Category Archives: Canadian politics

Harper’s Vision For Canada

Here’s the criminal justice part of it via the superb QI:

Unless you work in the PMO, that’s different somehow.

How The Anti-Fluoride Craze Explains Sarah Palin

Tom Flanagan is upset that Calgary’s city council has decided to end fluoride treatment of Calgary’s water supply. This is, as Flanagan correctly points out, against all evidence about the safety and benefits of fluoride in the water supply. Of course, as the Big City Liberal observes, Flanagan is reaping a whirlwind that he sowed by scoffing at “evidence” and “scientists” and so on when it came to global warming. Flanagan belongs to that strange and shrinking group of so-called respectable right-wingers. These are those on the right who like to whip up populist sentiment against the by deriding scientists, elites, liberals, ivory tower intellectuals and the government as being aloof and out of touch but still like to be able to hit the brakes some of the time and admit that yes, science or scholarship or what-have-you needs to be taken seriously once in a while. Some problems do actually require evidence-based solutions.

Of course as long as the majority opinion among right-wing media personalities was of this variety, there was a limit to how much frothing know-nothing outrage made it into the mainstream. There might be extreme or radical proposals on the American right but they had to be at least somewhat rationally defensible. I could call on the example here of William Buckley who had the courage to cast the Birchers out of the American conservative movement. I disagree with most of what Buckley stood for, but at least he had some kind of sense of what was the difference between someone who was strong-minded or opinionated and someone who was just plain crazy.

In today’s conservative movement though, it appears that the monkeys have final taken over the zoo and the energized populists will not heed the calls of sensible conservatives to rein in the crazy. They of course now have two heroes in this approach: Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Both Palin and Beck have been willing to double-down on the crazy every time they are given the option. They are prepared to entertain the nuttiest fringe stuff from birthers to death panels. Imagine if Palin and Beck somehow got embroiled in this fluoride thing, Palin would be calling on scientists to refudiate fluoride while Beck would draw a weird chart trying to show that big fluoride is connected to Soros, Islam, and the Nazis. If Flanagan is going to use the crazy fringe as a means to political ends, he is going to have to deal with more and more of this kind of thing. This is the tiger he has chosen to ride.

Kelly McParland Repeats Big Lie About Toronto

This was the most remarkable idiocy in an otherwise blisteringly stupid column about how Toronto doesn’t matter any more in Canadian politics:

“Toronto’s political clout hasn’t disappeared altogether — it continues to suck up large amounts of provincial and federal funding”

Toronto of course contributes more to federal and provincial coffers than is spent here. Elsewhere McParland says that Toronto needs to elect some Conservative MPs to regain its influence in Ottawa. Excuse me, but electing MPs is not about buying influence, it’s about choosing who represents your values and your priorities. Too bad for Harper that people in Toronto aren’t anti-immigrant gun nuts pining for Fantino’s Charter-less police-state. Apparently until we prostrate ourselves at the feet of our oil patch overlords we can expect no decent consideration at the federal level.

Murdoch, Toronto and Ontario

Bill Murdoch has made this claim that Toronto and the rest of Ontario should separate for the best of rural Ontario. The idea here is that the big bad city is overpowering the voices of the insane landowners’ groups springing up everywhere. The reality is though that even outside of Toronto’s clout, there’s a considerable population of urban Ontario – there’s some two or three million in the 905, another million or so around Ottawa, nearly 700, 000 in Hamilton, and half a million each in Kitchener-Waterloo and London. Right there we have a clear majority of Ontario voters living in cities. What frustrates Murdoch and fellow-nutjob, Randy Hillier is that more people live in cities, like cities and do not share the delusions of the Ontario Landowners. Sorry Bill, city-folk are in the majority, now shut up while we pass some laws on your ass.

Prorogued for This?

Everyone else has said it, but the government’s Olympic holiday was shown to be a total sham (like everyone knew it was) with today’s throne speech. We need to change the anthem? Ooooooh, that took three months to figure out. In three months we could have let someone rewrite the whole thing, make it more like this:

Still Firewalling Alberta

Reading about our pathetic show at the climate change conference in Copenhagen it’s hard for me not to conclude that the government we currently have has a clear number one priority: protect the oil extraction industry in Alberta. Once again I put forward my thesis that the current Conservative Party is every bit as regionalist as the Reform Party before it or even the Bloc today – except that they have duped the rest of the country into voting for them. Make no mistake, unless you work in non-renewable energy, the Cons are perfectly willing to sacrifice your industry to keep the dirty oil pumping out of the Athabasca basin.

Who Are We? Where Are We Going?

Standing back and looking at the two big Canadian political stories in the past month – Afghan torture revelations and Copenhagen – I have been struck by how utterly changed we are in Canada. We are now one of the global foot-draggers on climate change and a country that is actively trying to cover up human rights violations (real ones, not ones that are less inconveniencing than the passport office, like Ezra Levant having to answer a couple questions one time) made by its own military. The contrast between this and Chretien’s wise decision to sit out the Gulf War in 2003 could not be greater.