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Six Ways That the Greens Are Canada’s Most Progressive Party

Song of the Watermelon - ven, 10/09/2015 - 06:43

Parti vert fr.JPG

In the midst of a campaign dominated by horse races and attack ads, by fear and scandal and appeals to our basest political instincts, it is easy to forget that elections are meant above all to be about policy. Which party offers the kindest, most equitable, and most sustainable vision for the country?

The answer, in my opinion, is clear. Here I present six important ways that the Green Party of Canada is the most progressive of our major national parties.

1. Climate

Climate change is the defining challenge of our generation, one that is inextricably linked to our well-being and survival, yet politicians typically treat it as some trifling matter to be addressed only when there is nothing more pressing on the agenda. For the Green Party, however, climate considerations are central.

The party’s platform calls for Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to 40 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025 and 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. Vision Green, the party’s in-depth policy document, speaks of even steeper reductions. Much of the heavy lifting for this program of cuts would be performed by a carbon fee and dividend system (a form of carbon tax), set at the admittedly paltry rate of $30 per tonne, but projected to rise over time. The only other party calling for a federal price on carbon is the NDP, but its cap-and-trade policy is sorely lacking in detail. There is no way of knowing, based on the information thus far provided, how stringent or comprehensive the NDP plan would be.

On pipelines, Liberals and New Democrats, to their credit, both oppose Northern Gateway, but they can’t seem to make up their minds on Trans Mountain and Energy East. The Liberals support Keystone XL, while the NDP rejects it. Only the Greens take a principled stance against all pipelines meant to export raw bitumen, pledging to halt oil sands expansion and to shift our economy towards renewable energy and sustainable jobs.

2. Taxes

While reasonable questions can be raised about the Green Party’s insistence on revenue neutrality when it comes to carbon taxes, there is no doubt that its fee and dividend plan is on balance progressive. Revenue produced by the “fee” is meant to be returned to all Canadians as an equal per capita “dividend.” Since people with low incomes would pay less on average than those with high incomes (due to lower greenhouse gas emissions), they would tend to get more out of the system than they put into it. The result would be a modest redistribution from rich to poor.

Additionally, the Greens pledge in their budget overview to eliminate income taxes on those making less than $20,000 per year, to reintroduce a tax on inheritances greater than $1,000,000, and to raise the corporate rate from 15 to 19 per cent (leapfrogging the NDP’s 17 per cent). Some of the projected increase in revenue would go towards the party’s vaunted Guaranteed Livable Income (also known as a negative income tax), a proposed increase to and consolidation of various federal and provincial assistance programs aimed at ensuring that no Canadian lives in poverty.

3. Trade

In an era when the battle against free trade and investor protection agreements has largely been abandoned, the Greens are the only major party still willing to fight the good fight.

The Liberal Party has supported trade liberalization treaties ever since notoriously breaking its 1993 election promise to pull Canada out of NAFTA. Even the NDP, in recent years, has dropped its principled opposition, preferring to assess trade agreements on a case-by-case basis (yes to Jordan and South Korea, maybe to CETA, no to the recently signed TPP).

The Greens, by contrast, stand unequivocally on the side of fair rather than free trade. Party leader Elizabeth May has been one of the country’s most passionate voices in opposition to the FIPA with China. Vision Green even goes so far as to suggest providing the requisite six months’ notice to withdraw from NAFTA as a means of pushing for renegotiation on more favourable terms.

4. Post-secondary education

Dozens of countries around the globe, across both the developed and the developing world, offer free post-secondary education. For the most part, this is considered a non-starter here in Canada. Alas, it is once again only the Greens who favour the complete abolition of tuition fees. They also promise to cancel existing student debts over $10,000.

5. War and peace

Non-violence is one of the six fundamental principles of the Green Party of Canada. The principle was put on dramatic display in 2011 when, barely a month after she was elected, Elizabeth May took a stand in the House of Commons, providing a lone vote of dissent against Canada’s continued participation in NATO’s war on Libya. Given the ongoing disaster still unfolding as a result of our intervention, May’s foresight deserves be acknowledged.

6. Growth

The Green Party is by no means anti-capitalist, but by questioning the ideology of infinite growth, it goes farther than either the NDP or the Liberals in undermining the most destructive foundation of our economic system. Vision Green explicitly calls for a steady-state economy and a reduced work week, stating, “Continued exponential growth is counter to the realities of a finite planet.”

None of this prevents the party from speaking the language of “smart growth” and “sustainable growth” when convenient. Perhaps this apparent contradiction reflects a distinction between short-term and long-term objectives. Nevertheless, in the current political climate, any willingness to broach the subject of limits to growth is a rare feat.

Some hedging …

The Greens are not perfect on every issue. Regrettably, it is only the Liberals who favour a rise in the personal tax rates of the top one per cent. And the NDP, in addition to having a more fleshed-out child care policy, has set a short-term greenhouse gas reduction target that is marginally more ambitious than the Green Party’s.

However, on most issues, Elizabeth May and her running mates occupy a place in the political landscape that we would be foolish to overlook. To expect them simply to disappear — to roll over and die in the face of deliberate mischaracterizations and short-sighted appeals to strategic voting — is neither realistic nor desirable. They fill a hole in the national conversation and challenge us to demand more from other parties.

If the NDP and the Liberals truly want to defang the Greens, they could start by adopting their policies.

This posts appears on

Filed under: Canadian Politics, Environment Tagged: election, Elizabeth May, Green Party, Liberal Party, NDP

Dear Mr. Harper...

Dawg's Blawg - ven, 10/09/2015 - 06:36
From Lena Amaruq Aittauq, an old friend in Baker Lake, Nunavut. Nothing I could possibly add to that.... Balbulican

His Best Laid Plans

Northern Reflections - ven, 10/09/2015 - 06:16

The polls are all over the place. But, if you go to political events -- even Stephen Harper's invitation only events -- you hear interesting things. Michael Harris writes:

Here’s some human intelligence gathered by yours truly on a trip this week to Vancouver. It’s not a poll. It’s just a hunch.

Shortly before I arrived, Jason Kenney had been at an event put on by the city’s large South Asian community. One prominent member of the local Sikh community approached the minister and told him that if the government’s inflammatory statements about the niqab resulted in attacks against Muslims in Canada, the Conservatives would bear the responsibility. Three attacks later, his words took on new meaning.
Those attacks are backfiring on Harper and a storm is brewing:

He has always courted the immigrant vote, and rather successfully. But the niqab offensive is reminding a lot of Canadians of the immigrants in their own past. With Harper’s racist attack on Muslims (not ‘borderline’ racist, as former Newfoundland premier Danny Williams suggested) and new legislation giving the government several ways of stripping Canadians of their citizenship, there is a restlessness rippling through an important part of the Harper base.

And it’s not just Sikhs. It’s Jews who remember their grandparents being turned away from Canadian shores. It’s Irish who remember hearing stories about how their relatives were treated like dirt here after they fled the potato famine in their native land to come here. It’s Japanese who recall the internment camps where they were sent for the crime of their ethnicity. It’s the Italians who will never quite forget being called ‘wops’ and ‘dagos’ as they tried to make their way in this country.

In a nutshell, everyone who has ever tried to make a fresh start in Canada has reason to worry about Stephen Harper’s war on the niqab. Could it be that they’re thinking we’re all Muslims now?

Some people call it karma. Some people simply hold to the belief that what goes around comes around. However, you put it, the prime minister's best laid plans are going astray.

About That Pavlovian Response

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 10/09/2015 - 06:03

It is enough to make a recovering cynic suffer a very bad relapse. As I noted earlier this week, to see what lurks just beneath the surface of Canadian sensibilities, something dark and ugly, is extremely disheartening. Amply revealed by the Machiavellian incitement of prejudice engineered by Lynton Crosby to maximize the Harper regimes re-election, we are bearing witness to far too many of our fellow citizens responding far too enthusiastically to the ringing of the Pavlovian bell. I feel ashamed and disgusted.

Consider this blatant pandering for the Quebec vote, the latest salvo in the Con attack ad war against Trudeau:

Or how about this?

According to the latest Forum poll, 73 per cent said the issue won’t influence their vote, 20 per cent of respondents said it will. About half of the latter category (11 per cent) said the issue will influence them a “great deal.I take little comfort that the majority say they will not be influenced by this latest demagoguery from Harper. The fact that 20 per cent are is disquieting, in that they represent a sizable number of Canadians who seem to lack any insight into the fact that they are being grossly manipulated here. As I said in my earlier post, one may not especially like the niqab, but to make it determining factor in your federal vote is something I find very hard to understand.

And then there is this Angus Reid poll, where 46 per cent held an unfavourable view of Islam in 2009, [but] that figure has risen sharply to 54 per cent this year.... In Quebec, 48 per cent said they would find it unacceptable for one of their children to marry a Muslim, up slightly from 45 per cent in 2009. In the rest of Canada, those who found the thought of a son or daughter marrying a Muslim unacceptable shot up to 32 per cent from 24 per cent. Matters are getting worse, with Harper now considering a wider ban on the niqab: A proposed ban on niqabs in the federal civil service would affect an infinitesimally small number of bureaucrats — if any at all. Statistics from 2011 show only 1.8 per cent of 257,000 federal employees are Muslim women and only a small subset of them is likely to wear face coverings. The Conservatives have already tried to require Muslim women to show their faces at citizenship ceremonies, but those rules are being challenged in the courts. Harper's comments on Wednesday make clear he is eyeing additional legislation to require women to unveil every time they want services from the federal government.The words of Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau resonate: "Stephen Harper is reminding us every time he does this why he doesn't deserve to be prime minister," Mulcair said in Enoch, Alta., as he highlighted his party's $4.8 billion plan to improve aboriginal education Trudeau, in London, Ont., said Harper's divide-and-conquer approach "is unworthy of the office he holds and he needs to stop." "No election win is worth pitting Canadians against Canadians."Be assured that Stephen Harper's evil mischief is pitting Canadians against Canadians. Consider the situation of Rezan Mosa, a 22-year-old native of Vancouver who decided to wear the niqab: Mosa, a student at Brescia University College in London, Ont., said that as anti-niqab sentiment has ramped up on the campaign trail in recent weeks, she’s experienced more incidents of discrimination. “There’s definitely a noticeable difference,” said Mosa, who began wearing the veil over 18 months ago. “Just a lot more people staring, making comments, telling me to go back to my country.” She said the incidents have made her “feel very unsafe.”Mosa is not alone: The National Council of Canadian Muslims said it has received several reports of Muslim women being verbally or physically assaulted in the last month. It pointed to a disabled Muslim 19-year-old woman who reported to police that she was verbally threatened at an Ottawa shopping centre. The Star could not independently verify the report. The group tracks such incidents and recorded the details on its website, saying the woman was “young, visibly Muslim and disabled” when a middle-aged white man told her “to remove ‘the f---ing rug off (her) head.’ ”One more incident perhaps best illustrates the terrible consequences of fanning the flames of intolerance: In the early evening of Sept. 17, before dark, a 17-year-old girl strolled from the Al-Noor Mosque in St. Catharines, Ont., to the plaza across the street. She was planning to buy a drink and snack. Then three other girls, teenagers the girl from the mosque didn’t recognize, walked up behind her. According to Sallah Hamdani, a spokesman for the local Islamic community, the trio of girls began by making bigoted remarks. Isn’t it against your religion, one asked, to be out walking alone? Ugly words escalated into pushing, then punching. “There was blood. She went to the hospital to make sure her nose wasn’t broken,” Hamdani said. “Her hijab was pulled. You can’t keep it on during a fight.”Stephen Harper and his operatives are very much aware of the fallibilities human nature is subject to. To exploit those weaknesses for electoral gain is yet another indictment of his unfitness to govern. I just wish more Canadians could see what is so obviously staring them in the face.Recommend this Post

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 10/09/2015 - 05:59
Assorted content to end your week.

- Armine Yalnizyan highlights how Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal is just one more compelling piece of evidence against trusting the corporate sector to regulate itself:
The trend is towards asking industries to monitor themselves (at their own suggestion), which they quite happily will do, and tell you what they think you want to know.

Now there is a role for self-regulation. Most adults practice self-regulation to some degree. But when we pass laws against certain types of behaviour, we don't think people should police themselves. We hire police to ensure that the laws are obeyed.

Corporations' sole purpose is to make money. That motive doesn't make them more trustworthy than individuals.

If the VW story isn't a huge wake-up call about the failure of corporate self-regulation, I don't know what is. We need good rules, well enforced. Without good enforcement, good rules are just a charade of fairness.- And needless to say, the fact that a political party is approved as unwilling to act in the public interest is hardly a vote of confidence - which, as Linda McQuaig notes, is exactly the pitch Conrad Black is making for Justin Trudeau and the Libs.

- Meanwhile, Andrew MacLeod finds Con and Lib candidates alike supporting Republican-style drug testing for EI recipients - as the desire to unleash the corporate sector's worst impulses is characteristically paired with the desire to intrude on individual privacy. 

- CBC reports on the Cons' reassurance that people can avoid the effects of two-tier citizenship just as long as they renounce their heritage. (But it's worth noting even that position may not be based in fact, since one need only eligible for other citizenship to have Canadian citizenship revoked, not actually maintain it.)

- Finally, CTV reports that Stephen Harper's PMO inserted itself into decision-making about Syrian refugees for the clear purpose of excluding Muslims. And Tim Harper is the latest to point out that the Cons' xenophobia should be called out as more than just a distraction.

The Harper Regime and the Light in the Darkness

Montreal Simon - ven, 10/09/2015 - 05:19

It was almost dark when I got back to the waterfront. A cold wind was whipping across the lake. But I could see the lights of the boat coming to pick me up.

Just like with only ten days to go, I think I can see the light at the end of our long Harperland nightmare.

For what a difference a day can make.
Read more »

If you vote Conservative you are condoning and supporting THIS

Rusty Idols - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 21:17
Insiders say PMO actively discouraged the department from accepting applications from Shia and Sunni Muslims.This is from CTV News, hardly known for a traditional hostility to conservatism or this government.
Sources tell CTV News that a temporary halt to the processing of some Syrian refugees was ordered earlier this year to make sure the types favoured by the Prime Minister’s Office were being prioritized. Department of Citizenship and Immigration insiders told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife that PMO staff went through the files to ensure that persecuted religious minorities with established communities already in Canada -- ones that Conservative Leader Stephen Harper could court for votes -- were being accepted. Insiders say PMO actively discouraged the department from accepting applications from Shia and Sunni Muslims. Roll that around in your mind a little.  Really let that sink in that the Prime Minister of Canada in 2015 actively, deliberately sabotaged the rescue of desperate people of a different faith in order to favour his own coreligionists and to benefit politically.

This is monstrous. And if you can still vote for the government responsible for this and for unforgivable pandering incitement against Muslims that has resulted in multiple vicious assaults across Canada as the hateful take their cue from official bigotry you are a monster too.


Why Stephen Harper Has Blood On His Hands

Montreal Simon - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 20:39

He insisted that he had done all he could to help those desperate Syrian refugees.

He tearfully claimed that he was torn up by the death of poor little Alan Kurdi.

But now it turns out that months before that tragedy he personally intervened to deny help to the most vulnerable refugees. 
Read more »

This Just In!

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 18:39
Something wicked this way comes.

H/t Toronto StarRecommend this Post

To summarize...

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 17:36
...the Cons' campaign is effectively down to brainstorming new ways to gratuitously attack women who wear niqabs, regardless of the excuse used to do so or even the non-existence of the circumstances where new discrimination would be imposed.

An Answer To Our Prayers

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 14:44
That's right. I always knew in my heart that she would not forsake us in our hour of greatest need. Marg is back, offering a simple but solid solution to the woes that afflict us.

Recommend this Post

Partisanship Is Sooooo Over

Dammit Janet - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 12:59
Partisanship is at best silly, at times ugly, and right now it's bloody dangerous.

Since PMSHithead got his minority I've been imploring the Fucking Useless Opposition® (FUO) to get their act together and actually OPPOSE this government's destruction of Canada. You know, like they're supposed to do.

But no. They'd rather bash each other.

And now, we've got perhaps the LAST CHANCE to boot Stephen Harper and his band of vandals, and they're bashing each other even harder.

The majority of Canadians could Cambellize the hated Harperoids, if only the FUO® would co-operate with each other a teensy bit.

But no.

This morning, the story about the Short-Pants Brigade taking over from the Immigration Department and making literal life and death decisions based on political expediency drove me over the edge.

I decloaked.

Connie @freedominion & I agree on almost nothing but that Harper must be stopped and #C51 repealed. I volunteered to index her book. #elxn42

— Fern Hill (@fernhilldammit) October 8, 2015

Connie responded.

As @PMHarper tries to win w/ wedge issues driving Canadians apart, stopping him is bringing us together. #elxn42

— Connie Fournier (@freedominion) October 8, 2015

Connie's dismay at the Harper government has been brewing for some time. In February this year I linked to this at Free Dominion.
Canadian conservatives don't deserve to have a majority government.

There. I said it. I haven't given up on conservatism. Actually, quite the opposite. I have just come to the conclusion that it is not in the interest of conservatism (or liberty or democracy, for that matter) for the Conservative Party to remain in power.
Her main beef then and now is the Jihadis Under Every Bed Law, aka C51. Free Dominion reopened its forum to join the fray against it.

As I wrote then:
It beats the hell out of me why anyone purportedly in this fight -- and it is the fight of the decade at the very least -- would scorn any ally. But some are too pure to join forces with groups they otherwise disagree vehemently with.
Just as now, it beats the hell out of me why anyone would scorn any ally in the fight to get rid of the worst government in Canadian history.

And Connie has other issues with the Harper Party, so when I heard that she was writing a book addressed to her fellow Conservatives, I offered to help.

She accepted. I proofread and indexed the book. It's called Betrayed.

From the Introduction:

In this book, I will be making the case that conservative Canadians have a responsibility to keep our government in check.  When a leader that we have elected goes off the rails and begins to dismantle the very fabric of our democracy, we have a duty to send our own people into the political wilderness until they learn to handle the unfettered power of a majority government with the care and respect it deserves.

Perhaps you are thinking right now that I am not giving Stephen Harper enough trust.  You might think that he is not the type of man to abuse legislation that allows warrantless government access to our personal information, or legislation that allows judges, in secret trials, to give CSIS permission to do virtually anything but rape us or kill us.

His record tells a different story as I detail in Chapter ten.

But,  even if you do trust Stephen Harper and discount my reading of events, he is not going to be the Prime Minister forever. You have a responsibility to ask yourself if you trust the level of power that Harper has consolidated in the PMO in the hands of every potential new government that this country ever elects.

If the answer to that question is "no", then we must accept that Stephen Harper, by ramming through some very perilous legislation --most  notably Bill  C-51, the  Anti-Terrorism Act -- has put future generations in danger. For that reason alone he must be stopped. I will be talking in this book about Free Dominion's history and about some  of our experiences with censorship and "disruption" that have occurred already, under the watch of our Conservative government.I'm pretty sure that regular readers here need no more reasons to vote against Harper, but maybe you've got Conservative friends and family you're going to be seeing this Thanksgiving weekend.

You could print out copies of Connie's Introduction and hand them around the table. *evil grin*

Or not.

So, what's the point of this blogpost?

To show ALL YOU "PROGRESSIVE" JACKASSES that common cause exists.

And that the stakes are high enough.

Do something to stop Harper.

And stop bashing each other.


Regular readers may remember that Connie and I have history. We've agreed on issues like prorogation, the G20 police state in Toronto, prison farms, and the need for better definition of online defamation. And of course the Jihadis bill.

We've both taken shit for our occasional public agreement. Notably, but perhaps not surprisingly, from male people who seem to think we need policing for consorting with each other.

It may amuse, then, to learn of my "price" for helping with Connie's book.

It was inspired by Canadian Cynic, who, in support of the documentary "Election Day in Canada," tweeted this:

... no more tweets out of CC HQ until this gets to $5,000. 9,007 followers ... don't tell me you can't do this. Bye.

— CC (@canadiancynic) August 9, 2015

I asked Connie to make a donation to the film in her own name. I didn't ask her to make any kind of statement about it.

But she did.

Does TPP Sabotage Climate Change Action?

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 09:15
Clause 20 of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement sounds pretty good. "The 12 Parties agree to effectively enforce their environmental laws; and not to weaken environmental laws in order to encourage trade or investment." What's not to like there?

All is not as it seems.  While the TPP purports to uphold existing environmental laws, it may leave signatory nations incapable of passing new environmental enactments.  Cracking down on carbon emissions, new carbon taxes, upgraded cap and trade schemes could all run afoul of corporate polluters who could sue for injunctions or compensation.

Marijuana (Users) "Infintely Worse" Than Cigarette Smokers

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 08:10
To Shifty Steve Harper's little mind, marijuana is 'infinitely worse' than tobacco as a public health hazard. Of course Shifty's lizard brain isn't programmed to tell the truth. Fact is he couldn't give a Shifty Shit about the public health aspects of marijuana versus tobacco. Let's decode what he's really trying to say.

Marijuana users are infinitely worse for Steve's re-election prospects when they actually manage to get to the voting booth.  Cigarette smokers, by contrast, tend to fall into the "dumb ass" category more likely to vote Harper.

There, now it all makes sense. Marijuana is infinitely worse.

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 07:59
Here, on how the Cons' multi-billion dollar price tag for Trans-Pacific Partnership compensation makes clear that every party is planning to spend large amounts of public money reshaping Canada - leaving us to choose which we value most out of the NDP's social programs, Libs' temporary infrastructure spending or Cons' corporate control.

For further reading...
- My previous column comparing the NDP and Lib plans is linked here. And I first noted the burgeoning cost of the TPP (including both direct costs and compensation) here.
- Armine Yalnizyan's review (PDF) of past Canadian recessions includes some discussion as to how free trade led to the 1990 downturn.
- David Reevely notes that the Cons' compensation cheques to politically-crucial businesses serve as a compelling indication that the TPP will indeed hurt Canadian industries, while David Molenhuis makes the same point about the auto sector in particular. And Scott Sinclair and PressProgress detail the expected impacts on supply management and the auto sector respectively.
- Cory Doctorow examines the TPP's appalling copyright restrictions, while Michael Geist argues that the Cons are misleading Canada about what they mean.
- Finally, Jeremy Nuttall reports on the work of Canadians for Tax Fairness in pointing out what the TPP will cost out of the public purse. John Nichols weighs in on the corporatist bent behind the TPP as a whole. And Don Pittis writes that the issues underlying the TPP are indeed similar to those behind other free trade deals which have harmed the public interest.

Election theme song from Hey Rosetta! & Yukon Blonde

Tattered Sleeve - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 07:53
Land You Love

Land You Love - Hey Rosetta! & Yukon Blonde from Phil Maloney on Vimeo.

This brings a tear to my eye everytime I play it. Thank you, Hey Rosetta! and Yukon Blonde.

Share! Share! Share!

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 07:51
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Scott Santens writes about one possible endpoint of the current trend toward precarious employment, being the implementation of a basic income to make sure a job isn't necessary to enable people to do meaningful work. And Common Dreams reports that a strong majority of lower-wage workers support both unions, and political parties and candidates who will allow them to function.

- Harvey Cashore and David Seglins follow up on the multiple connections between the Cons, the Canada Revenue Agency and KPMG even as the latter was under investigation for facilitating offshore tax evasion.

- Joe Friesen breaks the news that Stephen Harper's PMO specifically intervened to stop Syrian refugees from having their claims processed.

- Meanwhile, Harsha Walia and Dana Olwan ask whether the Harper Cons are really going to cling to power through bare racism, while Andrew Coyne notes that the forces at play are more insidious than fear alone. And Rick Mercer sums up what the election campaign is ultimately all about:

- Finally, Jason Childs and Alexander Siebert compare (PDF) the liquor retail distribution systems across Western Canada and find there's little reason to privatize anything other than to push more alcohol into citizens' hands.

Politics At Its Most Cynical

Northern Reflections - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 07:23

Did Stephen Harper make his comments about banning niqabs from the public service because he was drawn off script? David Krayden writes:

First off, there is no room for improvisation in a Stephen Harper script. When cabinet ministers receive their speaking notes from the PMO for a political event, what they get is a tightly-worded succession of talking points loosely linked by references to local dignitaries and the weather. Any digression from the core topic — congratulating the Harper government for its good works — is strictly verboten.

So I really don’t think Harper doubled-down on this topic on a whim. The fact that he said it days earlier, in French and in Quebec, made it a premeditated policy announcement. If Harper were to inadvertently promote an expanded niqab ban in one official language, he would not repeat that mistake in English.
No, Harper's comments were carefully calculated to appeal to the worst instincts of some Quebecers. And, if the polls are to be believed, the gambit has worked -- even though Harper knows that the Supreme Court will, once again, send his porposed legislation into the dumpster.

It's politics at its most cynical. But that really shouldn't surprise anyone.

Help Wanted

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 06:10
Thanks to M. Barrett who alerted me to this Craigslist posting from Toronto:

In case you can't make out the fine print at the bottom, it reads:

Required to dispose of existing ballots in all ridings across Canada and urgently replace with winning issue ballotsRecommend this Post

The Bigot Stephen Harper and the Nightmare in Quebec

Montreal Simon - jeu, 10/08/2015 - 05:52

He just can't let go of that burning issue. He's got the bit, or the niqab, between his teeth.

Stephen Harper really is trying to use bigotry to win the election.

And he will miss no chance to pour fuel on the flames.
Read more »


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