Saturday, February 26, 2011

Deep thought

Lucky for Brian Lilley his spin doesn't have to meet the standards of accuracy and accountability he's so eager to use as weapons against the CBC.

On accumulated losses

I've previously linked to Erin's post on trends in corporate tax revenue over the past decade. But particularly in the face of budget deficits being used as the primary excuse for plans to slash social spending or push public services into the private sector, I'd think it's worth adding some more information into the mix.

Here's a slight reorganization of information from the same chart (all dollar numbers in the billions) with two new columns: the amount of corporate tax revenue which would have been collected at the 2000 effective rate of 23.4% calculated by Erin, and the difference between that amount and the revenue actually collected:

Year Profits Effective Rate StatCan Revenue Revenue @23.4% Revenue Loss
2000 $136.0 23.4% $31.8 $31.8 0
2001 $127.1 19.1% $24.2 $29.7 $5.5
2002 $135.2 17.9% $24.3 $31.6 $7.3
2003 $144.5 19.3% $27.9 $33.8 $5.9
2004 $168.2 18.9% $31.7 $39.4 $7.7
2005 $186.6 17.3% $32.2 $43.7 $11.5
2006 $197.3 19.5% $38.4 $46.2 $7.8
2007 $200.9 18.5% $37.1 $47.0 $9.9
2008 $217.0 15.8% $34.2 $50.8 $16.6
2009 $146.9 15.8% $23.3 $34.4 $11.1

Totalling up the differences, we arrive at a grand total of $83.3 billion in lost revenue compared to what the federal government would have taken in if the same corporate profits had been taxed at the 2000 effective rate - in recent years averaging over half of the federal contribution to, say, health care through the Canada Health Transfer. And that's before the Cons' final two sets of corporate tax cuts kick in.

So what do we have to show for that lost potential revenue?

The tax-slashing argument is that the reduction in rates should result in increased economic activity. But the fact that both corporate tax revenues and broader economic conditions have fluctuated immensely based on factors such as resource prices and international economic events serves as fairly compelling reason for skepticism about any traceable benefits. And there looks to be little difference between the growth in corporate profits in the 1990s (before the current tax-cutting binge) and that since 2000.

Of course, in the heady days of the early naughts it may have seemed easy to get away with fitting the loss of billions of dollars a year into a budget that had plenty of room for movement. (Though even that hardly looks wise, particularly in retrospect.) But there's extra reason not to double down now that we're already in the red thanks to a decade of profligacy from Libs and Cons alike.

Saturday Morning Links

Content goes here.

- Gerald Caplan serves up the definitive retrospective on Ronald Reagan and the conservative cause:
Only an ideological curmudgeon would deny Ronald Reagan his due. He was a wildly successful president, achieving a remarkable number of his goals.

He entered office in 1981 determined to block advancement for black Americans, to halt the sluggish march towards equality for American women, to make America walk tall again by beating up tiny poverty-stricken nations, to allow insatiable greed and ruthless personal ambition to reap lavish rewards, to fire up the economy through trillions of dollars in defence expenditures, to invite industry to desecrate the environment, and to legitimate a morality in which any means justified his ends.

Notwithstanding his unparalleled laziness, indifference to most issues and immersion in fantasy, in all these areas his administration triumphed, a splendid record for conservatism in action.
- But the multi-decade track record of failed right-wing promises of benefits for the wealthy paying for themselves isn't stopping the Cons from pushing ahead with more of the same.

- And as another normal part of their effort to keep the public from having any say about Canada's long-term priorities, Jeffrey Simpson notes the Cons are looking to keep any real policy off the table until after the election they're working to force:
The Conservatives, for their part, have been doing everything possible to soften up Canadians for an election, including insisting that they don’t want one.

Those ubiquitous (and disgusting) Conservative attack ads on TV are all about gaining partisan advantage before the writ is dropped. The Conservatives have oodles of money. Their chief fundraiser, Senator Irving Gerstein, has just sent out another of his hilariously alarming letters asking for more cash, warning about threats almost to life itself from the other parties if they don’t pony up. Once a campaign formally begins, spending limits kick in; before the campaign, parties can spend whatever, which is what the Conservatives are doing with these attack ads.
The budget is likely to feature more of those itsy-bitsy targeted tax breaks this government adores and most economists hate. The government has already signalled it has no intention to make hard decisions on spending, any one of which might cause a political problem. Controversial decisions (such as the proposed merger of the Toronto and London stock exchanges) will be delayed until after the election.
- But hey, at least they still have Jane Taber to repeat their spin without a hint of independent thought.

On advance preparation

Robert Silver offers the radical argument that a party isn't particularly well served to keep its policy platform hidden:
(W)ith every policy announcement, your best case scenario is you get an hour or two of coverage, worst case scenario, you’re (sic) policy is completely ignored.

If the point of a platform is to:

1. Give voters a sense of what precisely you would do if elected (crazy, crazy thought);

2. Frame your values/ideology/approach to government;

3. Brand your party and leader; and

4. Differentiate you on all of the above from your opponent.

I would argue that the ONLY chance you have of that being successful is to release it well in advance of an election, work like hell to defend it from attack from your opponents and hope that some of it seeps in with Canadians by the time election day comes around. Without taking a shot at anyone, the only reason I can think of in 2011 to hold a platform back until the middle of the campaign (which I know is the conventional way of doing things) is if you are trying to bury your own platform.
But while Silver avoids taking any shots or offering any plaudits, it can hardly escape notice that one of Canada's opposition parties has made a huge chunk of its possible election platform into a staple of this year's budget coverage. And of course it's the Libs who have once again chosen to stay mum as to what they actually hope to accomplish.

That gap looks particularly significant with the NDP already well-trusted when it comes to handling specific issues. And its work in building up a strong platform in advance of a campaign means that an election centred on policy may offer just as much room for growth as one based on leadership.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Musical interlude

Sunlounger feat. Zara - Lost

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Dan Gardner suggests that we may be better off planning to reduce the damage from most risky elements of our current economy instead of having to convene a new Committee to Save the World every decade:
(A)dmitting uncertainty and unpredictability does not mean we can do nothing. Building codes dramatically reduce the damage done by earthquakes, and insurance makes it possible to clear the rubble and re-build.

So, too, in economies, there is a role for regulation of the sort Flaherty envisions. But what about insurance?

Governments themselves can act as insurers. They did in 2008. But of course that was something of a fiction. The money governments spent to save the financial system was borrowed. Ordinary people and their children will be paying it off for decades.

That’s not fair. Or wise. The wizards of the financial system got rich taking on the risks that ultimately blew up in 2008. By not making them pay for the cleanup, governments gave them a powerful incentive to do the same again. Or worse.

The alternative is to require the financial system to pay insurance premiums: A tiny tax on financial transactions would allow governments to create substantial reserve funds which could be used in the event of financial meltdowns.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy continues to push a variant of this idea. Flaherty and others are adamantly opposed.

The better solution, Flaherty says, is a Committee To Save The World.

They’ll get it all figured out. Sure they will.
- Memo to Scott Simms: No, it isn't worth disassociating yourself with one of the most important opposition lines of clash against the Harper government for the sake of a "gotcha" moment.

- In contrast, it's great to see NDP MP Don Davies' pushback on the Cons' plan to push pardons out of the reach of the people likely to need them most.

- Finally, I know I feel reassured now that the same political communications staffers who have restricted any public comment by Canada's top scientists are declaring that there's nothing to be concerned about.

Membership has its privileges

Good thing Con Senator Irving Gerstein has a six-figure, publicly-funded salary to support both his Con fund-raising and his defence against the charges against him in the in-and-out scandal. After all, we'd sure hate for Gerstein to have to start begging for himself rather than for his benefactors.

On adverse inferences

Not that we're ever lacking for reasons to doubt the constant stream of self-serving spin from the federal Cons. But surely it can't speak well to their credibility when they're suppressing the only evidence that could possibly support their already-implausible public posturing:
The government website's partisan and personal promotion of Mr. Harper became an issue in the autumn of 2009, when The Canadian Press reported that the site was plastered with literally dozens of Harper photos.

After critics lampooned the site's self-aggrandizing appearance, many of the Harper photos disappeared.

The PMO claimed no photos had been removed, and even issued talking points to MPs and supporters citing The Canadian Press story as “false.” Prominent party supporters claimed the site was simply undergoing routine technical revisions.

If it was routine site maintenance, the government does not want Canadians to know. An access request asking what happened to the missing photos elicited a two-page, internal explanation from PCO technicians – a response that was entirely blacked out before it was released.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Deep thought

Never before has a federal cabinet minister's utter failure to accomplish anything to earn public acknowledgment been trumpeted with such pride.

On blitzes

While there's plenty to criticize about the Cons' latest PR stunt, let's at least give them credit for managing to get 80 of Stephen Harper's minions out to work on the same day of an off week. After all, in the past they've gone entire months with no more of their members bothering to do any work that registered with the party.

On relevant considerations

Memo to Bob Hepburn:

If your goal is to discourage Canada's political parties from valuing internal democracy and member participation, then lumping them all together in a "pox on all their houses" column with no regard for actual differences in their internal structures is a great way to go about it.

But if you actually want to create some incentive for them to facilitate grassroots decision-making, it might help to make some note of the ones who actually do so even when their competitors don't dare.

On diversions

Of course they feel entitled to use as much of our money as they can to try. But somehow I doubt anybody will be fooled into thinking that yet another PR blitz will put a dent in the Cons' track record of 800,000 new jobless Canadians.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On effective responses

A quick message to those who have spent the better part of the last month spreading the Lib-serving theory that the NDP would seize on any theoretical concession the Cons might offer in order to pass a budget: try again.

Wednesday Morning Links

Assorted content for your midweek reading.

- It's generally agreed that the Cons' level of popular support involves a fairly firm floor at about 30%. But for those looking to determine the proportion of people who have given themselves over entirely to the Harper hive mind, we now have our number at 18%:
But when it comes to calling on the government to disclose all estimated costs for crime-related legislation, Canadians are clearly on the side of the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois. Eighty-two% said the government should be compelled to release the figures. Eighteen per cent said they should be kept secret if the government says they should be.
- It should never have been much of a secret that the Harper Cons are looking to take Canada down the same path as their Republican cousins. But Susan Delacourt is starting to trace the similarities for a wider audience.

- And the CCPA's report on the destruction of regulatory systems will offer plenty more fodder for Delacourt's series.

- All of which suggests that the growing realization of just what the Cons have in store for the country may have something to do with the fact that Harper's long-sought majority is getting less and less popular as an option (even as the Cons talk about it more overtly as a goal):
Only about 26 per cent of Canadians say they would be comfortable with the Conservatives winning a majority after the next election, according to a new poll conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV by Nanos Research.

That number is lower than in any other Nanos survey that asked the same question.

A list with no end

Full credit to Carol Goar's ambition in trying to put together a list of things the Harper Cons don't want people to know. But as a time-saver, might I suggest starting here?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cats under glass.

Canada's Lawless Government

Shorter Jason Kenney:

"Law" and "order" are for the little people. Suckers.

Those pesky facts

Edward Greenspan and Anthony Doob take the Cons and their apologists to task for ignoring and/or misrepresenting the reality of decreasing crime levels in Canada:
Everyone wants to reduce crime and use resources effectively. But the Conservative government’s “tough on crime” agenda would have you believe that crime is increasing and can only be reduced by using tougher penalties. This assertion is wrong, as is a study by an Ottawa-based think tank that reviewed the 2009 Statistics Canada report on crime.

The study, by former Alberta Crown attorney Scott Newark for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, suggests that violent crime is increasing, contrary to the Statscan report and all reasoned examinations of existing data. Mr. Newark’s study is filled with problems: It compares figures that can’t be compared. It presents figures that are inaccurate. And it ignores evidence supporting the conclusion that crime is, in fact, decreasing.
It’s easy to make crime look as though it’s going up if one provides numbers that are wrong or misleading. Mr. Newark offers what he calls “youth violent crime” for three years and shows “rates per 100,000” for these years: 956 (for 2001), 1,498 (for 2004) and 1,887 (for 2008). He then concludes there’s been a 100-per-cent increase in youth violent crime.

The data from the Statscan report he’s critiquing are in Column 3. Mr. Newark’s starting point (2001) is clearly wrong; he says in his table that the number is 956 (rather than 1,957, the true number), thereby supporting his erroneous conclusion that there’s been a large increase in youth violent crime. Had he reproduced the correct figures for these years in his table, one couldn’t conclude that the youth violent crime rate had gone up.
It appears that for people such as Mr. Newark, Statistics Canada is never wrong as long as it reports that crime rates are increasing. If it says crime is decreasing, then it’s never right. The fact of the matter is that crime rates have nothing to do with tougher laws or harsher sentencing. The fact is that crime rates go up and down. In recent years, they’ve gone down.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday.

- Lawrence Martin points out what looks to be a highly interesting committee appearance by disgraced former Integrity Commissioner (and Harper appointee) Christiane Ouimet. But what's most noteworthy for now is that the Cons are spending the time before Ouimet's appearance making excuses for hiding key information rather than providing it as ordered:
Ms. Ouimet (rhymes with Antoinette) is the public servant who, according to Sheila Fraser’s damning report, did not do her job properly – choosing to investigate just seven of 228 complaints about wrongdoing in the public sector – possibly saving the Harper government multiple embarrassments. After failing to appear before a parliamentary committee despite being subpoenaed, she sent a rather terse message to the committee through her lawyer saying she was willing to return March 10 to face interrogators. What a show it promises to be. Given the large number of uninvestigated cases that came before her, the possibility of smoking guns suddenly appearing on the government’s doorstep can hardly be discarded.

Opposition members will be out to determine whether Ms. Ouimet was acting at the behest of her political or top bureaucratic superiors. The Public Accounts Committee has passed a motion requiring the delivery of all correspondence between her office and other government departments.
It is also clear, said Mr. D’Amours, that there was correspondence between her office and the Privy Council Office. Given that Ms. Ouimet was supposed to be operating an independent agency, he wonders why. “And now the PCO is saying they don’t have time to get us all the documentation.”
Which would seem to be explained only by either an absolute mountain of documents that should never have existed in the first place, or by a conscious choice to spend the time before Ouimet's appearance in cover-up mode. But either way, the result would seem to bode poorly for the Cons.

- Jim Stanford points out that the relationship between minimum wages and employment levels is far more complicated than free-market dogmatists pretend:
In practice, the effect of minimum wages on employment is probably a wash. Gradual increases in minimum wages, within reasonable bounds, have virtually no impact on employment at all, in either direction. So long as levels are set realistically relative to productivity and profitability, minimum wages can be increased with no measurable damage to employment.

Perhaps influenced by this recent sea-change in economists’ attitudes, policy makers in most provinces have begun to revitalize minimum wages. After years of stagnation, the real purchasing power of minimum wages has increased markedly since 2005, boosting incomes across the lower tiers of Canada’s labour market. With business profits simultaneously reaching their highest share ever of Canadian GDP, it could hardly be argued that these modest but important increases squeezed out private sector activity. On the other hand, those higher minimum wages contributed notably to the first real wage gains enjoyed by Canadian workers in a generation.

This successful policy trend should be continued. Minimum wages (now at or near $10 per hour in most provinces) should be increased gradually but steadily in the years to come.
- Part of the problem has as much to do with the concept of endorsing a government in a multi-party FPTP system where outcomes are far more complicated than simply selected a single party from a list. But nonetheless, Declan's chart comparing voter preferences with media endorsements highlights just how far removed the corporate media is from the majority of Canadian voters.

- Finally, Richard Wolff comments on how corporations have managed to turn the tax system to their advantage.

Monday, February 21, 2011

On contradictory positions

Shorter headlines about the latest from the Cons: Harper and company say "no" to an election, and to any compromise which might avert an election.

And the chances of the Cons facing any criticism for trying to hold both positions at the same time (which of course would get any other national political party beaten senseless by the pundits): barely north of zero.

Not the first time

Yes, it's downright appalling that the Cons don't think a minority government should have to pay the slightest bit of attention to what any other party says about what ought to be included in a budget.

But if we can all agree that the Cons' my-way-or-the-highway approach is a serious problem, then doesn't a substantial share of the blame have to lie with the parties who supported or waved through five previous budgets developed along exactly the same lines?

Out of curiosity

A couple of questions for discussion in the wake of a weekend where the NDP has received no lack of headlines, but has also had to deal with the media reading an entirely consistent message as reflecting two radical changes in position.

First, is there any hope of actually having the nuances in a party's position accurately portrayed in media coverage, or are we forever resigned to headlines that reflect the most extreme possible spin on a given day's statements or omissions?

And second, is it nonetheless a net plus for the NDP to get this weekend's level of attention even when it reflects repeated distortions of the party's position?

Monday Morning Links

Assorted reading to pass a chilly Family Day.

- Your non sequitur of the day comes from Con MP Ed Holder responding to the concerns of Kevin Page and the opposition parties about the use of "cabinet confidences" to hide the actual costs of Harper policies:
Conservative MP Ed Holder (London West, Ont.) said it wasn't so much about resources, but rather a lack of time, and MPs focusing on "salacious" issues rather than what they're in Parliament to do. He said the Library of Parliament is an excellent resource for MPs who need help understanding the budget or estimates or any piece of legislation.
How that's supposed to help in the absence of estimates related to a particular bill is left as an exercise for the reader - at least, assuming there isn't a "cabinet confidences" section of the library where full information can be found.

- Susan Delacourt gives her take on why Bev Oda's forgery and cover-up - and the Cons' continued defiance - are well worth some continuing coverage:
You want to know why this government spends so much time controlling its "message" and its portrayal in public? Because it's trying to enforce power over who writes its history -- criticism is tantamount to taking the enemies' side. We reporters in Ottawa are used to this by now.

The Bev Oda controversy is not staying in the headlines because we journalists are trying to bring down the government (much as many Conservatives love to believe). Most of us actually aren't in that good-versus-evil frame of mind. It's being reported because it was an open, ham-handed effort to distort the record. And it's part of a pattern. (See cases above -- there are more.) So is it a big deal? Yes. Precisely because it's so ordinary, and it's being portrayed that way by Oda's supporters.
- And Brian Topp theorizes that there's somewhat more to the Oda ado than the Cons are letting on:
Given Ms. Oda's impressive background and real qualities, her first round of testimony on this matter was more credible than her second. Notwithstanding her belated fess-up, I doubt she doctored that memo. In changing her story and claiming that she did, I speculate, she is taking the fall for someone else.

Someone dumb. Someone who is cavalier about the integrity of public servants. Someone who has a notably loose relationship with the truth. Someone in a position to give orders to ministers – orders in contempt of Parliament – even at the price of their credibility and (possibly) their careers.

Who could that be?
- Though in fairness, it's worth noting that no mistake, offence or outrage is actually a career-ender for a right-wing ideologue. Just ask Tim Powers, who's taken up Russell Ullyatt's defence after Ulyatt merely torpedoed an entire budget consultation process for his own personal gain.

- Finally, Scott Feschuk notes that the Cons are also taking embarrassing steps to try to revise the language used to rewrite their history:
The Conservatives imported the expression “job creators” from Republicans in the United States, who are masters at putting a positive spin on negative concepts like cuts to social programs (“budget relief”) and extending tax breaks for the super rich (“Gimme!”). Since some in the media here have obligingly begun to use the term, we can expect to see more of the same from Conservatives. Farewell words with negative connotations!

Old term: Deficit.
New term: Aspiring surplus.
Used in a sentence: “Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say it was this Conservative government that presided over the largest aspiring surplus in our history.”

Old term: Tar sands.
New term: Money juice.
Used in a sentence: “Hey, how did these 3,000 dead ducks wind up in our money juice?”
Those expressions and more await us. For now, it’s just “job creators” and what we can do for them so that maybe they can possibly do something for us perhaps. And if they later slash jobs by the thousands to protect the bottom line, the government can praise them as “leisure creators.”

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Links

Content goes here.

- Aside from the occasional attempt by the likes of Jim Flaherty to pretend that Ireland's disaster could never have happened to a country which so zealously bought into the free-market religion, few seem to be foolish enough to put forward the Irish experience as a model to follow for the moment. But in tracing Ireland's decline, Bruce Campbell points out that its boom wasn't anywhere near what it was hyped to be either:
Foreign direct investment—led by the computer and pharmaceutical sectors--poured in. It became the preferred location of (mainly US) multinational corporations seeking to keep their profits out of reach of their home country tax authorities. (Google, for example, is reported to have saved $3.1 billion over the last three years by setting up shop in Ireland). Ireland became the largest jurisdiction outside the US for declared pretax profits by American firms. The transfer of profits out of Ireland accounts for 20% of Irish GDP.

While indigenous Irish industry expanded, it never lived up to expectations. The hallmark characteristics of an enclave economy—weak linkages to the domestic economy, benefits accruing to a narrow segment of society—were clearly in evidence. Industry remained dominated by a relatively small group of multinationals. Data from the Irish Development Agency, show that while the foreign and domestic sectors each employed about 150,000. The foreign-owned sector accounted for over 80% total output.

While it created a lot of employment—much of it in the form of low wage service jobs—the Irish boom accentuated income and wealth inequality. Rather than apportioning gains to strengthen the welfare state to be more in line with European norms, the Irish model gave precedence to the interests of foreign capital and to a small domestic elite that had successfully ridden the Irish prosperity wave.
Income and capital gains tax cuts left the government coffers with a narrower tax base much more vulnerable to collapse of the construction and real estate sectors.

When the global crisis hit, the bubble burst: foreign finance dried up, exports tanked, construction came to a halt and property values plunged, exposing the toxic debt at the heart of the Irish banks. Ireland’s budget surplus and low public debt turned bad with lightening (sic) speed.
- Hugh Segal nicely points out how his own party's prison growth strategy makes absolutely no sense as a destination for public money:
At a time of government restraint, prisoners are, in a word, expensive. With all costs factored in, Canadians spend more than $147,000 per prisoner in federal custody each year.

By contrast, it would take between $12,000 and $20,000 annually to bring a person in Canada above the poverty line. Even at the high end of the GAI scale, this represents savings to taxpayers of $127,000 per federal prisoner each year. Those are figures that should be of interest to any federal or provincial finance minister — of any party background.
- But as Haroon Siddiqui notes, we're the ones left paying the price for the Cons putting Stephen Harper's political games ahead of even a minimal level of engagement with reality.

- And finally, Greg asks:
Liberals, is there no Conservative trick they won't fall for?
Only if you count the ones they're in on to begin with. This has been another version of simple answers to simple questions.

Canada's Pointy-Haired Government Strikes Again

Looks like somebody forgot to insert the United Way update again:
*The Minister has been clear: this was her decision.

*The Minister has apologized for a lack of clarity in her testimony before Committee, and has rectified that lack of clarity.

Well said

Last week I noted that the answer to the Cons' politically-motivated de-funding of civil society groups was to clash with the idea that a government should use the public purse to attack groups for their opinions. And Gerald Caplan does just that:
Every time I hear Michael Ignatieff shrieking at the Prime Minister to fire Ms. Oda I want to scream back: THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEV ODA. Of course she baldly lied, just as Jason Kenney lied about Kairos policy on Israel and Tony Clement lied when he claimed Statscan approved his crusade against the long-form census. This government lies as routinely as it maligns, and it never apologizes. But Ms. Oda, like Messrs. Kenney and Clement, is just the organ grinder’s monkey. Any CIDA minister would have been in the same boat. She just follows orders. And it’s those orders in the Kairos case that remind us of the real Harper agenda.

The issue here is the reversal, by Stephen Harper, of a 60-year consensus shared by all previous governments about the central role of civil society in Canada. Every previous government has funded civil society groups and NGOs even when they espoused policies that contradicted the government’s own. Governments might have done so grudgingly and not as generously as some of us hoped. But it has been one of the quiet glories of Canadian democracy that our governments have often backed groups that criticized them or had competing priorities.

No more. With Stephen Harper, you either buy the party line or you get slapped down.
Look at Stephen Harper's record.

He silences whistle-blowers and punishes dissenters.

He treats Parliament with open contempt and brazenly lies when found out.

He suspends Parliament at the first sign of political risk.

He makes a mockery of the accountability and transparency he loudly demands of everyone else.

He makes lying to parliament just another tactical device.

He fakes his budgets by refusing to cost new initiatives.

He transforms vital watchdogs of democracy into mushy lapdogs.

He unleashes ministers to attack judges who make unwelcome decisions. He personalizes attacks on his “enemies”.

He blithely smears other parties, groups and individuals as anti-Semitic.

He is impervious to the democratic spirit that has galvanized hundreds of millions of people to stand up for freedom.

He makes major economic decisions on the basis of their impact on his electoral fortunes.

Makes you wonder why Canadians aren’t yet out on the streets in the millions. Instead, Michael Ignatieff demands that Bev Oda be fired.