Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Yonatan Strauch and Thomas Homer-Dixon discuss how the Cons' economic plans involve betting against our planet. And David Macdonald notes that the supposed reward for prioritizing oil profits over a sustainable future is to stagnate at recession-level employment rates.

- James Bagnall documents the rise of inequality in Canada - though it's worth questioning the assumption that the policies pitched as encouraging growth at the cost of increased inequality have actually lived up to the supposed benefit. And PressProgress reminds us of the Cons' woeful record in dealing with offshore tax avoidance.

- Melissa Newitt makes the case for a federal pharmacare program. And CBC reports on just another example of the profiteering mindset that makes needed medications unaffordable, as a pharmaceutical company is challenging Canada's authority to regulate the price of a treatment for immune disorders which costs $700,000 per year.

- Scott Gilmore duly questions the claim that Cons whose entire message is based on perpetual fear of imaginary threats can make any claim to bravery or strength:
(E)very message from the Conservative party highlights something that frightens them. The global economy. Justin Trudeau’s age. Mulcair’s budget. Crime.

Consider that last danger. Stephen Harper is regularly warning that more must be done to keep us safe, by imposing longer sentences, building bigger prisons, reducing parole. But crime rates in Canada have been declining for decades. There are fewer property crimes now than there were in the 1960s. So why is he so scared?

Perhaps it was inevitable. Conservatives everywhere have been campaigning for years on the proposition that they are the strongest and bravest. But, for that to matter, there must be a counter-threat, something that requires a real man like Stephen Harper in office, not a wet academic like St├ęphane Dion or a mincing toff like Michael Ignatieff.

So they talk up the threat. It used to be the commies. Now it’s the terrorists. And the drug dealers. And the brown people. And the reckless spenders. And the environmental activists. And the census takers. Everyone and everything. They’ve spent so long warning us to be constantly afraid, they’ve internalized it. They have literally frightened themselves.

And now, ironically, the Conservative party is whom you vote for if you are timid and emasculated, if you go to bed scared and wake up worried.

And what of Chris Alexander, who used to strap on body armour and helicopter into hostile districts to stare down warlords? He’s scared of a young woman in a niqab and a homeless family in Turkey.
- Finally, Michael Harris laments how much the Cons have done to destroy trust in Canada's public institutions. And the Tyee offers a handy booklet version (PDF) of its compilation of Stephen Harper's abuses of power.

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