Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Alison and PressProgress both discuss how Brad Butt's attempt to defend voter suppression is based on what even he had to concede was nothing short of legislative fraud. And Stephen Maher notes that the Cons' unilateral rewrite of election rules figures to force Elections Canada to cover up the Cons' pattern of illegal activity.

- Meanwhile, Jason Fekete reports on the Cons' deliberate ignorance of deputy ministers' advice that the government can't keep stonewalling against action on climate change - and follows up by pointing out the NDP's work to challenge the Cons on the issue in Parliament.

- And CBC reports that it took a since-fired whistleblower to force TransCanada to live up to its regulatory obligations - as neither the company nor the government had any apparent interest in enforcing the rules otherwise.

- Duncan Cameron observes that the Libs' federal convention featured discussion of a few eminently worthy policies - most notably a basic income guarantee. But Dr. Dawg notes that there's a massive difference between talk, commitment and action:
A policy document like the one just produced is really little more than a statement of faith, although I’d argue that this is the case for any party in Canada’s present political culture. The process of creating policy builds an illusory feel-good solidarity, affiliation and loyalty, while not committing adherents to anything at all except to get their party into power—which is what the “Hope and Hard Work” slogan at the convention was all about. Nor does it commit that party, once in power, to anything either. As a piece of mass audience-participation theatre it serves its purpose, creating bonds of loyalty and galvanizing activists. But let’s not imagine it’s a mirror of the future under Justin Trudeau.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s great to get this stuff on the record. It sets a general political tone and direction, and, more importantly, from a progressive point of view, it provides a little leverage for holding politicians to account. I’ve been hungrily awaiting policy ever since the remarkably policy-free Trudeau assumed the leadership of his party. Well, now the Liberals have some. It remains to be seen, however, just how seriously it will be defended by the Leader and his inner circle.
- Finally, Global POV highlights the importance of public support for citizens across all classes - while noting that the corporate class benefits more than anybody from the strategic use of welfare benefits:

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