Politics and its Discontents: Responding To The Outrage

Yesterday, I posted about the outrageous treatment graduate student Lindsay Shepherd experienced at the hands of the Wilfrid Laurier University thought police. As usual, Toronto Star readers had much to say about this shameful episode, and in the interest of balance, I am reprinting not only those who condemn what Shepherd was subjected to, but ...

Politics and its Discontents: Canadians React To The Paradise Papers

If you aren’t yet outraged over recent revelations, check your pulse to make sure you are still amongst the living. Happily, signs of life are plentiful among Toronto Star readers: Liberal Party fundraisers held family millions in offshore trust, Nov. 6 Coverage of the Paradise Papers’ celebrity tax evaders has tended to revolve around the ...

Politics and its Discontents: Behind The Curtain

Ah, Star letter writers rarely disappoint. Truth, rather than political spin, always improves my mood. Liberal Party fundraisers held family millions in offshore trust, Nov. 6 From Panama to Paradise, we have a tiny glimpse into the realities dictating our lives: aristocrats and power brokers taking aim at record profits while burying the booty in ...

Politics and its Discontents: Not A Dirty Word

In his column the other day, Rick Salutin wrote a stout defence of taxes, making it very clear that for him and many others, the word and the concept are hardly obscenities. Public programs need to be adequately funded and expanded, the opposite of the American mentality: Take tax reform. To U.S. Republicans, it means ...

Politics and its Discontents: Seeing With Clear Vision

H/t Toronto Star Those who believe analysis must trump hyper-partisanship will enjoy this backgrounder provided in today’s Star as part of its transparency series. The piece makes the point that The Star is guided by the progressive Atkinson principles and has endorsed in the 12 federal elections between 1968 and 2008 … the Liberals nine ...

Politics and its Discontents: On The Petering Out Of Pipelines

While Andrew Sheer’s Conservatives will undoubtedly wring as much political capital as they can out of the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline, less partisan people will see it as the inevitable outcome of two facts: the current low price of oil and the necessity of phasing out fossil fuels if we are to have ...

Politics and its Discontents: A Low-Risk Takedown

If you read my post from yesterday, you will know who Nick Shcherban is. Watch the following brief video, and ask yourself this: Have you ever heard of a noise complaint being answered by three police officers, an arrest, and handcuffs? A powerful indictment, in my view, of the neoliberalism enveloping all of us. For ...

Politics and its Discontents: Bill Morneau’s Tax Reforms

I have been following with interest the current discussion, sometimes waxing into hysteria, over Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s plan to close small-business loopholes that allow such ‘mom and pop’ operators as lawyers, doctors and dentists to evade paying their full share by “sprinkling income” to family members who do not actually work for these incorporated ...

Politics and its Discontents: They Never Disappoint Me

‘They’ would be Star readers who write letters to the editor. The following demonstrate that, like many others, they have taken the full measure of Donald Trump and found him manifestly wanting. Re: Trump slow to respond to violence in Virginia, Aug. 13 U.S. President Donald Trump’s response to the rioting is hypocritical and hard ...

Politics and its Discontents: Parsing Conservative Lies

Recently, newly-selected Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer wrote a column condemning the compensation awarded to Omar Khadr for the violation of his rights as a Canadian citizen. Not only did his piece send a message to his base that the animus so regularly cultivated by the party’s former overlord, Stephen Harper, is alive and well, ...

Politics and its Discontents: Well-Said!

Sometimes, when I wake up in the middle of the night, I find myself thinking about the sad state of the world today, a state infinitely exacerbated by the current politics of the failed American Empire. Indeed, I had planned this morning to discuss at some length some of its spillover effects into our own ...

Politics and its Discontents: Canadians Are Outraged

The outrage is once again stoked by Omar Khadr, but, as I wrote the other day, it is Peter Kent’s shameful performance that is earning their scorn. These two letter-writers reflect that scorn: Re: Omar Khadr payout gains traction in U.S. media after Conservative MP’s op-ed, July 17 It seems that Conservatives and their base ...

Politics and its Discontents: Oh, And Another Thing

This letter from today’s Star is a fitting response to all of the snarling and foaming coming from the mouth of newly-installed Conservative leader Andrew Scheer over the apology and compensation given to Omar Khadr by the Canadian government. Re: Ottawa apologizes for violating Khadr’s rights, July 8 I read in today’s Star that Conservative ...

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 ...