Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Trish Hennessy's latest numbers focus on the skills gap myth in Canada. And PressProgress documents a few of the Cons' damaging public service cuts which kicked in yesterday, while Theresa Boyle reports on the end of Canada's health care accords (featuring the observations of Roy Romanow on the end of meaningful federal participation in our health care system).

- Scott Stelmaschuk's latest post fits nicely with the theme of yesterday's comment on the importance of seeing politics first and foremost as a means of improving the world around us - rather than a game defined in terms of winning, losing and entertainment:
If we want to tackle election fraud and fair elections, the first place to look isn't to the voter: It's to the parties. We need to ensure that parties are following the laws that are written down for them; and that even a single rogue campaign worker is punished for daring to step outside those bounds. We need to stop letting parties find 'gray zones' in the laws, and instead insist that all parties remain on the fair footing that we're supposed to offer.

Who cares if it's not technically illegal or only against the spirit, but not the word, of the law? Parties, it seems, will take the shortcuts and moral lowroad to achieve the victory of winning it would seem. Democracy is supposed to foster policy discussion and alternative visions for our country; that is not what we've been getting.

We've been getting petty squabbles, bruised egos, and the spewing of vitriol on such a level that you'd think every single political opponent of everyone else is the Antichrist come to Earth. This is what happens when parties focus on winning for the sake of winning, rather than winning for the sake of improving your country. And frankly, it's time that we as electors demanded better.
 - And Michael Harris notes that it's particularly worrisome when the party which has most eagerly flouted the law in past elections is now unilaterally rewriting the rules for its own benefit in the future:
The Fair Elections Act is almost like one of the dark novels of Evelyn Waugh. How absurd is it that the party that cheated in the In-and-Out scandal is now redesigning the voting process? What are they trying to fix — the system or the next election?

How absurd is it that the agency that found fraud in the 2011 election — cheating with information taken from the CPC’s own closely-guarded database — is now being carved up like Thanksgiving turkey? No powers of subpoena, a muzzled Chief Electoral Officer and the investigative arm of EC now reporting to the Director of Public Prosecution? Investigations no longer public unless there are charges? What do you call that, reform or revenge?

Greeting soldiers returning from Afghanistan while having your lawyers in court arguing you don’t have a social contract to look after them. Closing veterans offices. Unilaterally cancelling the rights of public service unions and their members. Stealthy, retroactive measures hidden in an omnibus bill to legitimize the improper appointment of a Supreme Court justice. More of the new normal.

Have you noticed how everything to do with government in Canada these days is either secret, under investigation, or in court?
- Finally, Stephanie Mencimer writes about Kathryn Edin's work in getting a ground-level view of poverty and its effect on families in the U.S. Which contrasts nicely against Richard Seymour's look at the few richest individuals in the U.K. - and the massive amount of capital which insulates them from the realities of everyday life.

1 comment:

  1. I think this works with your theme. destroying canada's brand along with the country