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On points of agreement

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 18:25
Let's see if we can turn Stephen Harper's otherwise laughable spin on his PMO's widespread cover-up into a couple of points we can all agree on.

First, the ultimate responsibility for lies and cover-ups lies with superiors rather than subordinates - in Harper's own words:
Second, exactly one person fits bears that responsibility when it comes to the unethical actions of the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff and central advisors.

And there are plenty of Conservatives ready to shout down anybody who tries to suggest otherwise.

Stick puppet theatre?

A Creative Revolution - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 15:18

I get to use this graphic again!


Harper says he knows nothing. Nope. Nadda. Those emails? NO one read them to him? No one discussed anything with him, cause he is the leader. Or bubble boy. Or, the lonely king. 

Either he is a master manipulator who lets nothing past and he knew this whole gig, or, he is just a stick puppet being controlled by a staff that has gone rogue. 

Whichever way you look at it? He is incompetent. This assesment is backed up by all his poor choices in senate appointments, the pedophile who played drums in his band.....ETC. Any real economist will tell you that Canada will not have a balanced budget, and that by sending us further into austerity, we go down the crapper. 

The Tory bus is rolling through Canada. Bit bumpy with all the bodies underneath it hey? How many Tories will need to fall on their swords for their great leader this time? Bump bump!


The Power Of The Makeover

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 13:59
A FB friend put this on his page. I hope you agree that it deserves to be spread widely.

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Politically sidelined (Trigger warning)

Dawg's Blawg - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 10:49
Where would I find enough leather To cover the entire surface of the earth? But with leather soles beneath my feet, It’s as if the whole world has been covered. ~ Śāntideva When I was five years old, I saw... Dr.Dawg

Bayne Bares His Fangs, Nigel Winces

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 10:14
Mike Duffy's defence counsel, Don Bayne, has been waiting for this moment for months.

Today he began sinking his fangs into the choirboy, Nigel Wright.

It seems there was an email Wright didn't bother to hand over to the RCMP investigators. He didn't think it was "relevant." I suppose he didn't want to burden the RCMP drone who was so busy looking the other way.

Besides it wasn't a Nigel Wright email or, for that matter, a Benjamin Perrin email. It was a message from some guy named Harper. Stevie, Steve.. no Stephen Harper, that's the guy.

It was from Harper to his then principal secretary, Ray Novak, then passed on to Nigel Wright. In it this Harper guy demanded that the issue of senator Duffy's housing and expenses problems be resolved quickly.

Why did Nigel ditch that email? Because he thought it was irrelevant? Or maybe Nigel wanted to bolster the illusion that Harper wasn't directly engaged in the Duffy/Wright deal.

Next question. When did Nigel redact the email? I'll bet that was after the scandal broke, after the investigation was underway.  You know, a cynical mind could see that as obstruction of justice, not Nigel Wright housecleaning.

Nigel also denied the payment to Duffy was a "scheme." Okay, when you've got every senior aide in the PMO, the Conservative leadership in the Senate, and the executive of the Conservative Party in on it - the payment, the laundering of the Senate audit report on Duffy, the party proposing to pick up what they thought was Duffy's tab and eventually covering his legal tab, the formulation of "media lines" to deceive the public - if that's anything, it's a scheme.

Stephen Harper: "Damn those old memories"

LeDaro - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 09:34
Stephen Harper is too busy to remember what happened in the past. He rather have Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright disappear somewhere for away from Canada.

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 08:10
Assorted content to end your week.

- Althia Raj, Karl Nerenberg, Tim Harper, Jennifer Ditchburn and Kristy Kirkup, Lee Berthiaume and Jason Fekete, PressProgress and CTV News all point out some of the more noteworthy aspects of Nigel Wright's testimony in Mike Duffy's trial (along with the large amount of material brought to light as a result). Frank Koller observes that we should be insulted by Wright's belief that full cover-ups can be bought, while Sandy Garossino highlights how quickly Wright's talking points fell apart once they were subject to meaningful scrutiny. The Star, the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen and all see the inside look Wright and the rest of Harper's PMO as signalling a dishonest and corrupt government. And the At Issue review of yesterday's events is well worth a view:

- Ben Casselman takes a look at how much less we know about Canada due to the Cons' destruction of the census.

- Tom Sandborn argues that among the many other reasons to be wary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it would make Canada complicit in large-scale human rights abuses.

- CBC reports on CMHC's assessment of Canada's high-risk housing markets. And both Seth Klein and Michal Rozworski note that the Cons' attempt to artificially prop up prices only figures to make matters worse without improving access to housing.

- Finally, Jeremy Nuttall offers a primer on the NDP's $15 minimum wage proposal. Robert Solow discusses why wages haven't kept up with profits or productivity. And Kevin Drum calls out corporate apologists who complain about labour shortages while refusing to pay employees enough to want to work for them.

Asked and answered

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 07:51
The problem with basing a party's rhetoric on theories which can be directly and obviously disproven by events beyond their control is that events happen.

With that in mind, over to you, people whinging about the candidates for Finance Minister under an NDP government:

The NDP Leader also announced that Toronto resident and former Saskatchewan Finance Minister, Andrew Thomson, will run for the Party against Conservative Finance Minister, Joe Oliver.

“Andrew has the experience and strong fiscal record that Canada needs to get the economy on track and create greater opportunity for the middle class. I am very pleased to welcome him to our team," said Mulcair.

Thomson served as Finance Minister in the Saskatchewan government throughout 2006 and 2007. Under Thomson’s leadership, the province posted a balanced budget, a significant budget surplus and strong economic growth.

And Now For You Youngsters Out There

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 06:59
Those words, or something very similar, were often uttered by Ed Sullivan when he had an act that would appeal to a youthful demographic. People of a certain age, or, because the Mound of Sound recently chided me about my use of euphemisms, old farts like me, will remember those times.

Today, it is hard to find something in the political spectacle of campaigns to appeal to the youngsters out there. Nonetheless, comedian Scott Vrooman warns them that political disengagement, and its logical conclusion, the refusal to vote, are not viable options:

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What Those Emails Tell Us

Northern Reflections - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 06:13

When the Duffy trial re-opened this week, a 426 page binder of emails was introduced into evidence. Doanld Savoie writes that what they tell us is that:

Staffers from the Prime Minister’s Office roamed the corridors of the Senate as if it were an extension of their office. Audit reports were regarded as little more than briefing notes to be carefully managed by the centre. What truly matters in government now is the ability to manage the “blame game,” and it seems that only those operating at the centre have the required political clout to dictate how it should be managed. If PMO staffers think that they are free to tell the Senate how it should go about its work, one can only imagine what it must be like for ministers, their staffs and senior public servants whose careers are tied directly to the wishes of the prime minister.
The concentration of power in the Prime Minister's Office isn't new. It began with Pierre Trudeau. However, under Stephen Harper:

We have created a two-tier system of government in Ottawa, or an upstairs-downstairs to governing. More to the point, governing from the centre has created a fault line in the government where things that matter to the prime minister and his immediate advisers are brought above the line and dealt with quickly and effectively. Only the prime minister and his advisers will decide what belongs above the fault line. It can be anything from a decision to go to war while not consulting the relevant ministers – let alone the cabinet – down to a $90,000 problem considered sufficiently important to generate 450+ pages of e-mails. Under these circumstances, why would anyone other than a career politician want to run for Parliament?

The e-mails are revealing in many ways. There is no evidence that the bureaucracy from the Privy Council Office, the Canada Revenue Agency or other departments was involved or even consulted. One would think, for example, that the CRA could have provided some advice on residence status under the Income Tax Act.
What does not matter to the prime minister and his advisers is pushed down below the fault line. Here, ministers and departments are expected to run on their tracks and not create fodder for the blame game. Here, public servants are also expected to attend countless meetings and deal with a growing array of oversight bodies that would not be tolerated in any other sector.
With Parliament losing relevance, with regional ministers no longer enjoying standing either inside government or in their region, with nothing of substance belonging to line ministers and their departments any more and with the concentration of political power at the centre, governing has become a process of political and economic elites talking to other political elites. This is where the public interest now takes shape, not through evidence-based policy advice.
Stephen Harper boasted that we wouldn't recognize Canada when he was through with it. Donald Savoie believes that it is barely recognizable now. If Mr. Harper is re-elected, it will be beyond repair.


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