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Coalition Redux

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 06:02

Never ones to shy away from expressing strong opinions, Toronto Star readers weigh in again on the best way to try to defeat Mr. Harper in the next election:

Re: Pondering a union of moderates, Letters Jan. 10
Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau must get their heads together. Prior to 2006, the federal conservative parties realized they were fighting each other. They became one party and have been in power ever since. In 2011, with a vote increase from approximately 37 per cent to 39 per cent, they went from a minority to a majority government.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper could win again in 2015 unless the left unites. NDP and Liberal issues and policies may vary slightly but they are heading in the same direction. If they don’t join, Harper will be one of the longest reigning prime ministers even though, by far, he is the worst prime minister ever, taking that title from (I’m sure) a relieved Brian Mulroney.

Let’s review some of his highlights. He promised to be transparent and accountable. Not so. United Arab Emirates allowed our military to use its military bases and hospitals, and they flew soldiers home at no cost to Canada. When Harper refused UAE commercial flights into Canada, we lost that privilege. This has cost Canada at least $300 million for an alternate airbase.

Harper wanted to buy 65 F35 jets from an American company, even though the U.S. air force wouldn’t because the jets were flawed. Because of Harper’s hawkishness, Canada was kicked out of the UN Security Council. He taught us that proroguing is not something you eat. He is the only prime minister in Commonwealth history to be held in contempt of Parliament.
Harper hired Deloitte Consulting for advice on how to handle finances. And yet before the election, he told us he had the means to balance the budget. He said he would be tough on crime, and then scrapped the long gun registry.

When Jean Chrétien’s Liberals chose not to fight in the illegal war in Iraq, Harper wrote a letter to the U.S. apologizing for Canada’s refusal. He promised Senate reform. Didn’t happen. Instead he stacked the Senate in his favour.

In 2011, the postal workers went on a rotating strike. Harper said that commerce relies heavily on the mail. So what did he do? He locked out the postal workers, so no mail was delivered. Sounds like a Monty Python skit.

He silenced the scientists for fear they may show evidence of climate change. Nothing gets said or done unless it goes through him first. Hence, the label he has acquired: Party of One.

John Vesprini, Stoney CreekFirst, to paraphrase Churchill, “first past the post is the worst form of election possible, except for all the others.”

All proportional representation does is transfer power to small parties, far in excess of their voter turnout. That is one reason the NDP supports it. You will discover that, and express your malcontent, when a hard-right party wins a balance of power with 15 to 20 per cent of the vote.

Second, why is it that right-wing parties are routinely cited by letter writers with the “61 per cent voted against this government” and left-wing parties are not? Kathleen Wynne won a majority with 38.2 per cent of the vote, but none of the letter writers acknowledged that fact.

Based on election results from the last two elections, in Ontario Stephen Harper enjoyed the support of 44 per cent of actual voters, and 27 per cent of eligible voters, while Kathleen Wynne had 38 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

Finally, the Conservative party did receive the plurality of votes cast in the last election, on a party basis. There are four parties on the left, which split the so-called “progressive” vote.

Two parties splitting the “right” vote cost us 10 years of Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government. Until the “progressives” unite, we will continue to get a government elected by a majority of Canadians, on a party basis.

Alan McDonald, TrentonAs I have said before, it is doubtful that a uniting of progressives will take place before the upcoming election. It may be seriously entertained afterwards, if Harper is re-elected with another majority. However, if that happens, I suspect it will be too little, far too late.

Thirst for personal power will have triumphed over the public good, once again.Recommend this Post

The Conservative Broadsided Corporation

Creekside - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 06:00

Noam Chomsky : "That's the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don't work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital."

All graphics from Friends of Canadian Broadcasting

I get Dr Dawg's point : "Dismantle. Then remantle out of new material" 

But I'm afraid once the goal of dismantling is achieved, there will be no remantling.
More likely, just as the dismantling is almost complete, the Cons will keep a severely controlled ConBullshitCorp limping along on an ever shorter leash as a somewhat less ridiculous version of SunNews.

CBC is really just a reflection of our society at large - a whole lot of self-serving repetitive corporate-driven drivel interspersed with occasionally rewarded bright sparks of public-spirit, principles, and courage.

So how about we support those who splash some much-needed cold water on CBC from time to time without actually drowning the CBC in the Cons corporate cronies' bathtub :


Now Is The Time, Justin

Northern Reflections - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 05:47


Talk of proportional representation has been around for a long time. Linda McQuaig writes:

The most widely-supported version of PR for Canada — called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) — is used in Germany, Scotland and New Zealand, and has the advantage of combining local representation with a seat count in the legislature based on the popular vote. MMP was recommended by the Law Commission of Canada in a 2004 report on Canadian electoral reform. It has the support of nonpartisan groups like Fair Vote Canada and the Canadian Electoral Alliance.
And, last month, exactly such a proposal was presented to the House. It had the support of the NDP, the Green Party and 16 Liberal MP's. Curiously, Justin Trudeau voted against the proposal. The question is why? Stephen Harper is the incarnation of the argument for PR:

The rise of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives — with their aggression, their willingness to flout democratic rules and traditions, their indifference to the interests of those who didn’t vote for them — has highlighted the danger of an over-empowered minority in an urgent new way.
With only 39.5 per cent of the popular vote in the 2011 election (plus an unquantifiable amount of hubris), the Harper government has exercised 100 per cent control over Parliament, using that power to sabotage international efforts on climate change and implement a whole range of other policies at odds with the values of most Canadians.
McQuaig suggests that a minority government may, indeed, be what we are left with after this year's election:

A minority government is distinctly possible — and opposition parties undoubtedly would work together to ensure the end of the Harper government.

That could involve some kind of deal between them, a deal which should require the implementation of proportional representation in order to ensure a permanent guarantee of greater democracy.
If Trudeau the Younger is serious about democratic reform, he should be talking about proportional representation.

All The Ways Stephen Harper Could Soon Be Gone

Montreal Simon - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 04:20

It's one of my fondest dreams, the day Stephen Harper finally leaves. And it can't happen soon enough.

Because I honestly believe that him and his ghastly Cons are losing touch with reality, or think they can brainwash us all.

And that we are all FOOLS.

Because there he was in that latest Con propaganda video I ran last night. Telling Canadians that even though he blew the surplus before he had one, and even though experts are warning he's flirting with a deficit.

He's STILL a Great Economist Leader...
Read more »

Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia, and the Hypocrisy of the Harper Regime

Montreal Simon - Wed, 01/14/2015 - 22:13

A few days ago I wrote a post pointing out that our ghastly regime had failed to say a word about Saudi Arabia's savage flogging of the blogger Raif Badawi.

After signing a deal with that reactionary kingdom to sell it $10 billion worth of armoured cars.

Well now Harper's faithful stooge John Baird has finally said something.

Canada is deeply concerned by flogging of @raif_badawi - it is a violation of human dignity and freedom of expression
— John Baird (@Baird) January 15, 2015
But only after it was revealed that he is planning a high-level meeting with one of its most powerful princes Turki al-Faisal.
Read more »


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