Saturday, June 09, 2012

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your Saturday.

- Susan Delacourt's mention of "likeonomics" as a branding strategy offers an interesting reference point for Canadian politics (particularly since our political scene has been radically reshaped by one obvious example of it in the 2011 election). But I'm not sure there's much new in the Cons' division of labour between Stephen Harper's attempt to portray himself as above political debate, and his designated attack dogs who work tirelessly at dumping partisan muck on any and all opponents. And David Climenhaga documents a few glaring examples of how "when in doubt, make it up" seems to be a consistent order from Harper to his lackeys.

- Meanwhile, Bruce Johnstone nicely points out that Harper has no business lecturing Europe on fiscal or economic management given that he's been a failure on both fronts.

- The Star criticizes the Cons' decision to pack dozens of major and unrelated policy changes into C-38, and challenges them to allow the debate that we should be able to expect.

- Dr. Dawg highlights another stunning change that the Cons have introduced with no apparent notice - a plan to set up military bases around the world which makes absolutely no sense given Canada's historical role in the world, but fits fairly nicely with Harper's apparent wish to be Canada's first Republican President.

- Finally, it's great to see that the federal civil service is joining the list of groups that's had enough of simply taking the Harper Cons' abuses without comment.

On activist parties

I haven't written much myself on the NDP's relationship to the growing casserole protest movement (which in recent weeks has expanded well beyond its Quebec origins). But I'll take some time to highlight a few key points.

First of all, the themes behind the protest represent almost a perfect match for the roots the NDP needs to cultivate in Quebec in Thomas Mulcair's familiar "roots and trees" message. The mere fact of greater citizen activism is generally a plus for a party whose success depends on popular engagement as a counterweight to elite-driven decision-making. And that goes doubly when a movement is based on such themes as a sense of exclusion (particularly among youth), a perception that public policy is being made with little regard for the people most affected, a concern for civil liberties, and a desire for a more supportive government than corporatist politicians are willing to deliver.

So the NDP has a significant stake in the casserole movement, based on both the principles it shares with the Canadian public and its own partisan interest. But that doesn't mean we should listen to the numerous pundits who have tried to create a story out of the party's election not to take centre stage.

After all, one of the surest ways to breed cynicism about an activist movement is to co-opt it for partisan purposes. And the NDP has nicely balanced its affinity for the casserole movement with the recognition that there's little to be gained by trying to take it over.

As a result, plenty of individual MPs have rightly participated and shown support in their capacity as individual citizens - placing the NDP's elected members on the same footing as everybody else who's taken the time to become involved in the movement. But none have tried to claim the protest as the party's own - which would give other activists reason to wonder whether they're serving as mere political props.

In sum, the NDP's ultimate message to protesters is that in getting elected to Parliament, its MPs have retained their ability to support and participate in popular movements - but also haven't bought into the view that everything (including public activism) has to be boiled down to partisan interests. And that combination should go a long way toward encouraging Quebeckers to stay involved - both in the streets and in the NDP.

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Erika Shaker points out how Quebec's student protests are a natural and justified reaction to the policy choice to saddle young workers with debt:
(T)he effects of student debt are not exactly “character building”. Postponement of owning a home or starting a family. Fewer assets. Having to settle for temporary, insecure and part-time jobs that often become long-term while trying to pay off loans and living in your parent’s basement. Graduates are finding themselves taking jobs—any job—regardless of how well-suited it is, or whether they have a future in this line of work, or whether they want it…or just desperately need the paycheque.
Youth is a life stage characterized by economic dependence and this can be maintained or changed at the cultural and political level. But the collective impact of growing personal debt, cuts to public services, governments wedded to self-amputation, growing inequality, and a precarious labour market with a youth unemployment rate of more than 20% has extended this stage of dependence. It’s a one-two punch: governments are reinforcing the economic instability that restricts authentic choices for youth for longer periods of time, and media punditry blames youth for not being more economically independent.
(W)hen we vilify people for wanting something better than what they’re told is their lot in life, we condemn us all to social regression. We can only make gains when we are prepared to fight for improvements that we may never personally enjoy—but our kids will. Or our grandkids. Or someone else’s kids. Which is why the argument that “others have it worse, so what right do you have to complain?” is the ultimate red herring.
- Thomas Walkom rightly notes that Stephen Harper figures to use any new global economic downturn to do what he tried to do last time: slashing jobs and social programs even further at a time when economic growth is most needed. And Harper's refusal to answer questions about his plans only looks to confirm that expectation.

- Nanos is the latest pollster to confirm that the NDP and Thomas Mulcair are both still on the upswing as the debate over polluter-pay continues to play out - even as so many pundits have proclaimed that Mulcair would have no choice but to back down on any interest in environmental responsibility.

- Meanwhile, Don Lenihan raises one noteworthy question about the relationship between the federal and provincial governments: namely, is Harper even pretending that his role involves anything other than being a fully-owned subsidiary of the Alberta oil industry (leaving Alison Redford to play prime minister)?

- Finally, as much as I tend to disagree with Michael Taube on policy issues, I'll give him full credit for being a rare conservative willing to call for smarter and better-informed politics.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Musical interlude

Vibrolux - Spread Your Love

Parliament in Review - May 8, 2012

Tuesday, May 8 saw another day of debate on the Cons' omnibus budget legislation - and another day of general non-responsiveness from the Cons as to its actual effects. But that wasn't for lack of important contributions from the opposition benches.

The Big Issue

Marie-Claude Morin raised issues about the omnibus bill's attack on government accountability, while Laurin Liu pointed out that few of the massive legislative changes were ever mentioned before being crammed into a 425-page behemoth of a bill, and Chris Charlton noted that even the few MPs receiving a chance to speak to the bill would have a grand total of roughly a second per page to review it. Pat Martin observed that fair wages benefit the whole community. Francis Scarpaleggia criticized the budget as neglecting younger Canadians, then agreed with Majolaine Boutin-Sweet's point (later echoed by Ted Hsu) that the Cons are shutting down basic research in favour of purely commercial priorities. Ryan Cleary questioned the short-sighted attack on fisheries, pointing out that lost fisheries like those for cod and flouder are still nowhere close to recovering decades after problems became obvious. Robert Chisholm and Charlton both contrasted the budget delivered (and debated) starting in March against the far more damaging bill the Cons unveiled a month later under cover of implementation. Eve Peclet utterly stumped Ray Boughen as to how his party could justify slashing consular and border services while trumpeting international trade. Bruce Hyer noted that Canada is losing out as a result of the gap between raw crude prices and gas prices (which of course the Cons are proud to have exacerbated). Don Davies succinctly pointed out the major priorities of his riding - such as child care, the environment, jobs and housing - for which the budget is a total failure. And Romeo Saganash corrected a Con assertion that the budget wouldn't slash health or eduction by pointing to cuts to First Nations programs in those areas.

Meanwhile, Cheryl Gallant nicely represented the limited constituency the Cons are working to serve - reading a letter from a constituent complaining about the concept of breakfast for hungry children, and making it clear that the budget reflects that basic philosophy of avoiding benefits for those who need them most. Needless to say, Andrew Cash didn't let that connection pass without comment. Conversely, Royal Galipeau made clear what he thinks of the role of an MP - taking the time to criticize Carol Hughes for deigning to ask "a specific question" about the closure of the Kapuskasing Experimental Farm.

Empty Schedules

Scott Simms' order paper question about Peter Penashue's schedule (#538) received this reply:
Mr. Scott Simms:

What is the date, time, location, and nature of all government business conducted by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council from May 18, 2011 to March 15, 2012, not including any activity that would be considered a cabinet confidence? 
Hon. Peter Penashue (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada participates in a number of public events, information on which can be found at the following Internet addresses: and, where the term “Peter Penashue” may be searched for.

The minister also participates in cabinet meetings, which are subject to cabinet confidence.
The response apparently assumes that every single bit of "government business" Penashue participated in consisted of either publicly-announced events, or cabinet meetings subject to cabinet confidence. No word yet as to which of those categories is assigned to, say, lobbyist meetings - but if we're supposed to take the public events listed on the Intergovernmental Affairs site at face value as a full statement of his government business, then Penashue's ministerial portfolio involved a grand total of nine days of work in the past year-plus. 

In Brief

Alain Giguere criticized the Cons' anti-refugee bill as fostering intolerance and xenophobia. Chisholm commemorated the Westray mine disaster before observing that such workplace deaths are the inevitable result of a government committed to undermining regulatory enforcement. Megan Leslie asked whether the Cons had the slightest clue about their supposed emissions targets and any associated costs. Libby Davies lamented that the Cons' Mental Health Commission of Canada photo-op wasn't leading to any substantive action. Charlie Angus repeatedly asked the Cons to admit the mere fact that the same IP address connected to Pierre Poutine was used by Con party staff; Dean Del Mastro would abide no such reality. Glenn Thibault highlighted the $5 billion in hidden credit card fees which the Cons are entirely happy to enable, while Annick Papillon noted that even the federal government is shelling out tens of millions of dollars in avoidable costs due to the lack of credit card regulation. Patrick Brown's breast cancer awareness bill was broadly supported at third reading, though not without some valid concerns from Libby Davies and Hedy Fry about limiting the federal role to information alone. And in adjournment proceedings Christine Moore asked for an update on the F-35 debacle (only to receive a slightly extended version of the Cons' usual blather).

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Michael Harris neatly sums up the Harper Cons' legacy:
In many ways, the Harper legacy will come down to this: how much can he get away with? Incumbency furnishes a speedy getaway car. From a legislative perspective, Harper might as well be King Tut. He can do whatever he wants for the next three years or so. Bill C-38, which makes the War Measures Act look like a piece of legislation declaring a public holiday, demonstrates just how aware this PM is of the total power vested in him. And how oblivious he is to Canada’s institutional integrity. One-third of C-38′s monstrous abuse of process is dedicated to dismantling environmental legislation that was never mentioned in the 2011 Tory master plan.

Harper gets it. It’s now or never, baby.
Stephen Harper’s gamble comes down to this — do Canadians give a hoot about the fact that their democracy is now a mere formality. Do they accept the Nixonian proposition that when your leader does something wrong, it’s actually right because he’s your leader? In other words, do we, like the wall-eyed People of the Corn in the Republican Party south of the border, believe that the office sanctifies the man?
Harper has concluded that with the proper balance of fear, marketing, and suppression of dissent, he can successfully argue that a small pox scar is really a dimple. Look what climate change deniers have done with a handful of zealots and scads of money from people like the Koch brothers.
But there is only so much fear you can put into people, just so much, and no more. And when people stop fearing you, that dimple starts looking like a small pox scar after all.
- But Brian Topp offers some rather important perspective: while the Cons are looking to make politics as small and substance-free as possible, a real debate in values is developing thanks to the NDP's strength as a progressive opposition. And Bruce Campbell notes that there's plenty of room for discussion as to how we want to develop our economy for the decades to come.

- For the most part, we know not to take any of the Cons' constant and fact-free boasting too seriously. But every now and then it's worth testing some of their claims - and John Geddes' post comparing the environmental progress under several previous governments to the total lack of action  under the current one nicely highlights the gap between spin and reality.

- Finally, Dan Gardner comments on how logic is Canada's most regular victim of crime thanks to the Cons:
(T)here’s plenty of fear in Toronto now. Stephen Harper failed. He betrayed the city.
Or at least that’s what I would write if I were as ruthless as the boys in the PMO.
But I try to set the bar at least a little higher. So I’ll write this, instead: The efficacy of a policy cannot be proven or disproven by a single incident. Or even a series of incidents. We should not let the passions of the moment, or lazy assumptions, or tired dogma, cloud our judgment. We should base our conclusions about the efficacy of tougher sentences on properly designed and carefully conducted research.
And that research says it doesn’t work.
Just as it doesn’t matter that Fantino’s claim about the Eaton Centre shooting and tough sentences — Our approach failed, which proves it’s critical! — is so bizarre it’s hard not to suspect the man was tripping on LSD.
Evidence and logic are irrelevant to Conservative crime policy. As Justice Minister Rob Nicholson famously observed, “we’ve made it very clear that we don’t govern on the basis of statistics.”
No, for Stephen Harper and company, crime policy is about nothing but dogma and politics.
 [Edit: fixed formatting.]

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Trish Hennessy assembles a handy set of ideas to deal with income inequality.

- No, there isn't much new in the Cons' familiar pattern of deceiving the public, covering it up, then lying by about the cover-up by blaming civil servants who can't publicly defend themselves. But it is a noteworthy development that Sun TV has apparently joined Stephen Harper among the upper ranks of Con symbols whose reputations are to be preserved at all costs.

- Meanwhile, Cons' latest frivolous use of public money - tens of thousands of dollars in car rental expenses in a walkable village - looks significant largely in the Cons' total lack of shame or self-awareness.

- But have no fear: if the Cons have their way when it comes to pulling away from the international scene, the rest of the world won't have any interest in noticing they're running a banana republic. 

- Finally, Tim Harper wonders whether issue-based cooperation across party lines in Simcoe North might lay the groundwork for electoral non-competition - though if anything it seems to signal more that there's value in working through non-party structures, rather than obsessing over how to force a formal agreement among competing parties.

New column day

Here, expanding on this post as to the importance of a functioning federal system as a means of counterbalancing regional declines - and the forces working to limit anything of the sort in Canada.

For further reading...
- Frances Russell also laments the Harper firewall model based on the need for national-level planning and coordination.
- Pat Atkinson notes that Alison Redford's goal of a national energy strategy serves as an ideal case in point.
- Finally, the Florida vs. Spain comparison is drawn from here. And for some bonus Krugman...

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Among the other possible tests in an impending Etobicoke Centre by-election, here's one I'll be curious to watch: will attention to the Robocon scandal turn the Cons' usual misleading robocall blast strategy into a liability rather than a low-cost means of injecting messages into voters' minds?

- Dr. Dawg points out that the Cons' absurd attacks on Erin Weir (and anybody else who may ever have been involved in politics) is probably better classified as farce and ultra-hypocrisy than a serious threat. But he misses what strikes me as an even more obvious example of the sheer idiocy of Randy Hoback's position: if running for a political party makes one unfit to comment on public policy issues, then wouldn't every single government minister who testifies be subject to exactly the same challenge?

- The Cons' latest "nothing to see here" moment on the environmental front features the U.S.' EPA potentially taking over pollution monitoring in Canada. But hey, what could go wrong if we let, say, a future Sarah Palin administration decide what (if anything) it wants to regulate?

- Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail has suddenly realized that the Cons' utter negligence when it comes to the environment might lead to disaster. If only it had arrived at that conclusion a little over a year ago.

- And finally, Linda McQuaig describes the Cons' efforts to turn environmentally-interested citizens into enemies of the state:
(C)reating a chill among environmental activists seems to be precisely the aim of the Harper team, as it gears up for a new stage in its battle to sideline anyone raising questions about the relentless growth of Alberta’s oilsands.

And the involvement of Eaton somehow highlights the David and Goliath nature of the climate change fight, as the Harper government lines up with wealthy interests in a battle that particularly imperils some of world’s poorest people who live in low-lying regions soon to be engulfed by rising seas.
It seems unnecessary to point out that the proper role of government is to protect the public interest, which includes not only encouraging economic development but also protecting us against the devastating consequences of climate change.
But, with his close ties to the oil industry, Harper has long sought to derail global climate action.
Now, with a majority government, Harper’s campaign to scuttle action on climate change has taken a more insidious turn, as he uses the resources of the state to intimidate and silence critics.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cats catching rays.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Lana Payne weighs in on the Cons' goal of reducing wages for Canadian workers:
As an economist, Stephen Harper must know what his government’s changes to employment insurance (EI), the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the elimination of the Fair Wage Act and the assault on collective bargaining in the federal sector will mean for the wages and working conditions of Canadians.

Combined, they will result in a transformation of Canada’s labour market, erode the right to fair and free collective bargaining, and make workers more vulnerable, less demanding, more compliant. Combined, they work to the full advantage of employers, at least in the short-term.
The...message taken from all these policy measures to workers is lower your expectations. Don’t demand more or better. Put up. Shut up.
- It's bad enough to know that the Cons are determined to push through new pipelines without serious environmental review when the pipelines we have are dumping tens of thousands of barrels of oil into natural areas. But it's especially alarming that there's so little monitoring that the latest spill was only noticed by accident:
As with many recent pipeline accidents, Calgary-based Pace did not detect a problem, but was informed of the leak by another company after the spill was spotted from an aircraft. The spill, which killed one duck, now covers 4.3 hectares. Mr. Woods declined comment on how long it was leaking before detection.
- Steven Staples observes that Canada has no particular need for a military-industrial complex. 

- Chris Selley proposes that we measure poverty solely in terms of an absolute deprivation index - which is at least better than the Cons' habit of simply denying that any such thing exists. But I'm not sure there's any benefit to be had in developing a list of deprivation criteria while ignoring the continued importance of relative effects. After all, can't a set of basic expectations include the ability to participate in society at large which is limited by excessive resources gaps?

- It's a plus to see Thomas Mulcair's warm reception in Winnipeg receive some press. But even more significant is the message Mulcair is sending about the importance of encouraging younger voters to be heard:
Mulcair used his time at the podium to tell party members that his goal is to be Canada's next prime minister in 2015 and remain true not only to environmental protection, but tax fairness and accessible health care. 
But he said he can only do all this if he gets elected -- and that can only happen if more people ages 18 to 25 vote.
"When young people stop voting, the right wing wins and democracy loses," he said.
In an interview he said the NDP will target teenagers, who will be eligible to vote in the 2015 election, over the next three years.
"The most important thing for us to do is make all young people understand that they're having an enormous debt laid on them by the Conservative party's choices across Canada," he said.
- And that message dovetails nicely with Andrew Jackson's commentary on youth unemployment (and the need for public steps to reduce it). 

Sunday, June 03, 2012


No new posts in this space tomorrow for the BlackOutSpeakOut protest.

Parliament in Review - May 7, 2012

Monday, May 7 saw another day largely dominated by debate on the Cons' omnibus budget bill.

The Big Issue

Plenty of MPs rightly focused on the Cons' move to combine so many disparate types of legislation into a single behemoth of a bill. Don Davies remembered his first instruction as an MP and wondered just when it was that Parliament ceased to have the job of scrutinizing legislation, while Nathan Cullen reminded Stephen Harper that he once professed to agree with that role for the House of Commons as well. A number of MPs expressed their mild relief at being among the few to get to speak about C-38 (while lamenting that more people wouldn't have some say).

Meanwhile, Scott Simms pointed out that businesses like the Port Union fish plant in his riding stood to suffer from the Cons' attacks on repeat EI recipients. Laurin Liu asked why the Cons didn't have any interest in green research. Ruth-Ellen Brosseau criticized the cuts and privatization that figure to make CFIA far less useful as a means of protecting Canadian consumers. Scott Brison mentioned that even the Cons' Senate caucus was willing to break up C-38 to ensure each part was discussed by an appropriate committee, and wondered how they could justify a lesser level of review in the House of Commons. Elizabeth May questioned whether large parts of C-38 were actually validly before the House given that they weren't mentioned in the associated budget - a particularly important point when the Cons are pointing to debate conducted before the bill was ever public as part of the review they claim has taken place. Davies pointed out how the Cons' past tax slashing created the deficit they now use as an excuse for attacking social programs. Ted Hsu wondered whether the Cons disagree with Milton Friedman's take on the importance of accounting for negative externalities; Robert Sopuck affirmed his agreement by pointing to the type of Mulroney-era environmental regulations that are being shredded by his party. Isabelle Morin reminded James Lunney of the different rules that his government has applied to funding in opposition-held ridings as opposed to that which gets approved under the "patronage" heading, while also highlighting the Cons' woeful record in managing public finances and the broader economy alike. Wayne Easter made the point that corporate Canada isn't lacking for money to invest, but has simply chosen not to invest it. Christine Moore noted that the Cons' OAS changes will significantly harm some Canadians aged 50+ who reasonably expected it to form part of their retirement income a decade down the road, while Ted Hsu took up the cause of lower-income workers who will face a later retirement age despite having not enjoyed any recent increase in lifespan. Kennedy Stewart lamented the anticipated expropriation and destruction of homes, schools and other buildings as the Cons force pipeline construction on an unwilling British Columbia public.

On the Cons' side, the theme of the day was an apparent desire by many MPs to serve as part of a provincial opposition rather than a federal government. Merv Tweed, Terence Young and Joy Smith all spent substantial parts of the time that could have been used explaining and justifying their party's actions attacking municipal and provincial governments who haven't served as puppets for the Harper Cons. But Andrew Cash responded that the Cons may be going past merely forgetting what jurisdiction they represent , and instead living in a different world:
Some days one imagines that all members on the government side come from Pleasantville. In their world no senior has a problem paying rent. In their world seniors have a choice of putting their excess money in a tax free savings account or buying a retirement home? That is the kind of conversation those members have.
But the line of the day went to Simms in response to a question from May:
I find (May's) situation in the House very similar to the Conservative party, and this is the only comparison I draw between the Green Party and the Conservative Party in the House; they are both a party of one. 
On Regulatory Gaps

In response to Hedy Fry's question, Denis Lebel acknowledged that there's currently no permitting process whatsoever for oil tankers operating out of facilities in Burnaby (except to the extent an export license is required). It doesn't appear much has been done on the obvious follow-up question: how in the world can it be possible to completely neglect the need for a full regulatory system - including a licensing system - for the handling and transportation of oil products by tanker?

In Brief

Gordon Brown's bill to rename the St. Lawrence Islands National Park didn't spark much disagreement on its face. But at least a few noteworthy points did emerge from the debate: Rathika Sitsabaiesan wondered what price tag would be attached to the name change, with Brown providing a far more clear answer than we've come to expect when it comes to actual government legislation. And when Royal Galipeau tried to defend the bill by pointing to the value of tourism and parks generally, only to be met with Francois Choquette's proper response questioning why the Cons are cutting funding in exactly those areas elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Stewart made a statement comparing a recent report in which Con MPs agreed that any environmental assessment changes should not "reduce the current public access to the review process" to a budget bill that does just that to the greatest extent possible. Christine Moore, Matthew Kellway and Jack Harris all expressed amazement that the Cons' plan to spend tens of billions of dollars on F-35s is being justified by a 160-word, marketing-heavy letter. Brosseau wondered why the Cons are wilfully blind to food insecurity in Canada. Pierre Nantel contrasted the millions of dollars being put into War of 1812 pageantry against the real losses in archives and historical information resulting from cuts to museums. Andrew Scheer issued his ruling concluding that government ministers could lie to the House of Commons with impunity as long as nobody could read their minds to prove they intended to do so. Helene Leblanc presented the NDP's supplementary recommendations to a report on e-commerce. Jean Crowder introduced a bill arising out of the "Create Your Canada" contest to limit nitrate levels to protect fish and other water-dwelling animals. Finally, in adjournment proceedings Cash questioned whether the Cons would ever both to develop a national transit strategy, Rodger Cuzner wondered just how much worse service EI recipients can expect as the Cons simultaneously slash the civil service and promise instant responses to corporate requests for foreign workers, and Ted Hsu asked why the Cons won't let federal scientists talk about their own research.

Sunday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Sunday reading.

- It's undoubtedly an embarrassment for John Baird to have leapt at a thoroughly implausible bit of anti-UN spin. But I'd think there's more reason for hope than concern in the long run: if a year into their majority mandate the Cons are still operating based on the minority-government mindset that they can do nothing better than to spin first and verify later (and then refuse to admit they were wrong), then surely that doesn't speak well of their ability to plan for the longer time frame leading up to the next federal election.

- Meanwhile, some commentators have bought into the claim that Peter Kent's response to climate change deniers in his own party sets him up as something less than the worst possible environment minister. But it's worth pointing out how his response frames what he sees as the acceptable range of debate: according to Kent the paranoid and/or polluter-funded ravings of anti-science denialists are "fair discussions", but anybody with the nerve to suggest that environmental considerations (including climate change) should actually be reflected in policy can only be classified as a traitor to Canada to be attacked by every means available.

- And on a related point, Dr. Dawg points out another bit of partisan absurdity, as Cons within the Senate are refusing a motion to apply their own overheated rhetoric about foreign involvement in Canadian charities when it comes to anybody other than the environmental movement the oil industry wants to silence.

- Finally, Brian Topp's Policy Options retrospective (PDF) on Allan Blakeney's tenure as premier of Saskatchewan is well worth a read.