Agrégateur de flux

Stephen Harper's Criminally Irresponsible Reefer Madness

Montreal Simon - sam, 10/03/2015 - 22:31

As we all know Stephen Harper has an unhealthy obsession with marijuana, handcuffs, and Justin Trudeau. Not necessarily in that order.

He has no respect for science, and has never seen a scientist he didn't want to muzzle.

But even by his low standards this is criminally irresponsible. 
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The Company He Keeps: Meet Fromm's New Friend Brian Ruhe

Anti-Racist Canada - sam, 10/03/2015 - 17:51
We briefly mentioned Ruhe a few weeks ago in reference to Paulie's horrible, rotten, no-good 2015, but didn't really talk much about the man himself other than posting a link to a recent article about Ruhe in the "Gerorgia Straight."

Brian Ruhe is was a continuing-education instructor at Capilano University teaching courses on meditation and Buddhist philosophy, however on learning of his other activities, some of which might have been taught in his classes according to one anonymous poster in the comments section of the "Georgia Straight" article, Ruhe's contract was not renewed.

You see Ruhe was also a UFOologist (which might be eccentric but otherwise harmless) and a proponent of antisemitic tropes (which was not harmless and would sort of damage the university's reputation if they remained associated with him) which he cloaks in eastern spirituality:

In short, Brian Ruhe is Canada's 21st century version of Savitri Devi, though he justifies his antisemitic Hitler worship based on a warped interpretation of Buddhism and, unlike Devi, Ruhe has the charisma of a lightly-used dish rag.

Ruhe is a prolific user of YouTube and so provides a great deal of material indicating what an odd duck he is, however we decided to profile one of his more recent videos (edited for length and cut into three sections) in which he discusses his own particular "solution" to the "Jewish problem":

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Lisa Barrett for Vancouver Centre . . . .

Moved to Vancouver - sam, 10/03/2015 - 16:24

Due to The Lady Alison's endorsement this Green Party MP candidate in my riding has already received my vote as I will be out of the country on October 19th.

Please use your rights in our democracy to vote your conscience and hopefully send stevie packing on October 20th . . . .

Stephen Harper and the Monstrous Enemies of Israel List

Montreal Simon - sam, 10/03/2015 - 15:11

Well we've always known that Stephen Harper has a long list of enemies, real or imagined.

And we also know that he will do or say anything to pander to the right-wing Jewish vote.

But this combination couldn't be more disgusting. 
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Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - sam, 10/03/2015 - 09:49
Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.

- Alex Himelfarb highlights the vicious circle the Harper Cons have created and driven when it comes to public services:
Today’s austerity is not a response to fiscal crisis. The 2012 budget demonstrated that it’s about redefining the purpose of government, about dismantling, brick by brick, the progressive state built by governments of quite different stripes in the decades following the Second World War. Implied is a very different notion of our shared citizenship, of what binds us together across language, region and community. The message was clear: government will ask less of Canadians and Canadians should expect less from government, a kind of bargain-basement citizenship.

We see this in the extent to which cuts target services for the most vulnerable: refugee claimants cannot get medical care; migrant workers cannot access benefits they’ve paid into; prisoners lose the meagre wages that might have helped them reintegrate when released; the unemployed have less access to employment insurance; veterans have less access to essential services.
We lag in tackling inequality and poverty.

We see this in the retreat from federal engagement with the provinces. Gone are the days of co-operative federalism, yes, often messy and combative, that nonetheless brought us pensions and Medicare. The tone was set when, among its first steps, the government cancelled the child care agreements signed with every province and the Kelowna Accord signed by the premiers and aboriginal leaders.

How did all of this get done without much political pushback or public outrage? In some cases, the cuts don’t kick in for years. In other cases — the gutting of our environmental regulations, cuts to basic science and statistics, weakened enforcement of health and safety regulations — the consequences are often subtle and play out in the long term or when things go wrong, and by then we may not make the link to austerity. In fact, our collective failures may simply undermine our trust in what government can accomplish.- Joshua Ostroff discusses the importance of supportive housing - along with the desperate need for more investment in it. And David Ball turns to child care as another of the policies people are hoping for out of this fall's election.

- Murray Dobbin offers some hope that the era of precarious work is over. But Sara Mojtehedzadeh exposes how privatization and contract-flipping serve to undermine organized labour, suppress wages and eliminate job security. And Tyler Cowen points out that while the U.S.' employment numbers still seem relatively strong, they're once again failing to translate into any wage gains.

- Patricia Aldana describes how the Cons turned her into a second-class citizen. And Rick Salutin suggests that an election centred on the meaning of citizenship might be exactly what we need to confirm its importance - in contrast to the Cons' effort to make it something that can be stripped away for political gain.

- Finally, Rachel Browne reports that Canadian Muslims are understandably organizing in advance of an election where their rights are being shredded in the name of stoking prejudice. Aaron Wherry observes that the poll results pointed to as an excuse for a niqab ban are based on deliberately-false assumptions about the government's actual policy choices. The Globe and Mail encourages voters to get past the Cons' prejudice to decide based on real issues. Martyn Brown sees the Cons' hatemongering as demeaning Canada as a whole, while Tom Regan argues that it's the barbaric cultural practice we should be concerned about. Susan Delacourt rightly notes that we should expect all parties to want more than to win votes based on bigotry. And Martin Patriquin credits Thomas Mulcair for taking a much-needed stand against Harper and his strategy of fear and division.

Lifting The Veil

Politics and its Discontents - sam, 10/03/2015 - 08:05
Lifting the veil behind what has become a major part of the Tory re-election strategy reveals nothing good. Consider, for example, this shameful announcement by party stalwart Kellie Lietch, who has yet to meet a Harper directive she doesn't salivate over:

In other words, the directive has gone out: surveil your Muslim neighbours and acquaintances and report on their foul and quite possibly nefarious practices. They are not to be trusted. What makes this announcement even more reprehensible is that it is being peddled under the pretext of helping vulnerable women and children, two groups the regime has shown little more than passing interest in up to this point.

Fortunately, not all are responding in the desired manner to this Pavlovian bell. Twitter reaction was fierce, as a few excerpts demonstrate:
Trying to convince citizens that people of a specific race are toxic. Don't let history repeat itself.

Trying to convince citizens that people of a specific race are toxic. Don't let history repeat itself.

The Canadian media better start calling this #elxn42 strategy what it is: racist. And they need to use that word.

Ignoring expert advice on refugee health care, crime prevention, harm reduction and climate change.

Is the #BarbaricCulturalPractices tip line open yet? I'd like to report someone for overusing a dog whistle. And yet, despite the ability of some Canadians to see through this low tactic of stoking intolerance to win votes, it continues to deeply trouble me that we have a government so bent on twisting and perverting the national fabric for its own mercenary ends. In the process, incalculable damage, in my view, is being done to our collective psyche.

And we surely lack all perspective, especially in rewarding Harper with increased support for his politically motivated intransigence on the niqab. As Susan Delacourt points out,
... the magic number is two. That’s the total number, out of nearly 700,000 people, who have wanted to wear face coverings in citizenship ceremonies, according to a Radio-Canada report.

So all this agitation over the niqab, all the fierce declarations of what the majority in Canada wants at citizenship ceremonies, is about fewer than a handful of people. Except that it isn’t about those two people; it is about tapping into support that any responsible politician shouldn’t want. ... no party in this election ... should be whipping up antipathy to Muslims, or any religion or culture. It’s repulsive if it works and even more repulsive if it was planned to work that way. Today's Star editorial offers similar sentiments, and points out the diversionary nature of such tactics:
... these spiteful Conservative policies — hound Muslim women, strip Muslim wrongdoers of basic human rights, shove Muslim refugees to the back of the line — have hijacked and distorted this election. They have blotted out the sun when Canadians face important choices on the economy, jobs, accountable government, social investment, fair taxation and the environment.

The relentless, divisive harping on largely fabricated “Muslim problems” may help the Conservatives get re-elected. But it is unworthy of the Government of Canada, it is socially corrosive, and it confirms the Tories’ unfitness to govern.That the current incarnation of the Tories are unfit to govern is beyond dispute. We can only hope droves of other Canadians are coming to the same conclusion.

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Preschool Pain in the A$$

Fat and Not Afraid - sam, 10/03/2015 - 07:12

The following is just a rant. 

I love my kids very much, but damn, sometimes you just want to lock them up and throw away the key. In my case, it's from about age 2 1/2 to 5. The foot-stomping, screaming, gimmie-gimmie, temper tantrum stage for both my kids is not fun. It's a frustrating combination of "I can do it myself!" and "I can't do it! HELP ME!" often within seconds of each other. It's sleeping through the night 90% of the time, but on the nights when it's not (and for Kat that's right around the full moon for some reason) it's shrieking fits until she's settled again. It's everything being Just So or it's time for a melt down. It's picking on her brother, being a tattle tail, fighting in the backseat over toys, fighting over the window being up or down or part way, food, dessert, EVERYTHING. It's exhausting for everyone, but especially her I think.

Some nights she'll say to us "I'm ready for bed now" and find her blankie and her bunny, pick out pajamas and patiently wait for us to come read a story. This stage of the game, not bedtime but preschooler time, is also the most affectionate. She says "I love you so much!" all the time and gives great hugs and kisses. Buy milk? "Oh thank you! I love you!" Pick out the perfect story? Same thing. Kat will crawl into bed with me in the morning and bring me a toy to snuggle or so I'm not lonely if she leaves. She's SO HAPPY to see us after a long day of daycare it's impossible not to melt inside when her eyes light up and she runs into my arms.

I have to go now; she's pulling all my pads and tampons out from under the sink in the bathroom, asking me if it's my moon time.

The Ugly Canadian

Northern Reflections - sam, 10/03/2015 - 06:25

Give Tom Mulcair credit. He stuck to his guns last night on the question of niqabs. A native son, he is well ware of the xenophobic streak that runs through Quebec society -- and which is occasionally fanned by people like Maurice Duplessis, Lucien Bouchard, Gilles Duceppe and Stephen Harper.

Mr. Harper -- in all his hypocritical arrogance -- presents himself as a liberator of women. Justin Trudeau, however, pointed out that there are "more men in your caucus who oppose abortion than there are women in Quebec who wear the niqab." He then asked Harper if he favoured abortion for women. Harper, of course, refused to answer the question.

Michael Den Tandt writes:

Given an opportunity to hedge or fudge, Tom Mulcair stuck grimly to his defence of a woman’s right to wear the Islamic veil or niqab during a Canadian citizenship ceremony — though this stance appears to have cost him his lead in the polls and may in the end deny him victory on Oct. 19.

“A prime minister has an obligation to protect all citizens, including minorities,” he told Stephen Harper during a prolonged four-way exchange about the niqab at the French-language debate. “What you are doing is unworthy of a prime minister.”
Unworthy of a prime minister and completely lacking in courage. Mulcair's stand will not help him in Quebec. Harper has touched an ugly nerve -- not just in Quebec, but in the rest of the country.

But, then, he's the Ugly Canadian.

We Have Met the Enemy. . .

kirbycairo - sam, 10/03/2015 - 06:21
An important part of my youth was spent in the United States in the 60s and 70s. I grew up against the backdrop of the fight to end legal segregation and the racism that was at its root. I was never, I don't think, naive enough to believe that I would see an end to racism in my lifetime (this disease runs too deep to end in one life or even one century). But I was aware that progress was being made.

When I came to Canada in the seventies I realized quickly that Canadians liked to think of themselves as superior to Americans on this front. And in some ways they were. Certain racialized groups were much more accepted by average Canadians. But it didn't take me long to realize that others were just as victimized by racism as anyone in the US. The open and painful bigotry displayed by people around me against East Indian immigrants was shocking. And the Racism against Indigenous people was socially accepted and made the racism I had witnessed in the US pale in comparison.

It is now about 80 years since the Germans elected the NAZI party to power. It seems like a long time, but it is only one lifespan really. To their credit, the Germans seem to have made an incredible effort to learn from the worst parts of their racist past. Today even a right of centre politician like Angela Merkel has led the way in pushing racism aside and welcoming tens of thousands of racialized refugees to Germany. For all of Germany's faults, this is an act of humanitarianism that should not go unnoticed. Canadians seem considerably less interested in learning or atoning from their own racist past. Perhaps this is because, unlike Germans, we have been able to kid ourselves about the depth and profundity of our racist culture. But even a casual observer should be able to see that we have been as guilty as the Germans of attempted genocide.

And if there is any doubt of the dept of Canadian racism, the horrible turn in the Election campaign should bring us to our senses in this regard. We knew it was coming. The Conservative Party was fully aware of when the recent Niqab decision would come down and what that decision would be. They hired a blatantly racist campaign manager, bided their time, and lit the fire at the right moment. This is our Reichstag folks. We are being tested and we have come up sorely wanting. Talking heads like Rex Murphy, or Jason Kenny try to tell us that this is not about bigotry. But anyone who thinks it is not racism and bigotry is either stupid, historically ill-informed, or engaged in wilful self-deception to try to cleanse their soul of the terrible stain of this historical moment. We all know what is going on, but the saddest part is that we kept telling ourselves that we had learned from the past. But Santayana's dictum sadly applies here - those that don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

I feel much like a progressive person must have felt in Germany in the 1930s when they saw the NAZIs consolidating their power. Sure, today we are not talking about 'death-camps' in our own nation but the spirit is the same. We are turning back refugees, bombing foreign nations for pure political gain, creating two-tier citizenship, race-baiting, and attempting to overcome our own constitution to legalize racism. It is all the same historical thrust - the more extreme forms of racism (those involving guns, ropes, and gas-chambers) have been expunged or watered down, but roots of the actions are the same as ever.

The great political cartoonist (and creator of Pogo), Walt Kelly, once comically misquoted the American naval officer Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, to create an aphorism that should daily echo in our minds - "We Have Met the Enemy and He is US!"

Stephen Harper and the Fascism of the Con Regime

Montreal Simon - sam, 10/03/2015 - 05:03

On the night Stephen Harper won his monstrous majority, I ended my very short post by playing the song from the movie Cabaret, of the young Nazi in the beer garden singing Tomorrow Belongs to Me.

For which I was roundly criticized by some of the stuffy poobahs in the blogosphere. 

"Don't you know that's Godwin's law?" they screamed. "It's verboten !!! It's Harper Derangement Syndrome !!!!"

But now I feel I have been vindicated. Because this is fascism...
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About Last Night, Mon Amour -Face a Face TVA Debate Review

Sister Sages Musings - ven, 10/02/2015 - 23:39

Boys n girls, I have to admit that the French language face a face debate on TVA was a bit of a disappointment for me. There were some funny moments, one in particular that everybody will be talking about for awhile. I’ll get to that later; hint: it was a Freudian slip by Justin . . . → Read More: About Last Night, Mon Amour -Face a Face TVA Debate Review

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 10/02/2015 - 21:06
Young Rising Sons - King of the World

Dipper Blood & Grit Guts

Tattered Sleeve - ven, 10/02/2015 - 20:50

Best debate ever. And maybe because it couldn`t be fully appreciated if you didn't already live in la Belle Province and have a good ear for Québefrancais, but dang!

I watched all the debates, and this one took the cake. For once, Harper was on the defensive and getting pummeed all throughout. Trudeau and Duceppe - and especially Mulcair - smacked him down for the best 120 minutes of the past 10 years.

On more than a couple of occasions I was animated towards my TV like nothing you have seen since the last Habs playoff games.

That said, Mulcair mostly made the gorgeous passes while Trudeau potted the goals. Anyway, I loved every minute. For once, Mulcair was himself mostly. The attack dog making sure Harper won't get away with anything. And Mulcair allowed himself to be himself, and not some weird uncle with the fake smile trying to sell you crystal meth as some hard candy.

Trudeau blew everyone out of the water on debating points, and called Duceppe "mon amour" at one point, completely endearing himself to all québecoise (according to my Québecoise wife) and providing a bit of candor to his otherwise ironclad demeanor. The niqab was debated responsibly. The Middle East conflict and our role therein was debated (marginally) intelligently. Everything I saw in two hours surpassed the past five years of HoC theater. Bravo, all.

Bonus points to JT for calling out Harper on his cowardice vis a vis gay marriage and abortion rights; plus for saying a couple of real truths over the course of the night.

- 30 -

On distinguishing factors

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 10/02/2015 - 14:58
The common personalities and strategies by tired right-wing governments are leading to some comparisons between the ongoing Canadian campaign and the UK's election earlier this year. But even as we treat David Cameron's re-election as an important warning, let's note that there's a rather crucial difference between the two.

In the UK, the Conservatives' sudden win seems to have been entirely unexpected, within prominent forecasters having seen the race as a dead heat rather than one in which Cameron had any prospect of taking a majority. And that likely affected coverage of the race as well as party strategies in the approach to election day.

In contrast, the fact that the Harper Cons have thrown out the dog whistles in favour of bullhorns well before election day has set a radically different course of events into motion. Yes, the Cons have been rewarded with an appalling bump in the polls. But that's come soon enough to leave time for both opposition parties and voters to react - both by countering the Cons' message itself, and raising the real spectre of more Harper government as a risk which voters may not have foreseen when a minority Parliament seemed like a relatively sure thing.

As I've noted, the one common denominator in this year's campaign has been a focus on preventing anybody from staying ahead of the field. Now, the Cons have managed to become the main target for all other parties going into the home stretch - and it would be entirely appropriate for the Cons' bigotry to backfire by causing a backlash Stephen Harper can neither control nor survive.

Barbaric cultural practices

Dawg's Blawg - ven, 10/02/2015 - 13:56
Good to know our caring government under feminist Stephen Harper is keeping tabs on barbaric cultural practices, by turning us (by which I guess I mean “old stock Canadians,” so, alas, I am not in their number, although being born... Dr.Dawg

Civic engagement in the face of democratic deficit | #TOpoli #cdnpoli

Posted by Sol Chrom - ven, 10/02/2015 - 11:14


So I’ve been watching a BBC mini-series from 1988 called A Very British Coup. There’s an understated but powerful scene wherein the Labour cabinet is debating its spending proposals; at one point, a frustrated and beleaguered Chancellor of the Exchequer declares that there’s little point in further discussion. The Prime Minister, wonderfully portrayed by Ray McAnally, gently admonishes him: “Democracy takes time. Dictatorship is quicker, but too many people get shot.”

Lord knows, I’ve been known to go on about civic engagement and the responsibilities of citizenship. But they’re becoming an even bigger challenge nowadays, and the underlying reasons reflect not just on this or that facet of governance, but on the nature of democratic society itself.

I know, I know — “democratic deficit” has become one of those overused terms that gets thrown around so frequently and so carelessly that it starts to lose its impact. At some point, however, certain events or patterns can bring it back into focus.

Exhibit A: Toronto City Council voted, this week, to reverse an earlier decision and reject the notion of ranked ballots, in a pronounced FU to notions of accountability, representation, and years of effort and outreach by local activists. From what I’ve heard, the discussion lasted about a minute and a half. I’m not going to rehash the details here: my friend Daren does a far better (and angrier) job over at his place. Go read.

What does it say about democratic culture, though, when people supposedly charged with stewardship of the public good can blow off their responsibilities in such a cavalier and thoughtless manner, and face little or no political consequence?

Let’s chew on that a while, and then move on to Exhibit B: the cesspool currently masquerading as our national conversation in the context of the federal election campaign. Let’s forget about the Islamophobia, the manufactured controversy over the niqab, and the coded messages in expressions like “old stock Canadians” for a moment, and focus on something even more basic and troubling.

What if, on reflection, you’re not convinced that the current system really offers any meaningful choices? What if none of the established parties hold out any hope that they’re going to address things that actually matter to you? What if the current conversation isn’t speaking to you? What if, with all the sound and fury, you still don’t feel represented?

Is it so unreasonable to point out the arbitrary exclusion of certain viewpoints? Is it irresponsible to observe that the parameters for Serious and Reasonable Ideas are set by a very small, privileged, and insular class of people?

What if there’s no popular mechanism influencing whose voices matter and whose voices get shut out? What if the manufactured narratives in the corporate media aren’t resonating with you? What if all kinds of questions aren’t discussed in any detail because of an apparent tacit agreement among the major parties and media outlets?

Is choosing among a handful of pre-packaged brands on polling day really comparable to meaningful popular input? By the same token, if you’re not convinced that any of those brands are going to undo the damage of the past few decades, is refusing to participate in the charade really so unreasonable?

I don’t have any easy answers. Over to you, internetz.

Related posts:

Tagged: apparatus of repression, belligerent ignorance, Canadian politics, civic engagement, democratic dysfunction, democratic governance, hypocrisy, ranked ballots, social fabric, the public good, Toronto politics

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 10/02/2015 - 08:26
Assorted content to end your week.

- The Equality Trust reminds us that economic inequality leads to harmful health consequences even for the lucky few at the top of the income scale. And Matt Bruenig observes that a basic income would provide workers with far more scope to avoid employer abuses and other stressors.

- The Council of Canadians points out how the Trans-Pacific Partnership could block any path toward a national pharmacare plan and more fair prescription drug prices. And Andy Blatchford highlights the secrecy surrounding the agreement even as it should be the subject of electoral scrutiny.

- Following up on yesterday's column, Andrew Coyne, Naheed Nenshi and Peter Wheeland just a few of the many voices pointing out how appalled Canadians should be by the Cons' attempt to win votes by denying basic rights to minorities. And the Montreal Gazette reports on the expected consequences when politicians decide to start declaring groups to be something less than full participants in society. But BJ Siekerski reports that the Cons are hinting at making matters worse by looking for new areas in which to discriminate, including employment in the public service.

- Meanwhile, Desmond Cole writes that the Cons' Unfair Elections Act likewise strips Canadians of basic rights (in this case the right to vote) without serving any purpose whatsoever.

- Finally, Scott Gilmore points out that people are suffering unconscionable poverty and deprivation daily in an area of federal jurisdiction - and thus calls for leaders and voters alike to pay far more attention to the plight of Canada's First Nations in the election and beyond.

He Sounds, On The Surface, So Reasonable

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 10/02/2015 - 07:21
As I lamented in yesterday's post, the issue of the niqab at citizenship ceremonies is apparently responsible for a resurgence of support for the Harper regime, whose leader has ruthlessly exploited the issue to his political advantage. Playing upon people's prejudices against 'the other,' Harper is appealing the court ruling against a ban on its use. The fact that this single issue should sway a significant proportion of the electorate, I think, speaks for itself when pondering our collective natures. We may not all agree about the niqab, but it should not be a defining issue, except perhaps to the extraordinarily small-minded.

Sometimes appeals to our prejudices come in much less blatant form. Such is what I believe I witnessed last night as Rex Murphy pontificated on the niqab issue. Take a listen, and see if you agree:

On the surface, Rex sounds so reasonable, doesn't he? But if we remember that appeals to symbols of citizenship, patriotism, etc. are all arrows in the quivers of demagogues both past and present, his observations and suggestions take on a more sinister cast. Consider his reference to the citizenship ceremony as a "civil sacrament." Powerful stuff, mixing religious and secular metaphors, especially for those who allow emotion to prevail over intellect. In other words, this quasi-religious ceremony, if we follow the subtext, is in danger of being blasphemed by the Muslims. His reference to "patriotic allegiance" also invokes the spectre that perhaps, if they are hiding their faces, they really aren't going to be that patriotic or loyal to Canada.

Murphy also points out they are insisting upon 'specialized treatment,' in breaking with the traditions of the ceremony. Cleverly, for his purposes, he makes no reference to our laws, which permit the use of the niqab. Then there is the suggestion that if the niqab wearer's insistence on her 'rights' (pretty uppity of her, don't you think?) is such a deeply-felt religious conviction, then perhaps she will have to choose between that conviction and citizenship.

While openly admitting to the multi-cultural nature of our society, Rex also suggests that just for the one day in which they are taking the citizenship oath, they should show themselves to their fellow newly-minted citizens. After all, he says we have core and common values, of which the citizenship ceremony apparently is one, in his view. (Subtext: they are making a mockery of our values in refusing to play by our rules.)

Without a hint of irony, Murphy suggests that these issues can be discussed without rancour, claiming there is no bigotry here. While I agree that such issues are indeed fit topics for rational discussion, Rex's approach, unfortunately does nothing to further that goal.Recommend this Post

Economy Or Security: That Is The Question

Northern Reflections - ven, 10/02/2015 - 06:32

Stephen Harper  tried to boil this election down to two issues: economy and security. The economy plank hasn't worked so well form him, given the problems in the oil patch.  So now he's emphasizing security -- and railing about niqabs. Michael Harris writes:

According to senior sources in the Liberal campaign, this is nothing short of a life-and-death struggle. If the focus remains on the economy, Team Trudeau thinks it can win. Why wouldn’t they? Here’s the snapshot after a decade of Harper: a recession (his second); a dollar that has lost 12 per cent of its value since 2006; seven out of eight budgets in deficit; and an extra $150 billion added to the national debt. Not exactly an argument for staying the course. As for prudent fiscal management — raiding the budget of veterans to balance the books doesn’t count. No wonder the Grits are excited.

But if security dominates, the edge goes to Harper. The Liberals understood that coming into this joust — which is why they made the high-risk move of supporting Bill C-51. They knew Conservative strength on this file was deep, though based more on emotion than reason. The last thing they wanted was to give Stephen Harper a hot-button wedge issue to excite his xenophobic fans by making Trudeau look soft on terrorism.

Trying to innoculate themselves from the notion that they were soft on security, the Liberals voted for Bill C-51, saying they would make significant changes to the bill. But that left them open to attacks from progressives who claimed they were, once again, being buffaloed by Stephen Harper. And that shadow has been following Justin Trudeau throughout this election.
There is a way, Harris writes, for Trudeau to get out from under that shadow. In fact, before the election, the Liberals tried to get out from  under it:

Before C-51 passed, Liberal MP Joyce Murray brought forward a private member’s bill, C-622, pinpointing the things in C-51 that required changes: the need for independent review of the Communications Security Establishment, for a new Intelligence and Security committee for Parliament and for a sunset clause to give the law a limited lifespan, as opposed to the Harper government’s plan to make it permanent. Murray hoped to lessen the disillusionment that grassroots supporters felt after the Liberals voted for C-51.

However, Murray hasn't given up:

Based on her continuing interest in security matters, Murray — who finished second to Justin Trudeau in the last Liberal leadership contest — is now asking her leader to consider making further public announcements touching the national security file. She wants Team Trudeau to announce a “comprehensive” White Paper. Its purpose would be to examine Canada’s “security laws, institutions and review mechanisms” — every last scrap of it.

According to Murray, amending C-51 is only part of the job. The other part is taking current thinking on national security issues “down to the studs”. That way, if the Liberals get a chance to make good on their promise of a full review of C-51 after three years in office, there will be a solid evidentiary base for the process. Party sources tell iPolitics that the leader is mulling over Murray’s request, but the economy remains Justin Trudeau’s primary focus.

It's time for Trudeau to take on Bill C-51. And the economy is still on the ballot.

Stephen Harper and the Bigot Fires in Quebec

Montreal Simon - ven, 10/02/2015 - 06:15

I warned long ago that if Stephen Harper was desperate enough he wouldn't hesitate to set this country on fire.

I knew that when the niqab court decision dropped into his lucky lap, Harper and his Australian hitman Lynton Crosby would use it as a massive wedge issue to try to poison this campaign, 

And that's exactly what has happened. It has become the niqab election, or the citizenship election.

Emotion has replaced reason. The fires of hatred are burning bright, and nowhere more than in Quebec.
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