Song of the Watermelon: National Post Letter

In today’s National Post, I’ve got another letter to the editor on everyone’s favourite topic: the Trans Mountain pipeline. (I’ll stop repeating myself once people start listening!) My letter appears only in the print edition, so I cannot provide a link. Accordingly, here is the full text: The pipeline crisis Re: PM takes right tack ...

Politics and its Discontents: Defining The National Interest

As the video included in yesterday’s post shows, Justin Trudeau likes to defend the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline as in ‘the national interest.” The term itself is a contentious one, given its nebulous nature. For the Prime Minister, it seems to mean economic growth, moving Alberta’s bitumen to port, and bolstering Rachel Notley’s ...

Politics and its Discontents: The Simpsons Have His Number

Those whose memories extend beyond last night’s hockey scores may recall that in 2011, while he was a Toronto city councillor, Doug Ford proposed an ‘exciting’ vision for that city’s waterfront: a monorail, a megamall, and a giant Ferris wheel,: “What we’d like to do is have a monorail system that’s running right from the ...

Politics and its Discontents: Seeking Sanctuary

Sometimes, living in Canada’s most populous province is embarrassing. Anyone know a remote mountain top I can retreat to? These letter-writers define my problem: In light of the recent PC leadership convention that saw the resurrection of the anti-abortion faction, the denial of climate change, the renewal of the “no tax is good tax” fallacy, ...

Song of the Watermelon: Globe and Mail Letter

In today’s Globe and Mail, you will find a letter from me (fourth from the top, under the heading “In the national interest”) relating the present interprovincial pipeline kerfuffle to global efforts efforts to solve the climate crisis. Never hurts to remind ourselves how much is really at stake.

Politics and its Discontents: Will It Be Vision Or Political Expedience?

In yesterday’s post, I wondered whether Jagmeet Singh and the NDP will embrace a form of radical progressivism as it prepares for the 2019 federal election or instead hew to more mainstream policies that they think will make them more electable. In today’s Star, two letter-writers offer some important perspective. Rose DeShaw, of Kingston, Ont., ...

Politics and its Discontents: Be Careful What You Wish For

As you likely know, Jeff Bezos is currently searching for a second headquarters for his company, Amazon. And much to the delight of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mayor John Tory, Toronto has made the final cut of 20 cities being considered. Whoever lands the company is promised upwards of 50,000 well-paying jobs as well ...

Politics and its Discontents: Double Double, Toil And Trouble: Star Readers On Tim Hortons And The Minimum Wage Hike

As always, the letters from Star readers do not disappoint: I am really finding it difficult to empathize with businesses like Tim Hortons crying over the minimum-wage increase. The fact that these businesses are paying minimum wage in the first place demonstrates a corporate greed that supersedes any dignity and respect for their employees that ...

Politics and its Discontents: Despite The Hysteria The Sky Will Not Fall

In an op-ed piece the other day, Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, wrote of the economic Armageddon awaiting Ontario businesses thanks to the recently-hiked Ontario hourly minimum wage to $14, to be increased to $15 next year. While no one can fault Kelly for pandering to the interests of his ...

Politics and its Discontents: Corporate Crocodile Tears: A Guest Post

In response to my post yesterday about CBC bias in its reporting on Ontario’s minimum wage increase, the Mound wrote a detailed commentary that I am featuring today as a guest post. Following his piece I reproduce a letter from a Star reader pillorying corporate hypocrisy. “Government should function on the expectation that corporations will ...

Politics and its Discontents: Not At All Like His Father

That is the opinion of Star letter-writer Colin Languedoc who, along with Mubashir Rizvi, shares my disappointment in Justin Trudeau’s craven capitulation to bullying by Donald Trump and his minions. Canada sits on its hands for UN vote, Harper, Dec. 22 Tim Harper’s excellent column about the UN vote denouncing the U.S. embassy move brings ...

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 ...