Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Simon Enoch rightly criticizes the Cons' fair-weather commitment to democracy in the wake of a fairly resounding vote on the part of Canadian Wheat Board members to preserve the institution and its single-desk status against the Cons' attacks. But let's note another ridiculous side to the Cons' position: they're now rejecting the results of a vote which actually offered a clear and direct choice, after choosing to trumpet the manipulated results of a far more questionable voting process as justifying their determination to destroy the CWB.

- Kai Nagata joins up with the Tyee, and makes a splash with his first warning about Quebecor's dominance of Quebec's media scene.

- Chantal Hebert points out how the Libs' willingness to play along with security-state rhetoric in their later years in government helped to lead to their subsequent electoral downfall:
The see-no-evil/hear-no-evil rules on detainee transfers from the Canadian Forces to the Afghan authorities that opened the door to abuse at the hands of local jailers were ratified by a Liberal government.

The decision to support the jailing of 15-year-old Omar Khadr in Guantanamo and the illegal CSIS interrogations that followed took place on the Liberal watch.

Chrétien was in power when Canadian engineer Maher Arar was taken off a plane in the United States and subsequently deported to torture chambers in Syria.

It was successive Liberal governments that initially refused to allow Abousfian Abdelrazik to return home from Sudan in 2003 — an exile forced on a Canadian citizen that was to last six years.

The Liberals were in power only for the first half of the past decade but they very much shaped post 9/11 Canada as we now know it.

In so doing they also (accidentally) set in motion a major realignment of the federal landscape,

The change in the channels triggered by the events of 9/11 provided conservatives of all partisan stripes with fresh common ground — distanced from the disputed terrain of the recent past — on which to focus.

It also brought a harder-edged Conservative leadership within the redefined mainstream of Canadian politics.

More importantly, the post 9/11 symbiosis between the Liberals and the Conservatives allowed the NDP and its contrary voice to become relevant again.
Conventional wisdom notwithstanding, the events of 9/11 did not so much pave the way to a more conservative Canada as open the door to a more polarized and less Liberal country.
- Finally, Paul Wells discusses how the Cons' current decision-making core reflects the diversity that is Canada's pool of single white males.


  1. Khadr was a Canadian citizen and a minor. The Liberals should have put pressure on the US, first in private, and if necessary in public, to turn him over to Canada. The Canadian government could then have made sure his rights were respected: from the horrible stuff in Guantanamo they obviously weren't, and then prosecuted him to the full extent of the law.

    It set a precedent of Canada not caring about its citizens while they're abroad. A Canadian citizen was disappeared for months and tortured in Bahrain, and the present government hasn't said a single word. If he'd been wealthy and politically connected the response would have been much different.

    Did any of the CSIS employees get arrested and thrown in prison for breaking the law and violating human rights? No? That sets a pretty scary precedent too.

  2. jurist7:24 a.m.

    Seconded. But whether out of a genuine lack of concern or a fear of what the Cons would say in response, the Libs effectively ceded the issue - and unfortunately that choice has made it tougher for anybody else to get traction opposing the Cons on principle now.