Politics and its Discontents: A Corporate Gift?

Recently, the Star’s business editor, David Olive, offered some cautious optimism about the Canadian Infrastructure Bank, the scheme dreamed up by the Trudeau government, to “leverage” its $35 billion in CIB seed money by a factor of four, creating roughly $140 billion in infrastructure spending. It will do this by enticing private-sector partners to put ...

Politics and its Discontents: Depraved Indifference

When you think about it, almost all of us are guilty of it. Toronto Star 14 Jun 2017Re Caution: children at work, June 13 Recognizing child labour as a violation of children’s and workers’ rights, trade unions are joining with families and community organizations to combat child labour, to move children out of work and ...

Politics and its Discontents: An Insurmountable Divide

These days I find myself writing less on this blog and curating interesting material more. In that spirit, I offer the following letters from Star readers. The first one suggests the necessity of engaging the other side of the Trump polarity, while the ones that follow show why that is never likely to happen: Re: ...

Politics and its Discontents: We’ve Heard It All Before

With Conservative leadership hopeful Maxime Bernier recently resurrecting the widely discredited and tired trope of a rising tide lifting all boats, Star reader Salmon Lee of Mississauga offers all of us a timely dose of reality: Tax cuts only help the rich Re Maxime Bernier’s vision for Canada, May 8 Yet another politician selling the ...

Politics and its Discontents: How Much Does That Plastic Bottle Really Cost?

For me, the plastic water bottle is an apt symbol for the mentality that encapsulates the western world today: the passion for convenience, abject, complete disregard for the environment, and the narcissistic drive for the satisfaction of personal wants no matter what the ultimate cost may be. Star reader Paul A. Wilson of Toronto reminds ...

Politics and its Discontents: Star Letter-Writers Seldom Disappoint

Whenever I am feeling a bit down about the world around me and the passivity with which so many ‘face’ it, I know I can go to the letters section of The Toronto Star to buoy my spirits. Today is no exception, as readers render judgement on the disgraced Senator Don Meredith and roundly reject ...

Politics and its Discontents: Not Like His Father At All

A few days ago I posted a letter by Star reader Cathy Allen in which she discussed what it would take for her to regain her pride as a Canadian. It was outstanding, and if you haven’t read it, click on the link before proceeding. In yesterday’s Star, Randy Gostling of Oshawa offered some of ...

Politics and its Discontents: More On The Rogue Senator And Moral Coward, Don Meredith

On Friday’s Power and Politics, host Rosemary Barton was her usual relentless self, evident in her sharp questioning of Selwyn Pieters, the attorney representing disgraced Senator Don Meredith, about whom I posted on Friday. It seems to me that the only point she overlooked was when Pieters insisted that Meredith did not use his position ...

Politics and its Discontents: An Outstanding Letter!

While I have always considered myself an able letter-to-the-editor writer, I have also developed ability over the years to recognize superior work when I see it. The following letter from Cathy Allen of Toronto is emblematic of such work. She inspires me, as a Canadian, by her vision of what our country could be: When ...

Politics and its Discontents: Laughing At Absurdity

I believe that the older we get, the more important it is not only to recognize and acknowledge the tragedies of life, be they social, economic, political or environmental, but also the many absurdities that abound within those realms. Call it dark humour, whistling past the graveyard, or just being politically incorrect, seeing the absurd ...

Politics and its Discontents: Laughing At Absurdity

I believe that the older we get, the more important it is not only to recognize and acknowledge the tragedies of life, be they social, economic, political or environmental, but also the many absurdities that abound within those realms. Call it dark humour, whistling past the graveyard, or just being politically incorrect, seeing the absurd ...

Politics and its Discontents: UPDATED: A Deluded Woman

That very strange lady, CPC leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, insists that the widespread ‘popularity’ of her online video is proof of the popularity of her platform against immigrants, She ignores the fact that the basis for its viral spread is mockery, not admiration, over its bizarre production values and patent insincerity. If you haven’t yet ...

Politics and its Discontents: A Deluded Woman

That very strange lady, CPC leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, insists that the widespread ‘popularity’ of her online video is proof of the popularity of her platform against immigrants, She ignores the fact that the basis for its viral spread is mockery, not admiration, over its bizarre production values and patent insincerity. If you haven’t yet ...

Politics and its Discontents: In Case You Hadn’t Noticed

Meanwhile, Star letter writers offer their suggestions: Re: Chaos, fear and anger, Jan. 29 Canadians outraged at Trump’s ban on Muslims and refugees can take concrete action by contacting the United States embassy in Ottawa and pledging not to travel to the U.S. until the ban is overturned. We can’t vote south of the border, ...

Politics and its Discontents: The Power That Resides Within All Of Us

We live a world where far too many decisions are heavily influenced, if not determined, by economic considerations. The cost of everything, and the value of nothing, seems to be today’s ruling ethos, to the point where we regularly seem to be little more than cogs in a giant mercantile wheel. That can be a ...

Politics and its Discontents: Canada’s Carnival Sideshow

While people with normal cognitive abilities likely see the farce in Kevin O’Leary’s effort to become the next leader of the Conservative Party, it would be unwise to underestimate the power of less able and less stable people to influence the course of events. If nothing else, the Trump spectacle attests to the importance of ...

Politics and its Discontents: The Haves Certainly Have It

This from today’s Letters To The Editor, to which I have nothing to add: Re: Two richest men as wealthy as poorest 30 per cent, Jan. 16 It is telling that this news report was not a front-page headline in the Star. As if the world needed any more data on the abject failure of ...

Politics and its Discontents: "The Cancer Of Inequality"

In a recent post well-worth reading, The Mound reflected on the decline of support for liberal democracy. Today, Star readers respond to an article carried by the paper entitled, How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’. Their message is clear: inequality is at the root of the problem, fostered and promoted by the ...

Song of the Watermelon: Vancouver Sun Letter

For what is likely to be my last letter to the editor of 2016, see today’s Vancouver Sun (fourth letter from the top). The gist of my argument is that Kinder Morgan is bad. Fun fact: this ain’t the first time I’ve responded to a pro-Kinder Morgan op-ed by former NDP Premier Dan Miller. Filed ...

Politics and its Discontents: Star Readers Speak Out On CETA

Recently, my newspaper of record, The Toronto Star, wrote what I felt was an uncritical endorsement of CETA. The part that especially disturbed me was this: In the case of CETA, the demonization focuses on one part of the agreement, involving a process for resolving disputes between investors and governments. The so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement ...

Politics and its Discontents: Star Readers Write

These days, my faith in the future is quite limited. The proliferation of war and the ongoing reluctance of governments to do anything substantive about climate change, despite its increasingly obvious effects, both speak to the refusal of our species to rise above our base animal impulses and use the consciousness that supposedly separates us ...

Politics and its Discontents: Pillaging The Public Purse: On Hydro One’s Privatization

I have written in the past on my strong opposition to Kathleen Wynne’s selloff of 60% of Hydro One. She has no mandate for this pillaging of the public purse, and no good reason for it except her politically and ideologically-driven obsession with balancing the budget before Ontario’s next provincial election. She will not be ...

Politics and its Discontents: Pillaging The Public Purse: On Hydro One’s Privatization

I have written in the past on my strong opposition to Kathleen Wynne’s selloff of 60% of Hydro One. She has no mandate for this pillaging of the public purse, and no good reason for it except her politically and ideologically-driven obsession with balancing the budget before Ontario’s next provincial election. She will not be ...

Politics and its Discontents: A Time For Some Critical Thinking

With Canada’s police chiefs clamoring for new powers that would allow for a massive invasion of our collective privacy, Canadians need to take some time to think critically about our rights and freedoms. As you will see in the following, the first commentator, Rich van Abbe of Toronto, has done just that: Re: Police chiefs ...

Politics and its Discontents: A Time For Some Critical Thinking

With Canada’s police chiefs clamoring for new powers that would allow for a massive invasion of our collective privacy, Canadians need to take some time to think critically about our rights and freedoms. As you will see in the following, the first commentator, Rich van Abbe of Toronto, has done just that: Re: Police chiefs ...