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Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Beware of Those Bearing Pledges. They Might Just Have to Honour Them

Men should pledge themselves to nothing; for reflection makes a liar of their resolution.  Sophocles

Pledges are nothing new for politicians.  Some are broad in scope, like FDR’s pledge to a New Deal for Americans, or President Obama’s pledge to not raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year.

In 1994, Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, while mostly a treatise on “family values” laced with anti-government claptrap, helped the GOP win the primaries.  It was a pledge.

What a lot of Canadians are no doubt unaware of, is that Stephen Harper’s Reform Party helped to draft the Contract. (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: Ontario Debate Aftermath #voteon

My initial (biased) impressions of the debate are:

- As someone who is supporting the OLP, I’d have much preferred if Wynne had started stronger, but the first two topics were always going to be the tough ones, and I’m not sure whether I’d have done much better. I did think she recovered after that and “held the line” as it were. I don’t think she was struck with any fatal blow per se. I know on social media some people were commenting on Premier Wynne’s hand movements, but I’ve always found Ms. Wynne to be a demonstrative person; she (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: And They Wonder Why More Women Don’t Get Into Politics

In an interview in 2012, Hilary Clinton was asked “Which designers do you prefer?” Her response was brilliant: “Would you ever ask a man that question?”

Says journalist Mary Elizabeth Williams: That terse exchange over her wardrobe … exemplifies everything that endears Clinton to her supporters – and everything that exasperates so many of us about the current state of womanhood. You can be the secretary of state, even a former presidential contender, and it still comes down to how you look.

Last night during TVO’s coverage of the Ontario Election Debate, panelist Robin Sears criticized the suit that (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: The Ghastly Ontario Debate and the Fatal Weakness of Progressives

It only took about fifteen minutes of watching the Ontario leader's debate before I started to wish that I was watching something else. Anything else.Or just lounging around with my friends on a lovely warm evening, like I suspect most people in the province were doing.Because it was bad eh?It was amateur hour. It was horribly mediocre. It was incredibly boring, in a painful depressing way. It was a REALLY bad movie. Read more »

Montreal Simon: Tim Hudak’s Sacred Oath and the Big Whopper

Well I see that Tim Hudak still will not admit that he can't count, and that his Million Job Plan is nothing but a scam.But he has come up with a new and daring scheme to try to make it look like his platform is Canadian rather than American.Require his cabinet ministers to swear an oath to Ontario. Read more »

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Tim Hudak Wants to be Like Mitch Daniels. No Wonder. He’s Another Mike Harris

Indiana- Louise Cohoon was at home when her 80-year-old mother called in a panic from Terre Haute: The $97 monthly Medicaid payment she relied on to supplement her $600-a-month income had been cut without warning by a private company that had taken over the state’s welfare system. (1)

Hold that thought.

The Globe and Mail has recently revealed that after losing the last election, Tim Hudak visited members of the American far-right to help prepare his current platform.

We already knew that his mathematically challenged Million Jobs plan, was created with the help of Republican Benjamin Zycher, king of offensive (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: The Tea Bagger Tim Hudak and the American Invasion

Damn. What a happy coincidence. Last night I was complaining about how the Liberals and the NDP were failing to go after Tim Hudak for his botched million job plan.And for his connections to American right-wing extremists like the sinister Koch brothers, in whose think tanks that plan was hatched.But today the Liberals came through on both fronts.By releasing a video to let people know that Hudak can't count…Read more »

Montreal Simon: Tim Hudak and the Made in Amerika Monster

Well I'd like to tell you I'm having totally relaxing weekend eh? But sadly I'm not.I mean how can I relax when Stephen Harper just spent three days in my neighbourhood pretending to be Mother Theresa? Or ranting and raving like a maniac.Which naturally enough had me deeply concerned about my own safety…

And the future of the planet. And then just when I thought it was safe to go out, I read this story. Read more »

Politics and its Discontents: Sometimes You Just Have To Hold Your Nose

It would never occur to me to withhold my vote in any election. Yet the one occurring in Ontario on June 12 is particularly striking in its paucity of real choice. I can’t remember a campaign for which I have felt less enthusiasm.

Of course, Tim Hudak’s extremism disqualified him as anyone worth considering long ago. His palpable anti-unionism, although muted in this campaign, would surely resurface in full bloom should he ever become premier. Coupled with his contempt of public service, he is a viable candidate only for those with blunt minds, those who take comfort in stark choices (Read more…)

Trashy's World: Mr. Hudak meets Mr. Dictionary for the very first time!

As I write this, Timmie is Googling the word “economics”… Ms. Wynne is being so unfair using such darned big words!!! I have italicized the phrase noting the flaw that anyone with even a passing understanding of arithmetic would notice immediately. And he thinks he is fit to govern the largest province in Canada???? Not […]

Alberta Diary: Ric McIver Progressive Conservative leadership campaign lurches to life as Hancock Government sends mixed signals

Tory leadership candidate Ric McIver, shown on his extremely uninformative campaign website. Below: Education Minister Jeff Johnson and newly appointed Jobs, Skills, Etc. Minister Kyle Fawcett.

Ho-hum. After days of virtual silence, former infrastructure minister Ric McIver made the first official appearance of his campaign for the leadership of Alberta’s geriatric Tory dynasty at an Edmonton old-folks’ home yesterday morning.

Judging from the poor-quality CBC live-feed of the event, Mr. McIver’s heart wasn’t quite in it. But maybe I’m projecting – people keep telling me not to under-estimate Mr. McIver, so I won’t – but he sure looked like (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Andrew Coyne assures us "Hudak’s bogus plan is no reason not to vote for him"

The media reaction to Hudak’s 8 fold screwup in his Million 75,000 Jobs Plan has been almost as ridiculous as the mistake in the plan itself. I already wrote about what the CBC’s frontpage was doing in the interest of “balance” and “nonpartisanship”. But what about the media op-eds?

The latest from Andrew Coyne at the National Post exemplifies much of what is wrong with politics. We are assured in the title that “Tim Hudak’s bogus Million Jobs plan is no reason not to vote for him”.

The article lists several points why we already knew the Million Jobs Plan (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Media stenography: The CBC can’t bring itself to call Hudak’s plan what it is

If you haven’t heard, Hudak’s so called Million Jobs plan is more like a 75,000 jobs plan, based on an obvious mistake that meant most of his numbers were multiplied by 8. That is the best case scenario, accepting all the numbers selectively pulled from a particular report, accepting the half million odd jobs that would be created anyways regardless of his plan, accepting the rosy predictions for economic growth, and accepting that his deep austerity cuts and layoffs don’t destroy said rosy predictions.

The plan, in short, turned out to be utter nonsense. It was utter nonsense before the (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Timely Reminder of Young Tim Hudak’s Faulty Math

While much of the media seem to give young Tim Hudak a free pass on his ludicrouse claim that he will create one million jobs in Ontario over eight years by slashing both jobs and corporate taxes, Paul Boothe at Maclean’s is offering a more critical perspective:

A very surprising and, for voters, unfortunate thing became apparent last week in the Ontario election campaign. The Progressive Conservatives’ central campaign proposal, the million jobs plan, collapsed when analysts looked closely at the math. Elementary, but critical arithmetic errors in their calculations resulted in the Progressive Conservatives vastly overestimating the number of (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Should Hudak Be Running on an Anti-Union Platform Before he Has His Hands on the Public Purse?

In 1999, Mike Harris ran in Ontario on an anti-union platform, promising to get tough with union bosses.

The backlash was immediate, but Harris wasn’t worried. He had a secret weapon. Deceit.

In the run-up to the election he had pulled out all the stops, beginning with advertising at the expense of the Ontario taxpayer. “… the log for three stations in the 12 months before the campaign, shows the Tories advertised in the months before the campaign at unprecedented levels … The Tories used government advertising as part of their overall re-election campaign .. Government advertising ran at unprecedented levels during (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: Your #voteon narrative for today: not good for opposition parties.

Your one narrative that is going around the media and which Premier Wynne has decided to target extensively today: Tim Hudak’s bungled million jobs plan numbers:

..Based on a backgrounder distributed by the Progressive Conservatives to journalists, but not posted on their website, it is clear that the planners confused person-years of employment with permanent jobs. This confusion led them to vastly overestimate the effect of their proposed job-creating measures. The result was that the half million jobs the Progressive Conservatives were promising to create with their plan (base-case economic growth was expected to provide the other half-million jobs) was (Read more…)

Eh Types: Is Red the New Orange?

The Ontario election has featured a deeply divided, ideologically intrenched split. Two polarized points of view on how our province should run which will determine who runs it. To be clear, I’m only talking about the NDP here. This election began with NDP leader Andrea Horwath announcing her party would not support the Liberal’s budget. […]

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: I’m so Damn Sick of Junk Politics and Hopefully Trudeau is Too

There is a good book by Benjamin DeMott Junk Politics: Trashing of the American Mind

DeMott laments the loss of intelligent debate in the political arena, being replaced, in part, with “touchy, feely personal testimonials” and “feel your pain” forced empathy.

In the current Ontario election campaign we’ve heard party leaders tell us that they worked their way through school, were a grandchild of immigrants and like to run.

Who cares? How is that relevant? Any identification we may have with them should end there. Our concern before we give them control of our money and in some respects, our (Read more…)

Aaron Manton: Ontario Election: Sloppy Progressive Conservative Web Slip-Ups

Between multiple events involving organizations the Ontario Progressive Conservatives oppose funding and an uncomfortably embarrassing botched presser on board a TTC subway, Tim Hudak can barely catch a break this election season. Indeed, as is apparent from ceaseless mishaps and slip-ups, the PC’s are running by far the sloppiest campaign of the major parties. The PC’s have honed their message, but are still struggling with the details of conveying it, running the risk of slowly unravelling all the progress Hudak has made as a party leader.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Jim Stanford looks into the fine print of the Hudak PCs’ assumptions about corporate tax slashing and finds that even their own numbers show that most of the money gifted to corporations would be thrown away (emphasis added): On second reading there are other interesting aspects to the Conference Board simulation of corporate tax reductions.  The one that jumped out at me was their estimate of increased business capital spending after the tax cut (reported in Table 5, and the main driver of economic benefits in the simulation), reported in the fifth (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Contempt Of The Electorate?

Tom, a friend of mine, posted the following on Facebook yesterday:

Kind of tired of all the polemical posturing in the latest election. However, can anyone provide one instance in history — at least, since the advent of the Industrial Revolution — where, corporate or business tax cuts, the basis of trickle down economic policy, have been primarily responsible for an upsurge in hiring or the oxymoronic fictional concept of job creation.

I replied:

Tom, you are asking a question that the media refuse to ask. Considering who owns most of the media in this country, this is perhaps not (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Tavis Smiley discusses the need to speak realistically about the causes and effects of poverty, rather than simply dismissing real human costs as somebody else’s fault and problem. And similarly, Tim Stacey comments on the appalling “empathy gap” – which sees upper-class mouthpieces complaining about the cost of luxuries while claiming that the poor have it easier in trying to scrape together the essentials of life.

- But for the most compelling indication as to the consequences of policies designed to attack rather than assist those in need, CBC reports on a (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: The best case view of the NDP platform

NDP candidate Rosario Marchese cuts through a lot of spin to defend a frank and real representation of the NDP’s platform. In my previous post, I was fairly harsh towards the NDP plan – both as a set of policies and the larger strategies. I wanted to share his post to be able to contrast the best case view of the plan.

The key bit is this: “The NDP platform takes the [Liberal] budget as its baseline, keeping nearly all the same spending commitments, but with additional commitments that are paid for by a corporate tax increase. 

It is, (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Death and Taxes. How Did We Get it So Wrong?

The old adage that nothing is certain but death and taxes, was first used by author Daniel Defoe, but in a different context.

In his The Political History of the Devil (1726), Defoe dismisses the popular notion that the Devil has a cloven foot, or any other characteristic bestowed on him by humans.

He suggests that the Devil himself must laugh at “… the frightful shapes and figures we dress him up in … especially to see how willingly we are first to paint him as black, and make him as ugly as we can, and then start at the spectrum (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Linda McQuaig on Hudak’s imaginary jobs and Canadian inequality

Today, I’m happy to present another extended interview and my guest is Linda McQuaig. Linda is a National Newspaper Award-winning journalist and commentator who has worked for the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star and many other outlets. She is also a best-selling author of numerous books that have focused on and popularized a host of economic issues. Her most recent book, co-written with Neil Brooks, is The Trouble with Billionaires: How the Super-Rich Hijacked the World and How We Can Take It Back.

Just last week, Linda wrote a sharp piece critiquing Tim Hudak’s platform in the upcoming Ontario (Read more…)