Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Michael Den Tandt and Jonathan Kay both point out the willingness of conservative (and Conservative) supporters to brush off the obvious misdeeds of their political leaders. And Glen Pearson rightly concludes that the responsibility to elect deserving leaders ultimately lies with voters:
We are guilty of asking to little of ourselves. We find it remarkably easy, natural even, to blame our representatives and yet we put them there. They have no real answers to our unemployment situation, but we either continue to support them because of the party we serve or because we have just given up altogether. We turn away in disgust at all the corruption trials, the hanging around with nefarious types, and the constant role-playing to populist politics, and in that very act of walking away we poison the wells for our children’s future. We will continue to dote on our kids at Christmas, providing what they require, but we won’t fight for their cheaper post-secondary tuitions, their future healthcare requirements, their ability to purchase their own homes or to have meaningful jobs. Our children will be entrusted with billions of dollars in public infrastructure deficits and our way of dealing with it is to walk away from the public space instead of fighting for it – for them.

Apathy is a kind of public trap, with no challenges and therefore no rewards. It just is and the consequences are inevitably bone chilling. Most of us care, just not enough, and if we maintain that attitude then we need to prepare ourselves for more mini-tyrants overrunning our public space. This isn’t about Left or Right, is it? It’s about competence and our ability as a people to overcome our challenges and build on our past successes.

The simple reality is this: it’s not really about Rob Ford and his ilk; it’s about us, and how much incompetence we are willing to endure. We got what we voted for and now we’re paying for it. We need better politicians, but our only way of achieving that target is to be better citizens.
- Meanwhile, Frances Russell writes that any attempt to hand more power to the Senate only figures to render the federal government ineffective in responding to Canadians' needs.

- Josh Eidelson discusses McDonald's instructions to employees to break their food into pieces and stop complaining (as an apparent alternative to being paid enough to avoid hunger and stress). And Jillian Berman finds Walmart going a step further - holding a food drive for its own employees who plainly aren't paid enough to feed themselves.

- Which leads nicely to Alexandre Boulerice's view of the proper role of government in allowing workers some recourse in dealing with employers whose strategy includes grinding them into poverty:
But how do you better advocate for those people who are working at Walmart?
I think as legislators our responsibility is to let the workers decide by themselves. I’m not saying that it’s the role of the government to create unions but it’s the role of government to create an environment where it's possible to create a union when you want it -- you can have legal capacities to fight back if you are against an employer like Walmart or McDonalds that clearly doesn’t accept a union in their workplaces.
- CAUT studies how corporate funding is warping Canadian university research projects.

- Finally, Paul Adams contrasts the NDP's clear position on referendum standards against the Libs' well-practiced ignorance.

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