Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Afternoon Links

- The Harper Cons' strategy of perpetual reannouncements has reached the point where they're claiming credit for Mulroney-era policies rather than keeping their promises to cut oil subsidies. Next up: answering criticism of their attacks on women's programs by pointing to universal suffrage.

- It's worth noting that the Saskatchewan NDP is using a fairly sharp description of Brad Wall as a "sell out" to headline one of its press releases - and even more so that this time, the Sask Party doesn't seem to be responding in kind. And that raises a question which may largely determine the direction of the province's political conversation for the next year and a half: is this a one-time calculation by the Sask Party that now isn't the moment to push back, or have they decided they're better off not talking about what damaging labels might fit their leader?

- Meanwhile, outside analysts may not be using the words "sell out", but they aren't exactly pleased with a flood aid plan that figures to fall well short of covering farmers' costs.

- CanWest's Shanon Proudfoot takes a look at the feedback received by Statistics Canada on the last census - which not surprisingly, couldn't be further from the Cons' spin about privacy concerns with the long form.

- From the "our standards don't apply to ourselves" department which seems to hold so many Saskatchewan political conversations: Saskatoon's city manager is explicitly seeking out projects to wedge into a P3 model just so the city can say it's pursuing them. Which means that naturally, Saskatoon's mayor is criticizing anybody who disagrees with that "must have P3s!!!" approach as unduly ideological.

- Jeff nicely documents Stephen Harper's growing list of unsuccessful candidates who have won patronage appointments to the Senate. But it's worth linking that list to the Cons' coalition rhetoric and their attempts to block bills passed by the House of Commons: why does Stephen Harper think that no less than eight hand-picked "losers" have the right to kill bills passed by the democratically-elected House of Commons?

- Finally, the Afghan detainee document panel has managed to reach new depths in futility, as MPs are now wasting their time reviewing records even before any "eminent jurists" has been appointed to the panel which will get the final say over every single document. But let's give the Libs this much for their strategy: their naming of Stephane Dion to the panel looks fairly astute at least to the extent that he probably wouldn't be able to do much else useful on the summer BBQ circuit anyway, while the Cons' choice of Laurie Hawn may actually affect their ability to hold a riding that's being fiercely contested.

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