A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
Contact us at democracyunderfire@gmail.com

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Political and Rhetorical Privilege

It’s perfectly possible for a man to lead a comfortable, indeed enviable life by any objective standard, yet be consumed with bitterness driven by status anxiety.” Dr. Paul Krugman in a NY Times article

He goes on: “This sort of high-end resentment, the anger of highly privileged people who nonetheless feel that they aren’t privileged enough or that their privileges might be eroded by social change, suffuses the modern conservative movement.”

Nothing makes a man accustomed to privilege angrier than the prospect of losing some of that privilege, especially if it comes with the suggestion that people like him are subject to the same rules as the rest of us.”

There is a lot of that going around of late and as David Climenhaga recently pointed out one in particular from Ontario falls squarely into that category....

Two well-heeled older men who never wanted for anything during their upbringings and now live comfortable, privileged lives will be getting together in Calgary this evening to talk about just how very, very angry they are.

I give you Doug Ford, Progressive Conservative premier of Ontario, and Jason Kenney, the man who would be United Conservative Party premier of Alberta – and may well be if he can get enough Albertans to be as angry as he is at these imagined slights to their privilege and, indeed, their elite position in society.

Mr. Ford, by the sound of it, has never really had to work a day in his life, having inherited significant wealth from his father’s label-making company rather like his political and rhetorical model, the current president of the United States.

Indeed that shit disturber in chief to the south is doing all he can, like his fellow bluster to the north, to destroy much of the hard won progress towards a more sustainable world both socially and environmentally.....

President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris deal in June, saying the accord would have cost America trillions of dollars, killed jobs, and hindered the oil, gas, coal and manufacturing industries.
But he also, at the time, said he would be open to renegotiating the deal, which was agreed by nearly 200 nations over the course of years – drawing ridicule from world and business leaders who said that would be impossible.
Under the Trump administration, the EPA has taken a more industry-friendly stance, weakening greenhouse gas rules around oil drilling and vehicle fuel efficiency, as well as tearing up an Obama-era plan to limit pollution from coal-fired power plants. The agency removed its section on climate change from its website last year for an “update” that has yet to materialize.

There is an old adage that says 'Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely' , we must be careful to maintain the traditional checks and balances on our political elites of all stripes, our very democracy is under attack in so many places near and far.

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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Our Unsung Hero.

Now that much of the initial commentary on the US – Canada – Mexico trade deal has run its course and the usual right wing suspects continue to nit pick the few things that were not resolved 100% in our favor its time to thank our team for their work. To remain calm and focused in the face of the ever increasing over the top rhetoric from the head of state of one of the county's involved, namely the unpredictable, divisive, blowhard, demagogue and megalomaniac called Donald Trump, is in and of itself a major accomplishment. For over a year our representative the strong, competent and patent Chrystia Freeland and her team has been dashing back and forth between here the U.S. 'negotiating' with an immensely more 'powerful' opponent.

Even if you do not fully endorse the outcome of said 'negotiations' (and I put that in apostrophes for how do you effectively negotiate in such an unequal position?) the work of the Canadian team and Ms Freeland cannot help but be admired. They deserve a medal for remaining calm and focused in the face of the crap coming out of the unstable sociopath to the south, in particular the retention of the 'dispute mechanism' is IMHO a major accomplishment for without such any 'agreement' would not be worth the paper on which it was written. (A point which has been driven home several times over the life of the current NAFTA agreement).

The other major plus from this agreement I believe is the removal of the Chapter 11, Section B., or the Investors-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism. This mechanism allowed foreign investors to bypass the domestic courts and sue governments before private international tribunals and cost Canada more than $95 million in legal costs defending itself against investor-state claims and paid out over $219 million in damages and settlements. It effectively gave foreign corporations control over our domestic policy as to whom we dealt with. Good riddance I say!

No doubt there will be further efforts to curb the megalomaniac's wish to have the entire world, including Canada, bend over and kiss his arse without question, the only question being how long we and the rest of the world will have to put up with this idiot. Will he last his full term, will his brain dead supporters continue to believe his crap …. probably, but I hope for the sake of our neighbors to the south and the world order his days are numbered!

Canada's ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton, was pretty direct about such negotiations and agreements when he said :-
"If you can't resolve disputes in a fair and balanced way, then what is the use of the agreement? If you can't have some curb on the arbitrary use of tariffs under the guise of national security with a member of NORAD and somebody who is your closest defence partner, then I don't think it is much of an agreement."

Amen to that and thanks for your work Chrystia.

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