Saturday, April 28, 2012

Parliament in Review - March 28, 2012

Wednesday, March 28 saw a final short day of debate on the Cons' minimal bank regulation bill.

The Big Issue

Peter Julian questioned the Cons' competence in rushing to force through a bill when the review period has been known for years. Hoang Mai lamented the lack of a serious look at Canada's financial system, while Robert Chisholm again noted that plenty of consumer protection options were omitted from the bill. Dany Morin followed up on the issue of consumer debt which has skyrocketed since the Cons took power.

Meanwhile, the big issue also included a massive diversion of attention as the opposition parties worked on allocating credit for the fact that Canada's banking system didn't end up the incomprehensible and unregulated mess that caused so much damage in the U.S. While the Cons' laughable claim to credit based on their demanding exactly what we avoided was easily dismissed, there was plenty of back-and-forth between Robert Chisholm, Don Davies, Wayne Easter, Elizabeth May and Geoff Regan as to the Libs' role - with the former two pointing out that it was Lib cabinet ministers who opened the door to discussion of deregulation only to be shouted down by citizen resistance, while the latter three tried to edit out that bit of history and give the Libs sole credit for the end result.


Helene Laverdiere raised a point of privilege as to the Cons' refusal to actually answer her written questions - where very specific and targeted questions about the Office of Religious Freedom were met with boilerplate talking points which had nothing to do with the precise questions asked. And Peter Van Loan replied with the remarkable assertion that if his party saw fit to make a mockery of the written question process, her only recourse re-submit the same question through the same process which the Cons had already sabotaged.

In Brief

I've pointed out before the seeming absurdity involved when the House of Commons holds standing votes on issues where there isn't a single dissenting MP to justify that procedure which is intended to reflect "division". And this day saw two such votes: the first on S-5, the second from Guy Lauzon including accountability of offenders as a purpose of the federal correctional system. Meanwhile, a more interesting vote took place on the Cons' flag-waving jingoism bill, with the Libs offering their support while the NDP and Bloc provided actual opposition.

Rejean Genest moved a motion on the right to housing and the need for investment to combat homelessness. Remarkably enough, the motion actually attracted the Cons' support, even as Jean Crowder highlighted their intention to utterly ignore the intent of the motion in the years to come. Meanwhile, it was the Libs who were ambivalent about their intentions.

David Christopherson delivered the line of the day on the Cons' bad-faith dealings with Elections Canada and unwillingness to allow Marc Mayrand testify before committee at any time other than during the budget lockup:
Talk about the Prime Minister's dream democracy: an electoral process the Conservatives can manipulate, our Chief Electoral Officer with no powers and all the journalists locked up.  
Thomas Mulcair reiterated the Cons' past commitments not to cut public services in advance of a budget that broke those promises. Peter Julian noted that the Cons had already said they had all the tools available needed to protect jobs at Aveos, then asked why they apparently couldn't be bothered to use them. Even before the Cons' budget legislation was presented, Megan Leslie raised the since-confirmed fear that vital environmental legislation would be gutted through an omnibus bill. Francis Scarpaleggia commented on the need for improved public transit for Montreal's West Island. Rathika Sitsabaiesan asked adjournment questions about post-secondary education. And Jonathan Genest-Jourdain left no doubt that the NDP hasn't forgotten the mess the Cons have made of Attawapiskat and so many other First Nations in believing their only job is to cheerlead for resource development.

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman writes a long-overdue obituary for the confidence fairy who was supposed to turn needless austerity into growth contrary to all economic evidence:
So, about that doctrine: appeals to the wonders of confidence are something Herbert Hoover would have found completely familiar — and faith in the confidence fairy has worked out about as well for modern Europe as it did for Hoover’s America. All around Europe’s periphery, from Spain to Latvia, austerity policies have produced Depression-level slumps and Depression-level unemployment; the confidence fairy is nowhere to be seen, not even in Britain, whose turn to austerity two years ago was greeted with loud hosannas by policy elites on both sides of the Atlantic.

None of this should come as news, since the failure of austerity policies to deliver as promised has long been obvious. Yet European leaders spent years in denial, insisting that their policies would start working any day now, and celebrating supposed triumphs on the flimsiest of evidence. Notably, the long-suffering (literally) Irish have been hailed as a success story not once but twice, in early 2010 and again in the fall of 2011. Each time the supposed success turned out to be a mirage; three years into its austerity program, Ireland has yet to show any sign of real recovery from a slump that has driven the unemployment rate to almost 15 percent.


But while the confidence fairy appears to be well and truly buried, deficit scare stories remain popular. Indeed, defenders of British policies dismiss any call for a rethinking of these policies, despite their evident failure to deliver, on the grounds that any relaxation of austerity would cause borrowing costs to soar.

So we’re now living in a world of zombie economic policies — policies that should have been killed by the evidence that all of their premises are wrong, but which keep shambling along nonetheless. And it’s anyone’s guess when this reign of error will end.

- Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher report on Elections Canada's continued efforts to track down the source of the best-known calls behind the Robocon scandal.

- One might think this is going too far on the secrecy front. But by the Cons' standards, isn't it only prudent to shred sports memorabilia just in case it doesn't support the conclusions in Stephen Harper's long-promised hockey book?

- Meanwhile, Tabatha Southey's form letter of apology should make for an important addition to the Cons' set of public relations tools.

- The Vancouver Observer highlights the foreign funding provided to the Fraser Institute by the Koch brothers.

- Finally, Robin Sears theorizes that Canada has added tolerance and diversity to its traditional values of peace, order and good government.

On equivocal labels

I'll agree with the commentators pointing out that Nanos' polling on party labels shows far more trouble for the Cons than for the NDP. But let's point out another part of the story that the media spin seems to be leaving out.

Plenty of the terms used in association with political parties are indeed fairly easily classified as "positive" or "negative": if anybody wants to make a case as to how "untrustworthy", "arrogant" or "useless" could be anything but unambiguously damaging to a party, I'd love to hear it.

But "socialist" - the leading descriptor of the NDP - falls among a few terms which aren't quite so easily pigeonholed. Indeed, even in the U.S. with a generally more conservative voting public, it tends to be a polarizing term which is nonetheless seen rather positively by a substantial chunk of the voting electorate (italics in original, bold added):
Of these terms, socialism is the more politically polarizing – the reaction is almost universally negative among conservatives, while generally positive among liberals.
Now, it's true enough that other labels like "progressive" might speak positively to a far larger set of voters - and the use of "socialist" so far has mostly been a matter of the Cons trying to brand the NDP for their own supporters. But if the absolute worst label the Cons can attach to the NDP is one that's still seen positively by a third of respondents, that doesn't exactly hurt the NDP's chances of starting on at least even terms against a party whose own base is in the same range.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Musical interlude

Tiesto - Chasing Summers

Friday Morning Links

This and that to end your week.

- Paul Wells comments on the NDP's new style of opposition:

When I used to ask the Liberals, when they were the Official Opposition, why they didn’t calm down a bit in QP, they would complain that gesticulating was the only way to get on the news. And indeed the calmer New Democrats are not getting a lot of space on the news. What is getting space is Bev Oda’s global OJ adventure, Stephen Harper’s 70-year digressions, and private members’ bills that seem inspired by the Danielle Smith playbook of political success. Which may explain why the NDP does not begrudge the government its time in the spotlight.

The sharply reduced tolerance at Langevin Block for Oda’s expense account, once it became public, and the clear signal of disapproval for Stephen Woodworth’s motion, suggests Harper is realizing he is no longer facing the ineffectual histrionics the Liberals threw at him for five years.
And it looks like there's ample reason for Harper to be worried.

- Lysiane Gagnon points out that Quebec's child care system - so often highlighted by the right as example of unsustainable spending that should be stopped through an end to interprovincial transfer payments - is in fact a smart use of resources which more than pays for itself. But that won't stop the Cons from trying to demlish it.

- Althia Raj reports on concerns that the Cons' tight time frame for comment on proposed electoral boundaries might shut Canadians out of the process. But I'd view the concern more as reason to be prepared than reason for panic - as it's still open to anybody to be heard as long as we recognize the limited opportunity to do so.

- Finally, Brian Topp cites Wildrose's campaign flop as an example of parties needing to rein in their candidates, and points to the leading precedent for the type of hypercentralization that's now seen as the default setting in Canadian politics:
Our political system tends towards hyper-centralization, and imposes a discipline on elected representatives that, at least some of them sometimes believe, disrespects and disempowers them. A “crisis of surplus consciousness” can result, in which the few at the top end up with too much to do (and therefore cannot do it well), which the vast majority of other team members end up with too little to do (and aren’t happy about it). This, to be precise, used to be said with reference to the hyper-centralized system in place in the Soviet Union. It could also be said of a number of poorly-led, hyper-centralized private corporations. It may be what parliamentary systems inherently drift into.
That said, I'd think it's worth distinguishing (as Topp does to some extent) between "bozo eruptions" that reflect poorly on a party primarily to the extent they call into question whether its candidates are fit to hold public office, and the use of respectful disagreement a political gotcha.

Parliament in Review: March 27, 2012

Tuesday, March 27 saw a day dominated by the type of serious discussion about the role of the financial sector that we should expect in the years to come - even if the basis for that discussion was less than we should have hoped for.

The Big Issue

The main topic of debate was Bill S-5, a bill on financial regulation which originated in the Senate. And it's surprising to me both how little disagreement there was on the bill, and how petulant the Cons were about the NDP's small attempt to improve it.

While otherwise noting his party's support for the bill, Peter Julian proposed an amendment on the hot-button issue of...the compellability of employees in the Superintendent's office with respect to knowledge acquired while enforcing the legislation at issue. Jean Rousseau worried that without the amendment, an "iron curtain" could hide real issues discovered by the Superintendent. Scott Brison expressed his support as a matter of transparency. But the Cons first stuck to their talking points about "trying to strengthen our banking system" rather than actually addressing the idea in substance, then tried to put on the record that secrecy is everywhere and thus to be supported.

Meanwhile, in much more substantive debate, the Cons went out of their way to highlight that the list of matters put under political control includes bank acquisitions (which will now be subject only to ministerial approval), a point which was duly criticized by Alain Giguere and Hoang Mai. Robert Chisholm pointed out the continued lack of consumer protection after multiple banks decided not to cooperate with an ombudsman's office once touted by the Cons, a point which was then echoed by Glenn Thibeault. Chisholm, Jinny Sims and Libby Davies all noted that something more than technical amendments might have been appropriate to deal with the financial sector. Giguere expressed what strikes me as the due level of alarm about having financial-sector rules set by an unelected, patronage-based Senate. Helene Leblanc suggested that the public have some say in what's done with financial-sector rules, with Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet offering the example of high credit-card rates and Mathieu Ravignat pointing to hidden fees as issues that demand action. Sadia Groguhe expressed concern about the harmful effects of debt and speculation on Canadians' financial stability, while Francine Raynault discussed the need to regulate speculation and derivatives. Elizabeth May pitched a financial transactions tax. And Olivia Chow lamented the recent imposition of account fees on seniors by two major banks.

Predictably, though, the Cons insisted that the bill absolutely had to pass by April 20, leaving no time to seriously debate whether it was worth passing in the first place as they voted down the amendment and pushed the bill forward. But while any actual gap in legislation created by that time frame would have been a severe problem (and several NDP speakers seemed to accept the premise), as far as I can tell the supposed deadline was itself supported by little more than the Cons' own PR. And if it's true that the Cons are indeed setting up legislation with a time bomb set to explode again 2017 as part of a standard five-year cycle, then that should raise a serious question about their motives in doing so - particularly since Harper's gang of Senate cronies will likely be able to block the passage of any replacement legislation under another party's government.

In Brief

Apparently Nycole Turmel's stint as NDP leader wasn't seen by the Cons as demanding quite the same level of message control as, say, Remembrance Day. And so Peter Van Loan actually moved to allow Bloc and Green speakers to join the official parties in saluting her performance as interim leader of the Official Opposition.

Meanwhile, Jasbir Sandhu called on the Cons to confirm Canada's opposition to the death penalty which was about to be applied in India for the first time since 2004. Romeo Saganash and Chisholm both offered their own statements about the NDP's leadership campaign. Matthew Kellway pointed out that though requirements were apparently drawn up to match the F-35s' specifications, the Cons "bungle(d) this file so badly they cannot even cheat properly" as the F-35s still fell short. Alexandre Boulerice called out Robocon as the electoral fraud that it was, while Niki Ashton noted that the last set of Cons behind an illegal electoral scheme were punished with appointments to the Senate. Jean Crowder asked why upwards of a quarter of EI claims don't receive a response within a month. Linda Duncan rightly slammed John Duncan for describing the very communities for which he bears ministerial responsibility as "socially dysfunctional" while eliminating programs to improve their conditions. Louis Plamondon introduced his motion to make the Governor General's salary subject to the general tax regime. That was met with Shelley Glover's response that the Cons are all in favour of royalty which doesn't play by the same rules as anybody else, while Mai and Stephane Dion offered less histrionic takes. And Irene Matthyssen asked once again about the Cons' failure to do anything meaningful to reduce seniors' poverty.

[Edit: fixed wording.]

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Paul Wells had previously theorized that the size of environmental demonstrations in Montreal might hint at the NDP's ability to establish a long-term base. So what ended up happening?
What happened in Montreal was a great big rally for Earth Day whose messaging was, in part, overtly anti-oil-sands. And it seems to have been a hit. Apparently something like a quarter of a million people marched in lousy weather.
Meanwhile, one of the Cons' leading cheerleaders in Quebec is quite explicitly trying to push "drill baby drill". Which only figures to help highlight the glaring gap between the Harper Cons' obsession with the tar sands, and the environmentally-responsible values shared by the Quebec protesters and so many other Canadians.

- It's noteworthy enough that the Cons are attacking Nathan Cullen directly for having the nerve to stand up for his constituents. But it's especially remarkable that this little tidbit seems to have passed without comment:
The Tories are promising more attacks against individual New Democrats in the “coming days.”
Which looks like about the most blatant statement yet that the Cons are neither willing nor able to do anything other than smearing their opponents. But the fact that they see the need to now get personal with anybody who dares to speak out against them might also signal just how incapable they are of defending any of their actions on the merits.

- On that front, the fact that the Cons are pushing austerity even at the expense of economic development and jobs surely places near the top of the list of topics they don't want to discuss - perhaps ranking behind only still-growing inequality. And it's great to see Kevin Page pointing out both.

- Finally, congratulations to Pat Atkinson for earning a place in the pages of the Star-Phoenix.

New column day

Here, following up on Sarah Schmidt's report showing that an outright majority of tested food products are inaccurately labeled by noting that nutrition information is just one of many areas where we're being told to take the corporate sector's word as to what's good for us.

For further reading:
- Joanna Smith reports on the gap between what the federal Cons are claiming about CFIA cuts, and what's actually being experienced by civil servants.
- And details about the planned environmental code for Saskatchewan are available here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jared Bernstein discusses the effect of raising taxes on the highest-income households, featuring this in particular:
Growth and jobs. History shows that higher taxes are compatible with economic growth and job creation: job creation and GDP growth were significantly stronger following the Clinton tax increases than following the Bush tax cuts. Further, the Congressional Budget office (CBO) concludes that letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire on schedule would strengthen long-term economic growth, on balance, if policymakers used the revenue saved to reduce deficits. In other words, any negative impact on economic growth from increasing taxes on high-income people would be more than offset by the positive effects of using the resulting revenue gain to reduce the budget deficit. Tax increases can also be used to fund, or to forestall cuts in, productive public investments in areas that support growth such as public education, basic research, and infrastructure.
- Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor report on EKOS' polling showing that it was non-Conservative supporters who were targeted for vote suppression in Canada's 2011 election, while Saskboy points out that it's not hard to figure out who stood to gain from Robocon.

- Craig McInnes theorizes that the Cons' bullying to ram through approval of new tar sands pipelines will lead to a serious backlash in B.C.:
the message out of Ottawa is that the government isn’t all that concerned about the environment. The message is that its primary concern is making sure that nothing stands in the way of the development of the oilsands.

The problem with the threat of an over-ride is it casts every other move the government is making to streamline the process – regardless of whether it has another rationale – as part of the headlong rush to get the pipelines built.
What I really don’t understand is the Conservatives’ failure to appreciate the political risks in trying to push these projects through. While it may be deemed radical for a Conservative from Alberta to be opposed to the pipelines, opposition in B.C., especially to increased tanker traffic, sits squarely in the middle of the road, cutting across all party lines.

“Radical” here more reasonably represents the people who are vowing to stop the pipeline by any means necessary. If British Columbians believe they have been given a fair hearing and lost fairly, there won’t be much tolerance for illegal acts.

But if the common experience of British Columbians is to feel we are being bulldozed by Ottawa, all bets are off.
- Meanwhile, it's ridiculous enough that Peter Kent is outraged by his own words about scientists being told what to say by political hacks. But isn't his supposed clarification even worse - if scientists are being told to "(spread) the good news of the policies of our government", rather than actually discussing scientific findings in accurate terms?

- Finally, the most foolish part of the Cons' stick figure advice for civil servants facing job losses is how easily the medium can be adapted in response.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Flattened cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Yesterday's Alberta election certainly proved somewhat of a shocker - producing about the best possible result short of a minority scenario that would have allowed the NDP to exercise the balance of power, as the slightly-less-right party won even as its most notorious ideologue went down in flames. But I'd still think it's a wide open question as to whether the PCs will actually govern consistently with the wishes of the progressive voters who offered strategic support (as suggested by Sheila Pratt), or whether they'll instead veer right in order to win back some of the mass of Wildrose voters - meaning that even a majority government provides virtually no certainty as to what comes next.

- Keith Beardsley points out a massive opening for the NDP to make ethics and accountability into a decisive issue in the next federal election, while Lawrence Martin has some suggestions as to reach that result. Meanwhile, a new CROP poll shows the NDP with a commanding lead in Quebec.

- Brian Topp is back writing for the Globe and Mail online after the NDP's leadership campaign - and his take on the first phase of France's presidential election is well worth a read.

- Finally, Stephen Gordon breaks down the types of taxes collected by the OECD countries.

Hyer Ground

When Lise St. Denis decided last year to leave the Official Opposition to move down the opposition back benches, I noted that the most important issue was likely less her individual choice than whether it would lead to more MPs following suit. (Which of course it didn't.)

And to a large extent, the same goes for Bruce Hyer's decision to sit as an independent: the long-term effects will likely be minimal if other members facing similar choices keep working within the NDP. But it is worth noting one key background point in Hyer's decision.

It's been well noted that the one issue of caucus discipline involving Hyer took place under Nycole Turmel's interim leadership last fall. So Hyer's timing may have been less a matter of seeing anything change to his dissatisfaction under Thomas Mulcair, and more an issue of disappointment that the NDP's new leader didn't restore the party's previous stance allowing MPs to vote their conscience on the gun registry.

But it's still true that a change has indeed taken place since the last election, as MPs who campaigned on a position which was seen as consistent with party policy have found themselves facing discipline for exactly that stance. And that may be particularly important in light of Mulcair's primary leadership campaign proposal to allow for diversity of voices within the NDP.

Remember that Mulcair has (rightly) promised to encourage regional campaigns working within the party's existing policy framework in order to better address local concerns. And the leading example as to how that idea has worked in the past is...the NDP's base in Northern Ontario, which helped Hyer and a number of other MPs to get elected - in part by enabling candidates to put aside the gun registry as an issue.

Now, it could be that party members will make a decision on the gun registry that would take Hyer's stance outside the realm of party policy by 2015. But for now, Hyer's departure again highlights a question as to whether the candidates working within regional campaigns can count on the same flexibility in voting on issues after an election that they've been offered while campaigning. And Mulcair may need to clarify that point in order to encourage more regions to follow Northern Ontario's successful model.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Yes, the individual examples are worrisome enough. But the real takeaway from Sarah Schmidt's report on the CFIA's testing of food products for sale in Canada is that more often than not, consumers can't trust what's on the label:
CFIA allows for a variance of up 20 percentage points on nutrition information found on food packages to account for natural variances in ingredients or deviations in testing equipment. Anything beyond that is considered unsatisfactory.
CFIA's overall statistics from 2006 and 2010 involving key product categories (breads and baked goods, confectionary items, and snacks) certainly paint a picture of inconsistency. Of 621 products tested, 360 items (58 per cent) did not live up to all the nutrition information on their packaging.
So naturally, the Cons' response stop the testing that's proven Canadians aren't getting what they pay for. And Statistics Canada is also on the receiving end of the Cons' gleeful axe-wielding, particularly when it comes to social data needed to serve the public interest.

- Meanwhile, Mia Rabson takes aim at the Cons for their refusal to allow Environment Canada scientists to discuss even such basic information as research on snow in winter. And Stephen Hume criticizes the Cons' plan to eliminate any meaningful review of the Gateway pipeline as an attack on British Columbia's provincial sovereignty.

- Jim Stanford schools Kevin O'Leary on how auto-sector trade actually works:

- Finally, Anne Jarvis points out that if Ontario ends up in an election campaign, it'll be because the PCs refused to make reasonable requests and the Libs refused to accept the ones already offered by Andrea Horwath and the NDP.

Parliament in Review: March 26, 2012

Having taken a bit of a hiatus during and after the NDP's leadership campaign, I'll resume looking back at what's happened in the House of Commons starting with the election of Thomas Mulcair. (I'll plan to return to the previous sitting later on.)

Monday, March 26 saw Mulcair's introduction as the new Leader of the Official Opposition. But there was plenty worth pointing out beyond the first few questions from Mulcair and associated headlines...

The Big Issue

The main topic of debate was the Cons' anti-refugee legislation - with the opposition parties particularly taking aim at the concept of mandatory detention for anybody arriving in Canada by a means designated as suspicious by the Minister of Immigration. Don Davies pointed out that similar forms of detention without review have already been found to be unconstitutional, then questioned why the Cons seem determined to break up refugee families; Olivia Chow noted that the Cons' focus on punishing refugees will not only divert resources from dealing with actual human smugglers, but actually remove the witnesses needed to testify against them; Rosane Dore Lefebvre pointed out the conditions in existing detention centres; and Elizabeth May commented on the cost of detention. Meanwhile, Harold Albrecht's response deny that detention under the bill had anything to do with "prisons", while at the same time claiming we should operate under the assumption that refugees are criminals or terrorists until proven otherwise.

The opposition parties also slammed the Cons for backing away from agreements reached between all parties in the previous Parliament to make the bill as harsh as possible for refugees. Djoauida Sellah contrasted the claims of working "in good faith" before against the apparent bad faith from the Cons now; Anne Minh-Thu Quach and Kevin Lamoureux wondered what the Cons have against consensus-building; and Eve Peclet criticized the Cons' galling demand for all-party support after they've cut all other parties out of any input into the legislation. Andrew Cash questioned whether the Cons' slashing of Canada's social safety net is intended to make our country less inviting to immigrants. Jean-Francoin Fortin first theorized that there's a certain logic to the Cons' policy - but only based on an underlying philosophy of fomenting fear and mistrust. Fortin also highlighted the fact that the Cons want to divide refugees into "good" and "bad" classifications while ignoring the reality that international law doesn't allow for any such division, a point which was then echoed by Anne-Marie Day. Lamoureux questioned the politicization of a "safe country" list which would deprive claimants of a right of appeal in proving their refugee status. Jamie Nicholls lamented the possibility that the bill would prove just one more chapter in a sad history of discriminatory immigration policies, with Tarik Brahmi following up on the plight of Roma minorities in countries the Cons want to label as unfailingly "safe". And Davies corrected the Cons' spin on the contents of their own bill.

In Brief

The other main business discussed was Sean Casey's motion on Old Age Security. Irene Mathyssen noted that an increase in the federal retirement age would actually create a gap between provincial programs which end at age 67 and the federal retirement income which allows less wealthy seniors to survive, while highlighting the fact that poorer seniors will bear the brunt of an increased retirement age. And the Cons signalled that they were willing to go along with the motion - just as long as it was amended to suggest that taking income away from the seniors who need it somehow represented an improvement to the sustainability of income security.

Meanwhile, Robert Aubin wondered whatever became of the committee to study workplace language rights which the Cons promised the previous fall. The Cons unveiled a lengthy set of replies to members' questions - including such gems as answers 448 and 449, where they tried to claim credit for each and every child-care space created by any province since they came to power as the result of their own lack of funding and support. And in the first set of members' statements following the NDP's leadership campaign, Niki Ashton, Paul Dewar, Peggy Nash, Nathan Cullen and Olivia Chow all spoke about the future of the NDP under Mulcair's leadership.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Evening Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- Brian Mason makes the closing argument for Alberta's NDP in tomorrow's provincial election:

- Meanwhile in Ontario, Keith Leslie reports that the McGuinty Libs are still dragging their heels on Andrea Horwath's entirely reasonable set of budget requests. But while Martin Regg Cohn calls on them to match the NDP's willingness to reach a deal, Adam Radwanski theorizes that based on the relative public appeal of the provincial parties' leaders and platforms, it's the PCs that have the most to lose from a possible spring election in any event.

- Scott Feschuk comments on the ongoing F-35 fiasco with exactly the level of seriousness and respect the Cons deserve in light of the news that they've known just as well as the rest of us how inaccurate their spin has been.

- And Bruce Johnstone notes that the Harper Cons' transition from a minority to a majority hasn't changed the pattern of Saskatchewan getting nothing from its 13 Con MPs.