Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Foundering Ship Of State: A Followup



Following up on last evening's post, I am adding the comments of Gyor, who listed several more failures of the Trudeau government thus far:
You forgot Trudeau's attempt to increasingly centralize power in Parliament.

Many parliamentary posts still go unfilled 2 years in, the filling of which Chantal Herbert called the governmental equivant of tying ones shoe laces.

His questionable trip with the Aga Khan.

Minister Joly's Netflix boondoogle pissing off Quebec and the RoCs TV and Movie industry.

His MMWI is a mess, and should have included FN men, who are murdered and missing more often then FN women and who cases go unsolved more often.

Morneau's Villa in France in the name of a Corporation.

Trudeau's idea of boosting Foreign Aid was to take it from a general pool for all in need to give to only women, leaving men in need to die.

Lying about the combat role in Iraq, remember the Sniper shot that set a record.

Boosting military spending massively to appease Trump, while mismanaging the C-18 procurement.

NAFTA negiotations, period. Disaster.

The infrastructure bank he never promised, that will transfer wealth to the rich.

Oh and recently ambushing the Premiers recently with the idea for a special weed tax that they were not prepared for especially when the stated goal was to underprice criminal organizations.

Meanwhile, both the optics and the 'ethics' of Finance Minister Bill Morneau's situation continue to reverberate. Martin Patriquin offers this withering assessment:
Morneau, a multimillionaire banker married to a multimillionaire heiress, owns a villa in southern France. He also owns millions of shares in Morneau Shepell, the pension services behemoth founded by his father. Let us peruse how our finance minister has handled these particular assets.

Morneau’s French villa is owned by a holding company in which Morneau and his wife Nancy McCain are partners. Morneau neglected to mention the existence of this corporation to Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson until after the CBC’s Elizabeth Thompson started asking questions about it. Such corporations are particularly useful in France, where the inheritance tax is an expensive burden for the country’s wealthy landowners. Using a corporation to avoid said taxes is entirely legal — much like the loopholes Morneau wishes to close for a certain class of Canadian tax-avoiders.

Next, there is the matter of those shares. Morneau’s shares, which earn upwards of $2 million in yearly dividends, are owned by a corporation controlled by Morneau and his family. This set of circumstances, unearthed by CTV News, allows Morneau to deke the federal conflict-of-interest ethics laws. Because they are owned by a corporation, not a human being named Bill Morneau, the finance minister didn’t have to get rid of them when he took office. Again, it’s perfectly legal. It’s also a loophole to hold onto extremely valuable assets he otherwise would need to sell.
Finally, Global National gives us some insight into Morneau's conflicts of interest/hypocrisy:



In today's Star, Chantal Hebert blames much of the Liberals' misfortune on rookie ministers like Morneau. I would say that the problem with the Trudeau government runs much, much deeper. Platitudinous rhetoric, arrogance and ethical blindness do not make for government people can trust and respect.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Foundering Ship Of State



Were you to examine my blog posts prior to the last election, you would see that I had grave reservations about the fitness of Justin Trudeau for Canada's top office. He seemed wedded to platitudes, and there was little to indicate anything substantive in his thinking.

After he and his merry men and women were elected, I was cautiously optimistic, so glad was I to see the end of the Harper era. Indeed, to that end, I voted for the Liberals. Now it seems, my earlier reservations are being realized. The Trudeau government has little to show for its two years in office.

Granted, they made the right move by admitting so many Syrian refugees, a moment that made me proud as a Canadian. And their desire to achieve reconciliation with aboriginals is commendable; however, their efforts at achieving it have been ill-executed and unlikely to bear fruit in the foreseeable future.

Of the environmental file I will not even speak. Trudeau's insistence that pipelines and climate-change mitigation are compatible is simply contemptible.

Then there was the cruel charade of promised electoral reform, something I now believe was doomed the moment the Liberals achieved a majority government. Moreover, it may ultimately prove to be a Pyrrhic victory, given the widespread disillusionment and cynicism their betrayal has engendered.

Add to that the latest information about Bill Morneau and the fact that his shares in the family company, Morneau Shepell, are not even being held in a blind trust, thanks to a loophole in the ethics law that Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson says she flagged long ago.

Compounding the Finance Minister's woes is his ineptitude in bringing in tax reform that was to net a paltry $250 million. As of today, it appears it will be much less:
Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced changes to his proposed tax reforms for private corporations on Wednesday, saying they will now target only the "unfair" tax advantages used by the wealthiest Canadians.

The vast majority of private corporations — about 97 per cent — will not be affected by the changes, Morneau said during an event in Hampton, N.B.
And as far as I can determine, this is to be the extent of reform, meaning the large corporations and those with shell companies will be able to continue evading their fair of taxes. All in all, pretty pathetic for a majority government whose rhetoric promised soaring improvements to so many files. You can bet that the ever-increasing deficit will haunt us in the future, likely necessitating substantial cuts in spending; this neoliberal government lacks the will to raise taxes or close loopholes on corporations.

Perhaps Janice Kennedy best sums up the sad situation we see today:
Campaign promises broken or unfulfilled, bungling, displays of ineptitude, fiscal recklessness – all defiantly wrapped in a banner of staggeringly misguided self-congratulation, as if the sun were still shining – have left countless 2015 Liberal voters disillusioned with a government that has a genius for optics and rhetoric.
There will always be those so-called progressives ready to reflexively defend Team Trudeau because they are not Stephen Harper and his foul apostles. To do so, however, is to suggest that the present government is the best Canada can expect. That is to sell woefully short both our democracy and our citizens, and it is a position I shall never, ever accept.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sometimes It Doesn't Go Their Way


Upon the re-election of Naheed Nenshi, the neoliberals have a message for Canadians who haven't gotten with the program:
Not everyone was happy about Naheed Nenshi being re-elected to a third term as Calgary's mayor Monday night — including some members of the Calgary Flames organization, which recently broke off talks with the city regarding construction of a new arena for the NHL team.
Sean Kelso, director of communications and media relations for the Flames, voiced his ire on Twitter soon after the results were made public, saying Nenshi being re-elected mayor is worse than Donald Trump being president of the United States.

The tweet was deleted minutes later, but not before being captured and shared widely on social media.


Now what is that old saying? Vive la resistance.

Truly, Madly, Deeply Deranged

That is the only appropriate description of that old deranged felon and adulterer/alleged rapist, (a.k.a., the standard hypocritical misconduct for the unhinged evangelical set) Jim Bakker.
Not mentioning his time in the wilderness, after he spent time in prison after bilking his followers out of $158 million, Bakker boasted that he has made many predictions — including 9/11 — that have come true, and that he is not being treated like the prophet he is.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fighting Back



Colin Kaepernick, the young NFL quarterback about whom I have previously posted, has shown remarkable integrity and fortitude dealing with the furor following his decision to 'take a knee' rather than stand for the U.S. national anthem. His action, to protest the brutalization of Black people at the hands of the authorities, has been roundly condemned by reactionaries for 'disrespecting the flag'. (The fact that 'taking a knee' has been a traditional show of respect by those entering Catholic church pews, I guess, is neither here nor there in this fraught environment.)

That Kaepernick no longer has a team to play for reveals much about systemic racism, both in the league and throughout America. Now, he has decided to fight back. He has filed a grievance against the NFL on Sunday, alleging that he remains unsigned as a result of collusion by owners following his protests during the national anthem.


It would take mental gymnastics worthy of a denizen of Nineteen Eight-Four not to be able to see the cause-and-effect at work in the erstwhile quarterback's ongoing unemployment:
Kaepernick's supporters believe he's being punished for protesting police brutality by refusing to stand during the national anthem last season. This movement has spread throughout the NFL this season, drawing sharp criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Last week, CBS Sports reporter Jason La Canfora said that Kaepernick would be willing to go anywhere to work out for a team and wanted to be judged solely on his football ability.
While a difficult grievance to actually prove, all the evidence points in the direction of the NFL owners blackballing him:
San Francisco safety Eric Reid, Kaepernick's former teammate, has been kneeling during the anthem before games, including Sunday's 26-24 loss at the Washington Redskins.

"I'll have to follow up with him," Reid said after the game. "It sure does seem like he's being blackballed. I think all the stats prove that he's an NFL-worthy quarterback. So that's his choice and I support his decision. We'll just have to see what comes of it."

The NFL players' union said it would support the grievance, which was filed through the arbitration system that's part of the league's collective bargaining agreement.
Colin Kaepernick is clearly a deeply principled person who is likely running a real risk of further repercussions as he pursues this grievance. But that is often how the finest manifestations of personal integrity work, isn't it?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

What A Great Legacy

Jimmy Carter will not be remembered as one of the great U.S. presidents, but when his long life ends, he will be remembered for something much more meaningful: great humanitarian and environmentalist:


On Human Resilience

In a world growing increasingly grim, it is easy to succumb to cynicism and defeatism. That is why stories like the following need to be told, to remind us that there is much, much more to human nature than the darkness we so regularly see. Young Tori Brinkman attests to this: