In case you’re wondering……

October 18 was our last posting date, and it was to this category. Yes, we’ve been soaking in a milk bath since October 19 election night, but there are plenty of clouds in that sky we see through our spa’s window, and a storm is always on the horizon.

Just in case you’re wondering, “constructive sedition” will not go away. Everyone wants to advise Justin Trudeau where his top priorities should lay…….a sign of how badly this government change is needed……but expectations are bound to outweigh the man and his team’s ability to deliver and satisfy. All will not be well all the time. There’s bound to be a Judas in the ranks. To boot, the ‘dark side’ is ever lingering in the wings, scanning the agenda for opportunities to obstruct, obfuscate and oppose. How do we put it? No vigilance. No democracy. Constructive sedition will not go away.

But, other matters await attention, too. The Ontario government is taking action on “carding”…..or is it? And, the federal prison system is making us work long, hard and on difficult terrain to uncover all it did to Brennan Guigue.

Just a beginning…….

And, oh, by the way, Joe Oliver lost his Conservative seat in Toronto’s Eglinton/Lawrence riding.

Now, what was it President Josiah Edward Bartlet used to say on television’s “The West Wing”? Oh yes, “What’s next?”

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Gotta Minute (15)

The anti-Harper handout/mailer we distributed in parts of Toronto’s Eglinton/Lawrence riding currently held by Conservative Joe Oliver drew attention to turnoverarocktoday. But, we expected email/phone/postal pushback to the content and tone of this brief piece.

What we got was nada. Nothing. Not one.

What does this say about Harper supporters’ lack of passion in defense of a party leader so severely criticized?

Can Harper stoop lower?

This posting’s title copies the Toronto Star’s Thursday, October 8 editorial heading commenting on Stephen Harper’s negative politicization of the niqab.

Another example that fits under the same banner is the juxtaposition of two items from the same newspaper:
Catherine Latimer is a former director general in the justice department and a Broadbent Institute fellow. Her op-ed piece in the Sunday, October 4 edition titled, “The making of a prison crisis”, begins, “Yesterday’s flawed ‘tough on crime’ policies are today’s prison crisis.”, and ends, “Our prisons are now in crisis, but if we surmount ‘touch on crime’ approaches and focus on just, effective and humane responses, Canada can once again be a world leader in corrections.” In between, she underscores how the current government’s mean-spirited stupidity for the sake of political expediency, coupled with a gullible and trusting public, is resulting in dangerous prison environments and lower community security.

A few days later on Wednesday, October 7, the paper ran Michael S. Schmidt’s piece from the New York Times, “6,000 inmates to be released from U.S. prisons.” The U.S. Justice Department is preparing to release these inmates at the end of October from federal institutions, a part of the rollback from harsh penalties for non-violent drug offences from the American experiment with a ‘tough on crime’ agenda in the 1980s and 90s, now involving about 50,000 inmates who will qualify for release.

We’ve said it before. We’ll say it again. Canada’s going where others have been and failed, where human and financial costs are unwarranted, and where Stephen Harper and the members of his Conservative caucus can make no excuses. Low? They lead the way.

Thank you, Mr. Harper – worth repeating.

“Information is the lifeblood of a democracy. Without adequate access to key information about government policies and programs, citizens and parliamentarians cannot make informed decisions and incompetent or corrupt governments can be hidden under a cloak of secrecy.”
Stephen Harper,
Montreal Gazette, 2005

Our March 13 posting this year, “Democracy? Stephen Harper’s nimbyism”, is an earlier reference to his 2005 comments in the Montreal newspaper. Check it out.

In the meantime of course, Stephen Harper is correct. But, do we really need to list all the ways and means he and the government he leads has stymied access to all manner of information, hiding “under a cloak of secrecy”?

Stephen Harper’s own words condemn him, his party, and the government he heads.

Here a poll, there a poll……..

The 1980s British sitcoms, “Yes, Minister” and “Yes, Prime Minister”, were selected as among the top ten television programs of all time by the British Film Institute. Written by Sir Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, with Paul Eddington as Jim Hacker, first a cabinet minister and later Prime Minister, Sir Nigel Hawthorne’s Sir Humphrey Appleby as his Permanent Secretary and then Cabinet Secretary, and Derek Fowlds’ Bernard Woolley as Hacker’s Principal Private Secretary, the series were not only hugely popular (fans included Margaret Thatcher), but were also the subject of university level dissertations.

The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business Magazine’s August 1992 edition gave a nod to the shows’ wit and wisdom under the title, “Ask and thou shalt receive”. The Globe article posited that polling results could easily be manipulated, and used a segment from a “Yes, Prime Minister” episode as an example.

Sir Humphrey’s insights into the fine art of polling came up in the context of National Service, or military conscription. The question: Would a so-called balanced sample of Britons who fairly represented the country’s demographic diversity agree to reinstate National Service? According to Sir Humphrey, it depended on how the question was posed, and he then illustrated by ‘interviewing’ Bernard Woolley, whose responses appear here in italics.

“Mr. Woolley, are worried about the rise in crime among teenagers? Yes. Do you think there is a lack of discipline and vigorous training in our schools? Yes. Do you think young people welcome some structure and leadership in their lives? Yes. Do they respond to a challenge? Yes. Might you be in favour of reintroducing National Service? Yes.”

“Well, naturally, I said yes,” Woolley admits. “One could hardly have said anything else without looking inconsistent.”

Then again, one might just as easily commission another poll, depending on one’s point of view.

“Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war? Yes. Are you unhappy about the growth of armaments? Yes. Do you think there’s a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill? Yes. Do you think it wrong to force people to take up arms against their will? Yes. Would you oppose the reintroduction of National Service? Yes.”

“I’d said ‘Yes’ before I’d even realized it,” Woolley concedes.

Humphrey was crowing with delight. “You see, Bernard,” he said, “you’re the perfect balanced sample.”

………everywhere a poll poll!