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Earl (cat) for PM advertisement 1892

LeDaro - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 12:34

Interesting. Cruelty to animals must stop.



Props Wanted. Great Pay and Benefits.

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 12:18
So it's come to this. Apparently feeling the sting of Canadian combat vets angry with Steve Harper and vowing to do everything in their power to run him out of Ottawa, the Tories are trying to recruit veterans willing to appear with the prime minister.

The email appears to have been written by Kris Sims, who is on leave from her role as director of communications for Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O'Toole in order to work for the party during the campaign.

In it, she asks to be connected with ex-soldiers who are willing to appear on camera and prepared "to say in their own words why (Stephen) Harper is the best choice for Canada, based on their military experience and the threats we face in the world."

I'll Vote "No" on Strategic Voting.

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 12:07
Quick trip to Victoria yesterday to buy a jacket for my daughter's pending wedding. I rode the great yellow Beast and, even with end of summer traffic, there was room to get a little adrenalin going.

The province of Vancouver Island has this one highway that runs from Victoria in the extreme south that connects the city to Nanaimo, my town, Courtney/Comox, Campbell River and on all the way to the northern reaches at Port Hardy. One highway, just the one. Which makes it predictable that the highway is the place you'll see who is running for which party and where.

This island has been a bastion of strength for the NDP and, judging by the sheer number of signs, that's not going to change except up.  The Greens are out in force, second only to the New Dems in signage. The Liberal presence is desultory at best. The big change is the Conservatives. They had more signage than the Libs but not by much and certainly not nearly what we saw in previous elections.

It was great to see so many Paul Manly campaign signs as I transited through the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding. He's an island boy by birth from Port Alice way up north. He was raised a New Dem, the son of former NDP MP, Jim Manly. He's a pretty impressive guy and was on his way to being the next NDP MP from his riding until he was denied permission to seek the nomination by Team Mulcair. It seems Paul committed the mortal sin of standing up and speaking out for the Palestinians. Can't be having that, not with the Thatcher-loving, Harper-courting, ex-Liberal, market fundamentalist neoliberal,Likudnik Tom "I'll bend any principle for a vote" Mulcair running the show.

But Manly found a better home. He's running for the Greens and he might just steal the riding from the Dippers. That would make me happy, very happy for Manly and for the Green Party.

One of the main reasons I left the Liberals was their unbalanced support of Israel and Ignatieff's pre-absolution for the atrocities in the last Gaza outrage. Now Mulcair's Latter-Day-Liberals are singing the same hymns out of the very same book. If I left the party I had supported for forty years because of that, I'm certainly not going to be tossing my vote into Mulcair's bucket this time around.

As I was carving corners crossing the Malahat I began rethinking this strategic voting business, giving it a second chance in my mind. The Dippers relentlessly hector Greens that voting for our party is tantamount to supporting Harper's re-election. Bollocks!

I'm voting Green not to make a point. It's not a protest vote. Maybe it won't get the Green candidate elected in my riding. I don't care. I'm voting Green because it's the only party I can vote for. I don't want to vote for Mulcair or for Trudeau and, obviously, I don't want to vote for Harper. A pox on them all and their parties.

The New Dems may have abandoned just about every principle that Tommy Douglas stood for, they don't eat in the kitchen any longer, but there's one thing they still cling to - working over every other party and that includes sniping at the Greens and their leader. And having done that, I'm supposed to vote for Mulcair? After what he did to Paul Manly? I'm supposed to vote Likudnik?

No, I don't think so. My Green Party lawn signs should be up before sundown tomorrow. This election could be far more important to the Green Party than the ABC crowd would like to acknowledge. That's their problem.



Some Comeuppance For The Minister of Democratic 'Reform'

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 11:23
The minister responsible for the Unfair Elections Act, Pierre Poilievre, has finally gotten a taste of his own medicine. In the following you will hear a telemarketer calling on behalf of his campaign being answered by 'Lenny,' a software program that manages to tie her up for about 11 minutes.
Lenny, in essence, picks up calls and answers them with pre-recorded audio clips from a doddering Australian man, sometimes keeping telemarketers on the phone for over 20 minutes.
The clips include non-sequiturs, complaints that he can’t hear the caller, and extended reflections about one of his daughter’s academic achievements. At one point he even chases away ducks.You don't have to listen to the entire clip to make your day. Enjoy:

Recommend this Post

On statements of values

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 11:04
It's true that a party's policy book is not the same as its election platform.

But it's also true that there is more to a party than a single campaign or platform. And considering that the difference between a policy book and a platform can be pointed out in a single sentence, I'm hard-pressed to see what the NDP stands to gain by limiting access to the policy goals developed by its members.

On needless machinery

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 10:34
Those of us who have seen the Libs focus much of this year on criticizing the Cons' partisan advertising might be rather surprised to learn they don't think there's any room to cut or redirect any current federal spending, and in fact consider it offensive that anybody might suggest such room exists.

But on a closer look, there's actually a consistent theme behind the Libs' message. While their petition on advertising criticizes the Cons for wasteful spending, it doesn't promise to change anything other than to create a new commissioner position to oversee future publicity - meaning that it could simply increase the cost of continuing ad spending.

So let's see if we can summarize the opposition parties' take on the hundreds of millions of dollars the Cons have spent on government advertising.

The NDP sees a waste of public money which could be put to better uses, and asks "why not stop?"

On the other hand, the Libs refuse to consider whether cuts might be appropriate, and ask "why not pay more?"

So which of those seems like the more appropriate response? It's up to Canadians to decide.

Keep Quiet - Chess Master At Work

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 08:12
Yessiree, Stephen Harper's choice to impose a longer election period rather than waiting to see whether his party would have a shred of credibility left after the PMO went under the microscope looks more brilliant by the day.

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 07:53
Here, on Donna Harpauer and the Saskatchewan Party are dismissing their own advisory group's recommendation to work to cut Saskatchewan poverty in half by the end of the decade.

For further reading...
- The StarPhoenix echoes Donna Harpauer's defeatism.
- Danielle Martin and Ryan Meili make the case for a basic income, which appears as one of the advisory group's recommendations. 
- And for a review of the multiplier effects of different fiscal choices, see Mark Zandi's analysis here (PDF) - showing infrastructure spending and income supports accomplishing far more than tax cuts or corporate giveaways.

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 07:36
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michal Rozworski reminds us that austerity in Canada is nothing new under Con or Lib governments, while pointing out what the public needs to do to repel it:
The campaigning Stephen Harper boasts that his tough austerity policies saved the Canadian economy. Lost in the rhetoric are two important facts. As most economists will tell you today, austerity measures are lousy ways to expand jobs and investment. And Harper's Conservatives were just carrying on the work of their austerity embracing Liberal predecessors.
...

The first round of Liberal cutbacks were quick and deep. A greater share of government expenditures redirected towards debt repayment created additional false scarcity of funds for direct spending. Spending on federal government programs and transfers to provinces, cities, and individuals fell by over five per cent of GDP from 1993 to the turn of the millennium. Spending growth did not just slow: absolute expenditures decreased.

Reduced fiscal transfers to provinces put the squeeze on local governments. Since the 1990s, Canada has seen provincial governments -- not just governed by Liberals and Conservatives, but also by New Democrats -- impose austerity further down the line. Since provinces are responsible for many basics like health, education, and welfare benefits, shrinking transfers have further eroded the working class's social wage. Privatizations, workfare schemes, tuition increases -- all were applied (unevenly) across the country.

Overall, the sharp turn to austerity created a more punitive welfare state. While Canada's economic growth in the mid to late '90s fed off that in the U.S., the character of its reforms was also in line with the Clintonite agenda. There was a similar push to create conditions for business expansion even less encumbered by working class demands. A major strategy was an attack on the social wage -- public spending on goods, services and income supports for people in Canada.
...
There is now more than one generation that has grown up with austerity and little else. Despite, or perhaps because of this, the youngest generation today is more inclined towards left politics than any other. Yet the space for even modest social-democratic politics has rarely been narrower. This opening and closure exist side-by-side in contradiction. To make the contradiction a productive one, we need an honest appraisal of political forces and how power operates: a political economy of the present.

Upon this foundation, we can create a political space that rekindles the imagination -- one that has less risk of falling into a mythologized, and wholly false, vision of the 1990s. Going back further, we also need to come up with more than simple nostalgia for the postwar prosperity, whose contradictions created the lumbering monster that still chews at our horizons.

Stopping and reversing austerity in Canada, as anywhere, requires an honest assessment of the forces allied in its favour. A consensus that has emerged over decades will not be broken easily. While putting a single man's face to it may be useful to start the conversation, we will need to go further, examining the systemic challenges that prevent a parting with austerity -- whether the slow-simmering kind Canadians are now experiencing, or sharper variants.- And Bruce Wark follows up by challenging the media's failure to recognize what's already been lost to past cuts.

- Kevin Campbell argues that the success of progressive parties and voters will depend on our ability to highlight their ability to do more for citizens' economic security. And Kevin Lynch points out that plenty of economists are on board to work on economic growth through fiscal rather than monetary policy.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on a new study from the Atkinson Foundation and Mowat Centre discussing the need for community institutions such as universities, hospitals and municipalities to foster local development rather than needlessly sending money elsewhere.

- Finally, Dan Leger notes that the Cons and their supporters are thoroughly in denial over the facts about the Duffy scandal - though it's hard to see where else they could go without abandoning the party under Stephen Harper. And Chantal Hebert sees the combined scandal and cover-up as reflecting the Harper Cons' core character.

On Mad King Stephen's Monomania

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 05:54


This is not the post I was planning for today, but these letters about Stephen Harper's economic ineptitude seemed too good not to share:
Re: Another Orange Wave for Alberta? Aug. 20

Of course, the prospect of an Orange Wave in Alberta is tantalizing to many and I applaud Tim Harper’s article. However when he quotes Brent Rathgeber as saying that falling oil prices are not Stephen Harper’s fault, it would have been just as astute to point out that perhaps our PM can’t be blamed for the fall of oil prices but he certainly can and should be blamed for doing what no “investor” or “economic planner” worth his salt would or should do, which is to put all his eggs in one basket.

A prime minister with a sound economic plan that looked to a solid future would have long ago diversified Canada’s strengths by encouraging, supporting and subsidizing (much the way the oil patch has been subsidized over the years) our manufacturing sector, which took such a tremendous hit when our loonie became a high petrodollar and has yet to recover.

How does Harper have the gall to ask about anyone’s “economic action plan” when even the most cursory glance at our present near-recession predicament would make it abundantly clear that he, himself, didn’t have one that worked worth a bean.

J. Bartram-Thomas, Richmond Hill

It is factually based and verified that this government has exacerbated, greatly, the economic situation Canada finds itself in, world-wide or not. From its “all our eggs in one basket” reliance on commodities, to massive cutbacks to social programs, science, and R&D, to surplus elimination/deficit creation by handing out tax breaks for the rich and companies that hold but don’t spend cash, and so on and so on, this government has empirically proven itself to be both myopic and inept at handling our asset base. Any of the opposition parties would have done a better job at preparing us for the worst.

If one was on that unfortunate plane a few months back, as a supposedly skilled pilot was directly aiming at the side of a mountain, would one turn to one’s seat companion and declare that this is no time to change our aviation “expert”?

David Klarer, OakvilleRecommend this Post

Owe-lympics Myths: Reuse Pan Am Venues*

Dammit Janet - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 05:34
One of the biggest porky pies hyped by Toronto's millionaire hucksters is that we're good to go for the Olympics because of all the dandy new Pan Am venues.

Or, Myth 5 at NoTO2024.
Myth 5: We can re-use most of the Pan Am venues
Some sites can be re-used, but even under the relaxed Agenda 2020 guidelines there will be major holes. The ACC and Rexall Centre should be ok, but the velodrome and aquatic centre are too small and too inconveniently located. The Rogers Centre is exactly the wrong size for everything.  The athlete's village will have been converted to housing and we need to find somewhere to stick a $1B+ 80,000 seat track and field stadium. The Olympics are much larger than the Pan Am Games and that level of infrastructure just wasn't built.
Mayor John Tory seems to have been sold this bill of goods.
The mayor added that he’s asked for a report from city staff on the usability of Pan Am venues for a potential Olympic Games.

“It would disappoint me if all that investment we made in very excellent facilities was not to be, under these new rules, something to be taken into account, if one wanted to bid.”Prepare to be disappointed, Mr Mayor.

Chris Selley of the National Post pointed out that "the Pan Am organizers have always been frank: their facilities are not designed for the Olympics." He also says of the 80K+ seat stadium: "Toronto has no earthly need of such a facility."

John Barber weighs in:
Meanwhile in Ontario, taxpayers just spent $450 million on the four most expensive venues for the Pan Am Games, none of which will be good enough for the Olympics, all of which will have to be replaced by larger facilities if Toronto hopes to host in 2024. There is a long list of new stadiums and every variety of gold-plated facility to be built.Not only are these venues too small -- and will be too old by 2024 -- some are too too far apart.
. . . many of the venues built for Pan Am are so far from Toronto that they may not meet Olympic committee standards. Some events were in Minden Hills (more than two hours from the city), Welland (90 minutes) and Hamilton (one hour).
New ginormous 80-100K seat stadium, new athletes' village, new/upgraded/relocated velodrome, ditto aquatics centre. . . the list goes on.

In short, existing Pan Am venues are just not viable for Olympics. They will need to be upgraded, expanded or replaced.

All costing mega-bucks.

In other words, a successful Olympic bid would create white elephants like the totally ridiculous baseball stadium in Greece (pictured above).




*Second in an irregular and ongoing series.

Previous posts:

Owe-lympics Myth 5: Health and Fitness Legacy.

Toronto Star and Olympics: Something Stinks

Toronto Councillors' Twitter Accounts

10 People on Twitter

Why Stephen Harper's Latest Fear Campaign Won't Work

Montreal Simon - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 02:51


It says something really horrible about Stephen Harper, that whenever he feels threatened he tries to scare Canadians.

First he tried to scare them by claiming that the criminals were EVERYWHERE and that only he could save us by sending even more Canadians to jail. Even though the crime rate is at its lowest level in decades. 

Then he claimed that the terrorists were EVERYWHERE, and that only he could save us from being beheaded in our beds.

Now he's showing his teeth again, and trying to scare Canadians with the Great Economic Menace. 
Read more »

Why Would Any . . .?

Northern Reflections - jeu, 08/27/2015 - 01:08
                                                 http://www.quickmeme.com/

In his latest column, Tim Harper recounts his frustrated and frustrating attempts to talk to Conservative candidates across the country:

I never met Mike Little, the Conservative candidate in the key riding of Burnaby North-Seymour. I met every other candidate but Little had personal considerations so he couldn’t meet me. His campaign ignored my entreaties anyway until I was about to leave Vancouver, when I got a noncommittal statement on an environmental issue.

In Edmonton-Mill Woods, the campaign of Tim Uppal told me the minister of state for multiculturalism couldn’t meet me because he was too busy meeting voters. That wouldn’t be so odd, except I had first requested time with him dating back to June, before the election was even called.

After I called candidate Naval Bajaj on his cellphone, he agreed readily to an interview, but when I arrived at the strip mall that housed his campaign office a week later, it had been mysteriously cancelled. Like Uppal, a campaign aide told me he was too busy meeting voters. So, I offered to come back later that evening. Meeting voters, I was told. The next day? Meeting voters. The next evening? Meeting voters. 
Other journalists have had the same response to their requests for interviews:

Globe and Mail writer-at-large John Ibbitson reported on the weekend that he could not get an interview with the Conservative candidate in Mississauga Centre, and Glen McGregor of the Ottawa Citizen was told by the office of Don Valley North Conservative candidate Joe Daniel that he would not be doing any interviews until after the election.
If there is one thing the Duffy trial has made clear, its that Harper candidates are kept on a short leash. And if -- like Mike Duffy, Brent Rathgeber or Bill Casey -- they break ranks, the PMO will spare no effort to destroy them.
Which leaves one to ask two questions: Why would any semi-intelligent person want to be a Conservative candidate? And why would any semi-intelligent person vote for a Conservative candidate?

Ezra Is Getting Good At Begging For Forgiveness

Anti-Racist Canada - mer, 08/26/2015 - 22:35
So Connie Fournier wrote a book about how much she, her husband, and many of the denizens of Free Dominion feel betrayed by Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party. While we haven't bothered to read it, a friend did let us know we were mentioned in it, though not by name because we have cooties:

The biggest offenders in this attempted character assassination were anonymous bloggers with ties to violent anti-racist groups. Their obsession with writing about us and posting personal information about Free Dominion members spooked us to the point where we moved our household to a different location and kept our new address a secret.

The book is getting rave reviews though. But in the rather incestuous world of the fringe conservative echo chamber, the people giving the five star reviews appear to be mostly members of Free Dominion, fringe conservative bloggers, or both.

Like Jay Currie who seems to have a writing gig with Ezra Levant's "The Rebel."

In Currie's most recent (and evidently only thus far) article, it appears that he discusses  Ms. Fournier's book. And he makes some pointed, and potentially defamatory, comments about one Richard Warman.

Or at least we're guessing this is the case, since Levant pulled the article from the website:


Just so our readers can get a clear view of the reason for the article being removed:


Checking Mr. Warman's website confirmed our suspicions:

Rebel News Network/Ezra Levant – I have received an apology and retraction from Rebel News Network for defamatory material on their website. The question is if this constitutes some kind of world record for the shortest time ever for a media outlet (or youtube channel if you prefer) to go from inception to receiving a libel notice resulting in apology and retraction?

A further look at Mr. Warman's website included this little nugget too:

Richard Warman v Connie Fournier and Mark Fournier – December 2nd, 2015 is the date that has been set by the Ontario Court of Appeal for the meritless appeal by the Fourniers in my successful libel action against them. Of interest is the fact that they’re not appealing the $31,000 in damages awarded against them by the jury of their peers they demanded. The Fourniers are only appealing the permanent injunction to stop defaming me and the $62,000+ in costs against them personally.

The Fourniers, wisely, seemed not to have repeated the defamatory statements that are suggested in the extirpated Currie article, which is probably for the best considering they are already in pretty deep on the above successful libel action and a second upcoming concerning the Anne Cools smear. Interestingly Levant and other fringe conservative bloggers have apologized for that too.

Yeah. Don't @#$% with Richard Warman.

Why Is the Con Clown Joe Oliver Missing In Action?

Montreal Simon - mer, 08/26/2015 - 22:06


The economy is teetering on the edge of disaster. The stock market is on a wild roller coaster ride. The loonie or Harper peso has fallen to its lowest level in eleven years. Thousands are losing their jobs.

But Joe Oliver, the alleged Con FInance Minister, is nowhere to be seen.

He has held no newsers, issued no reassuring statements to worried Canadians. He has been missing in action. 

And it seems the only Canadians he's willing to talk to are the rich old guys at private men's clubs.
Read more »

Owe-lympic Myths: Health and Fitness Legacy

Dammit Janet - mer, 08/26/2015 - 13:13
There are many myths about Olympics among the millionaire hucksters' talking points. On the NoTO2024 website, the Top Ten are listed.

I'm going to take a few of these on, not necessarily in order.


Myth 8: The Olympics will make us healthier
Studies have shown that hosting the Olympics has no measurable impact on fitness and sports participation levels following the Games. There is, however, evidence that funding gets pulled from other regions in the country, causing cutbacks to sports funding that hurt participation.
The claim that Olympics would bolster a healthier, more active population figured large for the London Olympics (with, note, state-funded healthcare like Canada). But a comparison of activity levels pre- and post-Olympics concluded: "no Olympic legacy yet apparent."

I know. You're shocked that two weeks lying around on their couches watching professional-turned-amateur-probably-doped-up athletes doing odd things didn't turn the UK into a nation of svelte, kale-gnawing overachievers.

Furthermore, from London again -- where, unlike Beijing, the media closely monitored claims and outcomes -- money meant for "good causes" was pulled from other areas of the country.

In the UK, they have Camelot, similar to Ontario's Trillium Fund, that distributes lottery dough to good causes. For the Olympics £425 million was diverted to the Olympics.
Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative shadow culture spokesman, said the diversion of lottery money to the Olympics and the public bodies administrative spending meant that 1.1 billion Lottery tickets will be sold this year before the good causes receive a penny.That's a lot of lottery tickets.

Where does that dough go? The Good Causes award categories are arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport and voluntary.

Here's sports.
From building new sports venues, to inspiring future generations to participate in sport, lottery funding is helping to grow grassroots sport across the UK with new facilities and coaching that are helping communities to stay healthy, fit and active.
So, the London Games literally sucked money out of grassroots sport for elite sport.

But the London Games were so profitable they paid it all back, right?

Nope.
Three years on from the end of London 2012 and £425 million in raided lottery cash owed to charities and communities across the UK has not been repaid, and the new Government has gone silent on the issue.
Now, this bit should sound familiar to students of Canadian sports history.
However government ministers have continued to drag their feet on the issue – repeatedly suggesting that repayment may take until 2030 or beyond. Despite repeated requests the new Conservative Government has refused to make a statement on this issue. The Directory of Social Change (DSC) has led the Big Lottery Refund campaign, supported by over 3800 charities, which aims for an immediate return of the lottery cash.Well, heck, that would be only 18 years to repay Olympic debt. We've come a long way from Montreal, eh? They took 30 years to pay off $1.5B even with new taxes.

Donald Trump anounces his candidacy for the president of U.S

LeDaro - mer, 08/26/2015 - 12:03

I don't understand what is he saying. :)

On biased decisions

accidentaldeliberations - mer, 08/26/2015 - 11:05
It shouldn't come as much surprise that the Duffy trial has revealed that the Harper Cons sought to make the Senate as subservient to the PMO as the Cons' trained seals in the House of Commons:
Mr. Rathgeber said the PMO staffers’ handling of the situation was all too familiar and speaks to a “culture of invincibility” among some of the PMO staff.

“It’s shocking, but it validates everything I’ve ever said about their modus operandi. They have no ethical, or sometimes legal, boundaries and I would say without any doubt that a Senate report into expenses is a higher level of improper interference but that level of micromanagement goes on in House of Commons reports all the time,” he said.

Opposition members have long alleged that since the Conservatives have had a majority on every committee since 2011, no committee report is tabled until the PMO signs off on it.

“There is no part in the Ottawa bubble that they think is beyond their reach or their ability, quite frankly, to manipulate or control,” said Mr. Rathgeber.

“The fact that Parliament is supposed to be independent from the government and is supposed to be a check on the government is completely perverted in their view. They don’t see Parliament, either the House of Commons or the Senate, as being a check on executive power. They see the government caucus as an extension of PMO communications and their rubber stamp.”
...
Mr. Beardsley said that near the end of his time in the PMO he could see a shift toward the office “tightening up” and becoming more proactive in its “micromanagement” of issues. He has looked through the emails himself and considers them proof of what was speculated about the change in management under the succession of chiefs of staff leading up to Mr. Wright.Nor should it come as much surprise that the Cons' political direction has been based on developing excuses to reach a desired outcome, rather than actually applying rules as they stand.

But it's worth highlighting what that combination means for one of their primary attacks on the NDP.

Remember that the only decision-making body which has claimed to find a problem the NDP's parliamentary offices is the uber-secretive Board of Internal Economy - a committee of MPs with a Con majority.

The NDP has gone out of its way to have somebody evaluate its actions other than MPs acting as puppets for the PMO. And the Cons have refused any such neutral assessment.

So let's ask: is there any reason to think the BOIE's Con members operated under anything other than the PMO's instructions in sitting in judgment of a political opponent? And if not, shouldn't the Duffy scandal tell us everything we need to know as to whether that judgment is based on anything more than Stephen Harper's politically-motivated orders?

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