Saturday, August 08, 2015

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Robin Sears discusses the hubris behind the Cons' early election call, while Tim Naumetz notes that the extended campaign is just one more issue where the Cons are offside of the vast majority of the public. And the Guardian comments on the reasons for optimism that we're nearing the end of Stephen Harper's stay in power.

- The Ottawa Citizen makes the case for better economic management than we've been able to expect from the Harper Cons. And Alan Freeman weighs in on the costly frivolity of the Cons' latest tax credit scheme.

- And for commentary on this week's debate which goes beyond surface impressions, the Guardian analyzed the debate as it happened. The CCPA offered up some issues which deserved discussion, while Vice followed up on a number of the issues raised in the debate itself. And Ian MacLeod debunked Stephen Harper's preposterous claims about C-51.

- Althia Raj points out there was relatively little talk of a coalition or other forms of inter-party cooperation. But it's worth pointing out that it was the Cons who assumed it was a winning issue in the past - signalling that their lack of interest in mentioning it signals that they no longer see it as a winning issue. 

- Jane Hilderman discusses the connection between a health democracy and a healthy society:
(T)he imbalance between those who contribute to our democracy and those who the report finds are "checking out" is a stark one — in the 2011 federal election there was a 36% gap between the cohort with the highest turnout (ages 65-74) and that with the lowest (ages 18-24). Meanwhile the political process now repels more citizens than it attracts, particularly young Canadians. As a consequence our political system is becoming less representative, leading to inequalities between Canadians who participate and those who do not. The failure of many Canadians to contribute to our political life — or to see it as a way to make meaningful change — should serve as a warning sign to anyone interested in our society's well-being.

The challenge is that a majority of Canadians no longer feel politics is serving them. If a majority of Canadians no longer felt the healthcare system had their best interests in mind, its legitimacy would begin to crumble. The same goes for our politics. If the majority of Canadians are withdrawing from the political process, the health of our democracy is in peril.
- Meanwhile, Ralph Surette is right to highlight the Cons' contempt for Canada's democratic institutions. But I will note that it makes sense for the opposition parties to focus on the problems which voters experience directly to make clear that those abuses have wider implications.

- Finally, Joseph Heath comments that our political system has seen its priorities almost entirely reversed, with the substantive decisions of legislators and political parties now seen almost solely as a means to the end of electoral outcomes rather than the other way around.

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