Friday, October 9, 2015

Fixing what ain't broke

Canada is under attack from a nefarious villain.  You know this villain, and its name is Niqab.  It is light, and scarfy, and a tremendous danger to Canadians.

Or so Stephen Harper wants us to believe.

Now he is insisting that he will push forward legislation to ban the niqab for those employed in the public service.  He won't ban crosses, or kippahs, because people who wear those vote for him.  No, he is bound and determined that niqabs be banned because by doing this he can whip up support among the openly xenophobic and racist members of society.

No one is complaining about the oppression of having to talk to someone in federal service who wears a niqab.  Hell, no one is even really sure who in the federal public service might be wearing a niqab, if anyone.  But this is a problem that must be solved, and the fact that it isn't a problem shouldn't stop us.

Let us, for a moment, step aside from these distraction tactics and look at the big picture.  Harper's government has been found in contempt of Parliament.  He has tried to eliminate fact based decision making by muzzling scientists and removing the long form census.  Our economy is in recession, our debt has skyrocketed under his leadership, and his government has been wracked with scandals revealing disgusting levels of corruption.

If you are big on the economy, Harper is a disaster.  If you are big on accountability, Harper is a disaster.  If you are big on honesty and transparency, Harper is a disaster.  Same goes for the environment and Canada's international image.

There is literally no reason to vote Conservative aside from liking their racist rhetoric.  So while I definitely recommend you vote NDP, I can say for sure that one way or the other we need to vote the bums out.  Even if it means installing Trudeau, the lesser of two evils.


  1. FYI - every time the media and random bloggers goes off on this issue, it keeps the issue front and centre. You're feeding the beast. Particularly ironic since most of the media on this issue is about how it's just a distraction. But it's only a distraction because the media (and bloggers) keep talking about it over anything else.

    This same tactic continues to work on the media, and it never hurts the candidate - note Rob Ford. Donald Trump.

    The media is proud of its righteous anger, ignoring that it's shooting itself in the foot.

  2. Well, when the prime minister of the country will only take questions from people who pay him money what is your solution?

    1. I've wondered about that.

      One option is for the major media outlets to stop covering Harper. Politicians need media, but media feels like they need politicians. But like the prisoner's dilemma, whoever cheats and reports on Harper gets the scoop, so there's no cooperation.

      The media chooses what it covers, and right now it knows that Harper outrage sells, so it stokes it by covering things that outrage people (and the media might also actually be outraged as I believe they are mostly socially progressive, but that could just be the media I tend to consume).

      Note that Conservatives may argue that Senate scandal/reform and Duffy trial isn't a real issue, it's a distraction from the real issue. But media gleefully reported on it without any talk about it being a Liberal/NDP distraction from the real issues.

      What are the "real" issues? Harper has a minimal impact on the economy. Corruption hits every long-time government. Accountability always suffers once the outraged Opposition gets power (you may recall that Harper originally got elected due to the sponsorship scandal and demanding accountability).

      I would like a different government because it's time for a change and small issues that matter to me aren't going the way I like (possibly because the media highlights them). But I also know that a lot of the election stuff is fluff - no one is really talking about hard issues because it's too easy to frame you badly if you try and not enough of the public are interested.

    2. The TPP seems like it's a pretty scary thing, and Harper is all in on that. I'd consider that a real issue that the leader can impact.

    3. How much do you actually know about the TPP?

      The only reporting I see on it is by people who are against it, using leaked documents. It's hard to make an objective judgement call on that, though some are more concerned with the secret/discrete nature of the negotiations.

      It is true that we might have gotten a bad deal because Harper wanted to announce something pre-election. That's a risk.

      It's also possible that there are numerous complex issues involved, and the negotiators are professional bureaucrats who truly have the interests of Canada foremost in their mind (though arguably their definition of "interests" may differ from yours or mine). As a result, we may have gotten the best deal we could, understanding that most of government is about compromise, and that the alternative (no deal) was worse.

      I really don't know. But when I only see arguments from one side of an issue I'm hesitant to immediately join them.

      Is the TPP a real issue that Harper can influence? Probably. Might look odd if he cancels at the last moment after pushing for it, so I think everyone agrees that Harper pushes hard for trade deals, but I don't know that he gets involved with the nitty-gritty. He probably cares about the big/political issues, and hopes it all stays secret so that the negotiators can make a good deal without the destructive distraction of politics.

    4. If I knew exactly what the TPP entailed I could form an opinion... but I am with Vienneau in that everything I have seen is couched in half known things and guesswork. I don't like Harper, obviously, but whether or not the TPP is a good thing isn't something I think we know for sure at this point. I put myself firmly in the 'suspicious but not well enough informed' camp. The fact that the public isn't going to know anything about the TPP until it is already done and signed is deeply troubling though.

    5. I finally saw an argument in support of the TPP:

      As I expected, there are some things that might be good in it.

    6. So because drug companies wanted to be able to prevent generics for 12 years it's ok that they only got it for 7? Not being as terribly bad doesn't make things good.

      Do I know the details of the TPP? No, because they can't be known. That's one of the bad things about secret deals. But we can know things about prior trade deals, and how badly those have gone. We can see the leaked stuff and understand how incredibly bad those things will be. It's going to be a way for the rich to get richer while the general population gets screwed.