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…)
Rail tanker cars hang precariously over the Bow River in Calgary before their successful removal from a flood-damaged railway bridge last month. (Toronto Star photo.) Below: Humourist Leo Rosten, who usefully defined chutzpah for English speakers in only 26 words.
Surely the pipeline advocates who accused New Democratic Party Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair of being an “opportunist” for talking about railway safety in the aftermath of the Lac-Mégantic catastrophe measure up to author Leo Rosten’s definition of chutzpah.
The late Mr. Rosten, writing in the Joy of Yiddish, famously defined chutzpah as “that quality enshrined in (Read more…)
The Parliamentary trolley, on its way back from the Senate, stops in front of the Prime Minister’s Office in the Langevin Block. The dog at left was never owned by Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King, who was well known in his day as a labour expert, although it clearly does not approve of Bill C-377. Expect the government-sponsored private member’s bill to be back on track soon enough. Below: B.C. MP Russ Hiebert, the bill’s creator and sponsor, and Sen. Hugh Segal, for the moment its nemesis.
There has always been a troubling stream of disingenuousness that runs (Read more…)
For a brief history of Stampede fashion, you can read the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 round-ups – or last year’s “100 Years of Bad Photo-Ops“
Flood waters cannot stop the Stampede and flood waters cannot stop politicians from the annual ritual of self humiliation known as the cowboy hat photo-op. Indeed, if there’s one photo op even more irresistible than the Stampede, it’s a post-disaster zone tour.
The Flood Aftermath
Stephen Harper was the first on the scene, playing dress-up in a Canadian Forces flight jacket, complete with pilot wings. Harper (Read more…)
Dr. Dawg has rightly pointed out the Cons’ attempt to invent a story based on Tom Mulcair’s audiacity in driving to his own parking spot. (Though we can be assured that members of the limo-propelled Con cabinet will never face precisely that same scenario.)
But if there is a story worth noting, I’d see it in comparing Mulcair’s response to a simple misunderstanding to the way far worse stories have been handled by his political counterparts.
Here’s Mulcair’s reaction to the incident: Thursday morning, however, a new guard was on duty at the checkpoint and she didn’t recognize Mulcair.
People who live in glass houses next door to used car lots shouldn’t … Below: Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente, the Globe’s disclaimer.
S’cuse me! We ex-journalists are permitted to do whatever we like! And if Prime Minister Thomas Mulcair wants to appoint me to the Senate, I’m taking the job!
The same thing goes for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if he makes the offer, if you must know.
But then, I haven’t worked as a journalist in this century and, with a little luck and the intervention of a kindly and progressive prime minister, I’ll never have to (Read more…)
Here, on how Tom Mulcair’s effective cross-examination of Stephen Harper serves as only one step toward the government we should want – i.e., one thoughtful and responsible enough to actually withstand answering real questions.
For further reading…
- Plenty of other commentators are rightly pointing out Harper’s predictable retreat into obfuscation and deflection, including Chantal Hebert, John Ivison and Dan Lett.
- Andrew Coyne traces both the entire Clusterduff and the Cons’ increasingly laughable talking points to an obsession with expediency over truth: People don’t make ethical choices in isolation. They take their cues from those (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Mark Gongloff reaches the unsurprising conclusion that a tax system warped to favour the interests of the wealthy leads to greater inequality (but not the promised growth): Slashing top tax rates has had none of the positive effects on economic growth that the supply-side economists promised us, the NBER paper points out. Instead, it has just worsened income inequality.
There are other factors driving income disparity, including a rise in investment income (think stock dividends) compared to earned income (think wages). The recently soaring stock market, helped along by the Federal Reserve, is (Read more…)
Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper fled to South America to avoid the unraveling Senate expenses scandal. On Monday, he skipped Question Period in the House of Commons. He did show up in the House on Tuesday and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair roasted him. Prosecutor style. Short, precise questions.
The post NDP Leader Tom Mulcair Grills PM Harper On Senate Expenses Scandal (VIDEO) appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
PM Stephen Harper
Today’s question period in the House of Commons finally showed onlookers what real question periods are for. The prime minister was appearing for the first time since the Senator Duffy loan was made by his chief of staff. And the opposition leaders asked pointed, clear questions. Mulcair hammeredthe PM: The Prime Minister was roasted like a rotisserie chicken over the Senate scandal during Question Period Tuesday.
Thomas Mulcair did a good job of looking exasperated at Mr. Harper’s vague responses: “We are asking very simple, straightforward questions and the Prime Minister is not answering them. That (Read more…)
Well, well, well, it’s been quite a week or two. Rob Ford supposedly smoking crack on video. Doug Ford’s past as a supposed hash dealer exposed – along with the drug related charges and violence connected with his other siblings. This follows and endless string of scandals, foibles and general foolishness on the part of the mayor of Toronto. What fun!
There has been lots of handwringing about
Here, featuring my suggestion to minimize the damage done by the Senate even if constitutional change isn’t on the table.
The column was intended largely to respond to the camp whose every reaction to Senate issues is to declare there’s nothing we can do but put up with the status quo.
But there may well be more of a push for abolition than I’d anticipated: Tom Mulcair and the NDP are leading the charge, Democracy Watch is also launching a campaign, and Pat Atkinson makes the case in the Star-Phoenix. And Antonia Maioni points out how the (Read more…)
The Mulcair envelope issues
Ottawa is aswirl with rumours about breaches of ethical rules by our esteemed senators, and a subcurrent is now starting, egged on by a desperate Conservative Party that wishes to change the channel and/or deflect criticism. Three interesting articles by journalists deal with the possible cash bribe that was offered to Thomas Mulcair, the rookie member of the Quebec legislature, some 17 years ago, by a former Laval mayor now charged with corruption (including gangsterism). Apart from the fact that the apparently conflicting statements by Thomas Mulcair will be used in thousands of TV attack ads (Read more…)
Just to set the mood, it’s Left-Leaning B.C. Premiers Day on Alberta Diary. Here’s your blogger with some former NDP premiers from that province – Dave Barrett above, Mike Harcourt and Ujjal Dosanjh below.
No one can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory quite like the New Democrats in my native British Columbia.
Still, while Tuesday’s upset B.C. election victory by Premier Christy Clark and her un-liberal Liberals is inevitably going to be, well, upsetting to a lot of New Democrats, it is not really bad news for Thomas Mulcair and the federal NDP.
This, we (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Armine Yalnizyan makes the case as to why wealth equates to far too much power in Canada: The problem is not that the wealthy are too powerful. The problem is that, with rare exception, as their power has increased, it has not been matched by an increase in their sense of responsibility. On the contrary, the wealthy have been using their power for decades to reduce their responsibilities to anyone but themselves.
The litany, en bref: Taxes are too high. Governments are too big. There are too many rules. Workers feel way too (Read more…)
Stephen Harper has made a huge mistake.
I’m not sure if Tom Mulcair has what it takes to be PM, but he’d make a fine Mr. Manager:
NDP leader Tom Mulcair was wondering where $3.1 billion in unaccounted anti-terrorism spending went when he uttered this gem:
“So the question is, is the money just in the wrong filing cabinet, is it hidden in the minister’s gazebo, is the money in the banana stand?”
I haven’t commented yet on the story surrounding Tom Mulcair’s request for basic investigation into back-channel information between the Trudeau government and the Supreme Court of Canada – which seems best classified as a minor but reasonable request which has been blown out of proportion.
But I’ll take a moment to point out the jaw-dropping response from the Libs, who are apparently demanding government secrecy far beyond that ever publicly defended by even the Harper Cons: This motion calls for the federal government to release archived documents related to the constitutional negotiations which led to the patriation of the Constitution (Read more…)
By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: In the House of Commons Monday, Jason Kenney denied that the Harper Conservatives implemented the 15% wage rule, the cornerstone of the scandal-ridden federal Temporary Foreign Work…
The post Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Jason Kenney’s 15% Rule Selective Amnesia appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
Back in 2011 when he was deputy-leader of the NDP, Thomas Mulcair questioned whether or not the United States government had photographs of Osama bin Laden’s body after the famous Seal Team 6 raid that lead to his death. The National Posted quoted Mulcair saying “He also hinted there may be “more going on,” behind the scenes of his assassination than the U.S. is making known.”
This week, the Canadian Press reported that NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is now accusing the Supreme Court of Canada of engaging in a massive cover up. According to CP “the Supreme Court (Read more…)
I’ve already pointed out the NDP’s opportunity to differentiate itself from the Libs as a truly progressive party. And the Libs’ corporatist votes against democratic decision-making and basic civil liberties will certainly help that cause.
But if it’s possible to draw a clear distinction between Mulcair and Trudeau on basic knowledge of current events, then so much the better: Mulcair told reporters after question period that the ruling did affirm that Page “had the right to demand those documents” (ie. the information from departments) in the first place.
He was referring to paragraph five of the ruling, which stated (Read more…) “neither on the basis of parliamentary privilege nor on the principles of statutory interpretation has Parliament reserved the right for itself to answer Mr. Page’s questions. That task falls upon this court.”
Mulcair told reporters that this effectively destroyed the Senate’s attempt to argue that the PBO’s . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On distinctions
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Daniel Cohn theorizes that the only real problem with RBC’s outsourcing of Canadian jobs is that they called attention to the government policies which facilitated that outcome. But for those of us who think there’s actually a problem with an economy designed around minimizing wages and employment, Susan McIsaac and Matthew Mendelsohn offer some suggestions to turn the tide. And Tavia Grant points out that the Cons’ preference for cheap, disposable foreign labour might help employers, but certainly doesn’t produce positive results for Canada as a whole.
- In the same vein, Andrew (Read more…) discusses how the last great set of attacks on workers in the name of economic efficiency proved an utter failure in producing any policy outcome other than increased inequality: Thatcherism did not provide an enduring solution to the problem of how to attain stable growth. Business profitability was . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links