Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jeffrey Simpson marks Peter Lougheed's passing by discussing what he brought to Alberta's political scene that's been sorely lacking ever since:
Mr. Lougheed, defending Alberta’s jurisdictional turf in conflicts with Liberal and Conservative governments in Ottawa, navigated his province through these shoals. The shame of his successors is that they took two of his cardinal convictions and discarded them in the rush for quick spoils and easy money – that natural resource revenues belong to the people and should be developed in a measured, balanced fashion, and that considerable money from those resources should be husbanded in a Heritage Fund for future generations.
Mr. Lougheed governed not as an ideological opponent of the state – the red meat of modern-day conservative thinking – but as its ally. The state, he believed, was the people’s friend, which is what Tories tend to believe. And he used the state aggressively, perhaps in a few cases too aggressively, to buy an airline and make public investments, help the early oil-sands industry get its legs, create the Heritage Fund, build new social programs – all the while believing in the free-enterprise system as the best wealth-creation generator. He used the state aggressively, when necessary, against what he saw could be invidious practices of the oil and gas industry, for which he was banned from the Petroleum Club.

Put simply, Mr. Lougheed always understood the importance of the industry for Alberta, but he never directly equated its interests with the wider interests of Alberta.
 - Tim Harper makes the case as to why the Cons should have plenty to answer for in cutting off all diplomatic ties with Iran:
Those who argue that leaving Tehran is a matter of principle, miss the point that we have eyes and ears on the ground, not on principle, but to promote our point of view and our sovereign interests.

Those who would argue that Tehran wasn’t listening to us anyway, miss the point that we should still have Canadian eyes on the ground to bear witness. Waving the white flag, taking our ball and going home, is hardly the high road.
Largely unheralded, they do not remain in dangerous environments because they are welcomed but because they subscribe to the well-worn dictum that you hold your friends close, but you hold your enemies closer.

We have kept embassies open during wars. We did not shut down during the darkest days of the Cold War.
Harper is correct that our diplomats are not soldiers, but often they are the next closest thing.

He owes it to the foreign service, allies and Canadian voters to give us a fuller accounting of why we decided to leave Iran behind.
-  But then, Aaron Wherry reminds us why the Cons' talking points are more safely presumed to be farce than fact.

- Rick Salutin discusses why any positive change in our schools needs to be based on treating teachers and unions as essential stakeholders in any functional education system - rather than adopting the Lib/Con position that they're enemies to be beaten down.

- Finally, Travis Waldron posts about the latest evidence that tax cuts aimed at the already-wealthy don't do anything at all to help the wider economy.

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