- While far too many in the media seem to have glossed over what the Cons' attacks on votes in Parliament this fall actually meant, Mia Rabson nicely sums it up:
(F)or the government to simply reject every single suggestion the opposition makes as an abuse of the process proves the government isn't even pretending to listen to other ideas.- John Stapleton criticizes the Cons' decision-based evidence-making as a counterproductive substitute for actual social policy.
The idea that a majority government should be able to do away with votes simply because they know they can win is so contrary to the principles of how a government is supposed to work it would be funny if it weren't so sad. A majority government already has few, if any, checks on its power.
It speaks to a need for far more freedom in Parliament -- freedom for all MPs to give their input and not be forced to act as a giant party unit on most major pieces of legislation. It is nearly impossible to believe a 400-plus-page omnibus budget bill was so absolutely perfect from head to toe that not so much as a comma needed to be changed.
Considering a majority government in Canada is almost always won with less than a majority of votes, it seems somewhat of a fallacy to watch majority governments govern without even a moment's consideration of what other parties think, to the point where now the government suggests opposition parties shouldn't even get a say, since they're going to lose anyway.
- Meanwhile, ratemygovernment.ca offers some prospect of gathering needed evidence as to public impressions of governments and their policies. And I'll be particularly curious to see whether it can develop strong conversations and reaching all the way down to the municipal level.
- Finally, Anne Jarvis weighs in on how the labour movement should respond to the regressive right-to-free-ride lobby:
Right to work – it’s quite the euphemism.
“What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money,” President Barack Obama told a Daimler AG plant near Detroit.
These bills are supposed to liberate workers from unions. Now they’re free to be subject to a bottom line that’s never enough. (Of course what’s good for workers isn’t good for those who push right to work – big corporations that award their executives multimillion-dollar bonuses and severances.)
It’s time for a history lesson. It’s time to remind everyone that unions built the middle class by raising the standard of living not just for their members but for all workers.
But it’s also time for unions to take a hard look in the mirror and reassess their relevance. Many public sector unions – the teachers spring to mind – need to think about the image they’re portraying with their sense of entitlement. Unions need to focus instead on what they can do for those who need them most, the army of workers trying to cobble together a living from part-time and contract employment after the dramatic rise of so-called “precarious work” that is poorly paid, insecure and unprotected.
Unions will have to fight like heck under right-to-work, and their biggest advantage will be relevance.