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Alberta Diary: Big by-election in Fort McMurray? Never mind that! As goes Macleod, so goes Alberta…

Fort McMurray, before the Bitumen Boom. Things have changed. Below: Conservative Fort McMurray-Athabasca candidate David Yurdiga, Liberal candidate Kyle Harrietha, NDP candidate Lori McDaniel, former Conservative MP Brian Jean.

If the good people of Fort McMurray climb out of bed this morning and decide to elect a Liberal to represent them in Parliament, there will be shock, dismay and consternation throughout Alberta.

But, fear not my fellow Albertans, even in the unlikely event this happens, it almost certainly won’t mean whatever you are told it means.

Yes, today is the day after the weekend and the day before Canada Day (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links – #VoteOn Edition

This and that for your Thursday (and Ontario election day) reading…

- Joseph Heath makes the case against Tim Hudak’s PCs in particular, and the shift from public to private goods in general: (I)t’s fairly clear what the PCs are planning. They are proposing a general shift in Ontario away from consumption of public goods towards increased consumption of private goods. For example, they aren’t making any noises about privatizing things, shifting production out of the public sector into the private, but where the general profile of consumption would be the same. They are proposing that we actually produce and (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Tim Hudak, the GOP and Voter Suppression

I posted recently about an Ontario conservative scheme to suppress the vote in the upcoming provincial election.

A Party calling themselves None of the Above could be traced back to Mike Harris.

Recently it was also discovered that several Ontario households received letters from the PC Party with incorrect information, that would have sent them to the wrong polling stations.

We also learn of yet another group Decline the Vote, urging young people not to get involved in the election.  Again, it is run by conservative strategists.  From Reddit: After seeing so much buzz around this “initiative”, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Timothy Shenk discusses Thomas Piketty’s contribution to a critique of unfettered capitalism and gratuitous inequality: Seen from Piketty’s vantage point, thousands of feet above the rubble, the fragility of this moment becomes clear. Economic growth was a recent invention, major reductions to income inequality more recent still. Yet the aftermath of World War II was filled with prophets forecasting this union into eternity. Kuznets offered the most sophisticated expression of this cheerful projection. Extrapolating from the history of the United States between 1913 and 1948, he concluded that economic growth automatically reduced (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On vested interests

Shorter Linda Frum: As one of Stephen Harper’s hand-picked counterweights to the troublesome democratic rabble, I refuse to acknowledge any difference between “encouraging voter turnout” and “abetting electoral fraud”. The less people with a voice in how this country is run, the better.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the Cons’ explanations for the Unfair Elections Act reflect a disturbing attempt to rule out any voter motivation other than partisan interests – while excusing future Robocon-style deceit by placing all responsibility for accurate information on Elections Canada alone.

For further reading…- Alison documents the Con MPs who have already been caught fabricating stories to excuse vote suppression.And James Di Fiore apologizes for a single experiment which is now being pointed to ad nauseum as the basis for preventing hundreds of thousands of Canadians from voting.- Pierre Poilievre’s talking points are here (among (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Doreen Massey observes that our political vocabulary has largely been hijacked by corporatist language: At a recent art exhibition I engaged in an interesting conversation with one of the young people employed by the gallery. As she turned to walk off I saw she had on the back of her T-shirt “customer liaison”. I felt flat. Our whole conversation seemed somehow reduced, my experience of it belittled into one of commercial transaction. My relation to the gallery and to this engaging person had become one of instrumental market exchange.

The message underlying this (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Mike Konczal discusses the distribution of U.S. tax breaks and incentives, and finds that measures normally presented as offering breaks for everybody in fact serve mostly as giveaways to the wealthy: (T)he government is very responsive to the interests of the top 20 to 40 percent of Americans, and so far it has been very difficult to approach scaling back the tax expenditures in deductions and exclusions. Again, since these benefits scale with income, these tax expenditures disproportionately benefit those up the income scale.  Obama’s signature proposal for raising taxes right (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Andrew Coyne notes that the Robocon decision finding electoral fraud using the Cons’ voter database fell short of naming names – but recognizes that there’s still a glaring need for further investigation, a sentiment echoed by the Globe and Mail. Tim Harper explains that Stephen Harper hasn’t earned the benefit of any doubt about his party’s role in facilitating and covering up the fraud, while Thomas Walkom sees Robocon as entirely consistent with the Cons’ usual operations: (O)rganized, computerized fraud takes matters to an entirely new level of illegality.

Whoever was using the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- The Cons’ latest line of talking-point addiction isn’t passing without some substantial comment from Canada’s political press. Today, Jeffrey Simpson lambastes Stephen Harper and his party for trying to wipe out their own history and promises, while Dan Gardner considers the Cons to be a Monty Python skit in progress (minus the humour of course). And Aaron Wherry continues to document the farce. 

- Meanwhile, Susan Delacourt suggests that we should expect any government to leave out democracy in no worse condition than when it took power – and I’ll readily agree

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Dr. Dawg responds to Andrew Coyne’s suggestion about cracking down on advocacy by charities with an entirely reasonable suggestion as to how to allocate our resources: Given that charities do essential work that the government does not fund—feeding and clothing the poor, defending the environment, offering training to new immigrants, etc., etc.—let the government take over those functions directly rather than indirectly, as arguably it should.

Advocacy, which as already noted enhances the democratic process, could be moved onto the national stage by subsidizing representative advisory groups, such as the recently-disbanded

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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- There’s still plenty more emerging on the Robocon election fraud scandal. The reporting combinations of McGregor/Maher and Chase/Leblanc/Mills have both discussed Elections Canada’s latest court filing showing that Con campaign officials openly discussed implementing U.S.-style vote suppression efforts – including exactly the forms of fraud that materialized last year. Meanwhile, Sixth Estate wonders just how far the rot spread within the Cons’ organization, while Alison has been providing a history lesson on the party’s efforts to manipulate voters.

- And speaking of history lessons, Amy MacPherson serves up a dose of

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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Michael Harris sums up the first year of a Harper majority by pointing out the overwhelming need for change from the government we’re stuck with now: The curtain has been well and truly whipped away from the PM’s self-promoting deceptions and he is revealed for what he is: a power-tripper on a mission to give Canada an extreme makeover that only the super-rich and the semi-comatose could endorse. And he is doing it with virtually no debate, creating something of a new phenomenon in Canadian politics; sole-source public policy. …This is not “strong,

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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- In an excerpt from the Occupy Handbook, Paul Krugman and Robin Wells discuss how a right-wing obsession with exacerbating inequality led to the U.S.’ disastrous response to the 2008 crash: How did America become a nation that could not rise to the biggest economic challenge in three generations, a nation in which scorched-earth politics and politicized economics created policy paralysis?

We suggest it was the inequality that did it. Soaring inequality is at the root of our polarized politics, which made us unable to act together in the face of crisis.

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Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Susan Delacourt notes that while the NDP’s leadership convention points out some of the risks of online voting, the real problem lies in the people working to block democracy through any available means: While those who use computers have become accustomed to the system-fail message about files being corrupted, we’re talking here about a different type of corruption.

The cyberattack on the NDP was apparently deliberate and orchestrated. As well, it’s looking like the ever-widening robo-calls investigation will reveal something a little larger than mere, one-off mischief.

The worry is that it isn’t

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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- Karl Nerenberg reported on Marc Mayrand’s Robocon testimony, featuring some much-needed discussion of what can be done to improve the Canada Elections Act to ensure fair elections rather than creating an incentive for electoral fraud: Mayrand fretted to the Committee that there are too many grey areas in the current legislation, and he promised to propose changes to the electoral law before the next election.…Committee members repeatedly asked Mayrand about the threshold for nullifying the results of an election, and he had to repeat more than once that Elections Canada does not

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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Fred Wilson weighs in on Thomas Mulcair’s mandate as the NDP’s new leader: (M)any progressives with no interest whatsoever in a “Blairist” agenda had found their way to the Mulcair camp. They supported Mulcair for two reasons — to maintain the party’s base in Quebec, and to immediately step up to the role of Opposition Leader in Parliament and Prime Minister-in-Waiting.

Of course, there are also some in the party and labour who see the Mulcair win as an opportunity to realize a long-held goal of a “big tent” centrist party. But this

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to start your week…

- Remember the Cons’ talking point that we should assume all of the Robocon calls which purported to come from Lib candidates could safely be said to have come from that source? Because Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher just shot a massive hole in the claim, finding that the same Pierre Poutine responsible for sending voters to fraudulent poll locations also recorded a call impersonating the Lib campaign.

- Bruce Campbell suggests five tests for the federal budget – though the smart money is on the Cons paying lip service to one and actively

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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.

- On the Robocon front, Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher’s latest good work investigating the Cons’ electoral fraud got Maher expelled from the Manning Centre’s hive-mind-building exercise. And the robocalling firms themselves are being similarly aggressive in trying to shut down any discussion of their role – perhaps in large part due to the obscene amounts of money they’ve brought in from their Con benefactors. Lawrence Martin wonders what Stephen Harper knew about Robocon as it was set up and implemented. And the Guelph Mercury called out the Cons for their nonsensical spin, while

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Trashy's World: A course on…

… how to commit fraud? Interesting piece in the Vancouver Observer that is making the rounds on Facebook describing a course given through the conservative think-tank Manning Institute. Again, no smoking gun and I’m not drawing any conclusions about the CPC involvement, but give it a read and come to your own conclusions. Trashy, Ottawa, [...]

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Frank Graves notes that for all the spin from the Cons and their enablers about public acquescience in program slashing, there’s actually another issue taking centre stage among Canadian voters: (I)f people prefer spending cuts to increased taxes and debt, they prefer “investment” in health, education and jobs by an even larger margin. At 63 per cent, that constitutes an overwhelming majority of Canadians and that number is up modestly but significantly since the 2010 budget. The emphasis on social investment is dramatically higher among women, younger Canadians, university graduates, and among non-Conservative

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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your pre-debate reading.

- Dave connects a few more dots as to who’s behind Robocon. Guy Giorno helpfully acknowledges that the Cons were supposed to have business-style processes to avoid the exact kind of electoral fraud that’s been discovered across Canada – signalling both that they’re indeed on the hook for any illegality in their midst, and that they seem to have followed the familiar corporate pattern of prioritizing immediate profit over mere trifles such as legality or human decency. Susan Riley wonders whether Robocon will have much staying power, but I tend to think Warren Kinsella

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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- The blogosphere is now out in force in chasing down new angles on Robocon. Dave pointed out that the misleading calls look to be linked to a “target seat management unit” set up by the Cons’ central brain trust; Saskboy connected that same unit to familiar Harper apparatchik Ryan Sparrow; Sixth Estate both highlighted how the Cons’ desperation has pushed them into several easily-disproved lines of spin and caught a Con donor trying to change the subject and sully the good name of Elections Canada all at once; and Alison neatly tied all

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Harper and the electoral fraud scandal | #cdnpoli

You know, I really want to believe this thing will grow uglier and get out of control. Massive, systematic and coordinated misinformation, all with the express purpose of disenfranchising voters?

If this doesn’t throw the results of last May’s federal election into doubt, then God knows what will. Alison’s been keeping track of the numbers. A majority without legitimacy? It’s a sweet thought. Boris, Simon and the Dawg have been all over it too.

But in the absence of a coordinated strategy that involves both the parliamentary opposition parties, for whatever they’re worth (cough), and a sustained and effective

. . . → Read More: Harper and the electoral fraud scandal | #cdnpoli

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The revelations just keep on coming in Robocon, to the point where the news of an offensively-named burner cellphone account used to leave fraudulent messages with Racknine has already been overtaken by more ridings and staffers being implicated – even as the Cons embarrass themselves with some of their least plausible talking points yet (along with a completely cavalier attitude toward electoral fraud).

- Meanwhile, Stephen Hume notes that the Cons’ legitimacy is at stake – and rightly in question as long as they keep on hiding and distracting from the facts. Alison’s

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