Sunday, May 08, 2011

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Mother's Day reading...

- Orwell's Bastard issues a call to action for the next four years:
Liberal friends, it's time for some tough love. Those of you who want to stay all Bay Street friendly and do what you did for most of the the last four years and not alienate the corporate media, there's a party for you. It's called the Conservative Party. Those of you who want to embrace progressive principles, preserve what's left of the social safety net, and keep people who think like Charles McVety from criminalizing abortion and gay sex might want to work with Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Like it or not, for the next four years that's the NDP.

And once again, lest anyone think this little corner's gone all orange, that goes for New Democrats too. I'm willing to cut the rookies in your parliamentary caucus as much slack as reasonably practicable, as long as you remember an overarching strategic principle: effective opposition to the Harper government will have to have extra-parliamentary roots and focus. It's not pleasant, but it's a fact of life. Steve doesn't need your help or your consent. He's got a majority now.
We've got a lot of work ahead of us. It's going to be a long four years of engaging our fellow citizens and working to build bridges. We're going to have to reach out to our neighbours, including those who voted Conservative and those who stayed home, and we're going to have to talk to them without being condescending or retreating into truisms or lecturing them about civic duty.
- And it isn't just Canadian bloggers looking for that outcome, as the Guardian describes the role of the NDP in similar terms:
(H)aving conquered Quebec, the NPD is a true national party and Layton's rise is being compared to the journey of Aesop's tortoise. "I'll never forget in 2008 when Mr Layton started talking about applying for the job of prime minister," said his campaign architect, Brad Lavigne. "People said that is not credible, and we didn't care if the media thought it was credible. What we wanted to do was establish among the electorate that you have a leader here that you preferred. And you could vote for him locally to get him to that job."

Layton has an immediate agenda to start making trouble: a deal between the provincial government of Ontario and its public sector workers for a 3% pay rise – to the astonishment of the rest of the country, across which other groups will now demand parity, and probably back their claim with industrial action. As recession bites, Layton can flex his constituency's muscles.
- Meanwhile, Jim Stanford points out that the Cons' reassurances about a majority government somehow resulting in an instant economic boost have proven entirely false so far.

- Finally, Don Braid fleshes out the story of the largest Canadian oil spill in decades which was covered up until after Stephen Harper's PetroParty had been elected as a majority government:
(W)e certainly didn't hear the whole story Friday. The initial release said the leak involved "an undetermined volume of crude oil." It added that the oil was 300 metres from any flowing water or runoff, and that pipeline leaks are very rare in Alberta.

All very reassuring, you'll agree. We didn't learn the rest until 3: 07 p.m. Tuesday, when the ERCB issued another release saying, rather causally, that 28,000 barrels of oil had leaked.

That's the biggest oil spill in Alberta in 35 years. It's larger by nearly 10,000 barrels than the Enbridge pipeline spill in Michigan last July. That spill, you'll recall, was damaging enough to turn hostile American eyes on Alberta just after the mammoth BP Gulf blowout was capped.
New Democrat MLA Rachel Notley, who grew up in the area when her late dad, Grant Notley, was a local MLA, says she quickly started getting text messages from natives who were deeply concerned.

"I'm quite suspicious about the timing of all this," she says. "This was something significant enough to have a whole school shuttered Friday. It's really hard to imagine it took them four days to take somebody up there to assess what's going on.

"Either there's an unforgivable level of incompetence among the people responsible for regulation and health, or there were some political considerations about the timing, about when they would come clean about the extent of the breach."

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