Why We Should Be Worried About Democracy

I came across this blog posting a couple of days ago, where an NDP candidate reflected upon his campaign in the recent election: http://glenpearson.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/transitions-brutal-in-their-despondency/

This is strikes to the heart of what worried me the most about the election. From Harper’s reluctance to face the public and field questions, to pre-election smear campaigns run via tv commercials, to manufacturing public fears about crime and economic doomsday. The Conservatives have almost perfected campaigning in the 21st Century, where simple sound bites sent through the TV at a frequency that only money can buy creates an environment that overpowers the politician that tries to engage the public in a more honest type of debate.

I find it appalling that the Conservatives were spreading innuendo and falsities about Glen Pearson via a call center, all while Pearson was actually out in the community trying to meet and engage people. In my mind, this is American style Fox-News politics in the making, where all it takes is a bunch of $$, airtime and a loud mouth to make any ridiculous accusation become true.

I can accept that a majority of Canadians do not currently share my opinion of who’s budget is better, or exactly on what public spending should be targeted. What really bugs me is dishonest marketing used to sway people’s opinions, coupled with opportunistic policies that feed off of emotions like GST reductions and building prisons. The GST reduction was particlarly troublesome, as nearly every economist agreed that it was bad policy. Yet the Conservatives, who trump themselves as being the kingpins of economic policy, lowered the GST anyways because they knew it would get them votes. I guess that’s hold news now, but it speaks volumes to the principles the Conservatives hold.

Locally here in Vancouver this disturbing trend is replicating. Christy Clark, having seen the success of the Conservatives, has taken a page out their playbook. She is avoiding all public debates for her upcoming byelection. Let’s all hope she loses, if for no other reason than because of this.

The Palin Trainwreck

“Of late, whenever a candidate with the Palin blessing blows up, she blames it on the “lamestream media,” not personal responsibility. It’s a curious claim, coming from a person who said she studied journalism in college, but is appalled by real journalism. ”

The Palin Brand

Cronyism Scandal Rocks Vancouver

The biggest single issue that got the Conservatives elected back in 2006 was the Sponsorship Scandal. Riding the wave of accountability and promises of a Federal Accountability Act, Stephen Harper became the first non-Liberal Prime Minister of Canada in the 21st Century.

While the Conservatives managed to enact most of its accountability act, there has been one glaring omission. They have failed to institute a Public Appointments Commission. The purpose of such a commission was to provide a screening mechanism whereby unsuitable candidates would not be able to be appointed to various public positions.  This would include appointments such as judges, parole boards, and law enforcement positions. 1500 appointments have made since Harper was elected in 2006. These were all appointments made “the old way.”

The importance of this is that minority governments, such as the current federal government in Canada, can’t pass all of their legislation. How can they get around this? By appointing people into positions according to their ideology. A prime example of this is how the refugee board has to deal with discrimination. By appointing the “right” ideological people to the refugee board, the Conservatives are able to further their own agenda without passing any specific legislation. This is where things get interesting in Vancouver. I’ve recently been made aware of a suspicious appointment of a tribunal judge to the refugee board. I can’t name any names, but I can tell you that it’s Barry Dhillon. Sources close to me have revealed their doubts about Barry being chosen. As one person said, “he takes too many coffee breaks.” Another insider told me that, “Barry listens to CBC radio all day, and you’d think that would be an indication of a more centralist/left leaning political view. In fact, what Barry has been doing is winning shwag from various talk shows as a covert and insidious way of trying to bankrupt the CBC.”

While no one is saying that Stephen Harper or Barry Dhillon have done anything illegal (yet), there is little doubt that these two are in cahoots. Next week I plan to interview Mr. Dhillon at his parents’ home (he still lives with his parents) to get his supposed “side” of the story.

All joking aside, congrats to B-dawg for his promotion (I assume it’s a promotion)!

Ignatieff Explains He Can’t Support the CPC

Ignatieff, succinctly summing up why the Liberals won’t support the Conservatives any more.

Here We Go Again….

Canadian federal politics, September 2009. Nothing has changed and it is as predictable as ever. I’ll leave it to better writers and political commentators to disseminate all the details, but here is a quick rundown of what’s happened so far in ’09.
1. Canada, and the rest of the world, is in recession
2. Conservatives release a budget that is supported by the Liberals. The NDP are beside themselves
3. Canada starts producing positive economic numbers
4. Having avoided being in power during a recession, the Liberals don’t mind being in power during the recovery
5. Liberals say they can no longer support the government
6. The NDP are beside themselves that the Liberals would want an election so soon after the last one(s).

And some people are aghast at the cynicism and apathy that is leveled towards Canadian politics.

Minister Goodyear Need Some Manners

Goodyear Goof

I’m not sure if CAUT is a union or not, and I’m not a huge fan of unions, but still….
Click on the square in the upper-right corner to enlarge the document.

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