Posts from our progressive community

Stephen Harper's Dangerous Move to Deport Canadians Born in Canada

Montreal Simon - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 23:12

If anyone doubted that Stephen Harper's plan to strip the citizenship of dual citizens convicted of terrorist offences was a slippery slope, and entirely political, consider the evidence.

First the Cons announced that they were stripping the citizenship of a wannabe jihadi born in Pakistan.

Now they are considering doing the same to one born in Canada. 
Read more »

How the Empire Falls

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 16:56

You may remember Lawrence Wilkerson, former secretary of state Colin Powell's chief of staff.  A veteran of combat in Vietnam, Wilkerson went on to serve with the US Navy and Marine Corps. He's been an assistant to Powell when he was National Security Advisor to Reagan and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

For all of that, Wilkerson proved to be anything but some rightwing zealot. He now lectures quite a bit and has given some eye-opening talks on the looming demise of the American empire.

Wilkerson warns that America's empire might meet its end abruptly in chaos. He sees the signs of imminent demise in attributes the USA shares with former great empires. A sign of the end is when the empire chooses to pursue the status quo forever, the underlying premise of the Bush doctrine. This is marked by the concentration on military force in lieu of diplomacy and other instruments of foreign policy. Empires in the final stages maintain massive standing armed forces supplemented eventually by large mercenary forces. The nation enters a state of ethical, moral and economic bankrutpcy, paying only lip service to the principles and aspirations on which the state was founded. Economic and political power merge usually under the control of the financial sector.

Wilkerson notes that past empires usually collapsed following some massive display of their military prowess which he sees mirrored in America's multi-trillion dollar adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Canadians need to have a clear sense of just where America and its empire is and what lies ahead. Wilkerson even thinks it more than just possible that the United States could break up. He warns the separatist South that, if it wasn't for the massive influx of money from New York and California, the South would be America's Bangladesh (49:30 mark).

Taxis, Uber, and how NOT to make decisions | #TOpoli

Posted by Sol Chrom - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 13:19


So I had a chance to observe City Council this morning, consumed as it was by the Uber/taxi debate and the attendant seas of yellow and blue T-shirts.

Let’s get this out of the way first: I’m not taking sides on this. I haven’t followed it closely enough to craft an informed opinion, and I’m not particularly invested in either side, except to the extent that I want whatever emerges from the process to advance the public good. (For a particularly trenchant viewpoint, however, I’d recommend following Karen Geier on the Tweeter.)

That the Uber/taxi debate is controversial and complex isn’t news. It’s not going to be resolved here, or elsewhere on this site, or over the course of this council meeting. No, what I took away from this morning’s deliberations was more general: the importance of acknowledging and engaging with complexity.

Easier said than done, of course. The council chamber was filled to capacity (particularly notable were the yellow-shirted taxi partisans), and there was a sizeable overflow crowd in the city hall foyer. Every few minutes, a remark from the council floor would trigger a roar audible from downstairs. In a situation like that, it’s easy to just play to the galleries.

I don’t like clichés, but calling it a charged atmosphere seems fair. (As long as we’re talking about clichés, though, I’m told some smartypants suggested that we take a drink every time someone said “level playing field.” I thought I also heard someone say “skin in the game.”) It was particularly hard not to sympathize with Municipal Licensing/Standards Executive Director Tracey Cook, whose report on the city’s taxi industry formed part of the background for the deliberations. At one point, she responded to Frank DiGiorgio with a wry suggestion that if she’d had the crystal ball he was apparently demanding that she consult, she might have thought twice about taking the job. It wasn’t the only eyeroll-prompting question she had to field.

Indeed, one has to respect the demands public servants are required to meet. They have to balance impartiality with their professional obligation to deliver the best possible advice in helping their political masters make good decisions. When that has to take place in an atmosphere of hyper-partisanship and demagoguery … well, remember Gary Webster?

The complexities of the Uber/taxi debate need more room than I’ve got here, but among the factors councillors need to consider are:

  • insurance coverage
  • training (at one point, someone compared the 17-day training regime for taxis with Uber’s supposed requirement that prospective drivers watch a video)
  • distribution of income within the industry
  • ridership numbers
  • public safety
  • amounts of money involved
  • identification of stakeholders: drivers, operators, owners, brokers, passengers, other users of the roads and transit system
  • how best to enforce regulations
  • how to foster a workable business model in an industry badly in need of updating

And I’m not pretending for one second that this is a comprehensive list. The task for city council, with the assistance of Ms. Cook and her staff, is to find a balance among these competing interests, and craft a revised regulatory structure that achieves the greatest good for the greatest number. 

As an aside, it’s worth noting that while sound decisions should be based on the best possible information, that’s a particular challenge in this case. How much can we rely on data collection, and who collects the data? I drove a taxi in Toronto a couple of centuries ago, and while I’m sure technology has evolved, it’s hard to imagine how drivers are supposed to record, categorize and analyze data on top of everything else they’re doing.

Now contrast the insistence on hard data with more reliance on anecdotal, non-quantifiable, lived experience. It’s no less important, but it raises its own set of questions around whose experience gets taken into account and how much weight it’s given.

Again: I’m not taking sides on the Uber/taxi debate. But pretending they’re exactly the same thing, as was evident in one exchange between the current Chief Magistrate and his predecessor, displays a rather limited grasp of the complications inherent in making policy – and of one’s own responsibilities as an elected official.

Ultimately, things turn on your approach to governance. You can’t reduce things to wishful thinking, unsupported assumptions, or misleading comparisons, and you can’t just repeat slogans. Maybe it’s trite to repeat this, but: Public Policy Is Not Simple. Pretending otherwise does no one any favours.

Related posts:

Tagged: municipal governance, public policy, public transit, regulation, taxis, the public good, Toronto politics, Uber

So, Is "Strategic Voting" Still a Thing?

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 13:05

Back at the beginning of the federal election campaign, Tom Mulcair's New Dems enjoyed a commanding lead and seemed poised to become our next government.

Back at the beginning of the federal election campaign, New Dems were ardent champions of "strategic voting." The idea was that Libs and Greens should throw in with the NDP because of the imperative need to absolutely rid Canada of Stephen Harper.

We don't hear the clarion call to strategic voting much these days. I suppose that might have something to do with how strategic voting tends to favour the party leading in the polls. No one understood that better than Green Party supporters who were routinely castigated with claims that supporting their party meant supporting Shifty Steve Harper.

I suppose it doesn't help much that Tom Mulcair is back in "attack the Libs" mode, the now shopworn tactic introduced by Layton that treated the Liberals as the NDP's Great Satan no matter how that played to the direct and powerful benefit of the Harper Conservatives.

Mulcair is running to salvage second place. That's many things but it's not running to win. If one guy, Trudeau, is running to win and the other guy, Mulcair, is running mainly to stop Trudeau, then the rationale for strategic voting is flushed straight down that big orange toilet bowl.  Sort of reminds me of that fable of the scorpion and the frog.

Harper's Fear of the "other" . . .

kirbycairo - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 11:19
The various racializing tropes to which Harper and his minions have begun to appeal in a desperate attempt to win the election ("UnCanadian," "Old-Stock," "Our Values,") are intended as 'power-markers.' They mark off the power relations between an 'us' and a 'them,' generating a passionate defence of certain perceived identities and notions of cultural and racial 'purity.' Such tropes are initially intended to 'distinguish,' then to 'divide,' and ultimately to 'conquer' (or alternatively, to generate a fear of being conquered). Racism is not, generally speaking, an end in itself, but rather is a means to the end of division and, by association, control. It is not so much control, or even the exclusion of the 'other' that is really at stake, but the wider goal of general political control with all of its sociopolitical implications.  These self-conscious and divisive word games seldom appeal, except in the case of the most ignorant listeners, to any real threat of invasion by the 'other,' but rely on more sinister (and often more dangerous) implications such as 'infiltration,' 'cultural watering-down,' and 'attack on (our) values.' The need for this indirect racialization is rooted not only in a blatant lack of actual 'real-life' threats and a growing (if irregular)  mainstream intolerance for directly racist statements, but in the emotive power of the sinister and the conspiratorial. In other words, implying that our cultural is 'threatened' by an 'outside' force which is acting in nefarious or indirect ways to somehow subvert our perceived values can be considerably more powerful, particularly in a milieu of ignorance, than any direct claims that must rely on some reasoned argument about a threat that has no basis in fact. Thus, it is not surprising that even a liberally minded citizen can get caught up in fears of 'hidden identities.' Perhaps more importantly, more direct discourse (one that will ultimately be reduced to legal rights and categories) now favours those who would eschew exclusion.

Fears of the 'other' have always been rooted deep in the nationalist psyche, but only recently have the perpetrators of such fears been able to appeal to (in a remarkably ironic twist) fears of a loss of freedom in order to restrict freedom. In this regard, the fear of 'infiltration' is of fundamental importance. The restriction of a religious freedom (for example the wearing of a niqab at a citizenship ceremony) has to be fashioned not in terms of facts but in terms of an underlying fear of cultural inflitration, as though the religious freedom granted to the 'other' today will turn into domination by the 'other' tomorrow. Never mind that no such material threat obtains, never mind that the particular racialized group constitutes only a small minority, what matters is the narrative of threat and the exclusion from the body politic. Similarly, a law which grants the government the right to revoke citizenship is, by its very nature a power marker that is not particularly directed at the individual criminal, but is intended to inform the citizenry of the government's power to exclude. This power is initially restricted to particular acts of conspiracy or violence (either here or abroad), but once granted can quite easily be extended to jaywalkers or political protestors. This 'thin edge of the wedge' problem doesn't even address the establishment of a de facto 'separate but equal' citizenship status.

The overriding generation of fear is a shockingly easy political target. Fear of the 'other' preys upon latent racist feelings by which the most bigoted are suddenly given a free range of legitimation for their racist feelings which are usually suppressed or kept quiet in the contemporary context. This age old political strategy cannot be outmoded by modern decorum, only refined by a new sensibility.

Let's Remember, They're a "Permanent Warfare State."

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 11:12
Canadians should be concerned over the direction our military leadership is pursuing - integration with the armed forces of the United States of America.

Uncle Sam has transitioned into a state of "permawar." That's constant, never-ending warfare. It's the type of warfare in which victory or defeat becomes irrelevant. It's the type of warfare that's not fought to achieve some clear political objective. It's not the type of warfare that ever ends. Unlike warfare in previous eras it doesn't lead to peace.

Part of this is not America's doing. Part of it is. Modern warfare is sometimes called Gen 4 warfare. It's not the old state versus state conflict that produced a winner and a loser and a treaty followed by a return to peace. Today's warfare engages a confusing array of parties - state actors and non-state actors that run the gamut from militias to rebels, insurgents, terrorists and an array of criminal organizations, some local some regional or transnational.

Every morning each of them starts off with an agenda that, at times, may evolve rapidly according to changing circumstances. Alliances are made out of convenience and broken for the same convenience. Each actor pursues its own interests which renders the major players, i.e. the United States, having to herd some very vicious cats.

The question Canadians have to ask is whether we want our soldiers committed to fighting wars that we are not prepared or willing to win? That, ultimately, is the price of integration. It means consigning both our military and foreign policy to an endless trail of suffering, death and misery with names like Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. It is a type of warfare that turns wobbly states into failed states. Is that what we really want? Is that what we're prepared to allow our already suspect military commanders to talk us into, to back us into?

Except for North American defence, Canada should be reclaiming our nation's foreign and military sovereignty, our independence from Washington. That's not to say we can't support American military actions abroad but only provided that we first know what we're out to achieve and how we're going to meet our objectives within a reasonable but finite time period.

When our military leadership talks us into pointless adventures that are doomed to failure, they're betraying our country and the Canadian people.

Volkswagen - You Owe Me a New Power Plant

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 10:25
Here's the deal. There's not much wrong with my VW Golf TDI "clean diesel" except for the clean part.

I was promised an ultra fuel-efficient, ultra low-emissions engine that, it turns out, was neither but for a "defeat device" that turned off much of the emissions control system.

To add insult to injury, VW's TDI clean diesel engine wasn't available in their base models. If you wanted the diesel you had to pay for a mid- to high-grade model. The diesel was for top-end customers, not ordinary Volk.

So I wound up with a great little car with the leather upholstery, top-end sound system, and oodles of handling and safety systems some of which I can disengage if I get that sporty feeling.

Problem - answer. Keep the car. Replace the powerplant. VW could engineer a hybrid system. They could even consider refitting their straight electric powerplant now coming out in the e-Golf in the States.

Now, getting VW to do something, that will be the trick. And the chances of getting that just grew less cheery with word that VW isn't the only automotive bad boy.

New diesel cars from Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Volvo and other manufacturers have all been found to emit substantially higher levels of pollution when tested in more realistic driving conditions, according to new data seen by the Guardian.

Research compiled by Adac, Europe’s largest motoring organisation, shows that some of the diesel cars it examined released over 10 times more NOx than revealed by existing EU tests, using an alternative standard due to be introduced later this decade.

If you follow the link you'll see a chart showing how poorly each vehicle did in testing. Curiously enough, the Audi TT which uses the same 2.0 TDI engine that's in my car was one of the cleaner types.  Enough bickering. This may be an ideal opportunity to transition the automotive industry into clean, near fossil-free engines. 

Mark Carney Again Warns of Climate Change Induced Financial Collapse. Is Anyone Listening?

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 10:05
The former governor of the Bank of England said it. The current governor of the Bank of England is saying the same thing - to anyone who'll listen.  Mark Carney who recently left the top perch at the Bank of Canada to sit on the top perch of the Bank of England says, unless we get climate change under control, soon (as in now), we'll enter an era of financial crises and collapsing living standards.

In a speech to the insurance market Lloyd’s of London on Tuesday, Carney said insurers were heavily exposed to climate change risks and that time was running out to deal with global warming.

The governor said that proposals would probably be put to the G20 meeting in Turkey in November urging the world’s leading developed and developing countries to bring in tougher corporate disclosure standards so that investors could better judge climate change risks.

...“The challenges currently posed by climate change pale in significance compared with what might come,” Carney said. “The far-sighted amongst you are anticipating broader global impacts on property, migration and political stability, as well as food and water security. So why isn’t more being done to address it?”

...“Climate change is the tragedy of the horizon. We don’t need an army of actuaries to tell us that the catastrophic impacts of climate change will be felt beyond the traditional horizons of most actors – imposing a cost on future generations that the current generation has no direct incentive to fix.

“The horizon for monetary policy extends out to two to three years. For financial stability it is a bit longer, but typically only to the outer boundaries of the credit cycle – about a decade. In other words, once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late.”

Carney addressed the subject that Canada's political leadership relentlessly avoids mentioning, the looming Carbon Bubble, and the inevitability that high-cost, high-carbon fossil fuels - yes, including bitumen - will become "stranded assets."

“Take, for example, the International Panel on Climate Change’s estimate of a carbon budget that would likely limit global temperature rises to 2 degrees [centigrade] above pre-industrial levels.

“That budget amounts to between a fifth and a third of the world’s proven reserves of oil, gas and coal.  If that estimate is even approximately correct it would render the vast majority of reserves “stranded” – oil, gas and coal that will be literally unusable without expensive carbon-capture technology, which itself alters fossil fuel economics.
So far the best we're getting out of our political leadership are promises of carbon pricing or cap and trade schemes with the revenues handed off to the provinces in one form or another. Nobody is willing to say they'll take that money and keep it in Ottawa's treasury and use it to replace and reinforce our national infrastructure that is already decaying and definitely not Anthropocene-ready.
Our supposed leaders are waiting for market conditions to kill off Athabasca but there's no discussion of who cleans up the mess afterwards, after the foreign oil companies have bugged out.  We're not discussing the enormous environmental hazard that is Athabasca, how we're going to clean it up and at what cost and who'll get stuck with the tab or what awaits Alberta and the rest of Canada if we don't clean it up. These are conversations that come with price tags of hundreds of billions of dollars, definitely not suited for delicate ears wanting to hear only lies about balanced budgets and sunny tomorrows.

A Vanity Production?

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 08:31

Yesterday morning, I read a piece by Martin Regg Cohn on the impending sale of Ontario's Hydro One. When it is completed, 60% of our publically-owned asset will have been sold off. During a brief walk in the afternoon, I decided to write a letter to my local MPP with a copy to Premier Kathleen Wynne to protest the sale. While it may be of some interest to people residing in Ontario, my letter may be regarded by those residing elsewhere as a vanity production, perhaps, given the ultimate futility of speaking or writing to our representatives in our currently debased democracy.

Whatever its ultimate utility may be, writing this missive has at least been personally cathartic:
I am writing to express my deep disappointment over your government's decision to sell off 60% of Hydro One. It is a profound betrayal of the people of Ontario and a flagrant abuse of democracy that I fear will have far-reaching consequences.

I was one of the many who chose to cast my vote in the last election, not for the NDP but for the Liberals. Their platform seemed sound, and I was repulsed by what I saw as the political opportunism of Andrea Horwath in forcing the election. A leader's integrity is one of my paramount considerations when I vote, and I thought I saw it in Kathleen Wynne.

While I admire that Ms. Wynne has shown strength of conviction in some areas, such as the revamping of the sex-ed curriculum, despite fierce opposition from some quarters, I lament the fact that she does not have the same courage and principles to resist the neoliberal siren call of privatization of public assets. As we well know, the private sector's sole responsibility is to its shareholders and the profits they expect, and we have no reason to believe that its majority ownership of our Hydro assets will change that. The public good will always be, at best, a tangential consideration.

Not once during her bid for re-election did the premier talk about privatizing Hydro One. To say that a general review of all assets was to be undertaken as the cover for this decision is, frankly, dishonest and insulting. Also, the Hydro assets are, as you well know, generating very healthy annual profits. To suggest their sale is needed to fund infrastructure projects is disingenuous, and indicative of a very narrow vision that excludes other possibilities, such as road tolls or an increase in the income tax rate to fund such construction. I will also state the obvious: those assets belong to all Ontarians. They are not your government's to sell.

At a time when cynicism about the electoral process is widespread, and voting numbers continue to decline, the decision to sell such a prized asset can do nothing but promote more of the same. If you are so convinced that this is a good decision, then hold a provincial plebiscite. Only with the approval of the people can you make any claim to be representing them in this matter.

I am one of the electorate with a very long memory. I can assure you my support for your party and government ends the day the sale of Hydro One begins. Next election, my vote will be for the NDP.Recommend this Post

The Political Prisoner's Dilemma

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 07:17
Let's double back to Karl Nerenberg's take on the opposition parties' messages in Canada's federal election and point out how it relates to a classic decision-making hypothetical, the prisoner's dilemma.

In the case of the federal election, here's how the dilemma plays out for anybody whose primary goal is to see the Cons replaced. (And as in any of these types of discussions, I'll leave aside what I see as the important distinctions between the parties which ensure that I'm not in that group - while also noting that the parties themselves likewise have every reason to focus on their own campaign over other considerations.)

The NDP, the Libs and their supporters surely want to see a change in government. And the more resources the opposition parties collectively dedicate to challenging the Cons rather than each other in both values and campaign strategies, the more likely that is to happen.

But both parties also want to position themselves to win power in this and future elections. And the benefit of being the sole defector rather than the sole cooperator is obvious: a party which dedicates its resources to making the case against the Cons while leaving itself vulnerable to attacks from the other figures to end up in third place, watching the other take power as the reward for its relative selfishness.

Of course, the prisoners' dilemma involves an absence of communication and trust between the two affected parties. And there's where there could be a difference in the election campaign.

I've argued before that it should be possible for our opposition parties - or at least their supporters who want to see a change in government - to work on coordinating messages to keep Stephen Harper on the defensive and avoid themes which might benefit the Cons. 

And to be fair, most of the policy contrasts being drawn between the NDP and the Libs at least avoid reinforcing the Cons' values: a contest as to who's most progressive certainly doesn't lend itself to promoting a small-c conservative worldview.

But the campaign has been defined not by policy, but by parties throwing mud at whoever appears to be gathering strength at a particular moment - with an emphasis on blowing up any trust which might otherwise build up in any competing leader. And a recent window in which a few polls placed the Cons in third place seems to have started a particularly vicious conflict between the opposition parties which shows no sign of abating.

So what are options are available to ensure that a change in government is one of the positive outcomes of the election? I'll follow up in a bit more detail from both the party level and the individual level in future posts. But for now, suffice it to say that I'd hope we can agree not to be needlessly imprisoned in another term of Con government.

Another Reason

Northern Reflections - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 07:05


The Harper government hopes that concluding the TPP deal will be its October Surprise. Constitutional convention dictates that, in an election campaign, the sitting government becomes a caretaker government. But this government is contemptuous of all constitutional conventions. Scott Sinclair writes:

This would not be the first time this government has run roughshod over constitutional convention. Prorogation of Parliament, contempt of Parliament, misleading Parliament, omnibus budget bills … the list of abuses is long.
But, more importantly, an election campaign  is no place to consider the trade deal. Even if Barack Obama gets the version of the trade deal he wants, Congress will have to put it under the microscope:

Even if an agreement is hammered out in Atlanta, the president must give Congress 90 days’ notice before signing anything, and that only starts the legislative clock ticking. Congressional consideration would extend well into 2016, making the TPP a political football during the U.S. elections.
Which means that nothing is going to happen until well after the election is over. And there are a lot of things we should be concerned about in the proposed treaty:

At the last meeting, the U.S. secretly cut a side deal with Japan to allow Japanese and other automakers to sell cars and parts with high levels of Chinese content duty free in North America, undercutting the Canadian and Mexican industries. Economist Jim Stanford estimates this could cost the Canadian auto sector 24,600 jobs.With energy and commodity prices in the gutter, many Canadians understand it is not a good time to be sacrificing well-paying jobs or weakening struggling manufacturers that are the main hope for reviving our stagnant economy.These high-profile issues are just the tip of the iceberg. The TPP could mean major changes in matters ranging from access to medicines to the weakening of privacy protections. Unfortunately, there is no way these and other potential surprises buried in the massive text would be properly aired in the closing days of the campaign.
The Harperites, however, will not take any of these concerns into consideration. Another reason they must be tossed from office on October 19th. 

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 06:10
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Armine Yalnizyan sees the Volkswagen emissions test cheating as a classic example of the dangers of relying on business to do anything toward the social good without facing strong and effectively-enforced regulations. And George Monbiot describes just a few of the preposterous new forms of waste we're generating and buying rather than addressing serious social problems.

- Steve Paikin interviews Mariana Mazzucato about the proper role of an active state:


- Paul Hanley points out that the Leap Manifesto represents an important expression of mainstream Canadian values which deserves a prominent place in our federal election. Cathy Crowe reminds us of the right of homeless Canadians to both a vote and a home. And David Ball reports on some of the people hoping for a much-needed living wage as a result of our upcoming vote.

- Duncan Cameron wonders why we're not hearing more about the oil industry's exploitation of the public as the gap between oil prices and gas prices increases.

- Melissa Newitt makes the case for a national pharmacare plan, while Robyn Benson writes that the need for pension security is one of the most important reasons to vote out the Harper Cons. 

- Finally, Charles Smith laments the Cons' use of the niqab to stoke baseless cultural fears in an effort to win votes through xenophobia. And Dr. Dawg highlights how the Cons may have found their perfect scapegoat for public flogging.

Darth Harper and the Divided Left That Eats Itself

Montreal Simon - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 05:56

I think it safe to say that with less than three weeks to go before the election, and Darth Harper and his Aussie alien Lynton Crosby preparing to use the foulest wedge issues to try to win another mandate.

As you can see by this latest tweet from Great Ugly Leader.

The last thing I probably needed to know was that the NDP and the Liberals are fighting each other. Again.

Or see the gratingly Con friendly Jen Gerson crow that the left is eating itself. 
Read more »

Stephen Harper and the Caricature of Justin Trudeau

Montreal Simon - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 02:46

From the moment Justin Trudeau was named Liberal leader, Stephen Harper and his foul Cons went after him in what can only be described as a bestial manner.

The brutish Harper has tried to portray Trudeau as foppish dilettante, not ready, and too dangerous to be prime minister. He has questioned his masculinity. Him and his Cons now calling him a terrorist sympathizer.

But most of all the depraved bully Harper has tried to turn him into caricature, a cardboard cutout, a doll. So he could more easily destroy him.

So in that regard I found Jonathan Kay's impressions of the real Justin Trudeau, the man behind that caricature, both interesting and moving.
Read more »

Légitime Violence Member Arrested on Drug Charges

Anti-Racist Canada - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 19:46
A few years ago we wrote about Condemned 84. Légitime Violence, a group described as ultra-nationalistic with National Socialist leanings (though they insisted they were apolitical), was opening for the band in Toronto.

When we first wrote about these two RAC bands, we received a number of emails that suggested that we were ill informed and that both Condemned 83 and Légitime Violence were really just good boys who go to church, rescue kittens from trees, and help old ladies walk across the street. Actual evidence however strongly suggested that both were every much the far right supporting jackasses their detractors said they were.

Cut to 2015, and Légitime Violence is in the news again. And while our French sucks (really, we can't sugar coat it, but we are embarrassingly and hopelessly unilingual) the good folks at Google have done a lot of work toward perfecting their language translator:

Legitimate Violence singer accused of drug trafficking
Published September 26, 2015 05:00 AM | Updated September 26, 2015 05:00 AM

(Quebec) Raphael Levesque, aka Raf Stomper, singer of the extreme right group of Quebec Legitimate Violence, appeared Friday at the Quebec City courthouse after being arrested Thursday in Saint-Apollinaire in a methamphetamine trafficking case and cannabis. 

Legitimate Violence The group had made about him in June when the mayor of Talencieux, France, had tried unsuccessfully to ban a spectacle of music and illegal fights in which the quartet took part. Previously, he had retired from programming the Envol and Macadam festival in 2011 after the organization had received several complaints about him. 

Read more »

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 17:15
Slumbering cats.

Some Thoughts On the Munk Debate

Sister Sages Musings - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:06

The only debate I had managed to watch during this election cycle.  Hence one I can finally comment on with an informed mind.  At first I thought, Foreign Affairs, eeh Gad! This is not a bread and butter topic. I had missed the pertinent debates before.  I think many would agree. According to this . . . → Read More: Some Thoughts On the Munk Debate

Stealin' All My Dreams

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 06:14
That's the message Blue Rodeo delivers in this music video, which features some timely reminders of the almost decade's worth of depredations that have taken place under the Harper regime.

On a side note, I came across the video last night and immediately prepared this post for publication today; this morning I received a note from David, who sent me links both to the video and the National Observer article. I guess it's true that 'great' minds think alike, eh? Thanks, David.Recommend this Post

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 05:59
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Miles Corak writes about the spread of economic inequality in Canada:
Companies like ATS epitomize the underlying tide driving jobs and incomes when the computer revolution meets global markets. This tide never went away, even if until a year or so ago a swift current of oil made it easier for some of us to paddle in the opposite direction. It’s a tide offering prosperity to a lucky few, creating proportionately fewer jobs than Canadians need, and leaving many hanging on tight to whatever jetsam floats within reach.

But this tide was always there, even when it looked like we were richer than others. And it will continue to leave many Canadians standing still, waiting, and hoping for the promise of prosperity. - Paul Mason examines the costs of disposable labour and theorizes that a new era of better treatment for workers might be approaching. But Tony Atkinson argues that we'll need a major shift in public policy as well to share in any future economic gains - and offers a few policy prescriptions to reverse the trend.

- Josh Zumbrun discusses Gabriel Zucman's work in determining how much wealth has been siphoned into tax havens.

- Kaylie Tiessen points out that we can learn from past child care programs while developing a national model.

- Finally, Neil Macdonald rightly argues that Stephen Harper's cynical attacks on women who wear niqabs represents a repudiation of the very concept of individual rights. And Richard Gwyn highlights Thomas Mulcair's courage and honesty in fighting back against the Cons' bigotry rather than playing along for political gain.


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