- Michael Harris comments on Stephen Harper's reckless choice to gamble that Theresa Spence in particular and First Nations issues in general will go away on their own, rather than exhibiting any leadership whatsoever:
Stephen Harper has placed his bet. It is clear from his strategy that he believes he will be going neither to a meeting nor a funeral and that sufficient pressure can be brought to bear on Chief Spence that she will voluntarily discontinue her hunger strike. That is why he has placed the prestige of Leona Aglukkaq and Patrick Brazeau squarely on the barrelhead by having both of them support the government’s position.- Susan Delacourt suggests that the de-normalization process applied to tobacco products might be appropriate for guns as well:
If Harper is right, his victory will be, at best, a partial and temporary one. Yes, there will be people who will praise his steadfastness on matters of protocol as a sign of leadership. But those will mostly be white people who are simply tired of wrestling with the profound issues raised by Chief Spence.
As for Canada’s aboriginal peoples, they will have been humiliated yet again. And this time, the humiliation will have been inflicted by a government which has imposed new rules for the environment and resource development without consulting Parliament, let alone the original stewards of this land. If all Harper’s government has to give to First Nations is ceremonial gesturing, trouble — big trouble — lies ahead.
But there is also the possibility that the PM’s calculation will prove to be the biggest mistake of his political life, and one of the national tragedies of Canadian public affairs. And all because Harper has turned what should have been an exercise in emotional intelligence into just another game of political hardball.
(I)f American politicians are serious about tackling that plague of gun violence, they might want to consider how they have dealt with the buyers and sellers of tobacco. Through a combination of bans, stigma and yes, chipping away at rights, tobacco is still a legal product but it’s been “denormalized” — removed from the mainstream of daily life, with smokers made to feel intensely responsible for the ills they inflict on society.- And Tabatha Southey offers up some well-deserved mockery toward the NRA's attempt to argue that the only cure for gun violence is more guns.
That wouldn’t be a bad outcome of a sustained campaign against guns either, especially that responsibility part.
Who knows? With the right mix of political will and anti-gun measures, Americans might dream of a day when neither cigarettes nor firearms are brandished in public.
- Glen McGregor proposes a few simple steps toward better political reporting.
- Finally, Ipsos Reid's poll results showing over 60% of Canadians disapproving of the Cons' environmental failures are significant enough on their own. But I find some of the wording to be especially noteworthy:
The Ipsos Reid survey suggests that 61 per cent of Canadians disagree with the statement “the Harper government is doing a good job at protecting Canada’s environment.”Now, based on conventional wisdom, the latter question would be significantly more favourable to the Cons than the former: it encourages the respondent to think about what's supposed to be the party's strength on the economy, and ask whether that offsets any concern about the environment.
The survey also found that 63 per cent of Canadians disagree with the statement “the Harper government has struck the right balance between economic growth and environmental protection and management.”
But apparently Ipsos Reid's respondents were even less inclined to give the Cons a pass on the environment when asked whether they'd struck the right balance than based on environmental considerations alone. And that looks to me to suggest some vulnerable territory on the economy and general trust in the Cons' decision-making along with the obvious weakness on the environment.