Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Morning Links

Some general reading to start your day.

- Armine Yalnizyan chimes in on the problems with the Cons' income-splitting plank:
But the families that will most benefit from Harper’s income splitting promise will be those who need the least help. The higher the income, the bigger the tax break, and a much lesser challenge of keeping one parent at home.
Today’s reality is that it is getting harder for young families to get into and stay in the middle class. Today, with rare exceptions, it takes two to do it. We need policies that meaningfully address that reality.
- Meanwhile, the CCPA has unveiled its new Making it Count blog - which looks to be a must-read for the balance of the campaign.

- After accurately describing Stephen Harper as "a bit chilling...(in) his willingness to self-righteously attack his opponents for things that he would do himself" and exhibiting "excessive aggressiveness", and Michael Ignatieff as "ill-prepared" with a "confusion" stance on coalitions, Stephen Maher has this to say about Jack Layton:
Unlike any of the other leaders, Layton has had a consistent and mature line on coalitions throughout his career. He is willing to work with other parties to get things done.

Layton looks good as the campaign begins. Having rejected a Tory budget that did not go far enough to meet NDP requests, he can hold his head high in front of his supporters.
- And he's now able to do so in several new ways, as the NDP has release a suite of new online tools for the campaign.

- Finally, as much as the Cons have been slammed for trying to act like a majority government even with only a minority of seats, Murray Dobbin points out that matters could indeed get worse if they actually held the majority they're shooting for:
One of the few checks on Harper's power has been the parliamentary committee structure, where the Opposition -- which controlled the committees through their numerical majority -- could do far more than they could in the House of Commons: deciding what issues would be investigated, calling witnesses (and even subpoenaing them), demanding documents and shining the public eye on otherwise secretive workings. The committees infuriated Harper the control-freak, to the point where he produced a book of dirty tricks for his MPs to use to scuttle their work.

With a majority, all of that will end. The committees will be effectively shut down. The Conservative majority will decide what's discussed, who testifies and what documents are asked for. There will be no Afghan detainee scandal, because the relevant committee (if it still exists) won't be asking for any embarrassing documents.

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