Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Martin Patriquin takes Saskatchewan's increasing recognition of the Wall government's institutional corruption to the national stage:
Politicians who navigate a corrupted political system have some of the easiest jobs in the world. With the weight and legitimacy of the state behind them, they need not sell anything more than access to themselves. And it is a seller’s market.
To be fair to Quebec’s political parties, it took over 30 years to perfect the scheme. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and the party he leads have figured it out in about 10 years — and they didn’t have to break a single law to do it.

Political parties are generally discreet about fundraising on the backs of their leaders. The Saskatchewan Party, which has ruled over the Land Of Living Skies since 2007, does so with the cheeseball gusto normally reserved for televangelists and used car salesmen.
In Quebec, companies and corporations had to break the law to donate to political parties. In Saskatchewan, it is entirely out in the open, and there is no limit to the amount an individual or a corporation can give. Hell, even companies based outside of the province can donate — and they have, including Calgary-based Trans Canada Pipelines and Vancouver-based Telus Inc., among dozens of others.

Wall himself is so nonplussed at the rather disastrous optics of all of this that he could barely muster a shrug when it was revealed that he owned shares in an oil company his government was lobbying to come to the province.
In politics, you eventually become what you profess to hate. The Saskatchewan Party was born out of a sense of austere populism in 1997 — the hardscrabble laypeople rising up against the entrenched establishment. After barely a decade in power, it has become quite the opposite: a political entity that proudly sells access to its leader, just as it does to the naming rights on its golf carts.
- Jordon Cooper recognizes that the most alarming part of Eric Olauson's plan to document and attack constituents who dare to question government actions is the fact that it seems to be standard practice for the Saskatchewan Party.  And the Treaty 6 Justice Collective reminds us of the importance of fighting back against austerity and antisocial policy. 

- Jim Sinclair rightly pushes back against the desire of Brian Day and other corporate health care promoters to scrap equal access to care in favour of pay-for-play health. And CTV reports on Mohammed Hajizadeh's research documenting the unfairness which already exists in favour of the wealthy in seeking out care, while Jane Gerster points out how "prominent" Manitobans are able to jump the queue.

- Meanwhile, Peter Goffin discusses Health Quality Ontario's study showing the lack of adequate care in northern Ontario. And the CP reports on the Canadian Human Rights Commissions' latest annual report - which deals particularly with how children are being left behind on many crucial rights issues.

- Finally, Neil MacDonald comments on the absurdity of the Trudeau Libs continuing to jail people for marijuana-related offences while (supposedly) charting a path toward legalizing its use. And Rob Gillezeau examines how the Libs' planned changes to the Parliamentary Budget Officer's mandate will insulate dubious policy choices from important checks and balances.

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