Politics and its Discontents

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Reflections, Observations, and Analyses Pertaining to the Canadian Political Scene
Updated: 37 min 36 sec ago

On Hiatus

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 00:19

Time to head back to our favourite island before it is infiltrated by the Americans.

See you in about a week.Recommend this Post

Another Compelling Video From Operation Maple

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 07:56
Operation Maple (Take Canada Back) is continuing its fine job of reminding us of the terrible way we are governed, offering us frequent and compelling evidence that demonstrates how the neo-liberal agenda, pursued with such diabolical glee by the Harper regime, is continuing to undermine our country. I suspect its resources, and others (the Salamander, for example, has some interesting ideas in this regard which I shall soon write about) will become increasingly important as we move ever closer to the next federal election. Please visit their site and disseminate their material as you see fit.

The following video explores the history of the free trade agreement and its costly consequences, consequences that continue to this day and promise to grow even more grave under the Canada-China Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) and the Canada-Eu (CETA) deal.

Our sovereignty as a nation continues to erode thanks to these agreements, brokered with such secrecy, with the only true beneficiaries the corporate elites and the multinationals.

Recommend this Post

Rick's Latest

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 05:55
As usual, Mr. Mercer does us all proud as he yet again lambastes the obdurate, arrogant Mr. Harper, this time over the fact that he doesn't play well with others (a.k.a. the provincial premiers).

Recommend this Post

The Real Problem With Contemporary Journalism

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 09:52

The current scandal engulfing the CBC and Amanda Lang has made its way overseas into the cross-hairs of The Guardian's George Monbiot.

After providing a summary, with appropriate links, of the sordid Lang tale that encompasses massive conflict of interest and management collusion, Monbiot has this to say:
CBC refused to answer my questions, and I have not had a response from Lang. It amazes me that she remains employed by CBC, which has so far done nothing but bluster and berate its critics.But the CBC's indefensible stance is not the real subject of Monbiot's essay, merely part of the context for his thesis:
[T]hose who are supposed to scrutinise the financial and political elite are embedded within it. Many belong to a service-sector aristocracy, wedded metaphorically (sometimes literally) to finance. Often unwittingly, they amplify the voices of the elite, while muffling those raised against it.Studies and statistic prove his point:
A study by academics at the Cardiff School of Journalism examined the BBC Today programme’s reporting of the bank bailouts in 2008. It discovered that the contributors it chose were “almost completely dominated by stockbrokers, investment bankers, hedge fund managers and other City voices. Civil society voices or commentators who questioned the benefits of having such a large finance sector were almost completely absent from coverage.” The financiers who had caused the crisis were asked to interpret it.The heavily biased reporting on that catastrophe, however, was only representative of a deeper malaise:
The same goes for discussions about the deficit and the perceived need for austerity. The debate has been dominated by political and economic elites, while alternative voices – arguing that the crisis has been exaggerated, or that instead of cuts, the government should respond with Keynesian spending programmes or taxes on financial transactions, wealth or land – have scarcely been heard. Those priorities have changed your life: the BBC helped to shape the political consensus under which so many are now suffering.And what about fair and balanced reporting? A fiction, according to Monbiot:
The BBC’s business reporting breaks its editorial guidelines every day by failing to provide alternative viewpoints. Every weekday morning, the Today programme grovels to business leaders for 10 minutes. It might occasionally challenge them on the value or viability of their companies, but hardly ever on their ethics. Corporate critics are shut out of its business coverage – and almost all the rest.

On BBC News at Six, the Cardiff researchers found, business representatives outnumbered trade union representatives by 19 to one. “The BBC tends to reproduce a Conservative, Eurosceptic, pro-business version of the world,” the study said. This, remember, is where people turn when they don’t trust the corporate press.He ends by listing the media's myriad failures, and the grave consequence of those failures:
...their failure to expose the claims of the haut monde, their failure to enlist a diversity of opinion, their failure to permit the audience to see that another world is possible. If even the public sector broadcasters parrot the talking points of the elite, what hope is there for informed democratic choice?
Monbiot's piece should be required reading for all concerned about the condition of that great protector of democracy, the fifth estate. As well, we would be indeed foolish if we failed to understand that the insights he offers apply, not just to Great Britain, but to Canada and much of the rest of western world, as well.Recommend this Post

Harper Intimidation Tactic Backfires

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 06:39

As noted yesterday, the Harper-led CRA attacks on charities inimical to the base continues apace, the latest 'victim' being Dying With Dignity Canada, which is having its charitable status 'annulled.' However, this time it appears that the bully's strategy has backfired.

As reported in The Star, Dying With Dignity Canada is not going to appeal the decision, instead seeing it as a real opportunity:
“We won’t be opposing it, simply because it would be lengthy, time consuming, costly and a distraction from our core work,’’ Morris said in a telephone interview from Toronto.

She hinted strongly that once her group’s status is officially gone, it will use its website to begin endorsing politicians and parties who support the physician-assisted suicide position.

“We’ll be able to say here’s a candidate, come look,’’ Morris said.

“It’s unfortunate we’ll no longer be able to issue tax receipts, but it will also be a real freeing from constraints, because as a charity we’ve really had to follow careful guidelines from the (revenue agency). We’ll no longer need to do that,’’ Morris added.A visit to their website shows a wealth of information on the topic of dying with dignity, surely fulfilling the educational component that comprises a good part of CRA-conferred charitable status, and solidly giving the lie to the Agency's alleged reason for revoking that status.

Nonetheless, as a result of Harper's sleazy intolerance of opposing views, I suspect that the profile of Dying With Dignity Canada has been considerably enhanced.

Sorry it didn't work out for you this time, Stephen.Recommend this Post

The Harper Attack On Charities Continues

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 13:17

Following a well-established pattern, the Harper regime has once again used the offices of Canada Revenue Agency to go after a charity that it deems ideologically inimical to its base. This time, it is Dying With Dignity Canada:
The federal government is stripping Dying with Dignity Canada of its charitable tax status following a political activity audit by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The organization, a registered charity since 1982, advocates for choice and dignity at the end of life, including providing information about patient rights, advance planning and education on the case for physician-assisted death.Despite the fact that it has been a registered charity for over 30 years,
Dying with Dignity says the revenue agency has informed it that the organization never should have received charitable status in the first place because it does not advance education in the charitable sense.That was some oversight, eh? Recommend this Post

Health Canada Fails Us Yet Again

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 07:12

On this blog I have frequently extolled the fine investigative journalism practised by The Toronto Star. Whether on issues of municipal, provincial, or federal significance, The Star, as it frequently proclaims, "gets action."

From the standpoint of average Canadians, probably one of its most important investigations in recent times has been into Health Canada and its all too cozy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, an industry protectorate seems to treat more as an equal than as an activity to be regulated. its relationship with the generic company Apotex is especially troubling.

Despite previous avowals by Health Minister Rona Ambrose that things would improve, it seems that business as usual prevails at Apotex. Yesterday, The Star reported that problems have again been uncovered, this time at its Brantford palant, information that, as in the past, comes not from Health Canada, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
At the Brantford facility in November, FDA inspectors found the company launched an internal review in 2013 to ensure it was effectively cleaning the equipment used to make drug products. Three swab tests of the equipment found unacceptable levels of contamination.

But Apotex shelved its internal review “until (an) effective cleaning procedure is developed,” according to an Apotex memo reviewed by FDA inspectors.

Then, in September 2014, the company made multiple batches “using the same equipment cleaning methods that failed the cleaning validation,” FDA inspectors found.

The company then released the drug products “based on a less stringent” quality-control requirement.What were the possible contaminants?
An industry expert said the most common contamination from improperly cleaned equipment would be bacteria or trace amounts of another drug or antibiotic made using the same machines.So where was Health Canada in all of this?

The agency, which had conducted its own inspection in July with similar discoveries, tagged along with the FDA in its November inspection. But that's where common ground diverges. While the FDA made the result of the inspection publicly available, Health Canada says it is still finalizing the report from its July inspection.

A hard-hitting editorial in today's Star makes it abundantly clear that this kind of cavalier foot-dragging is unacceptable:
That’s not good enough. It’s January and drugs that could possibly be contaminated are on the market.

Health Canada must move a lot more quickly to ensure consumer safety. And it clearly needs to take a much more rigorous look into Apotex’s manufacturing practices. The company has a long history of safety issues at its plants.The editorial ends with sentiments that few Canadians could disagree with:
In the end, consumers are dependent on Health Canada — not the FDA — to ensure that drugs on the Canadian market are safe and effective. Health Canada should immediately identify the drugs in question and issue its report on Apotex’s Brantford plant. And it needs to have a good hard look at all of Apotex’s manufacturing practices.

Consumer safety is at stake.That, strangely enough, does not seem to be a priority with Health Canada.Recommend this Post

The Triumph of Ideology Over Truth

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 07:13

None of us, of course, is free of prejudices, biases, and ideological/philosophical leanings. It is part of being human. But those of us who strive for critical thinking at least make an effort to recognize the aforementioned in our own thinking, and take measures to try to counteract their at-times destructive effects. I like to think that is what separates progressives from the reflexive ranters à la Fox News who substitute blather, invective and demagoguery for reason.

The New York Times' Paul Krugman has written a very interesting piece examining this issue, entitled Hating Good Government.

Krugman starts out by looking at climate change, and the fact that 2014 was the warmest year on record, a fact, however, that will make no difference in the 'debate.'
Evidence doesn’t matter for the “debate” over climate policy, where I put scare quotes around “debate” because, given the obvious irrelevance of logic and evidence, it’s not really a debate in any normal sense. And this situation is by no means unique. Indeed, at this point it’s hard to think of a major policy dispute where facts actually do matter; it’s unshakable dogma, across the board. And the real question is why.To fully establish his premise, he next looks at the right's most prized article of faith, that tax cuts promote growth:
First, consider the Kansas experiment. Back in 2012 Sam Brownback, the state’s right-wing governor, went all in on supply-side economics: He drastically cut taxes, assuring everyone that the resulting boom would make up for the initial loss in revenues. Unfortunately for his constituents, his experiment has been a resounding failure. The economy of Kansas, far from booming, has lagged the economies of neighboring states, and Kansas is now in fiscal crisis.So will we see conservatives scaling back their claims about the magical efficacy of tax cuts as a form of economic stimulus? Of course not. If evidence mattered, supply-side economics would have faded into obscurity decades ago. Next, Krugman turns to health care reform, regarded by the right as an unspeakable evil promoted by the satanic Obama:
...the news on health reform keeps coming in, and it keeps being more favorable than even the supporters expected. We already knew that the number of Americans without insurance is dropping fast, even as the growth in health care costs moderates. Now we have evidence that the number of Americans experiencing financial distress due to medical expenses is also dropping fast.Those facts, of course, will matter not a whit to the 'true believers' on the right.

Krugman then gets to the heart of the matter, the reason for this intractability that is impervious to facts:
Well, it strikes me that the immovable position in each of these cases is bound up with rejecting any role for government that serves the public interest. If you don’t want the government to impose controls or fees on polluters, you want to deny that there is any reason to limit emissions. If you don’t want the combination of regulation, mandates and subsidies that is needed to extend coverage to the uninsured, you want to deny that expanding coverage is even possible. And claims about the magical powers of tax cuts are often little more than a mask for the real agenda of crippling government by starving it of revenue.And why this hatred of government in the public interest? Well, the political scientist Corey Robin argues that most self-proclaimed conservatives are actually reactionaries. That is, they’re defenders of traditional hierarchy — the kind of hierarchy that is threatened by any expansion of government, even (or perhaps especially) when that expansion makes the lives of ordinary citizens better and more secure. We would be indeed foolish to think that such forces are not at work in Canada as well. One only has to look at the Harper regime's near-constant vilification of 'enemies, its suppression of science, its general demagoguery substituting for reasoned policy to see our sad domestic truths echo those of the U.S.

Not a time to be smug here, there, or anywhere.

Recommend this Post

How Does Stephen Harper Get Away With It?

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 05:43

Because we let him. That is the question asked and answered by a Toronto Star letter-writer in response to a column on democracy by Bob Hepburn, which I posted about last week.

There is an array of excellent letters on this topic, one that could serve as a primer for those who are disengaged. I hope you will check out the full page and share with those who might benefit from the insights offered.

Election best chance to restore faith in democracy, Opinion Jan. 11
This summary is brilliant and speaks to the heart of Canada’s challenge. Poor choices, decisions based on an ideology that excludes more voters than it includes, an arrogant blindness to the growing collateral damage caused by policies made within a narrow context – all of these and more can be reviewed and changed.

This column is a cry and pledge for change driven by the phrase, “How does Stephen Harper get away with it?” At the first step of the democratic ladder, the answer is “we let him get away with it.”

Perhaps it’s time for us (the voter) to ask, “How do we stop this erosion of our democracy?” And then set about a plan to do it, acknowledging that perhaps Mr. Harper’s strongest asset is the diversity and size of Canada making joint projects a geographic nightmare, a land where divide and conquer can be accomplished with our own money ($2.5 million in TV ads) not to mention the overriding complacency of the voter (the fiddle is playing while Ottawa burns). This summary challenges the voter.

The Star has done its job with strong and factual, canary in the mine reporting. We need to respond. Each Harper candidate needs voters to ask them all of these “how does” questions and stand our ground until we get the facts from each and every candidate who wants our vote.

And each voter must look inside her or his soul to discover again the value of our democracy is worth more than ideology.

Don Graves, BurlingtonRecommend this Post

Fox Apologizes?

Sun, 01/18/2015 - 13:36
Surely the end is nigh.

In case you have the interest and the stomach, this is what the apologies were all about:

Recommend this Post

And Speaking Of Ethics

Sun, 01/18/2015 - 10:18
Or, more accurately, the lack of them at the CBC, letter-writer John Page of Toronto offers this thought:
Re: Minimal mindset of CBC managers, Jan. 16

As a faithful listener and hard-core supporter of the CBC for over 42 years, I recently changed the channel — literally. The story on the conduct of Amanda Lang and CBC management brings home the reality of the decline and likely extinction of the CBC.

Maybe I am naive to think that Harry Brown, Joe Cote, Barbara Frum, and Knowlton Nash would have ever placed themselves in the ethically grey areas that your article touches.

Hoping the Star and other media can do some more investigation and reporting on this important subject.

Recommend this Post

Egg On His Car

Sun, 01/18/2015 - 06:05
... but not on his face. Yes, our peripatetic and staunch, uncritical supporter of all things Israeli, Foreign Minister John baird, was spared the ultimate humiliation during a visit to the West Bank city of Ramallah today to meet with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki.

The protesters, who were waiting as Baird left Malki's office, were kept well back and Baird was not hit, authorities say. One media report says only one of the eggs landed on the roof of his car.

Protesters held signs reading: "Baird you are not welcome in Palestine."Here is some raw footage of the event, which many Canadians will look upon rather wistfully, I suspect, given that at home, members of the Harper regime have a far more nuanced relationship with the public, appearing only before carefully vetted, friendly groups:

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More On The Amanda Lang Imbroglio

Sat, 01/17/2015 - 05:46
The Star's John Semley offers his thoughts on the inadequacy and ineptitude of the CBC's response to the Amanda Lang scandal:

Recommend this Post

Accountability, Whither Thou Goest?

Fri, 01/16/2015 - 07:01

If there is one good thing to be said about the Leslie Roberts scandal, it is that privately owned Global Television has acted with dispatch both in its investigation of the newsman/PR firm co-owner's terrible breach of ethics, and its subsequent actions. While the official 'story' is that Roberts has resigned, there is little doubt in my mind that he was given that option by management lest he be unceremoniously turfed.

This decisive behaviour stands in sharp contrast to the inaction of other media outlets. Perhaps the most notorious example of patently unethical choices is Margaret Wente's much-reported serial plagiarism which the Globe and Mail treated as some form of pecadillo that merited exactly what? All we know is that the editor at the time, John Stackhouse, said she had been disciplined; the terms of that discipline were private.

More recently, of course, we have had the sad spectacle of the CBC's Amanda Lang who, it is alleged, tried to stop a story exposing the RBC's use of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program to train and replace permanent employees; Lang's was a clear conflict-of-interest violation given the nature of her relationship with an RBC board member and the fact that she has accepted paying gigs from the bank.

As of this writing, the CBC continues to insist that Lang did nothing wrong, essentially the same approach that it took with conflict allegations against Peter Mansbridge and Rex Murphy.

These are hardly decisions that inspire confidence in the public broadcaster.

In his column today, Rick Salutin explores who is to blame for the sad state of affairs at the CBC (it is the managers, who cower in the shadows behind their “stars”) and remembers a time when when public institutions adhered to public values for the benefit of all:
Canada’s other main public cultural institution, the National Film Board, was built by John Grierson in the 1940s. He was a titan of global film. He acted imperiously. He recruited young Canadians and dazzled them with his ego and vision. One said, “A day never passed at the Board that Grierson didn’t remind us we were there to serve the people of Canada.”

Among his recruits was Sidney Newman. Newman went to the UK and worked in private TV, creating The Avengers. Then the (public) BBC hired him as head of drama. He revelled. He created Doctor Who, now in its 51st brilliant year. For the 50th anniversary, BBC did a film about Newman! He was its superhero.Today, we regularly read reports of the death of traditional media, reports that, if I may borrow from Mark Twain, seem greatly exaggerated. However, those media do themselves no favours by trying to rationalize and justify failures when they occur. We, the news-consuming public, deserve much better.

Recommend this Post

Good Riddance!

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 16:58

From my perspective as a serious consumer of news, Leslie Roberts will not be missed.Recommend this Post

What's Next? Thoughtcrime?

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 13:25
Yesterday I wrote a brief post on how the French government, despite massive outpourings in defense of free speech in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, is moving to severely curtail that right for those with whom it disagrees.

The Toronto Star has an editorial strongly condemning the French action, using the following examples to bolster its expression of odium:
...the French authorities have arrested comic Dieudonné M’bala M’bala and more than 50 others including several minors for voicing unpopular views of their own. Not accused of any acts of terrorism,
they ran afoul of France’s tough laws against glorifying terrorism, promoting anti-Semitism and indulging in hate speech. They were arrested for saying what they think.What was Dieudonné's 'crime'?
He posted — briefly, before deleting it — a Facebook notice that declared “as far as I’m concerned I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,” a reference to the gunman Amédy Coulibaly who killed a police officer and four people at the supermarket. Offensive as that posting was, does it rise to the level of a crime? The BBC reports that people have already been jailed for making drunken threats against police, for posting a video mocking one of three murdered officers and for shouting “long live the Kalash” assault rifle at police in a shopping centre.Canadians should not feel complacent over the fact that this crackdown on rights is happening a continent away, given the profoundly anti-democratic bent of the regime we currently groan under at home.

Can facecrime and thoughtcrime be far behind?

Recommend this Post

Toward Democratic Renewal

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 08:28

I'm sure that all progressive bloggers are disheartened and bedeviled by the devolution of democracy in Canada. Not only has it been under consistent and sustained attack by the Harper regime, but it has also (perhaps as a result of those attacks) seen a substantial rise in the number of disaffected and disengaged citizens, attested to by the abysmal turnout in recent elections.

In today's Star, Bob Hepburn has some suggestions on how to reverse this deplorable situation, posed in this way by Hepburn:
How can Stephen Harper and other political leaders be prevented from running roughshod over our democracy?Hepburn suggests that Harper's egregious contempt for our democratic principles and traditions are sparking a backlash among a growing number of Canadians.

It is a suggestion with which the founder of Democracy Watch, Duff Conacher agrees:
“There will be huge competition on this issue among the political parties like we haven’t seen in more than 10 years,” he says.So how can we, as concerned citizens, contribute to this push for democratic renewal?
First, you can write, email and telephone Harper, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, as well as your MP. In the past, many people have written to Ottawa, but have received unsatisfying responses or no replies at all. Don’t give up, though. Politicians will change direction if enough people write to them, Conacher says.Next, Hepburn advises joining
a non-profit community group engaged in a public issue ... [that] can provide a chance to share your views with elected officials or public servants.Third, spend $10 and join a political party. As a member, you can try to influence candidates and the political agenda at the local or national level.

Fourth, talk about political issues with your family and friends. [Alison]Loat [of Samara]says one of the biggest challenges for anyone interested in restoring democracy is getting others engage. Barely 40 per cent of Canadians report they have talked with their friends or families or work colleagues about a political or societal issue in person or on the phone in the last year.

Fifth, sign up with pro-democracy efforts and petitions that are being launched across Canada. For example, the Ottawa-based Council of Canadians is urging its members to take a vote pledge, with a promise to challenge two more eligible voters to join them in taking the pledge. As well, Dave Meslin, a Toronto organizer who co-founded Spacing magazine, is seeking ideas for a book he is writing, titled One Hundred Remedies for a Broken Democracy.Hepburn also points out that Duff Conacher is
the driving force behind Democracy Education, a coalition of national groups that operates the VotePromise.ca website that strives to get voters to encourage non-voters to turn out for the coming election.The idea is to extract a promise from as many of your friends and acquaintances as possible to Make the Vote Promise.

Taken separately, perhaps none of these will cure our political malaise, but in the aggregate, they may, with the proper effort, result in a return to healthier numbers at the ballot box.

We have our job cut out for us. The challenge is daunting, but I refuse to believe it is insurmountable.
Recommend this Post

Coalition Redux

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

Have The Terrorists Already Won?

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 09:49

Much press has been devoted to the aftermath of the cowardly massacre at Charlie Hebdo; strong displays of solidarity both in defence of freedom of expression and disdain for the jihadists' efforts to squelch it, have been widespread. But despite these demonstrations, one can legitimately ask if the terrorists have already achieved victory.

I offer but one example here of the egregious irony/hypocrisy of a state-sanctioned suppression of the very right that so many are so staunchly defending against attack.

Associated Press journalists Lori Hinnant and Angela Charlton report the following:
In a sign that French judicial authorities were using laws against defending terrorism to their fullest extent, a man who had praised the terror attacks while resisting arrest on a drunk driving violation was swiftly sentenced to four years in prison.I guess freedom of expression is ultimately largely contingent upon whether or not one finds acceptable the view being expressed. So it would seem that both the French government and the terrorists have found something upon which they can both agree.
Recommend this Post

A Blog Post Recommendation

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 05:51

I have only one purpose in this brief post, and that is to strongly recommend that you take a look at Dr. Dawg's latest post. A trenchant and incisive dissection of the rot that has beset the CBC, Dawg concludes that there is little worth saving at what he calls the 'MotherCorpse', given its increasingly flagrant disregard for conflict of interest issues, Amanda Lang's case being only the latest.

Who is to blame for this sorry state? Well, you'll have to read Dawg's post for his answer.Recommend this Post