Saturday, February 12, 2011

Burning questions

Does anybody know why it seems so difficult to force the Cons out of their "looking tough is worth any price" posturing on crime?

As far as I can tell, anybody (MPs or media alike) asking a question on the subject has an obvious opening to ask whether the Cons are really willing to dedicate Canada's every resource to being tough on crime, even if the price means driving law-abiding Canadians into poverty. And would even the Cons be foolish enough to insist that they really do prioritize punishing criminals over everybody else's well-being, rather than acknowledging that there is a trade-off to be made - and thus implicitly admitting that we need to know what the cost actually is?

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Gerald Caplan skewers the tendency of right-wingers - most recently expressed by the federal minister responsible - to see child care as some kind of bizarre conspiracy:
What deeply distressed these callers was the fear that ECE, sanctioned by the Ontario Ministry of Education, organized by your local school board, conducted by highly qualified staff, was a diabolical plot to do something terrible, unspeakable, to their children’s minds. To steal them away from their families. Some explicitly declared that the purpose was to turn their children into Communists, even though the Soviet Union had dissolved four years earlier. Others insisted that the state intended to brainwash children in any number of unknown ways for malevolent purposes. Though what these could possibly be no one could ever say.

There was no plausible rebuttal to these delusions. This was a matter of deep superstition, not reason or science. This was the very antithesis of commonsense. I wondered how these parents could ever trust the school system, since the same provincial governments and school boards who would offer ECE were responsible for the next 15 years of their kids’ schooling.

But there was no answer, not even an attempt at one. Many Conservatives – including those who seem to win elections in Canada – simply have an irrational hatred of ECE, a delusional certainty that its purpose is evil, and a paranoid fear of its impact on their children.

The consequences of this blind conviction is to severely penalize millions of Canadians desperate for assistance with childcare, with the worst penalties as always being paid by those already struggling to get by, and especially – as always – by the mothers.
- In case there were any points left standing in the usual spin about slashing corporate taxes as a matter of competing with other countries, Erin highlights the fact that the carefully chosen comparison relies on giving full weight to less-developed, new OECD countries rather than looking at economies even remotely similar to Canada's.

- I'll grant that there isn't much directly linking the personal requests about Errol Mendes and Amir Attaran with the federal Cons directly. But particularly given the news from the U.S. showing disturbing coordination between government and private-sector power brokers in attacking dissenting voices (by fraud and/or extortion if necessary), we shouldn't get distracted by the semantic question of who submitted a particular request in pointing out how it fits with the intimidation tactics we've come to expect from the Cons and their allies.

- Finally, some may find the news that some Cons reject any action on climate change based on the belief that it isn't part of God's will. But let's not miss the upside to the Cons holding faith-based beliefs: shouldn't it be possible to encourage them to be equally uninterested in most other areas of policy by asking who they are to try to override the will of a divine being?

On fixed outcomes

The CRTC's move to enable the dissemination of false news leads to a major public outcry:
Canada’s broadcasting regulator has received more than 3,000 responses from the public about its plan to change a regulation that prohibits the dissemination of false or misleading news, most of them passionately opposing the proposal.

The comments are posted on the website of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
So how do the Libs respond to the public's demand to keep some semblance of truth in broadcasting?
Despite the outcry, the joint committee for the scrutiny of regulations is unlikely to back down, said Liberal MP Derek Lee, a long-time committee member.

“The fact that a lot of Canadians are concerned about this means we will have to handle it carefully at committee. We represent them,” Mr. Lee said in a telephone interview Thursday.

“But our main function is to assure legal compliance of all government regulations. I think we will simply proceed with the files as they are, put on the record our response, and acknowledge the desire of the public to do everything we can to assure truth in broadcasting.…”
So for those who made a submission in response to the push for false news, rest assured that the Libs - who figure to hold the median vote on any committee decision - plan to proceed no matter what you say. (Though they will "acknowledge" your interest in the truth before declaring it inconsequential.)

And next time, the media will be free to report that all good Canadians agree with them - no matter what the submissions to the CRTC actually say.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Musical interlude

Chephren Blake feat. Meighan Nealon - Year After

Well that's good news

Apparently the Cons' decision to destroy any useful basis for comparison between past census results and new voluntary survey data has really opened up the possibilities for next time according to the Cons' chosen replacement for Munir Sheikh.

Of course, by the same logic arson creates unexpected opportunities for urban renewal.

On setups

Pogge deals with one of the bizarre parts of the Cons' spin on the Afghan torture cover-up committee. But there's another piece of Bob Dechert's talking points that looks even more damaging:
"I haven't heard anything about that at all, I'm surprised, to be frank," Mr. Dechert told The Hill Times. "I think they came to the conclusion that Canadians weren't interested, and they dropped it and just moved on, but I don't know anything specific about the review. There's obviously no smoking gun or they would have said something about it by now."
Of course, it's precisely because the Cons' inevitable talking point was so easily foreseeable that some of us have warned against any structure which provided for limited opposition access to information while prohibiting any public disclosure. But apparently the Libs and Bloc are just realizing the obvious.

And so here they are now: sworn to secrecy as to the contents of the documents being reviewed, having no say as to which (if any) will ever be disclosed - and facing the talking point that the sworn silence that they so foolishly agreed to serves as proof that the Cons were right all along. And we can still rest assured that if there are indeed smoking guns in the documents, the Cons will claim that the Libs and Bloc now share equally in the responsibility for their remaining hidden.

All of which means that instead of enforcing the ruling requiring the Cons to produce the demanded documentation without costly strings attached, the Libs and Bloc have ultimately ensured that the public pays millions of dollars to grant the Cons political cover. And nobody can say they weren't warned.

Friday Morning Links

Content goes here.

- Susan Riley nicely sums up how quickly the Cons have adopted the worst abuses of the government they replaced:
For rampant patronage, however, it is hard to better the prime minister's moral collapse on Senate reform -- especially his tendency to provide failed candidates and party operatives a taxpayer-subsidized perch from which to conduct their partisan activities.

When Jack Layton suggested banning fundraisers and backroom boys from the Senate as a modest, doable reform, he was laughed out of town. When Liberals objected that Conservative star candidate, Larry Smith, is getting a free office, a $130,000 salary and a public profile to help with his first electoral campaign, Conservative Senate leader Marjory LeBreton's response was scathing. The Liberals did exactly the same thing, she declared. But wait -- weren't Conservatives supposed to be different?

Not so much, as it turns out. In a few short years, they have achieved much of what took their Liberal predecessors decades: shameless patronage, fraying caucus discipline, an air of entitlement and utter policy confusion (unless someone has figured out the Harper position on foreign ownership.) You wonder how long it will take the electoral cycle to catch up.
- But of course the Cons have also gone further in some cases - such as their efforts to ensure that official records bear no relationship to reality:
Liberal Sen. Jane Cordy said newsletters that serve as blatant partisan advertisements should be outlawed and said she made the point clearly during an in-camera meeting in December — but her point of view was not reflected.

“When it is blatant politics,” she said, interrupted by the chair, Tory Sen. David Tkachuk who was laughing. “When it is a blatant political advertisement in your newsletters, I have a problem with that.”

The minutes from the December meeting, however, state that “after discussion, it was agreed that senators’ newsletters, with partisan content, is acceptable.”

Cordy said she “did not agree to that.”
- And that's far from the only example.

- But then, when the record can no longer be denied, it's perpetually time to move on without fixing a thing.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

No certain defeat

I noted this morning that Bill Siksay's C-389 figures to face some challenges in getting through the Senate. But I don't see them being quite as insurmountable as John Ibbitson seems to think - particularly since the mere fact that Stephen Harper doesn't personally support it didn't serve as reason for the Cons to whip their vote in the House of Commons.

Instead, there would seem to be two obvious means to get the bill through: either by appealing to Cons in the Senate who may be personally supportive of the issue, or by shaming the Cons generally into allowing the bill to pass by turning Ibbitson's analysis into a criticism rather than a fait accompli. And I'd hope both options will be pursued in trying to achieve something positive before Harper pulls the plug on the current Parliament.

On team-building

Most of the talk about the NDP's 30-day election readiness plan has focused on the number of days involved. But perhaps the more interesting messaging coming out of today's announcement comes from Jack Layton's note:
My goals for that election are simple. To defeat Stephen Harper. To elect a Prime Minister that cares about people. And to put a New Democrat team in cabinet you can trust to get things done.
Like me, I'm sure you've had enough of Stephen Harper's Republican-style partisan games. And like me, you probably think it's time for a little common-sense Canadian leadership.

That's what the next election will be about.

I believe it's time Canadians had a Prime Minister who cared about people. I believe it's time you had a team in cabinet you knew would get things done for you.
Of course, that message is accompanied in Brad Lavigne's message by a familiar theme to the effect that Layton is running to be Prime Minister. But the "New Democrat team in cabinet" concept looks to fit equally well with a coalition as with an outright NDP government - and the fact that the NDP's messaging is allowing for both offers reason for optimism that at least one national party will be standing up to the Harper Cons' attacks on cooperative politics.

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Nick Taylor-Vaisey follows up on the point which I put aside yesterday, and notes how absurd it is for the Sun Media Party to be portraying the status quo as some horrible new development:
Akin calls the current language of the regulation “outmoded and impossible-to-enforce”, and perhaps that’s true. But if truth squads have existed, they must have been in hiding for the last couple of decades. Because that’s how far back the current regulation can be traced.

Twenty-five years ago, the CRTC set in stone that no licensed radio station shall broadcast “false or misleading news”. That was 1986. The following year, the CRTC did the same the same for TV stations. In 1990, the commission did the same for pay TV.

Now, perhaps the proposed changes are for the best. Perhaps not. But Angus was simply defending the status quo. And if that status quo includes truth squads roaming the streets in search of journalists, it’s been a pretty invisible campaign.
- James Travers points out that while any gains from a perimeter security deal with the U.S. are likely to be illusory, Canada's concessions will once again be all too real:
Nudged along by Stephen Harper, Canadians increasingly mistake their prime minister for a U.S. president. Now, as construction begins on a border perimeter, they are making the flip-side error of assuming Barack Obama has Harper’s power to deliver promises.

Few of the checks and balances constraining the president limit the Prime Minister. In practice that means Obama can’t guarantee the cross-border free flow of people, goods and services that Harper hopes to secure with sovereignty concessions.
Forgetting that the world’s most powerful leader doesn’t wield the unfettered influence of the Prime Minister, (Canadians) are ignoring two inescapable facts of cross-border life.

One is that trade pacts are only as strong as their capacity to equitably resolve disputes that jeopardize entrenched interests. The other is that the president’s promise is only as good as what other Americans are willing to deliver.
- By Cheryl Gallant's logic, shouldn't the Cons be cancelling their F-35 purchase and suggesting that communities band together to buy locally-operated fighter jets if they think it's so important?

- Finally, I'm far from sure that the declaration that municipal and provincial dollars will absorb the cost of a Quebec City arena is anything short of the best-case scenario for the Cons.

Sure, it'll be painful for them to watch the usual PR stunts take place without being able to participate. But it also allows them to take credit among less-informed voters without actually contributing anything useful - and I'm far from sure they won't get just as much mileage out of that as they would have in actually tossing in some money.

The obstacles ahead

It's great news that Bill Siksay's Bill c-389 to protect transgendered rights has passed third reading in the House of Commons - leaving no democratic barriers in the way of its becoming law.

But that doesn't mean there isn't still a battle ahead. And the treatment of C-389 may serve as a litmus test as to just how urgent a need there is to rein in the Senate.

After all, it wasn't long ago that another major NDP bill which passed with the support of a majority of elected MPs was stalled then shredded by the Cons' unelected, unaccountable patronage appointees.

At the time, the Cons made implausible excuses about the bill following an unusual process in the Senate. But if they go back to the same bag of tricks to torpedo C-389 as well (notwithstanding that even a few Con MPs voted for it), then I'm not sure there's any possible conclusion but that the Senate is irreparably broken - and that Harper and company are determined to keep it that way.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your mid-week reading.

- Today's wild guess: the word from Tony Clement's birthday party is in fact a shrewd bit of reputation management, with the hoped result of ensuring that future searches for "'Tony Clement' + 'census' + 'bad joke'" don't turn up the likes of this. We'll find out soon what scenario the Cons' spin-meisters come up with to take the sting out of "wet-lipped halfwit".

- Meanwhile, the war on accurate data continues, as the Macdonald-Laurier Institute echoes another of the Cons' rightly-derided positions in complaining that StatsCan bases its numbers on crimes actually reported rather than making up higher and scarier figures.

[Update: pogge has more.]

- Yes, it's possible for a political party to stand up to the latest in dumb-on-crime policymaking. And for its MPs to offer up useful proposals on the issues Canadians care about most. You just won't tend to hear much about it.

- Finally, Tim Wu nicely sums up why we shouldn't buy the big telecoms' argument about wanting to limit bandwidth use through usage-based billing:
The knowledge that penalties await heavy Internet usage does something quite terrible: discourage desirable behaviour. Most of Bell’s arguments for treating consumers as wrongdoers rely on the villainization of “bandwidth hogs” who use up everyone else’s bandwidth and generally bring misery to the land. But there are better words for big users of the Internet: “pioneers” and “innovators.” A nation that spends its time worrying about bandwidth caps is not a nation that leads.

What’s worse, it’s all quite unnecessary. Different people do use the Internet in different amounts. And there are, in fact, perfectly reasonable ways to deal with variable demand. Operators can offer faster connections for those who want more and offer discount plans for light users. An ongoing bandwidth limit is much preferable to a monthly cap. But Bell has shown interest in none of the reasonable solutions to its so-called congestion problem. Rather, it wants a system of penalties, and wants its wholesalers to be forced to go along with the scheme. Like credit-card companies, it actually wants customers to make mistakes.
[Edit: fixed wording.]

Deficit by choice

It's all too rare for anybody to draw the obvious links between the Cons' gratuitous tax slashing and the deficit they'd managed to create even before putting a dime into stimulus spending. But Frances Russell notes that the Cons' tax cutting accounts for more than enough lost money to cover the expected six years of deficits:
On the tax side, Conservative cuts to date will result in forgone federal revenues of $220 billion between 2007 and 2013. Almost 30 per cent -- $60 billion -- will go to Canadian big business.

The tax cuts will be financed, not through the supply-siders' dream of an economic boom, but with borrowed money. Ottawa is forecast to post a $169-billion deficit over the same period.

On deeper analysis

Susan Delacourt compares the current state of political discussion about possible cuts to that which prevailed in the 1990s. And while I'm far from sure that the earlier result was ideal in the amount of credulity given to the Libs' decisions as to what cuts were "necessary", the contrast in the media's ability to look at a story in any depth is still rather striking:
A while back, a friend who was deeply involved in the Liberals' tough, deficit-slashing 1995 budget told me that a similar exercise couldn't be pulled off today. Why? Because of the changes in my business -- journalism, which no longer seems to have the attention span or appetite to handle an ongoing story line. (Or "narrative," if you prefer that rapidly-becoming-overused term.)

The Liberals spent a considerable amount of time preparing the ground for the 1995 cuts, which were deep and severe. Read Double Vision, by Edward Greenspon and Anthony Wilson-Smith, for just what was involved in that PR spadework. It required an ongoing interest and debate in the public sphere; journalists who could spend days, weeks, months getting their heads around government spending priorities. It depended on a sophisticated, respectful relationship between journalists and politicians, which didn't send the reporter rushing to print with sky-is-falling stories every time he/she heard details of the cuts to come.
I don't note this phenomenon to wax nostalgic or whine for a return of what journalism/politics used to be. It is what it is. The folks grousing about the Internet today remind me of the grumpy old-timers in the 1980s, saying that nothing good would come of television journalism.

But if the government isn't telling us about what cuts are necessary in the coming budget, that may not be just the government's fault. It could have a lot to do with journalism, and you, the public, too.

The broader truth

Yes, it's utterly asinine for David Akin to complain that keeping the law on truth in broadcasting as it currently stands will result in the sudden emergence of "truth squads". But let's put that non sequitur aside and take a look at what's even more obviously wrong with Akin's take on the wider media picture.

To the extent one wants to assume that any standard requiring truth in broadcasting will inevitably lead to crackdowns on the media, the change Akin is defending doesn't help matters in the slightest. After all, a broadcaster is still subject to sanction if it broadcasts false news "that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public". But apparently Akin is entirely fine with "truth and safety squads", so long as the media can lie without consequence when nobody is arguing that lives are at stake.

But that presents even more serious problems. I don't see much room for doubt that Akin's example of a crackdown in Egypt is exactly the type of situation where a controlling government would waste no time in shutting down dissent based on the public safety excuse that the Cons have so readily abused in other contexts.

So the question isn't whether the CRTC should be policing truth to some extent, as Akin is defending a change which keeps that role in place. Instead, the question is whether the CRTC should try to hold broadcasters to a standard of reasonable correspondence with reality at all times, or whether it should step in only in exactly the situations where state power is most likely to be misused. And the answer from Akin and the rest of the Sun Media Party suggests not only that they plan to play fast and loose with the facts under normal circumstances, but also that they see no problem with suppressing any notion of free speech when it matters most.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cats in the window.

Better late than never

Sure, it's for the best that the opposition parties are finally putting forward some new demands for information to challenge the Cons' declaration of utter unaccountability. But is there some reason why it's taken nearly a year since the opportunity became obvious?

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Pogge rightly calls out the "supportive stakeholders" who are eagerly giving up any credibility in order to serve as spokesflacks for the Harper Cons:
At least three major business organizations -- the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Canadian Trucking Alliance -- quickly issued statements praising the framework agreement Friday.
So these three groups aren't just self-interested lobby groups. They're quite happy to collude with the Conservatives to keep secrets from us. That pretty much confirms their willingness to be dishonest in their dealings with the Canadian public and eliminates any credibility they may have left. Don't be surprised to see me link back to this post any time that John Manley of the CCCE or Perrin Beatty of the Chamber of Commerce open their mouths in public. I'll assume from now on that any public statements they make are part of another conspiracy to deceive us.
- For all the justified criticisms of the Cons' plan to axe per-vote party funding, I don't see much reason to think Nik Nanos is right in theorizing that the result would be a two-party system. Instead, based on the historical information which Alice has already assembled, the main effect would look to be a very slight expansion of all of the current gaps between the national federal parties - which is much of the reason why I don't see it making sense for any of the opposition parties to go along with the plan unless it's more focused on fighting off the parties in the rear-view mirror than trying to advance its standing.

- Shorter Sun editorial: we must prove our independence from the U.S. by taking its orders to buy F-35s!

- Though in fairness, the Cons' stubbornness is at least resulting in some winners in Canada.

- Finally, David Beers points out one of the largest problems with the current usage-based billing debate:
This week, we heard small Internet service providers say that what the big telecoms want to charge for “extra” gigabytes used is 10, even 100 times more than the actual cost. Big telecoms also have other motivations to discourage you from downloading Netflix – by charging a lot, they can then offer a discount on their own movie download products. Or nudge you back to their broadcast television properties.

So how much is too much to charge? Sadly, as we’ve learned, the CRTC itself can only base its decisions on cost estimates provided by the big telecoms, because there is so little independent auditing in this area. We won’t know until what a Globe and Mail editorial called the “black box” of Internet infrastructure costs is opened to public view. Then maybe we’ll know why South Koreans pay a fraction of the cost for 10 times the bandwidth we get here.
The very way in which we address these issues needs profound reform, to be opened to the light of debate and scrutiny. Until then, the regulators of Canada’s digital future have lost the public trust.

Burning question

David Akin and Brian Lilley are leading the Sun Media Party's attacks on the NDP for suggesting that truth in broadcasting might matter.

But since they're the ones defending a change to the status quo, I'd think the onus is on them to let us know why. So exactly what falsehoods do they want to broadcast under the new rules that they can't get away with now?

Monday, February 07, 2011

On responsibilities

Iain Marlow comes close to the point when it comes to usage based billing. But let's push forward to a full recognition of what we should expect when the CRTC sets its policies:
Lawrence Surtees, the lead telecom analyst at research firm IDC Canada, points out that the cost to transport each byte is constantly falling – especially on fibre cables, buried in bundles of multiple strands. Of the CRTC’s average monthly download rate, which companies argue could strain their networks, Mr. Surtees says, “That’s nothing; one fibre strand can carry more than that per second.”

And this is where the question of Internet metering hits a logical brick wall that most people tend to forget. Internet service providers are for-profit, publicly traded companies with responsibilities to their shareholders. CEOs of the country’s phone and cable companies would be fired if they didn’t capitalize on exploding bandwidth usage. Not forcing metered use on their small rivals, something they already do on their own customers, would inevitably hemorrhage customers to their rivals.

Even as Mr. von Finckenstein said he would review their decision, he stood by the idea of a metered Internet. “Usage-based billing is a legitimate principle for pricing Internet services,” he told the MPs. “We are convinced that Internet services are no different than other public utilities.”

But unlike gas and electricity, which are consumed and disappear, the amount of bandwidth being used simply swells and contracts in the carriers’ pipes. The cost to transport a gigabyte can be lower than a penny, though Bell charges between $1.50 to $2.50 for each gigabyte you go over your plan – a fee that varies not by time of day, but whether you are in Ontario or Quebec.
Of course, it's absolutely true that the biggest ISP's responsibility is to try to wring every dollar they can out of their networks, even if it means charging completely disproportionate rates to their customers and third-party providers alike.

But it's equally true - and equally important to remember - that it's the job of the CRTC to regulate those same ISPs in the public interest, rather than prioritizing the freedom of big telecoms to wring every cent they can out of their dominant position. And the current outcry over UBB looks to be providing exactly the type of reminder needed to get our public institutions back to that task.

On implied standards

Sure, the Cons' appointment of a former ADQ candidate with links to Stephen Harper's chief spokesman as vice-chairman of broadcasting at the CRTC is utterly inexplicable based on the posted job description. But can't we agree that the hiring makes a lot more sense once the implied "doing Harper's bidding" part of any federal job description is taken into account?

On localization

It's fully predictable that a questionable narrative about Canadian politics turning into a two-way race will be blown out of proportion. But it's particularly worth keeping in mind how a focus on national polls alone might miss some of the most important steps taken by the NDP to get ready for the next federal election.

While the NDP closed the gap against its competitors in terms of national spending in 2008, it still had a ways to go in getting organized at the riding level to covert potential votes into actual ones. And so, as I've pointed out, the NDP has been engaged in a concerted effort to build capacity at the EDA level, providing incentive programs and support to make sure that local campaigns can do more to turn general support into riding-level success.

Like any choice, that strategy carries a price, with correspondingly less resources going into efforts which might do more for the NDP's national numbers. Which means that the focus on local development may go a long way toward explaining the fact that the NDP has mostly stayed at the low to middle end of its usual polling range over the past couple of years.

What the choice to focus on local development also means, however, is that a seat projection model which relies on national polling while missing any increased ability to translate that broad support into votes is bound to err on the low side in projecting the NDP's results. And while it's difficult to know exactly how the two factors will play out, I'd see at least as much upside as downside in combining strong candidates and improved local organization with a marginally lower top-line number outside the election period.

That's a relief

I for one see no reason to doubt that the biggest problem facing Canadian health care is an excess of available funding. But have no fear, as the Cons are making their usual efforts to take that off our hands.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Deep thought

A foreign aid program based on spreading knowledge through the work of those known subversives in Canada's education system? I'm only surprised it took the Cons this long to axe it.

Sunday Morning Links

Content goes here.

- Michael Geist rightly points out that the current protests over usage-based billing only scratches the surface of the artificial limitations on Canadian access to the Internet:
While addressing the CRTC decision is a good start, Canadians will be disappointed — some even surprised — to learn that Internet “metering” is already almost uniformly in place. The “caps” are the existing and common provider limits on usage, above which you are billed extra. They are unlikely to disappear anytime soon, what ever the CRTC decides after its review.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that Canada stands virtually alone with near universal use of caps and our cap rates are set lower than those elsewhere. For example, while U.S. giant Comcast has a 250 gigabyte per month cap, some Canadian providers have caps as small as 2 gigabytes per month.

The caps are already having a consumer impact. Bell admits that about 10 per cent of its subscribers exceed their monthly cap (resulting in an extra charge), a figure that is sure to increase over time. The effect extends far beyond consumers paying more. The extra cost has a real negative effect on the Canadian digital economy, harming innovation and keeping new business models out of the country.
- The CCPA's Hugh MacKenzie notes that the political pressure on Ontario's government to focus on deficits rather than jobs figures to have serious ramifications for the province's economy.

- The Cons may be so accustomed to being able to force whatever they want through Parliament as to have forgotten they can't always run rampant over all other interests. But the decision concluding they aren't allowed to ignore the purposes of a law in issuing ministerial edicts looks to be major step in the right direction.

- Finally, Johann Hari's discussion of UK Uncut looks to provide a great model for progressive protest. But it's also worth asking the question of how the same enthusiasm can be channeled at times when there isn't such a strong connection between generous treatment of business and immediate cuts for everybody else.