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Valcourt unsure about details when questioned by MPs on First Nations children, youth

Metaneos - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 17:05
APTN National News
This is a government that just doesn't care about First Nations.
When it came to detailed questions about First Nations children and youth, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt drew blanks.When it came to detailed questions, Valcourt demonstrated he didn't care, at all, to learn about the people he's supposedly responsible for, to act as a representative for. He's supposed to be a conduit, a liaison between two nations.
I don't know an awful lot of these answers offhand, but I'd sure as hell learn them good if need be.
And Valcourt needs to learn this, doubly fast.

Saturday Afternoon Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 13:19
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne writes that the great Canadian revenue debate is well underway, with far more leaders willing to push for needed taxes than in recent years:
There is new political space to talk corporate taxes again, to talk about raising them. Rachel Notley, the new NDP premier of Alberta, won on a platform that promised fair taxation, raising corporate taxes, and getting a fair share of resources for citizens.

Newfoundland and Labrador must have the same conversation and review of resource royalties.

Even the federal Liberals have realized that the tide is turning and have been forced to talk tax fairness — or their version of it. They recently released their so-called middle class tax cut coupled with a promise to cancel some of the Harper government’s tax breaks to the wealthiest. The federal NDP has also been firmly on record about tax reform and tax fairness.

The conversation is started. Let’s keep it going. The kind of Canada we want for our kids depends on it.- Scott Santens looks at the trucking industry as a prime example of how there's plenty more automation yet to come in our economy - and how we need to ensure people can make ends meet without menial jobs which can be shed in favour of machines.

- Scott Klinger discusses the tendency of U.S. conservatives - like their Canadian cousins - to hand out free money to the wealthy while simultaneously decrying the standard of living of people who are scraping to get by.

- Tavia Grant and Janet McFarland report on the problems with payday lenders - and the efforts some cities are making to at least reduce the damage they cause to citizens. And Gillian White points out the connection between underfunded transit in poorer areas and the inaccessibility of needed services. But on the brighter side, Jim Silver and Carolyn Young observe that Winnipeg's Lord Selkirk Park housing complex offers a needed example as to how to turn neglected buildings into an again-thriving community.

- Finally, APTN reports that Bernard Valcourt knows nothing about his responsibilities for First Nations, other than that he thinks he has none. And PressProgress provides the video evidence.

On complexities

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 09:47
Bruce Anderson writes that as some of us have long suspected, a true three-party federal race is developing which will create some new complications for the Cons and Libs alike. But it's worth pointing out one area where the Cons are in much worse shape than they've ever been.

Before the 2008 and 2011 elections, the Cons managed to render Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff radioactive with voters - with those leaders' approval ratings running far below the Libs' party polling results. And over the course of the campaign, an expected convergence between those numbers led to a natural decline for the Libs, while Jack Layton's personal popularity couldn't make up the gap for the NDP.

But now, while the NDP and the Libs are on an equal starting point in terms of popular support, their leaders are also well ahead of Harper (with Mulcair rating as very much liked and Trudeau roughly neutral) - meaning that the inevitable campaign focus on leadership will work to the Cons' disadvantage this time.

Put another way, to the extent the Cons have normally relied on a desperately unpopular Lib leader to lower his party's support level throughout a campaign, Trudeau isn't quite the punching bag his predecessors were. If priority one for the Cons has been to turn Trudeau into Dion or Ignatieff, that job isn't yet done.

Yet to the extent the Cons have counted on the NDP to face an insurmountable deficit in voter support which can't be made up by the public's favourite leader, that's no longer a plausible assumption either. (On that front, note that not only is the NDP higher in the polls than at the start of any recent election campaign, but Mulcair is also far more popular now than Layton ever was at the same point in any election cycle.)

So the public's appetite for change is large enough for the Cons to face serious challenges from two parties and leaders with more appeal than their own. And it doesn't look like there's anything the Cons can do to undermine either of the plausible alternatives without substantially benefitting the other: a more pointed attack against Mulcair and the NDP will only help Trudeau and the Libs, and vice versa.

Based on that conundrum, I'd think the Cons might be best off taking their chances with something truly novel for the Harper cadre: a campaign primarily oriented toward a positive case for more of the same to expand their own voter universe (however slightly) and working toward favourable splits, rather than the usual plan based on relentless attacks against a single perceived opponent. But it doesn't look like the formula which has worked in the past is going to have the same results this time.

[Update: fixed wording.]

And Speaking of Government Cheerleaders

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 06:32
Yesterday, I wrote about chief Harper sycophant Pierre Poilivre's abuse of the taxpayer through his vanity productions promoting the greatness of Dear Leader under the pretext of disseminating information about government programs. A flurry of criticism of this contemptuous behaviour yielded no signs of contrition from the minister of Democratic Reform.

Second only to Poilievre in obsequiousness is Number Two Harper fan and apologist, Paul Callandra, whose shameful performances both inside and outside of the House of Commons should be required reading and viewing for all voters. Yesterday, with his usual stalwart partisanship, he tried to justify the regular theft of tax dollars for government vanity productions on Power and Politics.

Watch only until your gorge begins to rise:

Recommend this Post

Making Sure the Majority Don't Get There.

Northern Reflections - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 05:51


Things could get ugly when the polls open on Election Day, 2015. Stephen Maher writes:

When Elections Canada mails out Voter Information Cards this fall, a new sentence in bold letters will appear at the bottom: Please note that this card is not a piece of ID.

This means that on election day, tens of thousands of people will likely turn up at their polling station, voter cards in hand, only to learn that they can’t vote.

In the last election, 400,000 Canadians used these cards to identify themselves. Another 120,171 had someone, usually a neighbour or relative, vouch for their identity.

This time there will be none of that, thanks to the Fair Elections Act passed by the Conservative government last year.
It's not that this problem was unforeseen. Harry Nuefeld, an expert on Canadian elections, warned the Conservatives that there would be problems:

“It can be anticipated that many tens of thousands of otherwise fully qualified voters will simply be unable to meet the new attestation-of-residence requirements,” he writes. "During my 33 years of election administration … my observation is that voting fraud which involves persons deciding to impersonate someone else, or find some other creative way to vote more than once, is extremely rare in this country.” 
But Pierre Poilievre, the minister responsible for ramming the "Fair" Elections Act through Parliament, would have none of it. There was potential fraud everywhere, he claimed. What he didn't say was that he and his party know that the majority of Canadians don't buy what he and they are selling. The only way to stay in power is to make sure that the majority of Canadians don't get to the polls.

Stephen Harper's Strange and Desperate Spring

Montreal Simon - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 05:06

He is still campaigning furiously all over the country, sprinkling dollars all over the place, trying to buy the next election.

But the spring has gone out Harper's step, he seems listless at times, his cold dead eyes seem deader than usual. He's packing on the pounds.

The events of the last two weeks have clearly taken a terrible toll. Every day seems to bring more bad news.

And yesterday was no exception.
Read more »

Why Bill C-51 Is Starting to Terrorize Stephen Harper

Montreal Simon - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 04:57

It couldn't be more ironic. Stephen Harper creates a monster called Bill C-51, to go after his enemies, and scare Canadians into submission.

So he can turn this country into a police state.

But before he can unleash the monster on the population, the monster slowly turns around, grunts loudly.

And starts scaring the living daylights out of Great Leader.
Read more »


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