Saturday, September 15, 2012

Leadership 2013 Reference Page

A one-stop source for general links on the 2013 Saskatchewan NDP leadership campaign, to be updated as the race progresses. Please feel free to add additional suggestions in comments.

General Information and Discussion
Saskatchewan NDP - Membership
Leadership 2013 - Events - Rules - Videos - Financial Reports - Voter FAQs
Babble Discussion
Saskatchewan New Democrat Leadership Campaign (Leftdog)
Canadian Political Viewpoints (Scott Stelmaschuk)
Candidate Profiles - Head Tale (Jason Hammond)
Missing That Last Piece (Aaron Genest)

Candidate Information
Candidate Sites Profile Update Review Ranking
Cam Broten Website - Facebook - Twitter Profile Update Review 2
Ryan Meili Website - Facebook - Twitter Profile Update Review 1
Erin Weir Website - Facebook - Twitter Profile Update Review Withdrawn
Trent Wotherspoon Website - Facebook - Twitter Profile Update Review 3

Candidate Rankings Introduction - January 15 - January 22 - January 29 - February 5 - February 12 - February 19 - February 26 - March 5 
All Posts By Label


Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jon Wisman and Aaron Pacitti put a price tag on the upward redistribution of wealth in the U.S.:
Between 1983 and 2007, total inflation-adjusted wealth in the U.S. increased by $27 trillion. If divided equally, every man woman and child would be almost $90,000 richer.

But of course it wasn’t divided equally. Almost half of the $27 trillion (49 percent) was claimed by the richest one percent — $11.7 million more for each of their households. The top 10 percent grabbed almost $29 trillion, or 106 percent of the total. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent suffered an average decline of just over $16,000 per household.

What could be bought with the $29 trillion increase in the top ten percent’s wealth over the past three decades? Strikingly, it covers all of the expenses necessary for our future collective well-being — the very expenses that, we’re told, can’t be funded because of budget deficits and rising public debt.

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the United States needs to spend $2.2 trillion over the next five years to meet its infrastructure needs. To ensure that Social Security can pay all promised benefits for the next 75 years would cost $8.6 trillion. Providing all needed Medicare funding for the next 75 years would cost a total of $4.6 trillion.

To pay for all Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and subsidies for purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act for the next 10 years would cost $1.5 trillion. To close all projected federal budget deficits until 2021 would cost $7 trillion. Taking back the $29 trillion would cover all of these needs and the $5.1 trillion that would be left over could pay off about one-third of the national debt.

The rich managed to capture this $29 trillion because they gained greater command over the political process, which allowed them to engineer economic policy for their own gain. Their greater wealth meant greater command over the political process, which in turn made them wealthier. The explosion of corporate lobbyists and corporate campaign contributions leveraged their political influence. 
- Simon Enoch points out that the Sask Party's plan for the province seems to be to turn Saskatchewan into Oklahoma North. And no, that's nothing close to a positive result:
Oklahoma adopted right-to-work legislation in 2001. Despite claims by proponents that the adoption of RTW would result in a mass influx of jobs to the state, since (its) adoption Oklahoma has lost a third of their manufacturing jobs and the average number of new companies coming into the state has been one-third lower in the decade since RTW was adopted than in the preceding decade. Moreover, Oklahoma’s unemployment rate in 2010 was double what it was when RTW was first adopted in 2001.

Surveys of manufacturers show that despite the claims of RTW champions, right-to-work laws are not a significant factor in decisions to relocate. Indeed, in 2010 manufacturers ranked it sixteenth among factors affecting location decisions. For higher-tech, higher-wage employers, nine of the ten most-favoured states are non-RTW, led by union-friendly Massachusetts.
...Certainly, there is no doubt that the adoption of RTW significantly reduces average wage-levels. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the impact of RTW laws is to lower average income by about $1,500 a year and to decrease the odds of getting supplemental health insurance or a pension through your job—for both union and nonunion workers alike.

However, the impact of RTW is not confined to wages. According to recent research from the University of Michigan that examined the U.S. construction industry, the rate of industry fatalities is 40 percent higher and the rate of occupational fatalities is 34 percent greater in right-to-work states than in free-bargaining states. Given that Saskatchewan already has one of the worst workplace injury rates in the country, it seems we can ill-afford to adopt legislation that would contribute to even greater levels of risk for Saskatchewan workers.

Social issues are not immune to the effect of right-to-work laws either. Eleven of the 15 states with the highest poverty rates in the U.S. are RTW states, while nine of the 11 states with the lowest are worker-friendly. Furthermore, the percentage of the 2008 population living in poverty in RTW states was 14.4 percent, while the percentage in worker-friendly states was 12.4 percent. In regards to health insurance, we find that 18.6 percent of people in RTW states are uninsured, while only 13.9 percent of people in worker-friendly states are uninsured. Lastly, RTW laws may even influence your life expectancy! Darrell Minor found that of the 13 states with the highest life expectancy rates, 10 are worker-friendly states. Conversely, of the 12 states with the lowest life expectancy rates, only two are worker-friendly states. In worker-friendly states, citizens can expect to live 77.6 years (the median), while citizens in RTW states can expect to die at 76.7.
- David Pugliese's blog post is a nice first step in pointing out the absurdity of the Cons wasting public resources to make identical announcements in multiple cities. But I'll suggest that best possible response might be to make use of the local media coverage the strategy is designed to pull in: a single video splicing together the voices and faces of a dozen spokespuppets chanting the same passage in unison (with duly ominous music) would just about match the dystopian vision behind the Cons' communications strategy.

- Meanwhile, the latest snag in Robocon involves the Cons' phone bank service provider trying to conceal the evidence which would actually determine who's telling the truth as to whether live calls directed voters to the wrong places. And it's not hard to infer that the Cons and their suppliers would be much less determined to fight disclosure of the facts if they didn't undermine their public story.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Musical interlude

Sloan - Everything You've Done Wrong

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jeffrey Simpson marks Peter Lougheed's passing by discussing what he brought to Alberta's political scene that's been sorely lacking ever since:
Mr. Lougheed, defending Alberta’s jurisdictional turf in conflicts with Liberal and Conservative governments in Ottawa, navigated his province through these shoals. The shame of his successors is that they took two of his cardinal convictions and discarded them in the rush for quick spoils and easy money – that natural resource revenues belong to the people and should be developed in a measured, balanced fashion, and that considerable money from those resources should be husbanded in a Heritage Fund for future generations.
Mr. Lougheed governed not as an ideological opponent of the state – the red meat of modern-day conservative thinking – but as its ally. The state, he believed, was the people’s friend, which is what Tories tend to believe. And he used the state aggressively, perhaps in a few cases too aggressively, to buy an airline and make public investments, help the early oil-sands industry get its legs, create the Heritage Fund, build new social programs – all the while believing in the free-enterprise system as the best wealth-creation generator. He used the state aggressively, when necessary, against what he saw could be invidious practices of the oil and gas industry, for which he was banned from the Petroleum Club.

Put simply, Mr. Lougheed always understood the importance of the industry for Alberta, but he never directly equated its interests with the wider interests of Alberta.
 - Tim Harper makes the case as to why the Cons should have plenty to answer for in cutting off all diplomatic ties with Iran:
Those who argue that leaving Tehran is a matter of principle, miss the point that we have eyes and ears on the ground, not on principle, but to promote our point of view and our sovereign interests.

Those who would argue that Tehran wasn’t listening to us anyway, miss the point that we should still have Canadian eyes on the ground to bear witness. Waving the white flag, taking our ball and going home, is hardly the high road.
Largely unheralded, they do not remain in dangerous environments because they are welcomed but because they subscribe to the well-worn dictum that you hold your friends close, but you hold your enemies closer.

We have kept embassies open during wars. We did not shut down during the darkest days of the Cold War.
Harper is correct that our diplomats are not soldiers, but often they are the next closest thing.

He owes it to the foreign service, allies and Canadian voters to give us a fuller accounting of why we decided to leave Iran behind.
-  But then, Aaron Wherry reminds us why the Cons' talking points are more safely presumed to be farce than fact.

- Rick Salutin discusses why any positive change in our schools needs to be based on treating teachers and unions as essential stakeholders in any functional education system - rather than adopting the Lib/Con position that they're enemies to be beaten down.

- Finally, Travis Waldron posts about the latest evidence that tax cuts aimed at the already-wealthy don't do anything at all to help the wider economy.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michael Lewis writes a fascinating piece on Barack Obama's life as president. And I'd think it's particularly noteworthy to consider Obama's self-discipline both as a model for self-improvement in theory, and as a risk factor in opening up a perception gap between a leader and his citizens:
“I want to play that game again,” I said. “Assume that in 30 minutes you will stop being president. I will take your place. Prepare me. Teach me how to be president.”

This was the third time I’d put the question to him, in one form or another. The first time, a month earlier in this same cabin, he’d had a lot of trouble getting his mind around the idea that I, not he, was president. He’d started by saying something he knew to be dull and expected but that—he insisted—was nevertheless perfectly true. “Here is what I would tell you,” he’d said. “I would say that your first and principal task is to think about the hopes and dreams the American people invested in you. Everything you are doing has to be viewed through this prism. And I tell you what every president … I actually think every president understands this responsibility. I don’t know George Bush well. I know Bill Clinton better. But I think they both approached the job in that spirit.” Then he added that the world thinks he spends a lot more time worrying about political angles than he actually does.

This time he covered a lot more ground and was willing to talk about the mundane details of presidential existence. “You have to exercise,” he said, for instance. “Or at some point you’ll just break down.” You also need to remove from your life the day-to-day problems that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day. “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. It’s why shopping is so exhausting. “You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”
- I very much hope I'm right in suspecting that Ezra Levant's attempts to foment hatred against Roma Canadians will fall flat based on their sheer absurdity. But Karl Nerenberg and Dr. Dawg are right to make sure Levant's attacks don't go unanswered.

- Meanwhile, Bob Hepburn notes the sad irony in a Prime Minister winning an award for "democracy, freedom and human rights" while fighting each of those principles tooth and nail at home and abroad.

- And Laurel Sutherlin points out how the Trans-Pacific Partnership being pushed by Harper among others looks to leave a gaping hole in the democratic department:
The TPP is called a ‘trade agreement,’ but in actuality it is a long-dreamed-of template for implementing a binding system of global corporate governance as bold as anything the world’s wealthiest elite has attempted before. Of the 26 chapters under negotiation, only a few have to do directly with trade. The other chapters enshrine new rights and privileges for major corporations while weakening the power of nation states to oppose them. The TPP essentially proposes to establish a parallel system of justice where companies can sue countries in a tribunal of judges composed of unaccountable international trade lawyers with little to no process for appeal.

This wild bastardization of the concept of justice endangers everything from affordable medicines, internet freedoms and intellectual property rights to democratically enacted labor laws and environmental protections. And that’s not to mention the massive outsourcing of middle class jobs from the US to countries like Vietnam and Brunei.

This isn’t just a bad trade agreement, it’s a wish list of the 1%—a worldwide corporate power grab of enormous proportions. 
 - Finally, Andrew Jackson rightly challenges the theory that handouts to the corporate sector pay for themselves - at least for anybody who doesn't see increases in untaxed corporate income with no associated social benefits as an unbridled good.

Saskatchewan NDP Leadership 2013 - What's In Store

While the Saskatchewan NDP's 2013 leadership campaign officially started last week and at least a couple of the candidates have already made strong entrances, I haven't yet had a chance to comment much on the contest.

But rest assured that there's plenty coming, especially with more candidate announcements coming over the next couple of days. In particular, I'll be setting up a reference page (similar to this one from the federal party's leadership race) to offer stable links to basic information about the campaign, as well as taking closer looks at the candidates as the race develops.

In the meantime, Leftdog is providing a steady flow of updates from the candidates.

New column day

Here, on the importance of substance over spin in politics - and the counterproductive effect of dedicating a party's resources to the opposite effect.

For further reading...
- As I've previously noted, the observations of Allan Gregg and Winslow Wheeler are here and here respectively.
- Joe Klein discussed the impact of Bill Clinton's DNC speech.
- pogge nicely sums up my take on Tom Mulcair's choice to trust in the Cons when it comes to Iran rather than mounting a meaningful defence of diplomacy, while Justine Hunter reports on Adrian Dix' statement that he's cutting down his policy agenda just as he approaches an opportunity to implement it.
- And finally, impolitical notes that Joan Crockett is taking the all-deference approach to its logical conclusion by stating explicitly that her job as a Con candidate and MP is to mindlessly do her leader's bidding.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Pat Atkinson discusses the importance of unions in ensuring a fair deal for all workers:
It's because of unions and their tenacious advocacy on behalf of their members that workers not only in this province but also in other jurisdictions enjoy legislated workplace benefits gained through negotiation: the 40-hour work week, the eight-hour work day, equal pay for equal work for women, occupational health and safety, paid vacations, overtime pay and more.

These laws did not come easily. We now take many of these workplace rights for granted, but should we?
If the government wants to end union contributions to political parties, to be fair it should ban all corporate contributions as well. If unions want to spend their revenues to promote issues such as affordable housing, equal pay for work of equal value and human rights and to oppose certain government policies, that's up to them.

As for the rest of what elected union officials do on behalf of their members, that decision is for the membership to make, not the government.
- Meanwhile, David Pugliese highlights the costs of the right-wing obsession with taking jobs away from public-sector workers - as the federal Cons, having laid off management and maintenance workers with the Department of National Defence, are now set to pay a nine-figure price to the private sector to perform exactly the same services.

- Sixth Estate notes that the Cons aren't any more trustworthy when it comes to their decision to strip immigrants of citizenship based on a presumption of fraud without even bothering to evaluate their circumstances.

- And finally, Mark Taliano contrasts the fair, generous and cooperative Canada which most of us value as a national identity against the Cons' limited focus on exploiting the country's resources for the benefit of those with the most wealth and power to start with.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Feline oversight.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Don Lenihan responds to Allan Gregg's recent critique of Canadian politics, featuring this on the connection that ought to exist between ideology and policy:
First, the fact that a policy is based on ideological conviction does not mean it is opposed to reason. According to Gregg, “to follow a course based on dogma or ideology, it becomes necessary to remove science and reason.” I disagree. As I wrote a few weeks ago, each of us has only a limited knowledge of the society around us. An ideology is a system of beliefs about the world that provides us with a bigger picture by giving us a story about our society as a whole. This story helps us interpret our experience and develop political views.

The story may be a left- or right-leaning one; and it will certainly generate convictions. But it doesn’t follow that these are either blind or irrational, even though they are often inconclusive. Take the right-wing view that robust social programs create dependency. While not everyone believes this, lots of very reasonable people do and lots of good policies have been based on it.

The lesson is that ideology can be — and often is — a legitimate source of policy. 
- Meanwhile, the Cons' push to make policy based on the least information possible continues abroad, with the sudden move to cut all ties with Iran serving as the latest example. Brian Stewart tries to explain why they might "embrace surprise and bafflement" as their foreign policy cornerstones, while Andrew Coyne points out a conspicuous lack of a reasonable explanation so far and Doug Saunders notes that the effect is to utterly negate Canada's ability to influence Iran from here on in.

- But let's acknowledge that the Cons are at least consistent in their efforts to suppress information: having imposed total communication control over all the levers of government under their direct influence, they're now trying to make sure supposedly independent institutions like the Auditor General are equally unable to communicate anything but Con-approved talking points.

- Finally, Alexander Stille writes about the connection between wealth inequality (particularly when it comes to inheritances) and economic stagnation - featuring an explanation as to why the status-seeking wealthy may see their interests served by tough times for society at large:
Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, also believes that low growth and inequality are interconnected, but he believes that the causal arrow moves in the opposite direction. As he put it in a recent interview, "I think it's inequality that's causing low growth." In his new book The Price of Inequality, he writes that, "Politics have shaped the market, and shaped it in ways that advantage the top at the expense of the rest." Rent-seeking, the ability of entrenched elites to allocate resources to themselves and smother opportunity for others, invariably leads to a less competitive market and lower growth.
But, according to Ilyana Kuziemko, an economist at Princeton University, there is also evidence that low growth does indeed increase inequality. Public-opinion data and experimental research indicate that people (or at least Americans) become less favorable to income redistribution during economic hard times. Gallup polls, for example, show support in the US for reducing inequality falling from 68% to 57% during the current recession, despite all of the public rhetoric — and evidence — that the top 1% of income earners have captured almost all of the gains from economic growth in recent years.

Curiously, hard times may actually trigger among the economy's losers a psychological mechanism known as "last-place aversion." Experimental economists have found that subjects asked to play distribution games become much less generous toward those below them when they are in second-to-last place. They would rather distribute money to those above them on the totem pole than help those at the bottom to surpass them.
Thus, a slow-growth/high-inequality economy may become a self-perpetuating cycle.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Move along, nothing to see here

And certainly no reason for worry about this afterthought as the Cons decide which immigrants they'd like to throw out of Canada on their respective ears (or prevent from arriving):
And there are another 2,500 people who, for various reasons, have prompted the concern of the government. Mr. Kenney said they will be watched closely.

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Alice interviews Allan Gregg about his sharp criticism of anti-evidence politics, and finds some optimism on Gregg's part that clear falsehoods will eventually be treated with due disdain:
Q. So, one of your early mentors, [US pollster] Richard Wirthlin, he’s arguing that values trumped issues in the work that he did for Ronald Reagan. He told George Lakoff that this was how Reagan managed to get elected: that people wanted to vote for him based on an appeal to values, in spite of most voters at the time disagreeing with his policies.
So, that being the case, that an appeal values will trump reason every time, how is it that you’re so sure we could use reason and knowledge to “fight back”, which was your closing call?
A. It’s the power, you know, it’s the power of 2 + 2 = 4. It’s irrefutable. It’s not very emotionally compelling; it’s not something that causes people to stand up and give you a standing ovation. But over time, it will prevail. Dick is right to the extent that people make their judgements using irrational criteria in a very rational way. I mean, choice – political choice, consumer choice, what have you – is a fairly rational intersection of self-interest and self-image. People ask themselves these two things: (i) is it like me – self-image, and (ii) is it for me – self-interest. And if the answer to both those things is “yes”, they’re likely to be chosen. But the way you transmit “I am like you” could be “you and I love children, or puppy-dogs” as opposed to “you and I both believe that we have to have a guaranteed annual income program”. So, yeah, there always is the element of the irrational in the rational, I just think it’s something we have to keep our guard up for.
Q. But is it also maybe that “you and I both dislike that other person” or “both fear this phenomenon”?
A. [laughs] Well, there’s always that as well, yes.
Q. Because that’s the basis of wedge politics.
A. Well it is, but I’ve always feared those who try to keep the population ignorant, or try to misdirect them, or fool them. I’ve got no problem with right-wingers. I’ve got no problem with left-wingers. I just want them to be honest, and to base their ideology, and put it out there and have it challenged by facts and reason.
- Meanwhile, Mia Rabson writes that notwithstanding incidents like the shooting at the PQ's election-night party, we shouldn't let fear stand between our leaders and the general public:
Each year, it seems security around our politicians tightens.

The federal government is spending $9 million this year to add new barricades on Parliament Hill.
Last month, a man heading for a regular paddle on a Toronto-area river was stopped and frisked by local police because Prime Minister Stephen Harper was campaigning across the river.

In August, newly minted Manitoba Opposition Leader Brian Pallister asked Elections Manitoba for an exemption from publishing his home address in his nomination papers for security reasons. He is the first leader to request such an exemption.

But compared to the high level of security around American politicians, we are still open. Security is there but most often unobtrusive.

It's the way it should be.

The more security we are forced to bear, the more difficult it becomes for the average person to engage with elected officials, and the more difficult it is for those officials to engage with the public.
- But then, as Jim Stanford notes, it isn't only in politics that there's a push to insulate a privileged few from the masses - as even publicly-funded airport security systems are set up to filter out first-class travelers from mere ordinary people.

- And finally, Dr. Dawg points out why there's ample reason for concern that some voices (which are more and more seen as representing a standard right-wing take) are determined to stoke fear - with no regard for the likelihood of resulting violence.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Sunday Afternoon 'Rider Blogging

No, the Saskatchewan Roughriders shouldn't try to plan to win games the way they did today. But while the 'Riders left plenty of room for improvement, they also showed some positive signs beyond what we've seen so far in 2012.

At the top of that list was of course the play of Drew Willy, the 'Riders' backup quarterback who managed to lead the team to just enough offence to win in his first substantial playing time as more than a short-yardage or developmental player.

Within his first couple of series at the helm, Willy showed that he'd already figured out some lessons that younger quarterbacks all too often take plenty of time to learn - showing enough poise under pressure to find running backs with well-timed screens, to attack the line of scrimmage himself for positive yardage, or to back up to buy enough time to find an open receiver.

Naturally, the Bombers' defence was able to adjust to those strategies over the course of the game. And that's where Willy's surprisingly gaudy passing numbers don't tell the whole story: while a veteran quarterback Darian Durant might have picked up several more incompletions by getting rid of the ball when no positive play was available, the fact that Willy instead took multiple high-yardage sacks trying to back out of trouble didn't exactly serve his team better than the alternative. (Also, a good number of Willy's passing yards were the result of after-catch wizardry by Kory Sheets.)

Ultimately, Willy will need to become more comfortable throwing the ball quickly rather than giving ground waiting for openings that don't materialize. But the 'Riders should be more comfortable relying on Willy when needed than might have been the case before today's performance.

Meanwhile, the 'Riders' defence may not have held the Bombers scoreless again, but its latest performance wasn't much less impressive than that from the previous week. In particular, the secondary did a fine job against some of the CFL's toughest receivers, with both Chris McKenzie and Terrell Maze winning plenty of one-on-one battles when matched against Terrence Edwards and Chris Matthews.

If there's any point which calls for some attention in the coming weeks, it's an uncharacteristically-weak performance on special teams - including a return touchdown by Demond Washington and a mediocre return game centred on Jock Sanders' zig-zagging (though he more than made up for it with his contributions on offence).

But for today, the 'Riders were just barely able to make up for that rare gap with a stout defence and short-handed offence. And that should bode well for the team's chances once it's back to full strength.

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Stephen Kimber makes the case for a financial transactions tax in Atlantic Business:
(W)hat can supposedly sovereign nations do when individual governments seem powerless in the face of rampant globalization and footloose capital?

Well, they could get together to create an international public counter-balance to out-of-whack corporate power and – at the least – begin to mitigate some of the worst effects of unfettered globalization.

Agreeing to a locally adopted, globally implemented financial transactions tax would be a smart start.

The idea – popularly known as the Robin Hood tax – originated with Nobel prize-winning economist James Tobin, who pitched a variation of the tax following the 1990s Asian financial crisis. Not surprisingly, his proposal has only gained traction in the wake of the 2008 global meltdown.

The miniscule tax – averaging no more than 0.05 per cent – would be tacked on to the cost of buying and selling all stocks, bonds, mutual funds, currencies, derivatives, futures, options, etc… (but not ordinary consumer transactions like credit card purchases, deposits and withdrawals).

Besides serving as a (probably only slight) brake on speculative trading, such a tax would have the more important impact of raising up to $400 billion a year.

Some of the revenue raised through the tax could be used to, in effect, either force banks to fund their own future bailouts or help underwrite economic recoveries. The rest could be put to all sorts of public goods at home and abroad, like maintaining and improving public services, fighting climate change, reducing world hunger … or some combination of the above.
- Meanwhile, Tabatha Southey's take on the Republican convention is particularly apt in calling out the deception behind small-business rhetoric:
I plan on coupling that knowledge with what I learned at the rest of the Republican convention, which is that there’s no problem that cannot be solved by opening a small business.

Unemployed? Open a small business. Underpaid? Open a small business.

Can’t afford another baby? Open a small business. Have an autistic child? Open a small business.
In a convention markedly devoid of specifics, at least there was that. I came away so hopeful: If my car won’t start, I’ll open a small business. I‘m sure a dab of small business will arrest a run appearing in my tights. Overwhip that cream? Just add a splash of small business. Syria needs more small businesses.

And every successful person at that convention could give you the reason for their success – it was born of a small business. Even though that small business may have been started three generations ago, and might have been an oil well.

I have no objection to big business, but small business was put forward at the convention the same way people always show you the baby version of any ugly-ass species of animal they want you to love.

Never mind the fact that most people aren’t in the financial position to open a small business. Or aren’t suited to run their own businesses. Or that half of all small businesses fail in their first five years.
- Luisa D'Amato writes that for all the attention paid to micro-targeting and robo-calling as some parties' preferred means of delivering a message to voters, the NDP's by-election victory in Kitchener-Waterloo can be traced in no small part to personal contact with constituents.

- Finally, after of plenty of speculation as to who might run for the NDP in Calgary Centre, Brian Malkinson has thrown his hat into the ring. And it took no time at all for environmental lawyer Murray Rankin to step up in pursuit of the nomination to succeed Denise Savoie in Victoria.