News roundup: November 30, 2013
Here are a few thoughts about recent Canadian political stories (in no particular order).
Liberal spin on the Toronto Centre by-election
Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals have been falsely claiming they ran a wholly positive campaign in the Toronto Centre by-election, and that this is why they beat the “angry” and “negative” New Democratic Party (NDP).
First, the Liberals did go negative during that campaign, including distributing a flyer that was a personal attack against NDP leader Tom Mulcair. When called on it, the dishonest Liberals cynically claimed that the personal attack was not a personal attack.
Second, the NDP vote share actually went up in that long-time Liberal stronghold; a significant achievement considering that the riding includes the richie-rich Rosedale neighbourhood, filled with smug elites who are deathly afraid of losing even the tiniest bit of their unearned wealth and status.
While the Liberal and NDP share of the vote both went up in that riding’s by-election, the Conservative vote totally collapsed. Former Conservative voters switched to the Liberals because of the overwhelming level of scandal and corruption in the Harper Con government, and because pro-corporate, pro-globalization Conservatives would rather have the pro-corporate, pro-globalization Liberals in power than the (comparatively) pro-worker, pro-small business NDP.
The Liberal Party’s abuse of Jack Layton’s legacy as a way to attack Mulcair is phony and tacky. It’s a blatant smear tactic to sow doubt amongst soft NDP supporters and to woo them with Obama-like “hope-and-change” platitudes. When Layton was alive, the Liberals were relentless in attacking and digging up dirt on him, and now they disingenuously claim they revere his memory.
Besides, even if Mulcair was angry all the time (which he obviously isn’t), what’s so wrong with righteous anger if it is directed at the right targets? Anyone who isn’t angry about what Conservative and Liberal governments have done to Canada over the last few decades is either rich and selfish or deliberately ignoring the evidence.
Liberals have always used scare tactics to try to convince NDP candidates to drop out or to trick NDP supporters into voting Liberal, even in ridings where the NDP candidate has the better chance of beating the Conservative candidate. When Liberals form government, they implement Conservative-style economic policies anyway. It’s a trap! The bottom line is that Liberals don’t want the NDP to exist. The Libs want to hog all the “progressive” votes without actually being progressive.
Conservative morons in Manitoba
To the Conservative voters in the Manitoba ridings of Brandon-Souris and Provencher, who elected Con MPs in their by-elections: You are either idiots or assholes, and I don’t want to know you. Either you haven’t been paying attention to the overwhelming evidence that the Harper Cons are the absolute worst government in Canada’s history, or you are jerkwads who just don’t care. The soft Conservative voters who helped put Harper in power in previous elections can possibly be forgiven for making rash decisions while in a stupor, but those who stupidly voted Conservative yet again are lost causes. I’ve never bought the cliché “the voters are always right”, because that slogan is clearly a lie.
Jim Love and Chris Mazza: professional scam artists
CBC has reported that Jim Love, the overpaid, underworked chair of the Royal Canadian Mint (and close personal friend of Jim Flaherty, Canada’s most incompetent finance minister), ran a lucrative side business advising rich people on how to cheat on their taxes.
Besides the issues of conflict of interest and treason, how the hell does the chair of the mint have enough spare time to run this kind of consulting firm? Considering the high level of pay (from the taxpayers) and responsibilities (to the taxpayers), the position should be so all-encompassing that he doesn’t have time to even consider starting a side business. If the mint job is, in fact, only part time, then the government should drastically reduce the pay and benefits to reflect that reality. Regardless, the government must fire Love immediately with just cause and ban him from working for any government agency again.
Chris Mazza, the former head of ORNGE, Ontario’s medical helicopter service, has popped up again, like the weasel he is. He’s the sleazebag who embezzled millions of dollars from the Ontario healthcare system and massively screwed up the helicopter service (harming patients and healthcare workers in the process).
In a mind-boggling act of self-entitlement and chutzpah, the disgraced doctor is suing the Ontario government for $1 million for performance bonuses to which he says he is entitled. What fucking nerve! If he weren’t a sociopath, he would simply count himself lucky that the authorities haven’t seized his assets, sent him to prison or stripped him of his medical licence!
The ORNGE fiasco is one of many examples of privatization of public services almost always becoming more expensive and inefficient in the long run. We pay more but get worse service so parasitical investors can get rich without working.
Ford fiasco: playing with fire
As the Rob Ford gravy-train wreck continues to wreak havoc on the residents of Toronto, I haven’t noticed anyone raise this concern (forgive me if I have missed it):
Considering that the mayor’s careless behaviour has resulted in worldwide attention to specific members of the organized crime sector — leading to arrests, threats, beatings and at least one murder — don’t Ford and his family risk revenge from the underworld? If he doesn’t become incapacitated from a heart attack, stroke, drug overdose or drunk-driving crash (or isn’t sent to jail), Ford could see his political career end at the hands of gangsters. If I were Ford, I would be worried more about those guys than the police or my foes on city council. That would be a real reason to sweat.
Kathleen Wynne jogging commercial
The TV commercial of Kathleen Wynne (Ontario Liberal leader) jogging on country roads and talking about being ambitious is really, really corny, and has inspired a parody ad featuring a fake Rob Ford. The pandering Libs deliberately staged the ad in rural Ontario because the party hasn’t been very successful in electing candidates in those ridings.
The Wynne jogging ad is about as cheesy as the tax-funded Economic Action Plan ads, the tax-subsidized tarsands industry propaganda, and the stomache-turning Walmart ads in which actors pretend to be happy employees who don’t actually need to depend on charity to feed their families.
In addition to the corniness, the Wynne jogging ad sets a bad example for safety. In the commercial, Wynne is jogging on the right-hand side of the road, but in Canada — if there are no sidewalks — pedestrians and joggers are supposed to travel on the left side of the road. Around the 17-second mark, Wynne crosses a road near a rocky bend. It’s all fine and dandy to monopolize the road in a closed course while filming a commercial, but in real life, roads tend to be shared by cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles. If a vehicle had been zooming around that blind turn, she could have been splattered, kind of like the Ontario Liberals might be in the next provincial election.