Monday, July 02, 2012

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Mia Rabson writes that patronage and secrecy are thriving under the Harper Cons, even after they've lost any excuse about other parties' ability to stop their plans:
But when the federal appointments process has no transparency, any time someone with political ties as strong as Larkin's gets a pretty plum appointment (she could earn up to $17,000 a year in per diems for attending board meetings), it is always going to raise serious questions about the merits of the appointment.

It is interesting that with some other major promises Harper couldn't fulfil in a minority government -- such as eliminating the long-gun registry and the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board -- he simply held off until he got his majority and then pushed the changes through.

But when it came to an appointments commission to turn off the taps to the patronage gravy train, Harper earned his monopoly and then eliminated the whole idea entirely in a little more than a year.
If the prime minister still believes in openness and transparency in appointments and that people should be chosen based on merit, not party ties, there is no sign of it.
- Martin Regg Cohn discusses Tim Hudak's attack on Ontario workers:
Ontario’s PC party is coming to Caterpillar’s defence — by branding the victims as the villains. Yes, blame the union — because big labour can’t see the Caterpillars marching.

That’s the forward-looking vision you’ll be hearing from Opposition Leader Tim Hudak, who has unveiled a radical anti-union agenda to help rebrand his putatively Progressive Conservative party: the end of unionism, replaced by a more “flexible” future.

Hudak eschews the loaded phrase, “right-to-work,” which evokes an aggressive, Wisconsin-style anti-union movement. But make no mistake, this is a declaration of war against organized labour by a politician firing the starter’s pistol in a race to the bottom.

Under his new Tory roadmap, Ontario will become a province where Caterpillars crush unions. A place where workers who still benefit from collective bargaining need not pay union dues — so that membership atrophies, money dries up, and the labour movement is disemboweled.
- Meanwhile, David Climenhaga duly mocks the National Post's horror at discovering that unions aren't leaving youth outreach solely to the corporate sector.

- Finally, Bea Vongdouangchanh cites Michael Geist in reporting that the copyright bill forced through Parliament by the Cons has needlessly imposed a strict digital lock scheme which will punish Canadian consumers for the sole benefit of corporate content distributors.

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