Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Words and phrases for your mid-week reading.

- Tasha Kheiriddin unloads on Stephen Harper for his latest promise-breaking set of Senate appointments from Senate reformer's perspective:
The case for abolishing the Senate just got another boost with the announcement by newly-minted Senator Larry Smith that he will be seeking a seat in the House of Commons, as the potential Conservative candidate for the Montreal riding of Lac-St-Louis.
That Mr. Smith will collect his $132,000 a year Senate salary, while spending time beating the bushes of Lac-St-Louis – and presumably very little time on the job in Ottawa – is insulting to taxpayers generally, and to the riding’s voters in particular.
So why is Mr. Harper committing a personal foul against a member of his own team? This decision is right up there with axing the mandatory long-form census, and musing about rewriting O Canada: a game plan that drops the ball.
- Dubya at LRT has a radical proposal which would certainly shake up the Canadian political scene:
What I would propose is for the BQ and NDP to begin to work together in Parliament. I would suggest the parties cooperate like the CDU and CSU in Germany. This would have the advantage of making the combined party the official opposition immediately. This would help end the sham that Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party are actually an opposition to the Harper Conservative government. We should always remember the original name of John A. MacDonald’s party was the “Liberal-Conservatives”. It is time to end the sham that the Liberals are an opposition to the elitist-globalist government of Stephen Harper. The Liberals and Conservatives are different factions of the same party vying only for patronage and power. All the while they laugh at the people who think they are different.
(H)ere is what these groups would federate around and for:
1) no austerity in Canada
2) no war for Canada
3) no deficits paid for by people filled with corporate giveaways.

The budget would be the only whipped vote. Every other vote would be free. Yes free. Free like they are supposed to be in a democracy.
Of course, there would likely be some significant obstacles to such cooperation in both parties as they currently stand - and I for one would be inclined to see the NDP work more to pick up Bloc voters than to formally team up with the party. But with some pundits already theorizing that the Bloc may be looking for ways to get around the argument that it can't contribute to the governance of Canada, it's certainly worth contemplating how different the political scene would look if the two parties perpetually dismissed as standing no chance of power could cooperate to get close to it.

- Thomas Walkom traces the current demise of CPP improvements to the rise of the Wildrose Alliance. But I'd think there's reason for suspicion that the federal Cons would have looked for reason not to move ahead with a valuable public program even if Ted Morton hadn't sabotaged the idea.

- Finally, E.J. Dionne's column on the need for progressives to win some business support is worth a read. But I'd argue that there's a big difference between a broader "business community moderately supportive of social reform" and single-issue corporate ally which can turn a specific program to its own ends - and a stronger focus on the former might do a world of good in avoiding the ability of the latter to hijack a progressive agenda.

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