Friday, November 08, 2013

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- John Ivison makes the case for more discussion of government spending rather than corruption and scandal. But it's PressProgress leading the way in actually reporting on that front - featuring revelations that multiple resource-related ministers' office have received massive spending boosts, while program spending for First Nations, the environment and foreign aid is getting slashed and/or going unused.

- Justin Ling reports that the NDP - pushed largely by Pierre Ducasse - is taking much-needed steps to set up a Quebec provincial wing. Meanwhile, Paul McLeod notes that Nova Scotia's MPs - with the possible exception of Peter Stoffer - are taking a pass on the provincial NDP leadership race.

- Andrew Coyne points out that the supposed B.C.-Alberta "framework agreement" on pipelines actually means far less than one would think based on the hype surrounding its announcement. But Barbara Yaffe recognizes that Christy Clark's sudden abandonment of repeated campaign promises to avoid the environmental risk linked to pipelines and tanker traffic doesn't figure to satisfy B.C.'s general public.

- And ultimately, political parties will have to answer to voters for their choices - as the Libs are finding out in Toronto Centre despite their best efforts to duck any debate about pipelines.

- Finally, Tom Hayden wonders whether Bill de Blasio's strong positions on inequality and evidence-based crime policy might signal a new form of progressive populism:
De Blasio also can tackle income inequality by signing the living wage ordinance on city contracts, or by preventing Wall Street developers getting special city abatements – measures that Bloomberg vetoed. De Blasio didn't flinch on the issue when confronted in closed meetings with developers during the campaign.

When De Blasio first raised his opposition to the police stop-and-frisk policies, according to Vincent Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights, the candidate began rising in the polls against other contenders in the Democratic primary. The stop-and-frisk policy, a variation of racial profiling against black and brown young people, is generally supported by white and worried New Yorkers and overwhelmingly opposed by communities of color.
It is reassuring that De Blasio has roots in past social movements instead of the usual pedigrees for a political career. If he has veered back to his lefty roots, it is enabled by a popular anger among voters. This anger was fanned by the growing gap between the haves and have-nots, reinforced by heavy-handed policing, in a city whose power brokers are addicted to opulence.

The media widely acknowledges that Occupy Wall Street "changed the conversation" in America. De Blasio won't represent the 99%, but a healthy majority will do. From Wednesday, Bill de Blasio will have the largest megaphone of any conversation-changer on the national scene.

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