Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- CBC reports on the latest research showing that Canada would save billions every year with a national pharmacare plan. And Thomas Walkom argues that politics are standing in the way of what should be a no-brainer from a policy standpoint.

- Richard Gwyn writes that most Canadians seem to be willing to put up with nearly anything in order to keep a relatively secure job - even as it's far from sure that many workers can count on that being available.

- Lawrence Martin discusses the Cons' strategy of provocation, pandering and prejudice as a substitute for running on a defensible record - though he does win a place on the list of pundits who continue to hold out for some shame from a government which has never shown a trace of it. Dan Leger writes that the latest outbreak of bigotry reflects the Cons' own extremism. And Don Lenihan asks whether truth and values still matter as long as the Cons are on the political scene, while noting that the best antidote to cynical politics is a healthy dose of reflection:
Rove’s fingerprints are all over the Harper PMO, from micro-targeting to the use of wedge issues to play one group off another. The gun registry, the crime agenda and the energy pipelines are all examples.

We can also include talking points, omnibus legislation, time allocation, committee interference, and media control in this bag of tricks. All are quintessential Rovian tactics.

And the abandonment of truth? Here too the Harper government has followed suit, showing a sometimes ruthless willingness to deny, discredit and even suppress evidence that conflicts with its positions. It has done so on crime and climate change, for example, and is now doing so on the new security law, C-51.

But last week may have been a turning point of some kind. The Harper government seemed to be taking this Rovian story-telling to a new level.
But when the three opposition leaders rose to challenge both him and Canadians to take a step back from our emotions and reflect on the nature of our political rights, a very un-Rovian thing happened.

Many commentators began arguing that Muslim women’s right to wear the niqab was more important than their feelings of suspicion and doubt.

In Rovian politics, this is not supposed to happen. The public isn’t supposed to be reflective and rational, especially when they’re scared.

Of course, these responses came mainly from members of the political class. I don’t know what would have happened if the debate had carried on. Would ordinary people also have risen to the occasion? I couldn’t help wondering what Rove would say.

The clear lesson from last week is that we have two very different views of politics in our country and they appear to be getting ready to square off.
- Michael Harris reminds us that Mike Duffy's trial figures to offer a valuable look into the manipulations of the Harper PMO just in time for the federal election. And Andrew Mitrovica worries that the same command-and-control political dynamic which has us waiting for a trial to spill the truth about the Cons has left CSIS shrouded in secrecy.

- Finally, Taylor Bendig points out the Wall government's massive - and growing - expenditures on private highway consultants.

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