Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Plenty more commentators are weighing in on the Harper Cons' enemy list, including the Star, the Globe and Mail, and Lawrence Martin. But Robyn Benson makes the most important comment about the Harper with-us-or-against-us mentality that's being applied to the federal government apparatus just as much as the Cons as a political party:
The common denominator here is a fundamental lack of trust in other people, approaching paranoia, combined with a mean authoritarian streak that defines anyone who thinks differently, not as a fellow-citizen, but as an enemy to be eliminated. Such people, once in power, display a cynical shrewdness and a fetish for secrecy. They instinctively prefer the dark to the light. And theirs is an iron rule, or at least as iron a rule as they are permitted to get away with.

Those of us who are fundamentally opposed to the values and philosophy of the current government, or even question them, are not “enemies.” We believe in the democratic process: spirited debate, the exercise of our Charter rights to dissent, strong and organized political opposition. A government that defines us as enemies is itself an enemy of democracy.

And democracy in Canada is fragile enough as it is. The Prime Minister is granted powers that a US President would envy—the unilateral right to appoint members of the Senate, judges, and members of various boards and commissions, for example. Or to shut down Parliament when it gets inconvenient. With the increasing concentration of power in the Prime Minister’s Office, the consequent lack of democratic accountability to the electorate becomes more and more a fact of Canadian political life. And when it reaches the point that the PMO becomes more or less an arm of a specific political party, running dirty tricks against opposition leaders, a line has been crossed, and it will not be easy to walk that one back.
- Meanwhile, CTV reports on the latest in the Cons' Clusterduff - an apparent refusal to provide central records to the RCMP. (And no, "you didn't ask for exactly the right document in exactly the right way with exactly the right secret password" isn't a valid excuse, especially from a PMO shouting from the rooftops that it's cooperating with the investigation.)

- Andrew Livingstone reveals the use of impoverished and hungry First Nations Canadians as lab rats to determine what food and health services people could do without. And Dr. Dawg diagnoses part of the problem as being the perception of people as objects for experimental purposes.

- Rafe Mair notes that in trashing B.C. Hydro, the Clark Liberals are destroying what should be a proud part of that province's legacy of responsive right-wing government.

- And finally, George Monbiot discusses how the tobacco lobby is merely channeling money and PR into other forms to evade restrictions on direct advertising and warp the political system in its favour.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:20 a.m.

    If the PMO won't cooperate then why doesn't the RCMP simply get a warrant? If I was an RCMP investigator, I would ask for copies of all PMO email server backups.