Read This Now: Liberal Follies

by matttbastard

Thomas Walkom asks a question that’s been on the lips of many Canadians as Iggy and Steve thumb-wrestle over the reins of Parliament: “Who are these ludicrous Liberals? And what exactly is it that they want?”

They say they’d handle the recession differently. But they rarely say how. And when points of difference do emerge – such as the handling of employment insurance – they invariably backtrack.

For the Liberals, the time is never right. They come up with endless excuses for never forcing an election on the minority Harper government: They don’t have enough money; they don’t have enough candidates; their leader is too new; the polls are inauspicious; the weather is too warm; the weather is too cold

In the spring, they say wait until fall. In the fall, they say wait until spring.

When Stéphane Dion was their leader, they blamed him for everything. But at least Dion, with his plan to replace income with carbon taxes, gave some hint as to what he might do if elected.

By contrast, current Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is terminally vague. On the big economic questions, he attacks the government without saying what he’d do differently.

Ignatieff presents this as an asset, arguing that the point of being in opposition is to oppose. But in the context of the worst recession since the 1930s, his failure to articulate a clear alternative simply leaves the rest of us confused.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

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The Agony and the Ecstasy

by matttbastard

'Imported.' That just about says it all, huh?

Michael Ignatieff on CBC Radio One just a few moments ago:

“I’m a centrist. A pragmatic centrist.”

Come on, be honest, Iggy.  You’re a self-absorbed wanker who perpetually preens and postures, melodramatically agonizing over the moral implications of just how prime-ministerial you looked during Question Period (yep–so passionately Canadian he bleeds maple syrup, motherfuckers!) Which, admittedly, is a welcome improvement over the (highly public) moral agony you went through several years ago when you urgently debated the merits of torture, thus helping to legitimize the perverse notion that there even WAS any ‘debate’ over torture and its (dubious) merits.

natodutch

Yeah, am sure KSM has thanked you for that–at least 183 times.

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Unions Fight Back Against Anti-Worker Legislation (While Parliament Dithers)

by matttbastard

Another federal union has challenged provisions in the wicked-awesome Harpercon budget that “[take] away collective bargaining in the public service and pay equity as a human right for federal workers”–a budget that, it should be noted, passed with (probationary!) support from Iggy and the Tory-lites (who haven’t exactly been hawk-like in their fiscal vigilance since).

As pogge (h/t) observes:

We seem to be moving closer to the American system despite ourselves. Bad legislation sails through without sufficient opposition and the real fight happens in the courts.

Yep. Democracy in Canada is dying from the inside out.  There is no meaningful opposition in Parliament, much less leadership from the government–there’s Blue and Blue Light.

'Imported.' That just about says it all, huh?

Drink up and drown, kiddies.

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61K Canadian Jobs Shed In March

by matttbastard

wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Another month, another round of massive job losses in Canada:

Canada is shedding jobs at a rate not seen since the deep recession of the early 1980s, as March saw another 61,300 workers join the ballooning ranks of the unemployed.

The loss brought Canada’s official unemployment rate to eight per cent, the worst in seven years.

Statistics Canada noted that since the peak in October, employment has fallen each month for a total of 357,000, representing 2.1 per cent of the work force. That is the most since 1982.

[…]

Economists had been expecting another poor jobs report with about 55,000 jobs lost.

But the reality was slightly worse, and much worse if the 18,200 jobs increase in part-time work were taken out.

Rising part-time work at a time of falling employment is usually an indicator that Canadians are settling for whatever jobs they can find. Among full-time workers, the contraction in employment was another outsized 79,500 in March.

So.  As Uncle Steve and the Harpercons sadly continue to lose their shit, the Canadian job market keeps hemorrhaging. And, waiting in the wings, we have Iggy and the Torie-lites, ready to save us all by doing, er, pretty much the same bullshit Harper and Co. have been doing, only with less asshattery, sweatervests and painfully-forced smiles.

We are so fucked.

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Stephen Harper on Canada’s Economy: Catch the Wave!

by matttbastard

Uncle Steve is looking onward and upward:

Faced with complaints he wasn’t doing enough to soothe a nervous nation, Harper offered a detailed, if unemotional, dissertation on the economy.

“For Canada, this crisis does offer opportunity,” Harper told more than 400 people at a joint gathering of the Brampton and Mississauga boards of trade.

“Ultimately, it is an opportunity to position ourselves so that when the economic recovery comes, we’re among the first to catch the wave.”

The Prime Minister said that the government, though projecting a budget deficit for the next few years, is in the best financial shape of all G7 governments.

Harper noted that while Canada’s economy shrank at a 3.4 per cent annualized rate in the fourth quarter of 2008, it was half the decline experienced by the United States and Europe, and only a quarter of the devastating drop in Japan.

He said Canada’s stable banking system, low debt, low inflation rate and skilled workforce puts the country in a position of “significant comparative strength” to ride out the downturn.

“I say to you, as business people, as community builders, as citizens, if there ever was a time to put away that legendary Canadian modesty, it is now,” Harper said to applause.

Alas, the facts (yeah, those pesky things) belie Harper’s feigned deadpan optimism:

The parliamentary budget officer says the Canadian economy is doing even worse than published figures would suggest.

Kevin Page says in a new assessment of the economy that last quarter’s 3.4 per cent contraction in gross domestic product doesn’t begin to reflect how far Canada’s performance has fallen.

He says an even better indicator is gross domestic income, which measures Canadians’ purchasing power, and that shows a plunge of 15.3 per cent in the fourth quarter over the previous three months.

Oh, and about that 3.4 per cent figure so heartily humped by the PM?

The report says even the often-cited GDP figures which finds the U.S. economy shrinking by 6.2 per cent in the fourth quarter compared to Canada’s 3.4 per cent are misleading.

Those are annualized figures, Page notes, adding that compared to a year ago, Canada’s GDP is down 0.7 per cent and the U.S. by 0.8 per cent, almost identical records.

Yeah.

Almost identical.

Don’t opportunistically and immodestly grab your surfboards just yet, kids — the wave of economic recovery is likely to crash long before it crests.

Related: Michael Ignatieff: The Harvey Dent of Canadian politics.

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Dear Conservative Party of Canada

Stop fucking lying:

“Our objective is to get a majority of senators in the Senate who support reform. That is our objective. Once reform is passed, everyone will be standing for elections,” [a Conservative Party aide] told reporters at a background briefing yesterday.

“Our government will continue to push for a more democratic, accountable and effective Senate,” Harper said in a statement that accompanied the list of appointees.

“If Senate vacancies are to be filled, however, they should be filled by the government that Canadians elected rather than by a coalition that no one voted for,” he said, referring to the Liberal-NDP coalition agreement that was signed before Harper sought prorogation of Parliament earlier this month to avoid a confidence vote.

Despite the overwhelming ignorance of a majority of Canadians, we do not ‘elect’ a government; we elect a Parliament by voting for local candidates who, if successful, become Members of Parliament, followed by the formation of a government–which may or may not represent the  party that had a majority of its MPs elected to Parliament.  If a group of MPs (say, a coalition of opposition MPs who represent a majority of seats in the House of Commons) can gain the confidence of the House, they have every right to form a government, regardless of election results.  You know this, and yet you continually lie (yes, lieEd Broadbent sure called it earlier this month) in the process of stating your case as to why you should remain in power.

By now it should be more than apparent that you could give a flying monkey fuck about anything (including the welfare of the nation) apart from clinging to power and furthering your radical right-wing agenda by any means necessary. But what’s truly sad is the fact that, during the course of their report, Tonda MacCharles and Bruce Campion-Smith apparently felt that correcting a blatant falsehood was unnecessary.  When the press colludes with the PMO to spread disinformation, even unwittingly, is there any wonder why the people of Canada are so ignorant of the democratic process?

Look, I know that Goebbels is said to have once famously (and  perceptively) quipped that if you “repeat a lie a thousand times it becomes truth”; but one would hope that our nation’s elite would have higher standards with regards to whom they are channeling their PR strategy through.

With vexation and disgust,

matttbastard

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This Is What Harper Country Looks Like

by matttbastard

“D’oh Canada” indeed:

A new survey for the Dominion Institute taken in the aftermath of this month’s political crisis in which the word “prorogue” was dusted off political science textbooks suggests a woeful ignorance when it comes to our system of government.

For example, results of the Ipsos Reid survey show 75 per cent of Canadians asked believe the prime minister, or the Governor General, is head of state. Bzzzz – wrong.

It’s actually the Queen.

Only 24 per cent managed to answer correctly, according to the poll provided exclusively to The Canadian Press.

[…]

Given a choice how best to describe the system of government, 25 per cent decided on a “co-operative assembly” while 17 per cent opted for a “representative republic.”

Canada is neither.

Only 59 per cent correctly picked constitutional monarchy.

In a similar vein, 51 per cent wrongly agreed that Canadians elect the prime minister directly.

In fact, Canadians elect local members of Parliament and the leader of the party with the most members by tradition becomes prime minister at the request of the governor general.

Head. Desk.

Please, keep these results in mind the next time y’all wanna rag on our neighbours down south for collective national ignorance.

Srsly.

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