Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your day.

- Lawrence Martin's column taking Canada's media to task is well worth a read. But perhaps most important is his declaration as to what needs to happen now:
During the election campaign, there were stories of voter-suppression tactics by the Tories, of barring people from rallies, of pork-barrelling with G8 funds and the like. In the last week of the campaign, there was a seeming attempt by a Conservative operative to present Michael Ignatieff as an Iraq war planner. One can imagine what would happen if this kind of thing, straight out of Nixonland, happened in a U.S. campaign. The media would blow the roof off. Here, the story passed in a day or two without further comment.

Our media, particularly The Canadian Press, have performed well in breaking stories on ethical abuse. And there have been examples, such as The Globe’s reporting for several years running on the Afghan detainee controversy, of staying with a story. But we get softer with time. In the Chrétien era, there was less let up. With much help from the Auditor-General, we chased the Liberals down on Shawinigate and Adscam.

In a majority government, particularly one headed by an all-controlling Prime Minister, one of the few checks on power is strong journalism. It is what holds the government to account. If the standards of the media decline in carrying out this function, the standards and quality of democracy itself will decline.
- And for those looking for examples of serious issues deserving of substantial investigation, Canada's embarrassing showing when it comes to addressing corruption and bribery would seem to be near the top of the list.

- Truly, nobody could have suspected that the Alliance wing of the Cons might decide to change the rules once it had removed the PCs from the scene. But I do have to wonder whether the duplicity is being allowed based on the hope that it'll make it more difficult for the Cons' opponents to work through a similar process to the one that assembled Harper's coalition.

- Finally, there's a ways to go yet, but this looks like a rather strong introduction for the NDP's new official opposition caucus.

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