Posts from our progressive community

Wow, Tylenol Hits One Out of the Park. You Must See This.

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 12:22
If you're progressive, this will make your day.



And the Band Played On

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 10:11
It's generally accepted in the scientific community that it takes one to several centuries, on average, for species to truly adapt to a 1 degree Celsius shift in temperature, up or down.

Look around today and you'll see species "running" for their lives, continually migrating ever further away from the equatorial zone.  Some species, particularly those that swim or fly, have a big advantage when it comes to migration.  Plants aren't quite so lucky yet it's calculated that, in totality, they too are migrating at about 8-inches every year.

From my perch out here on the Pacific we see lots of signs of this migration out of the south.  Humpbacks have returned to our waters in big numbers.  Large schools of white sided dolphins have arrived bringing pods of transient orca with them.  California has lost its once abundant anchovies which might be the same populations that have recently shown up here.  Victoria now even has a resident flock of brown pelicans that have taken up residence between the provincial capital and Race Rocks.

This may be a case where the race goes to the swiftest in which event there'll be plenty of losers.

One of the most prominent experts in this area is the University of Hawaii's Camilo Mora, whose specialties include biogeography, geology and climate data modeling.  Mora and his fellow researchers made headlines a couple of years ago when they produced a study that forecasts 2047 as the year by which every year that follows - every year - will be hotter than the hottest year that area has experienced over the previous century and a half, a phenomenon called "climate departure."  Some places will reach that point long before then:

Mora forecasts that the unprecedented heat starts in 2020 with Manokwari, Indonesia. Then Kingston, Jamaica. Within the next two decades, 59 cities will be living in what is essentially a new climate, including Singapore, Havana, Kuala Lumpur and Mexico City.

In an interview last year with Yale University's e360 Project, Mora touched on the frustration caused researchers by the public's and their leaders' reluctance to respond to the plain science.
You don’t see any action on these things. And the problem is that these things die away pretty quickly. The press coverage of this paper lasted two days. We were in the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN. And next week, people were talking about something else. So as scientists, we are struggling to figure out how we can increase public awareness on this issue.

Pope Francis stirred up a lot of reaction last week to his papal encyclical on climate change in which he focused on climate change and over-consumption, especially by the advantaged countries, that were wrecking the environment. The pope, however, disingenuously gave overpopulation a pass.  Mora disagrees.  To him our population loading is already excessive.
Well, it’s paramount because people need food. And the planet is limited in the amount of resources that it can produce. We already have calculated that the planet has on the order of 11 billion hectares that can be harvested in a sustainable manner. Of course we can increase the number by increasing technology, but that’s been happening for the last three decades. The worldwide population is 7 billion people, and we know that to sustain a human being you need on the order of two hectares per person. That means that the world human population every year consumes on the order of 14 billion hectares. The planet only has eleven to give to us.

This doesn't take into account the more recent research about global soil degradation and the mounting threat to food security.  In March, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization released a report on the ongoing degradation of our stocks of arable land, warning that a lot of our topsoil over the next 60-years will be ruined by intensive agriculture and the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.  Like Mora's research, the Living Planet Report, 2014 finding that we have lost half our wildlife over the past 30 years, the UNFAO study was almost immediately flushed straight down the memory hole, completely forgotten.
Much of Mora's claims about overpopulation is borne out by research conducted by the NGO, Global Footprint Network, which tracks the biomass deficit that has set in around the world (only a handful of countries, Canada being one, remain in a biomass surplus).  From this the GFN issues an annual release to mark "Earth Overshoot Day," the date on which we exhaust a full year's supply of the planet's renewable resources.  Just a few years ago, Overshoot fell in mid October.  Now it has advanced to August.  For the balance of the year we deplete Earth's resource reserves and the rate at which our over-consumption is accelerating is a warning that we're depleting those reserves rapidly too.
In 2014, Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 19.  This year it will arrive on August 15.  For more on that and GFN's take on the papal encyclical, you can go here.  
Professor Mora faults the environmental community, including the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for deliberately ducking the overpopulation issue.
Mora: It’s pure fear. It seems amazing, but friends of mine recommended to me not to publish that paper. They said, “This paper is going to be damaging to you. You don’t get it. You don’t need it.” What is remarkable, though, is that after the paper got published, I had multiple people calling me to endorse it.

e360: Did they endorse it publicly?

Mora: No, just to me. This is really the problem. But why we don’t take it on? I have no clue. Because the data are very clear. I guess the problem is that it can backfire. We have seen, historically, situations in which a scientist has taken on an issue and there are people who have been fired, or attacked by interest groups. So I guess the problem is fear of retaliation.


If he's right, if the scientific community is already too intimidated to address the issue of overpopulation, then we're genuinely screwed.  The pope hit two of three - climate change and over-consumption - but if you can't address overpopulation, you have almost completely undermined your chances of effective action on the other two.
We're already seeing the impacts of climate change but doing little to prepare for what those early impacts tell us is coming.  For now we're forestalling the consequences of ever increasing over-consumption by raiding the Earth's diminishing resource reserves. We have no collective will to even begin tackling overpopulation. 
We comfort ourselves by talking in terms of what might happen by 2100.  Oh hell, we'll all be gone by then anyway so, no big deal.  But, if Mora's research is accurate, "climate departure" begins to set in by 2020 and then spreads across the world until every country is hit by 2047.   






Corporate R & B: Get Over It…

Left Over - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 09:58
Oilpatch could lose $100B without new pipelines, researchers warn Energy research firm suggests Western Canada producers won’t receive full value for oil exports

By Kyle Bakx, CBC News Posted: Jun 22, 2015 11:41 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 22, 2015 12:11 PM ET

 

 

Wah-wah-wah!!!!  The whingeing of the rich and unscrupulous stirs only contempt in the rest of us..if they really were concerned about anything besides the grossness of their offshore accounts , they would spend more on  remedying the damage done,  finance refineries, and work toward sustainable  energy..there is, believe it or not, money to be made in that sector.  Everyone everywhere except Alberta knows that  this sector is on life support, and it’s way too expensive to keep subsidizing dirty bitumen when the rest of the world still has  oil  coming out of their ears…the loss of resources due to fracking in other areas  should give them pause, as well..there is  no viable way to  carry on as if nothing in the  oily sands of Northern Alberta has changed in the  last few decades…get over it, get on with it…

There is,  after all, a reason that the NDP was elected in that province, and all the corporate whingeing in the world won’t change that fact, so join  the  alternative party, corporate scum, and  try and  resurrect what might be left of your  collective  reputations and  pay it forward in the place that made you wealthy…

No more pipelines means Alberta should start, late though it is, to diversify it’s income base…get out of the filthy bitumen toxic wasteland business altogether.. BC doesn’t want your problems dumped on us or our beautiful West Coast..no one anywhere wants to carry Alberta crude at anytime under any circumstances..once they figure that out and start building their own refineries, things might get a bit better for Alberta…but ‘discovering’ that tourism is a self-perpetuating economic boon, for instance, and that steps should be taken to restore the moonscape created in the North to open it up for recreational opportunities will go a longer way to stabilizing incomes than all the pipelines they might fantasize about…


John Oliver Respectfully Suggests Where South Carolina Should Put Its Rebel Flag

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:43
Sums it up pretty well



Just in case you think South Carolina is alone on this confederate business, there's this.

On failures of strategy, calculation, politics, principle and general humanity

accidentaldeliberations - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:27
Shorter Justin Trudeau:
Nobody could have foreseen that Canadian voters would judge me based on my actions rather than my self-proclaimed brand.

Monday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:14
Assorted content to start your week.

- Sean Illing writes about the utterly misplaced view of the privileged few that they can or should be treated as immune from the environmental realities facing everybody:
I see the decadence of the people in Rancho Santa Fe as a microcosm of America today, particularly corporate America. What these people exhibit, apart from their smugness, is a complete absence of any sense of collective responsibility. They can’t see and aren’t interested in the consequences of their actions. And they can’t muster a modicum of moderation in the face of enormous scarcity. Every resource, every privilege, is theirs to pilfer with impunity. These people are prepared to endanger an entire ecosystem simply to avoid the indignity of brown golf courses; this is what true entitlement looks like.

The wealthiest Americans – and their apostles in government – tell us that it’s the poor people who are entitled, who take and exploit and keep more than they deserve. But that’s a half-truth, and a dangerous one at that. Entitlement has many faces, the most destructive of which is on display in Rancho Santa Fe. These adolescent upper-crusters are entitled because they believe they have a right to everything they can get hold of – regardless of the costs. They believe living with others carries no obligations. Anyone who places their right to pristine golf courses above their responsibility to respect communal resources is a social toxin, a privileged parasite eating away at the foundations of society. It’s important that their actions be seen in this context.

There’s a lesson in Rancho Santa Fe and in California more generally. What’s happening there foreshadows our future. We’re confronted with crises on a number of fronts. From climate change to economic inequality, our institutions – and the people controlling them – are failing us. Changes are necessary, but a segment of society (the 1 percent, we’ll call them) is unwilling to sacrifice; they’re too invested in power, in comfort. Whether it’s oil profiteers distorting climate science or Wall Street banks undermining efforts to regulate the financial industry, entrenched interests are doing everything possible to preserve the status quo, even when so doing threatens to upend the whole system – just like the people of Rancho Santa Fe. - Meanwhile, Jan Zalasiewizc reports on new research showing that even without accounting for the effects of climate change, humanity has managed to cause mass extinctions on a planetary scale.

- Cathy Crowe makes the case for a national housing program as a necessary step toward a healthier and more secure society, while the Star backs a plan to provide housing to 20,000 homeless Canadians over the next three years. And Marco Chown Oved reports on the types of abuses private landlords can carry out by imposing arbitrary fees while evicting a tenant, then permanently trashing the tenant's credit rating if that blackmail doesn't succeed.

- Paul Seesequasis writes that the Cons' terror bill is a serious obstacle to reconciliation as it stands to prevent aboriginal people from seeking both sovereignty and respect. And Fram Dinshaw reports that Canada's Muslim community - which figures to be one of the first targets of covert attacks - has already been intimidated into silence about the dangers of C-51.

- Finally, Elizabeth Renzetti interviews Harry Leslie Smith about his fight to build on the hard-won social gains people have made over the course of his life.

This Is What Real Protest Looks Like

Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:11
All Canadians could learn a lot from the Brits:
London, United Kingdom - Activists and trade union leaders have called for a general strike and a mass campaign of civil disobedience to bring down the country's new right-wing government as hundreds of thousands took to the streets of London and other cities to protest against austerity and public service cuts.

Organisers said a quarter of a million people had joined Saturday's march from the Bank of England to the Houses of Parliament, with smaller protests also taking place in Glasgow, Liverpool, and Bristol, and pledged the event was only a beginning.

"We've got to get rid of this government quicker than five years. This government cannot last the full term," Sam Fairbairn, national secretary of the People's Assembly, the anti-austerity campaign group that organised the march, told a rally in Parliament Square.

"Today is just the start of a campaign of protests, of strikes, of direct action and civil disobedience up and down the country. We are going to organise the biggest mass movement this country has ever seen, and it is that mass movement that is going to kick David Cameron out of office."


There is similar anger in Canada over the Harper regime's many abuses of the country's citizens. How can we best mobilize that anger?Recommend this Post

Why Does Chong Stay?

Northern Reflections - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 04:46
                                                       http://www.cbc.ca/

Michael Chong used to be Stephen Harper's Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. The story of how he came to resign his position makes interesting reading. Michael Harris writes:

Chong was the Intergovernmental Affairs minister back in 2006 when the prime minister broke all the known rules with his unilateral declaration that Quebec was a “nation.”

Harper did not bother to put the measure through cabinet, but simply did it by decree. Even though Chong was the minister responsible, he wasn’t informed about Harper’s decision until he was on his way to Wednesday caucus back in November, 2006. His then deputy minister, Louis Levesque, gave him the news.

The deputy also informed his minister that he, Levesque, had been in talks about the nation status issue the night before. It was staggering news. Chong’s deputy was involved in this hugely important decision and the minister was not? It was the clearest example of executive governance under Harper yet on record.

The rising star of the Conservative party was shocked by the PM’s unilateral action. He believed that it was the duty of the Clerk of the Privy Council to tell Harper that even the PM had to obey the rules. But with the Clerk’s office politicized under Harper, just like every other part of the government, that never happened.

Harper’s unilateral authoritarianism did not come as a complete surprise to Chong. As an MP and cabinet minister, he had noticed that Harper liked to make most of the big decisions at meetings of Planning and Priorities, a small but powerful committee of handpicked subordinates which the prime minister chairs. In the early innings of the Harper government, full cabinet rarely met and P&P did most of the heavy lifting.

Chong mulled over whether there was a way he could rationalize support for nation status for Quebec. He concluded that it was policy and procedural poison. There was nothing he could do but become the first Harper cabinet minister to resign.
Now the unelected Conservative majority in the Senate has gutted Chong's Reform Act  -- which passed the House by a vote of 260 to 17. The Duffy trial has shown us that Mr. Harper makes sure that caucus votes his way. He can't claim that he knew nothing about what was going on in the Upper House.

Garth Turner refused to endure such arrogant insouciance. So did Bill Casey and Brent Rathgeber. Why does Chong stay?

The Dangerous Summer Journey of Canadian Progressives

Montreal Simon - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 02:07


Summer is finally here, and I couldn't be happier. Not just because I live for this season when everything comes alive.

But also because I know that when this one dies, in the land where summers are so short, so will Stephen Harper's deathly Con regime.

But what I also know, and all progressives need to understand, is that the last part of our long journey to freedom will be fraught with danger.

Because we are now entering the perilous waters of vote splitting. And we could still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Read more »

Paul Fromm: Council of Conservative Citizens Link to Charleston Killer

Anti-Racist Canada - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 23:20
In the "manifesto" published on his website before he murdered nine men and women, the Charleston killer was clear who first inspired his hatred of African-Americans:

The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong....

The MSM has begun to focus on this connection and the nasty rhetoric of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CoCC) that appears to have contributed to the Charleston killer's actions:

Extremist group cited in Charleston killer’s alleged manifesto is active in S.C., expert says

CHARLESTON The writer of what could turn out to be Dylann Roof’s manifesto cited the Council of Conservative Citizens as something that influenced his thoughts on race and racial separation.
....
Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, told The Los Angeles Times that much of the language in the manifesto was material lifted from the CCC, which he called a “modern reincarnation” of the old White Citizens’ Councils that in the 1950s and ’60s resisted school desegregation in the South.

“The CCC is very active in Roof’s home state of South Carolina,” Cohen told the paper. “It seems the CCC media strategy was successful in recruiting Roof into the radical right

He identified the CCC’s webmaster as white nationalist Kyle Rogers, who lives in Summerville, a Charleston suburb. According to a report on the website, the Internet-savvy Rogers trained as a computer engineer and moved to South Carolina in 2004.

The CCC’s website also rails against immigrants in the country illegally, defends the Confederate battle flag flying on the South Carolina capitol grounds and in 2011 pushed for a boycott of the movie “Thor” because it cast Idris Elba, a black actor, as a Norse god. 
....

It might interest our readers, including members of the msm who read these pages, that Canada's own Paul Fromm is a member of the CoCC. Here he is in October 11, 2007 discussing a sanitized version of the CoCC, a hate group on which he sits as a board member and is described as the organization's international director:


Read more »

Dean Clifford: #Winning Everything!

Anti-Racist Canada - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 21:07
This past week the long awaited trial of Dean Clifford began.

It also ended very quickly as Clifford, using the genius legal maneuvering such as not calling any witnesses, refusing to participate in the trial (as much as he could), and engaging in linguistic semantics:





Well, things must have gone exceptionally well since Dean made an announcement on June 19:


Read more »

a 150-year-old solution

we move to canada - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 14:00
I stumbled on this letter to the New York Times Book Review from a few weeks ago. It's in response to a review of two books about precarious work - one about technology threatening jobs of even the most educated people, and another about the rise of unpaid labour.
Barbara Ehrenreich’s chilling review of Martin Ford’s “Rise of the Robots” and Craig Lambert’s “Shadow Work” (May 17) is the best evidence-based response I’ve seen to all the headlines announcing that a recovery is “just around the corner.” But if it isn’t, and unemployment and part-time employment can only get worse, what can be done? Ehrenreich concludes that “the best that the feeble human mind can come up with at the moment” is a guaranteed annual wage.

Actually, one human mind came up with another solution over 150 years ago, and that was to share the work among all able-bodied people, with society making sure that all the skills required to serve everyone’s needs are widely distributed. In this way, everyone would have a job as well as more free time to do the things that most people cannot do until they retire. With the rich sharing their excessive wealth with others and taking on productive jobs, this could be done — especially today — without lowering anyone else’s living standards.

That person’s name was Karl Marx.

Bertell Ollman, Manhattan

The writer is a professor of politics at New York University.

In Which John Ibbitson Continues His Audition For A Senate Seat

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 13:10
But he'd better hurry. There is talk of regime change this October.

Watch The Sunday Scrum as John consistently, stoutly and steadfastly defends Dear Leader at every turn while opining on matters such as cabinet departures, the Senate scandal involving Don Meredith, and Mr. Harper's refusal to take questions from national reporters.

All in all, Mr. Ibbitson shows he clearly has what it takes to ably represent his master in The Red Chamber.



Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Some Days I Don't Have To Write Anything-Lorne

LeDaro - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 11:04
Original post by Lorne:

"Politics and its Discontents: Some Days I Don't Have To Write Anything: ... thanks to groups like this:"




Geeks to Greeks: iOwnya

Dawg's Blawg - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 10:14
In a surprise announcement, Apple Inc. announced today that the world’s most valuable corporation would be acquiring Greece. Speaking from the Spanakopita Palace in Cupertino, Tim Cook (CEO) said: “I’m pleased to confirm that Apple Inc. has completed the acquisition... Balbulican http://stageleft.info

Sunday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 10:13
This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Jeff Spross argues that in addition to ensuring that employees are fairly paid for the overtime hours they work, we should also be pushing to ensure people aren't required to work as much to begin with. And Angella MacEwen points out that any spin about increasing wages is based almost entirely on a proportional increase in hours worked, rather than workers receiving any benefit from improved productivity.

- Meanwhile, Cory Doctorow highlights new research showing that the CEOs who manage to squeeze the most money out of businesses actually perform worse than the ones who aren't so focused on enriching themselves.

- Thomas Walkom writes that the Cons' much-trumpeted trade agreements are accomplishing nothing even on their own terms.

- Andrew Mitrovica duly slams anybody willing to take the uncorroborated word of the security state as a basis for reporting. John Baglow reminds us that the Libs aren't any better than the Cons when it comes to that tendency - as evidenced both by the star candidacy of Bill Blair, and their inexcusable cowardice in response to the Cons' terror bill. And PressProgress shows what happens when the Cons try to pretend C-51 is anything but a direct and unmitigated attack on Canadians' rights.

- Finally, Susan Delacourt comments on the connection between a first-past-the-post electoral system and the view that voters should be microtargeted for advertising rather than included meaningful policy discussions:
We still like to pretend that political parties are looking for a big, pan-Canadian victory, but the reality is that political success in this country has been built in recent years by finding the tools and tactics to do microtargeting effectively. Technology and big data have turned this strategy into a much more precise science for all parties.

In short, we all know now that rewards don’t go to the political players with the big picture; they go to the ones who think small. An election that required a 50-per-cent-plus victory in the popular vote, on the other hand, would force parties to seek broad, pan-Canadian appeal.
...
(I)f politics is about thinking small, government should be about thinking big. This is where Harper was on the right track on May 2, 2011 — promising to take an approach to government that he did not take to political campaigning, mindful of the needs and concerns of people who didn’t vote for the Conservatives.

It proved to be an over-ambitious promise, though. The past four years have been littered with examples of the politicized opposite: selective audits of charities seen as unfriendly to Conservatives, PMO press releases that sound an awful lot like party fundraising letters, cabinet ministers trotted out to slam court rulings or scientific findings that rile up the Conservative “base.” Pages and pages of tax provisions have been created to give “boutique” favours to microtargeted segments of the population — budgets for Dougies. Measures for Zoes? Not so much.

For Blacks, That Goddamned Flag Is Their Swastika

The Disaffected Lib - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 08:27
That the Confederate flag still flies atop the South Carolina state capital is an affront to decent people everywhere.  For white trash southerners, they'll defend it as a symbol of the civil war, a war fought for "state rights."  Of course they're pretty good at avoiding any mention that the state right in question was the right to enslave human beings.

For "black folks" that flag has an enduring meaning.

They're Even Advertising It Now

The Disaffected Lib - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 08:10

"It" is the blatant affront to the laws of war practised by Israel and now known as "Dahiyeh".  It's a war crime that has become central to Israeli tactics against Lebanon, Gaza and presumably anywhere else lacking the means to retaliate in kind against Israeli non-combatants, civilians.

Israel, with the complete backing of Canada and our political leadership, knows full well it can deliberately and relentlessly slaughter civilians and get away with it. So cocksure has Israel become that it's now openly threatening to visit Dahiyeh on the people of Lebanon if another conflict breaks out.


The laws of war absolutely prohibit the deliberate targeting of civilians and their infrastructure - power plants, sewage and water plants, hospitals, schools and such.  Yet this is precisely what Israel visits on those territories it attacks.

The Israeli army will show ‘no restraint’ in attacking civilian centers in south Lebanon and Beirut should another war break out with Hezbollah, a senior Israeli military official told the German Die Zeit newspaper.

Israeli Air Force chief Major-General Amir Eshel warned Hezbollahin a recent interview picked up by The Jerusalem Post Saturday thatIsrael would not hesitate to attack military command centers situated in civilian buildings in Lebanon.

"[The Israeli Army] would not show restraint due to the immoral war tactics of our enemies,” he noted.

Dahiyeh, Lebanon - Before and After
Israel does it because it has just enough support to get away with it.  Israel counts on the open arm embrace of Canada's political leaders and that ever crucial UN Security Council veto that America never hesitates to deliver.  So for every woman or child they slaughter, every hospital they rocket, every school they destroy, we deserve our fair share of the credit.
Know what would stop this?  The threat of intervention by a country capable of inflicting retaliatory strikes against Israeli infrastructure - its power plants, its sewage plants, its water plants including its desalination plants.  No hospitals, no schools, no targeting of residential neighbourhoods.  What would also stop this is for Israel's political and military leadership to be made to stand trial for their war crimes.  Put thugs like Netanyahu and his top generals behind bars for life without parole.  
Know what would be a good place to start?  We could start by breaking all ties with any ally that thinks it can flout international and humanitarian law and the laws of war.  When we don't, what they do is on us.




He Knows An Easy Mark

Northern Reflections - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 05:05


Opposition to the Prime Minister is building. But Stephen Harper has always known that more voters despise him than support him. That's why the Fair Elections Act -- with its truly Orwellian title -- is now law. Linda McQuaig writes:

Stephen Harper's re-election strategy depends on a lot of you not voting. And if you mess with his plan by showing up at the polling station on Election Day, he's prepared for that, too: he's made it a lot harder for you to vote.

The prime minister has made it so much harder that "many tens of thousands" of Canadians may be denied their constitutional right to cast a ballot in the upcoming federal election, according to Harry Neufeld, former chief electoral officer for British Columbia. 
When Harper spouts his line about Conservative values being Canadian values, he knows that what he's saying is patently false . But he's been very good at rigging the game in his favour. That's because he's very good at a very old type of fraud -- bait and switch:

The Conservatives put the new election laws in place ostensibly in response to the national outcry over the robocall scandal, in which party operatives were accused of using automated phone calls to direct non-Conservative voters to the wrong polling stations on election day. The misleading calls were reported in ridings across the country and appeared to be targeted based on information from closely guarded Conservative party data.

In the end, only one person, Conservative staffer Michael Sona, who worked on a local campaign in Guelph, was convicted and jailed. However, in his verdict, Judge Gary Hearn wrote that "the evidence indicates he did not likely act alone."

The scandal raised the extremely serious question of whether the governing party had deliberately undermined the legitimacy of election results. Surely what was needed was a thorough investigation and a tightening of the election laws to ensure no such thing ever threatened our democracy again.

What we got instead was a bait-and-switch that the Conservatives have turned to their advantage. They overhauled the election laws all right, but the new laws did nothing to prevent the sort of treachery involved in the robocall scandal. If anything, they make it tougher to uncover robocall-style deception in the future by preventing the release of details about investigations conducted by Elections Canada.
He's a con man of considerable talent. And he knows an easy mark when he sees one.


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