of tax authorities to assess where revenue should be taxed: The companies said the existing practice of recognizing inter-company transactions gave business greater certainty and encouraged trade by helping ensure the same profits were not taxed more than once.
Business groups were also cool on a proposal tabled in June by the Group of Eight (G8) (Read more…)
Michael Cooper, left, celebrates after a fashion the May 2, 2011, federal election victory of Edmonton-St. Albert MP Brent Rathgeber, as Mr. Rathgeber celebrates it in a more traditional and energetic way. (St. Albert Gazette photo.) Below: Mr. Cooper’s official campaign website photo; Mr. Rathgeber not long after his break with the Conservative caucus.
St. Albert, Alberta
When you hear the term “Conservative activist,” watch out! You might even want to run screaming from the room.
So it was not exactly reassuring to learn Wednesday that Michael Cooper, “lawyer and Conservative activist,” has announced his intention to seek the (Read more…)
We live in interesting, but not unprecedented political times. Darth Harper, the Controller-in-Chief, has done an admiral job of keeping things quiet, but the fruits of his autocratic nature are ripening quickly. The Senate expenditure scandal exposed that he vetted his appointments about as vigorously as John McCain’s campaign committee did when looking at Sarah […]
Summer vacation lasted a bit longer for MPs than for the rest of us. If you’re just tuning back in now as our parliamentarians head back to the House tomorrow, here’s what you may have missed.
For Justin, this was very much the summer of love. He ditched the suit for a pair of cargo shorts, got his wife pregnant, went on tour, and spent a lot of time talking about pot.
Even though Liberal Party members voted to legalize marijuana at their last convention, I don’t think anyone expected much more than a decriminalization promise (Read more…)
Despite not hailing from Nova Scotia, I suppose its time that we sat down and talked about what happened in the province. Though, this post will only touch on the topic; rather, we’re going to focus on something a bit grander that comes out of that discussion.
Now, as a non-resident, I can only form opinion and sift some aspect of truth from what resources I have at hand. There have been numerous explanations as to what happened in Nova Scotia that led to a collapse of the NDP, and a rejection of the party at the polls in an (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.
- Benjamin Radcliff discusses the proven connection between progressive policies and a higher quality of life across all levels of income: Happier people live in countries with a generous social safety net, or, more generally, countries whose governments “tax and spend” at higher rates, reflecting the greater range of services and protections offered by the state. (These findings come from analysis of data from the World Values Surveys for the 21 Western industrial democracies from 1981 to 2007 for my book “The Political Economy of Human Happiness.” Similar findings have been reported in (Read more…)
Three stewards a-waiting …
The latest IPSOS-Reid poll shows that the Harper new Tories maintain their lead amongst voters when it comes to the critical issue of who is the best choice to manage the country’s economy. Voters believe that Harper and his Conservatives are the best by a whopping margin:
But the Conservatives continue to lead the way on economic issues. Among voters who said the economy is the most important issue, 45 per cent believe the Conservatives are the best economic policy managers, followed by 28 per cent who chose the Liberals and 14 per cent who chose the (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Management of Economy is Achilles Heel of Liberals and Dippers
It’s for the best that the idle speculation and gossip about a single point of policy difference between Thomas Mulcair and Linda McQuaig have been put to rest. But let’s make clear just how pernicious the “ZOMG!!! Candidate X occasionally thinks for herself!!! Clearly she must be muzzled!!!” line of political analysis actually is.
Simply put, there’s absolutely no contradiction between:- a party leader promising that a given policy that will form part of the party’s platform; and- a candidate holding the personal opinion that a particular different policy would produce superior outcomes, while nonetheless supporting the (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Jordon Cooper writes about the dangers of growing income inequality in Saskatchewan and around the world: Income inequality is driven largely by market forces. Technology has changed the job market, and globalization has moved markets overseas or driven down wages.
It’s also driven by actions of governments. They have tried to weaken organized labour for decades, which hurts the workers unions represent. Other institutional factors include stagnating minimum wage rates that hurt those at the bottom, while decreasing marginal tax rates are credited for the increases of top wage earners.
The problems are (Read more…)
Consider for a moment two facts.
One, the NDP is sinking in the polls, with the tide that started ebbing with Layton’s passing still receding from the distant shoreline of possible government. And two, the old saying that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing, hoping for a different result. With Trudeau Junior at the helm of the Liberal Party of Canada, the polls have shown a slight decrease in support for Stephen Harper’s new Tories, a big uptick in Liberal fortunes, and a steady decline in those favouring the Dippers. That’s the background. And (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Lana Payne discusses Unifor’s goals in the wake of its founding convention: The hope is that, collectively, working people can push back in new and profound ways against what has been a decades-long, anti-worker agenda perpetuated by both governments and corporations.
But just as importantly, the hope is that we can build social progress again for all Canadians. That progress has been virtually halted, stymied by the incredible growth and concentration in corporate power here at home and around the world and the subservience of governments to that power.
Corporations have been emboldened (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Mariana Mazzucato points out that important inventions tend to come from public financing aimed at the greater good – while noting that we should also look to ensure greater public returns on our collective investments: Images of tech entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are continually thrown at us by politicians, economists, and the media. The message is that innovation is best left in the hands of these individuals and the wider private sector, and that the state—bureaucratic and sluggish—should keep out. A telling 2012 article in the Economist claimed (Read more…)
I’ll readily agree with the Star’s editorial board that we should expect our lawmakers to have some respect for the law. But while David Climenhaga draws one contrast between Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper, I’ll point out what looks to be a more apt comparison – one which also involves sheer personal indulgence rather than any statement of principle: Prime Minister Stephen Harper went ATVing today…on the runway at Tuktoyaktuk.
He took off, and left his RCMP detail in the dust. They then chased him. Two officers on ATVs, and some more in pickup trucks.
Harper roared up and (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.
- Dan Leger points to the Lac-Mégantic rail explosion as an all-too-vivid example of the intersection of privatized profits and socialized risks: Are we tough enough on corporations that destroy, burn and kill? What’s happening at Lac-Mégantic suggests we aren’t. There’s a scramble on now to stop the company responsible for Canada’s worst rail disaster from walking away with little more than an aching bank account.
The infamous Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway filed for bankruptcy protection last week in Canada and the U.S. It’s a clear attempt to fade into the background (Read more…)
Nick Falvo offers one response to Tom Mulcair’s latest comments on taxes. And I certainly won’t argue with the position that it’s utterly bizarre to see the leader of a progressive party declare that he’s perfectly happy with the restrictive revenue streams (and associated lack of social programs) set up by an anti-tax zealot.
But I’ll point out that even if Mulcair himself doesn’t share the view that there’s reason to look for more revenue than the federal government currently takes in, he should still revisit the “never” language he’s using at the moment. And I’ll turn to no (Read more…)