Saturday, April 05, 2014

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Andrew Coyne sees the powerful impact of local forces on nomination contests as evidence that grassroots democracy is still alive and well in Canada - no matter how much the Cons and Libs may wish otherwise:
What’s common to both of these stories is not only the willingness of local candidates and riding associations to defy the powers that be but their obstinate insistence that these races should be what party leaders claim they are: open nominations. With any luck, this obstreperousness will spread. Thanks to redistricting, there will be other ridings where incumbents face off against incumbents; in others, the promise of open nominations will run into the reality that leaders have favourites. Ridings that resist the inevitable attempts to stage-manage these races will do their parties a favour. Tilted nominations are not open nominations. They’re not even nominations, really.

The tendency, when these fights break out, is to view them as signs of weakness and division, if not anarchy. The tone of news coverage is often disapproving, as if party leaders were indulgent parents who neglected to discipline their children. Reporters pepper their stories with words like “messy,” “ugly,” even “vicious.” This is what you get, they seem to say, when you leave it to ridings to decide these matters. Yes, it is. Isn’t it glorious?
- But of course, we should be hoping for greater democratic participation (and yes, influence over results) within the broader electorate as well. And PressProgress notes that the Cons' Unfair Elections Act looks to benefit Pierre Poutine and his fraudster ilk at the expense of actual voters - while Alison points out the risk that any report on Robocon may be pushed past the next federal election due to the Cons' blindside attacks against Elections Canada.

- Thomas Walkom writes that Canada has received good value - if perhaps something less than the greatest possible return - from the long-term health care accord which the Cons chose to scrap.

- John Geddes highlights the stark gap between the Cons' lip service paid to climate change (based mostly on taking credit for the actions of others), and their utter negligence in reality. And the Edmonton Journal's editorial board makes it clear that even Alberta recognizes the need for real action to replace the current strategy of using misleading PR campaigns to greenwash dirty oil production.

- Finally, Christina Patterson writes that the economic forces which have already undermined wages at the bottom of the income scale may soon do similar damage to the middle class.

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