Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- The Star-Phoenix discusses how the Cons are systematically attacking the independent institutions which are necessary to ensure a functioning democratic system:
When a handful of Conservative MPs from Saskatchewan attacked the integrity of the province's electoral boundaries commissioners last year in an attempt to subvert the democratic process, it may have seemed to be a rogue act of an outlier group of politicians concerned with their electoral future.

But when you consider the tactics of the MPs, who accused Justice Ronald Mills and political scientist Prof. John Courtney on the commission of attempting to gerrymander the boundaries, as well as the Conservative party's illegal use of robocalls, push polls and misleading mass mail-outs in the context of its other attempts to pull end runs around Canada's democratic institutions, it creates a chilling narrative.
Unlike the government's poor handling of such things as grain transportation, for which Canada was told at a recent international conference that it's no longer considered a reliable global supplier, these attempts to undermine democracy aren't simple cases of mismanagement. They suggest a pattern of behaviour detrimental to the very foundation of Canadian democracy.
- Meanwhile, Jeffrey Simpson notes that Canada's other federal party leaders - along with the occasional Con MP - can agree to iVote's view that we need to foster broad political participation by youth in particular. But Simpson is also right to note that parties will need to do more to speak to the long-term interest of younger voters.

- And Newfoundland and Labrador's new budget offers one example of that type of policy - as the governing PCs have taken up the NDP's proposal to shift from student loans to grants.

- If we needed any further indication that constant tar-sands cheerleading is a loser if exposed to the light of day, the Cons have sunk to the level of pretending that their highly visible, publicly-funded ad campaign didn't happen. And the U.S. loudly announced sorely-needed regulations governing the shipment of explosive oil products by rail - only to gut them quietly only nine days later.

- Finally, Paul Dechene reports on the Regina Public School Board's determination to shutter Connaught School - while Stephen Whitworth looks at how some parents are pushing back.

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