Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Louis-Philippe Rochon writes that while American voters had to know what they'd get in casting their most recent ballots, far too many Canadians may have believed the Libs' promises of something else:
On this side of the 49th parallel, however, when Canadians elected Trudeau a little over 15 months ago, on Oct. 19, 2015, we were led to believe he was some sort of a progressive politician with respect to social and economic issues, which essentially is what got him elected.

What a difference a year makes.

In recent months Trudeau has behaved very little like a progressive economist and has instead embraced with great fanfare some oddly conservative policies. In doing so, has Trudeau revealed himself to be a conservative wolf in liberal clothing? If so, it would appear the fix is in: Canadians voted for one guy but got another.  It was the classic political bait and switch: the great Canadian hoodwink.
[Under a privatized structure,] any infrastructure project will easily cost twice as much over a 30-year period. In other words, for any project, Canadian taxpayers will end up holding the fiscal bag through higher fees and taxes, whereas the government could finance the project at much cheaper rates. This makes no economic sense, which raises the question, is the government doing this simply as a way of thanking their financial supporters?

There is a more sinister argument looming under all this, and it regards the role of public spending and the privatization of the state. Indeed, with all these musings about privatizing airports, ports and public spending, Trudeau is in fact championing the privatization of the state itself, robbing it further of its powers to create jobs and regulate unstable markets. This is clearly not what Canadians were expecting when they elected him last year.
- Christopher Majka highlights how Justin Trudeau's choice to break a core promise on electoral reform can only be explained by his taking Canadian voters for fools, while Scott Baker and Mark Dance write that it's bound to fuel voter cynicism. Tom Parkin discusses Trudeau's dishonesty on the issue, while Lawrence Martin emphasizes the damage the decision will do to Trudeau's core brand. And Karl Nerenberg points out how the retention of first-past-the-post is a gift to the right wing.

- Meanwhile, Michael Taube rightly observes that the Liberals' choice to nix electoral reform doesn't mean the issue will disappear. And Michael Morden and Michael Crawford Urban comment on the need for improved voter turnout as a means of ensuring better governance.

- Jugal Patel reports on a giant crack in Antarctica's ice shelf as yet another vivid reminder of the drastic effects of climate change.

- Finally, Andre Picard rightly questions why the Quebec City mosque massacre hasn't led to a discussion of gun control.

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