Posts from our progressive community

On Canada's East Coast, a Mirror Image

The Disaffected Lib - sam, 08/27/2016 - 12:32

I've written a number of posts on the influx of marine life into our local waters around Vancouver Island. It's like the entire food chain has shifted north, away from the warming Pacific waters to the south. It begins with bigger schools of herring and the arrival of sardines. As the prey fish migrate so too do their predators. As a result we've seen large increases across the board from prey fish to schools of dolphins, transient orcas, seals and sea lions, various once rare fish species, even pelicans.

Not surprisingly, Eastern Canada is witnessing the same thing. CBC News reports there's been a big uptick of marine biodiversity in the St. Lawrence River. Again it seems that the migration of prey fish, in this case capelin, may be the proximate cause.

[Quebec marine biologist Lyne Morisette] said observers have spotted more capelin than in summers past. Capelin are small fish that serve an important role in the ecosystem, feeding whales, seals, cod and sea birds.

She said in some places off the Gaspé coast, there are so many capelin that if you take a bucket out into one foot of water, you could catch a few.

One explanation could be the warmer water — the water temperature is about two degrees higher than it was a decade ago, she said.

"All species will adapt to that, either physically [to] be able to live in the warmer environment, or they'll move somewhere else" and be replaced by warm-water species moving north, she said.

Even Maine's vaunted lobster fishery is being hammered by warming waters. Fishermen there are coming up empty-handed as the lobsters are migrating into cooler Canadian waters.
This should be a warning to the world that climate change is upon us and it's coming on faster than we had imagined. There's no hoax behind the migration of fish, marine mammals and seabirds. They do pretty much as they like and we're damned fools if we don't heed their warning.

BDS, May And Israel’s Occupation

Politics and its Discontents - sam, 08/27/2016 - 09:32

The title for this post I took from the online flurry of letters that brought out the usual voices in The Star. I will reproduce a number below that both support and demonize the movement to sanction Israel for its depraved mistreatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories. I remain convinced that words will accomplish nothing in this long and ongoing heartache. Only strong and principled action has a chance of success. For that reason alone, no concerted effort to label people like me and others who support the cause as anti-semitic will have any effect whatsoever.

Re: May shouldn’t run away from boycott, Opinion Aug. 22

Thank you very much for your publishing Linda McQuaig’s powerful piece. As a Jewish-Canadian, I am deeply concerned about our collective failure to hold Israel accountable for its war crimes, human rights violations and ongoing military occupation of Palestine. Support for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is not only growing among campuses, church and union groups, it is also increasing in our Jewish communities.

Why have we been silent? Why have we not understood that it is not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel. It is, in fact, pro-human rights and taking the collective wisdom of our peoples’ histories of being persecuted. Tragically, we know the impact of global silence in the face of state terror.

Those of use who care deeply about Palestinian human rights were thrilled to see the Green Party take a courageous stand in support of BDS. I am very hopeful that Elizabeth May will support this position. This is not a radical position. It is simply taking a very obvious, peaceful stance against violence.

Unfortunately, people who publicly criticize Israel (including journalists and Jewish people) are subject to violent threats and accusations of anti-Semitism.

Much gratitude to Linda McQuaig for her excellent commentary and her courage to speak out about such an important issue. And thanks to the Star for printing this. Although you will likely receive pushback from pro-Israel folks, please know you that you are giving voice to a position supported by many of us.

Alisa Gayle, Toronto

The problem with Ms McQuaig and her fellow travelers’ support of BDS is that it singles out Israel, not just in the region but amongst the nations of the world, and does nothing to move along the peace process. To say that the solution to the 100-year conflict lies solely on one side can only be rationalized by someone wearing blinders.

Ms May’s thoughtful rejection of supporting this movement should be praised. Ms McQuaig is the one to be admonished for her stance.

Morris Sosnovitch, Toronto

I agree with writer Linda McQuaig. The leader of the Green Party should not only stay but work as hard as ever that her party does not become the hijacked home base of the anti-Israel bashing club that singularly focuses on Israel and excludes all others.

The solidarity with Palestine is all well and fine except that there is only silence for the people of Sudan and Syria who we see slaughtered daily on a scale that is horrific and cruel.

The military occupation over Palestinian lands will end when there is trust and a true commitment in place to build peace based on a two-state solution by both sides. Peace will never flow by punishing and demonizing one side in a complicated two-sided conflict.

Elizabeth May needs to stay to fight for the soul of her party. She needs to ensure that the Green Party remains committed to real principles and not false narratives.

Martin Gladstone, Toronto

Linda McQuaig’s article presents several incorrect statements and a false narrative. BDS is not a “peaceful way to protest” Israel’s perceived misteps – it is an odious attempt to delegitimize the State of Israel. Palestinians live under Israeli occupation because Jordan refused to stay out of the Six Day War, forcing Israel’s hand to take the West Bank from Jordanian occupation. And the author fails to state that West Bank Palestinian Arabs enjoy far more rights than anywhere else in the Middle East.

David E. Bronfman, Toronto

The suggestion that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic is rooted in a narrative created by those who support the 49-year-long illegal occupation of Palestine. The ongoing violations by Israel of international human rights and humanitarian laws, the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions are why the majority of Green Party members and others support BDS.

The desperate situation in Palestine has been thoroughly documented by reputable human rights agencies such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Defence for Children International.

This year the Israeli government has significantly reduced the water supply to Palestinians. In addition, in comparison to 2015, the Israelis have increased the rates of arrests of Palestinian children and youth and increased their destruction of Palestinian homes leaving Palestinian children homeless.

Those in the media have the responsibility to read the evidence regarding the situation in Palestine compiled by internationally credible non-governmental agencies before they accuse the BDS movement of anti-Semitism.

Rev. Steve Berube, co-chair, United Network for a Just Peace in Palestine and IsraelRecommend this Post

Michael Harris On The Shabby Legacy of Stephen Harper

Montreal Simon - sam, 08/27/2016 - 05:37

Yesterday I wrote a short post about Stephen Harper's legacy. 

It had to be short because there wasn't much legacy to write about.

Only the lingering stench of a nightmare that had to be lived to be believed.

And after spending every single day for almost ten years writing about Harper and his filthy un-Canadian regime I'm just about out of words.

So I thought I'd let Michael Harris, who fought the tyrant so well, render the final verdict.
Read more »

Not With A Bang

Northern Reflections - sam, 08/27/2016 - 05:04

When he was defeated by his arch nemeses -- the Liberals -- and by the young upstart he claimed simply "wasn't ready," Stephen Harper went dark. Michael Harris writes:

He gave not a single interview after getting waxed in the 2015 election by Justin Trudeau. Las Vegas proved more attractive to the MP from Calgary Heritage than the House of Commons, where, post-defeat, he lurked rather than sat. And while he was doing little for his constituents other than cashing his paycheck, he did find time to set up his political consulting company in Calgary after a few visits to U.S. casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is the man who has promised, but not yet delivered, $100 million to support Donald Trump’s presidential bid.

Even Harper’s resignation was an in-house Harper job, controlling — and distorting — the message until the very end. Steve writing his own report card, as he did while in office. (Did Ray Novak shoot that cheesy video?)
Perhaps he thought that, after a good night's sleep, it would all go away. But it won't. His record will remain:

Here’s the real story. This ersatz economist delivered seven consecutive fiscal deficits and ran through the $13.8 billion surplus handed to him by the outgoing Liberal government of Paul Martin in a single year. The country’s economy grew at a snail’s pace, wages stagnated — and then the Great Navigator denied that the Great Recession of 2008 was happening during the federal election of the same year.

Throughout most of that time — while he was smothering critics, stifling information flow, practising vigilante justice on people like Mike Duffy and Helena Guergis without facts, attacking the Supreme Court, promoting unconstitutional legislation and surrounding himself with people even Trump might not feel comfortable with — nobody called him out for what he was. They were too afraid, because this guy took down numbers.
Neo-liberalism predated Harper's rise. And it lives on after it. But yesterday Stephen Harper's political career ended -- not with a bang but a whimper.

Michelle Rempel's Scary and Vulgar Twitter Meltdown

Montreal Simon - sam, 08/27/2016 - 02:40

As I'm sure you know, Michelle Rempel had a huge crush on Stephen Harper. 

A crush tempered only by her even stronger desire to have his job.

And as I'm sure you also know she's also a lover of fine wines...

So I'm sorry to report that when she heard that Harper had resigned, her love for him, and her love of wine, may have led to her worst Twitter meltdown EVER !!!!
Read more »

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 08/26/2016 - 17:23
Vanessa Peters - 206 Bones

Two Takes on Shifty Steve

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 08/26/2016 - 16:02
 You would never know they were talking about the same guy, Stephen J. Harper.

According to Kinsella, Shifty was an okay guy deep down. If only we had been as privileged to know him as WK did, we'd see him much differently and so it's "farewell, good luck and God speed."

For a slightly different take there's Michael Harris' eulogy, "Goodbye Harper, Good Riddance. How do you sum up the career of a guy who betrayed every ideal he claimed to cherish?"

In this passage, Harris lays bare our once prime ministerial malevolence:

Stephen Harper was Donald Trump before Trump was Trump, right down to the bigotry, fear-mongering, divisiveness, scapegoating, and profound anti-democratic impulses that had Canada’s entire parliamentary structure tottering, according to experts like Peter Milliken and Robert Marleau.

While others will remember amusing episodes involving personal encounters with Harper, I will remember the look on the face of Canada’s former nuclear safety commissioner, Linda Keen, while she recounted her personal destruction at the hands of his government because she wouldn’t sell out her mandate.

It was the same look I saw in Richard Colvin’s eyes when the former diplomat was smeared by Harper and Peter MacKay for the high crime of telling what he knew about the as-yet-unresolved Afghan detainee affair.

WK may fawn over the guy but Harper was a mean-spirited, brutal prick as a prime minister and, as Harris notes, the country is well rid of him. Even the dregs of the Conservatives who carry on admit as much.

Stephen Harper's Legacy

Creekside - ven, 08/26/2016 - 15:59

Ten years ago on the day Stephen Harper and his Conservative government were first elected into office, US Ambassador David Wilkins sent home a diplomatic cable outlining how the US could best support and direct a prime minister whose values were "not in line" with most Canadians. 

He recommended Harper would be useful in "advancing the US agenda for Canada" and that giving him " a success story" like the softwood lumber deal would "shore up his credentials" with Canadians without appearing to "sell out to the Americans".

Ambassador Wilkins "transformational agenda" for Harper :

"Cross border law enforcement" "enhanced information sharing", "joint maritime operations", "more robust counter-narcotics efforts", "security perimeter", following the US lead on Haiti, Afghanistan, Iran, Venezuela, Colombia, ...

Has Canada done anything independent of this cable under Harper?

Harper has left the building

Dawg's Blawg - ven, 08/26/2016 - 14:42
I could do this the long way—reviewing Harper’s miserable ten-year caudillist reign over the majority of Canadians who didn’t want him. Item by item. But why? We all know. So, then, the short way. Buzz off, little man, from... Dr.Dawg

What Will Be Stephen Harper's Legacy?

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 08/26/2016 - 13:23

I'm not sure Stephen Harper will leave any particularly lasting impression on the Canadian public. Thinking back on his near decade in power, what do you consider his cardinal achievement?

Becoming prime minister provides no assurance you'll be very good at it. Many are fairly mediocre. I think Harper falls squarely in that category.

Pierre Trudeau stands, perhaps unfairly, as the yardstick by which later prime ministers are measured and found lacking. There have been three major governments since Trudeau - Mulroney, Chretien and Harper. For what shall they be remembered?

Mulroney gave Canada the GST and, even with this additional revenue flooding into Ottawa, nearly bankrupted the nation. He desperately sought to carve out his niche with first the Meech Lake and then the Charlottetown Accords to amend the constitution. He brought Lucien Bouchard into federal politics only to drive him back out into the arms of Quebec separatism. Mulroney's legacy is encapsulated in Stevie Cameron's book, "On the Take." Any residual doubts about the seedy side of Mulroney's regime were put to rest with the Karlheinz Schreiber affair and cash-stuffed envelopes crossing tables in Montreal coffee shops.

Next up was Jean Chretien, the gruff, straight-talking guy from Shawinigan. Chretien did deliver three majority governments but that was largely pushing on an open door. Mulroney was enough to ensure that his majority Progressive Conservatives were handed a crushing, 2-seat catastrophe in Chretien's first win. After that the Right ruptured. Western conservatives were lured away to Preston Manning's Reform Party. In Quebec many supporters drifted to the Bloc Quebecois. With the Right in disarray, Liberal victories were all but assured.

The Chretien government did wrestle Canada's near lethal national debt and deficit to the ground. They went from an annual deficit in the $37-billion range to annual surpluses, paying down a significant chunk of the national debt along the way. In fairness this was largely the work of Chretien's finance minister, Paul Martin. It was also achieved by slashing federal transfers to provinces, municipalities and territories.

On Chretien's watch Canada came within a hair of losing a Quebec sovereignty referendum. The federal government was pretty blase about the whole business, confident of success, until the polling numbers showed the sovereigntists were winning. It took a massive effort by Canadians of all walks from all corners of the country to save Canada's bacon. Not exactly Chretien's greatest moment.

And then there was the scandal that Stephen Harper rode to power, the Sponsorship Scandal. This happened on Chretien's watch. Fortunately for Paul Martin it occurred while he was sidelined by Chretien over his ambitions to replace the prime minister.

Add it all up and you wind up with another mediocre premiership. In terms of the nation's collective memory, it's pretty much already forgotten.

There were no real achievements for Harper either. No Constitution, no Charter of Rights and Freedoms. No flag. No Nobel prize. Nothing much really.

He rode to office on the Sponsorship Scandal to which he promised transparency and accountability and proceeded to deliver neither - a lot of neither, nine years' worth of neither.

He wasted no time defunding the federal government and ordering slot machines and roulette wheels for Canada's chartered banks but the crash of 2008 arrived just before Harper could manage to leave Canada's financial system undefended.

Perhaps Harper's legacy should be measured by the attributes with which he governed - secrecy, deception, fear mongering and incrementalism. You always felt like he was sizing you up, ready to make his move on your wallet.

Democracy eroded significantly under Harper's rule. He gagged first the public service and then the armed forces, cutting them off from the Canadian public and transforming them into his personal partisan agencies. He used fear as a powerful weapon but he used it against his own supporters to coerce their backing. Harper was a devious manipulator.

What did he accomplish? In what way did he leave Canada a better place than he found it? I really cannot think of anything. I can't. There's a logical explanation for that. It comes from Harper's BFF(N) (Best Friend for Now), Tom Flanagan who years ago let the cat out of the bag in an address to a gathering on Saltspring Island. Flanagan described his long time friend as a man to whom vision was anathema. He utterly eschewed vision and, hence, strove to accomplish nothing of any significance. Perhaps Harper had watched Mulroney flounder on the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords and resolved never to take that sort of risk himself. Who knows?

No, I think that Mulroney, Chretien and Harper will be consigned to footnotes in history books. Mulroney at least strove for the brass ring but he failed. Harper will be remembered for the scars he left but in a decade or so they'll heal and fade and, with them, so will the memory of Stephen Joseph Harper.

Taking Responsibility for the Carnage

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 08/26/2016 - 10:55

Our federal government - not the last one, the new one - the Liberal government, has to accept that Canada is now complicit in the carnage and humanitarian disaster of Yemen.

Just because we don't acknowledge the existence of the "coalition" or that it's headed by Saudi Arabia, not the United States, doesn't mean we're not part of it, a partner. In today's Globe and Mail, Elizabeth Renzetti writes that Yemen is the war Canada cannot afford to ignore

This brutal conflict should be in the spotlight, especially in countries that supply arms to Saudi Arabia, which leads the coalition accused of causing most of the civilian deaths. Countries such as Canada.

This year, the Liberal government approved $15-billion in sales of light-armoured vehicles (LAVs) to the Saudi kingdom, a sale that gave this country the dubious honour of being the second-greatest exporter of arms to the Middle East, The Globe and Mail’s Steven Chase reported in June. Earlier versions of Canadian-made LAVS seem to have been used in the war against Houthi rebels in Yemen, The Globe reported in February.

Human-rights groups protested against the sale, but otherwise there has been little public outcry.

The government’s argument for selling the combat vehicles to a country with an abysmal human-rights record boiled down to, “it creates jobs,” and “if we don’t, someone else will.” Those are lousy arguments for a country aiming to be a leader in global freedom and progress.

...The war in Yemen is said to be a proxy war that Saudi Arabia is waging with Iran through the Houthi militia, but there’s nothing proxy about a bomb landing on a wedding celebration.

“The resilience of the Yemeni people has been stretched beyond human limits,” the UN report warns. It calls for an independent report into the civilian devastation, which may be cold comfort to the people who are being bombed in marketplaces, schools, factories and hospitals.

A ceasefire ended in early August, which has caused the destruction to increase again. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) recently withdrew its staff from six hospitals in northern Yemen, after a devastating hospital bombing on Aug. 15 killed 19 and injured 24.

MSF said it gave the GPS co-ordinates of its facilities to the warring parties. Announcing its pullout from the region, the medical aid group said: “MSF is neither satisfied nor reassured by the Saudi-led coalition’s statement that this attack was a mistake.”

...“The United States is complicit in this carnage,”The New York Times wrote in an editorial about the war in Yemen this week.

If the United States is the No. 1 supplier of arms to the Middle East, Canada is now No.2, according to figures compiled by the defence-industry publisher IHS Jane’s and reported in The Globe in June.

Let's be honest. If this was going on under the Harper government, Liberal critics would be having a field day of righteous indignation. When it's their team holding the reins they either rationalize it or look the other way.

In case you're wondering about the picture above, that's a Saudi F-15 pilot's flight suit and behind him, slug on a stores rack, is a cluster bomb.

The Day Stephen Harper Finally Resigned

Montreal Simon - ven, 08/26/2016 - 10:07

Yes, it's true. After living high off the hog for about ten months after he was defeated and humiliated, the mad emperor has finally left the building.

Stephen Harper has finally resigned.

Stephen Harper is stepping down from Parliament and going into business, hoping that his credentials as a former G7 leader will lead to a successful consulting career on the international stage.

Now please stand by for a message from Great Fallen Leader.
Read more »

Hoist on His Own Orange Petard

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 08/26/2016 - 09:39

Poor old Donald Trump just exploded in his own face. He is, as Shakespeare would say, hoist on his own petard.

A bit of history. A petard was the original shaped charge device. It was a bell-shaped explosive that, when pressed against a fortified door and ignited, would blow a hole clean through it. However, if the petardier wasn't careful, it could explode in his face and he'd be hoist on his own petard. See dandy depiction below:

So, what does all this have to do with the Orange Bloat? Well, plenty. Early on, Donny Loudmouth got a lot of support by promising, once in the White House, he'd expel the roughly 12-million illegal aliens living in America. And then he promised to build a wall to keep them from coming back. And didn't the White Trash eat that shit up.

Now Dumbo is backtracking. Apparently he saw how his numbers in a certain essential ethnic community are tanking. So now he's only going to deport those who have committed crimes while in the Promised Land. The rest, says his Beneficence, can stay.

Oooh, not so fast. Trump White Trasher in Chief, Sarah Palin, doesn't like that kind of lefty talk. She's warned Trump, via the Wall Street Journal, that Bloato's support will just erode away if he abandons his core promises -  i.e. if he fails to make America great again for angry white folks with marginal reproductive standards.

And if Sarah has her knickers in a bunch, that's nothing compared to the fury of another Trump backer, Ann Coulter. Just this week, Coulter's latest book, "In Trump We Trust," hit the bookshelves. Now she's barking mad over Trump's betrayal. And Annie's not alone. Some are saying Trump just threw away his last chance at winning in November.

“Incorrect descriptions of this: pivot, softening, moderating. Correct descriptions of this: 180, total reversal, flip-flop,” Tim Alberta, chief political correspondent for the conservative National Review, wrote on Twitter.

“Trump probably just threw away his only remaining chance to win in November with Wednesday’s Jeb Bush impersonation,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, wrote in the National Review. “Many of the voters who stuck with him through his various antics will start drifting away.”

Now I'm sure that Ann Coulter, being a lady of high and resolute principle, will have already been on to her publisher with directions to have every copy of her new book pulped forthwith. Nah.

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 08/26/2016 - 07:55
Assorted content to end your week.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on a new Ontario study recommending a strong investment in child care to reduce the gender wage gap.

- Allan Moscovitch, Nick Falvo and David Macdonald offer a useful primer on social supports for seniors in Canada. And Marybeth Shinn, Scott Brown, Michelle Wood and Daniel Gubits examine (PDF) several options to address homelessness, finding that permanent housing subsidies are most effective in promoting housing stability and other benefits.

- James Wilt makes the case for the Libs to put an end to fatally-flawed pipeline review processes, rather than pretending that the Cons' biased structures serve as anything but rubber stamps which do nothing to confer social license. But Travis Lupick notes that restrictive rules around supervised injection sites are just another area where the Libs' plan is to continue on with the policies they criticized while in opposition.

- Jeremy Deaton and Mina Lee chart the health effects of climate change. And Shayndi Raice points out that paid sick leave works wonders in reducing the spread of the flu.

- Finally, Guy Caron continues his series discussing tax evasion by pointing out the urgent need for government follow-up when tax avoidance schemes surface in the public eye.

It'll Be Good to See His Heels

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 08/26/2016 - 07:07

Stephen Harper will officially take his leave from Parliament today.  He will be missed by a few - energy producers, pipeline operators, and the Tar Sanders to be sure. The Fraser Institute may mourn his passing. Ditto for the Sun media guys.

All in all, it'll be a pretty minuscule lot that will offer Shifty a moment of silence. For one who clung to power tenaciously, Stephen Harper left the country visibly unchanged - certainly not a better place.

Perhaps he did a lot to douse the embers of progressivism  in the Liberal ranks and the NDP to boot. On Harper's watch our mainstream political parties abandoned labour in Canada. Even the New Dems stopped fighting for unions. That's a huge loss because one of the most important roles of any democracy is to bring balance to the constant struggle between labour and capital. Even Teddy Roosevelt knew that.

Stephen Harper won't live on in our hearts, mainly because we were never truly in his. It remains to be seen but there's a real chance he will live on, unacknowledged but real, in the minds of Canada's political caste. His embrace of neoliberalism will be carried on in their embrace of neoliberalism and, so long as that is perpetuated, progressivism in Canada will be just a collection of ideals shelved and gathering dust. That just may be Stephen Harper's real legacy.

Hell's Bells, let's get it over with. How about a trip down Memory Lane?

And, we can always remember him by this:

It's Not Easy Being Orange

Northern Reflections - ven, 08/26/2016 - 04:31

It would be a lot easier if social democratic governments were elected during flush times. But voters turn to social democrats when time are tough. Consider the case of Rachel Notley's government in Alberta. Tom Walkom writes:

Notley was elected last May on a wave of discontent. The ruling Progressive Conservatives were seen as out of touch. Their fiscal solutions — spending cuts plus tax increases for the middle class — were thought unfair.

Some voters moved to the even more right-of-centre Wildrose Party. Others gravitated to the NDP, with its call for higher taxes on corporations and the rich, action on climate change and more spending on infrastructure, health and education.
On winning power, Notley moved quickly to implement part of her platform. She raised taxes for corporations and the well-to-do. She also announced a new carbon tax set to take effect next year.She did all of this without antagonizing the main corporate players in Alberta’s oilsands.
If oil were still bringing in $100 a barrel, Notley would be doing swimmingly. But such is not the case:
The collapse in world oil prices and the consequent recession in Alberta have changed everything.
A fiscal update this week from the provincial finance department predicts that Alberta’s economy will shrink by 2.7 per cent this year, while the unemployment rate will hover at about 8 per cent.Government stimulus is expected to create 10,000 new jobs this year. But that number will be swamped by the 50,000 jobs already lost to the oil-price induced recession.
Thanks in part to the Fort McMurray fire, Alberta will face a $10.9 billion deficit this year. The government’s books are not expected to reach balance until 2024.
Still, Notley is sticking to her guns:
The NDP government insists it will stay the course — that it will not slash government spending and that it will continue to fight the recession with fiscal stimulus.
Logic is on Notley’s side. Her government may be running deficits. But net debt as a percentage of the province’s gross domestic product is still below 4 per cent, a remarkably low measure. By comparison, Ontario’s debt to GDP ratio is about 40 per cent.
Her promise to wean Alberta’s economy away from its reliance on the vagaries of world oil prices should, in today’s context, have even more urgency.
And her job-creation measures, while not enough to make up completely for the collapse in the oil economy, are better than nothing. Still, the pressure on her government to change course promises to be intense.
Will she? Bob Rae did. And those of us who live in Ontario remember how that turned out. 
Image: Codie McLachlan / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Why Do So Many Cons Want To Kill Justin Trudeau?

Montreal Simon - ven, 08/26/2016 - 03:23

A few weeks ago I was at a party in Edinburgh, and once they found out I was a Canadian, everyone I met wanted to ask me about Justin Trudeau.

Had I ever met him? Was he as cool as he seemed? When will he legalize marijuana?(So they know when to visit Canada.)

And how they wished he was their Prime Minister.

And although I was forced to admit that I hadn't voted for Justin. Which was embarrassing eh?

When I stumbled back to my hotel room, I was feeling pretty good about myself and my country.

Until I saw this story.
Read more »

What Exactly Is Jason Kenney Peddling in Alberta?

Montreal Simon - ven, 08/26/2016 - 00:02

I've always thought that Jason Kenney was a bit of a snake oil salesman.

For what else can explain that after spending twenty years in Ottawa he should think he's the only one who can unite the right in Alberta?

Or explain why he thinks that Canadians should keep paying him his MP's salary, while he campaigns for another job?

But now I really have to wonder what exactly is that ghastly Con peddling?
Read more »

Practice What You Preach, Junior

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 08/25/2016 - 18:35

Justin Trudeau is talking "vision." CBC reports he had this to say at a caucus meeting in Saguenay, Quebec:

"As a government, we need to look 40 years down the road, not just four. To the next generation, not just to the next election."

Nice talk but does he mean it? Given his track record to date Trudeau hasn't shown much, if any, regard for the next generation.

For example, with the Earth's temperatures already soaring to one record high after another, his government insists on pimping the world's highest cost/highest carbon fossil fuels, bitumen. What does he imagine that's going to do for the next generation?

Despite a growing consensus that now includes the International Monetary Fund that globalism is both a drag on world economies and fueling dangerous levels of inequality, the Dauphin prides himself on being a free trader in the global markets.

The hard truth is that there can be nothing good for the next generation premised on a continuation of neoliberalism, the default operating system Slick inherited from Shifty and seems determined to perpetuate.

It's nice talk but we had plenty of that from Junior in the last election campaign and, ever since, whenever he's come up to the hard issues, he's buckled and retreated.

He's lost my trust and, with it, my respect. He can always earn it back and I so wish he would but it's going to take more than words. I know the value of his words.

The year without a summer

Cathie from Canada - jeu, 08/25/2016 - 12:32
So I got sick in early July, and I am finally just recovering now -- just the flu, originally, but then I couldn't eat anything, then got diverticulosis -- awful -- and I'm finally just coming out of it now.  I'm still not eating normally, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.But basically I missed summer this year.  I hope we have a really long, nice fall!


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