Monday, May 6, 2013

why focus on inflation when there is little evidence of a inflationary trend while there are abundant statistics revealing just how bad things are for both the unemployed and the underemployed.

One of the official goals of central bank monetary policy is supposed to be low employment fostered through what is known as an expansionary policy by lowering interest rates with the hope that low credit rates will encourage businesses to expand their operations by way of capital investment in hard assets or capital expenditures of some sort and new hirings. We've had this policy in place for quite some time now, and yet employment really hasn't improved one iota. If anything it’s merely gotten worse along with - because of the incentive of low interest rates -  an astounding increase in personal debt to the unseemly tune of a 165% income to debt ratio.
While some businesses are moderately expanding their operations, they do not seem to be increasing employment. Instead, they are either retaining cash and letting it grow - Carney’s so-called hoarding ‘dead money’ - or off shoring/third-partying employment at lower wage standards. Using low interest rates to try to control both inflation* and encourage employment, in other words, simply isn’t working.
But why focus on inflation at all when there is little evidence of any sort of inflationary trend while there are abundant statistics revealing just how bad things are for both the unemployed and the underemployed.** The focus should clearly be on increasing employment, but since low interest rates appear not to be working, printing money to monetize our national debt is just about the only worthwhile option left for a central bank to consider, and just about every central bank in the developed world is doing just that with the exception of Canada. Why not Canada?  Because of a neurotic, ideological fear of inflation that might be generated by a larger money supply - too much money chasing too few goods and thereby raising prices and potentially distorting the price of some financial assets. We are ruled by true believers.
But with that twisted caveat in mind and bearing in mind that this would constitute only a technical solution, not the genuine transformation we really need, printing money for a determinant period of time is still a good choice; for it would allow the government to spend with a bit of comfort in order to build, say, infrastructure and other employment generating programs that both stimulate the economy and employ people as well as potentially lower the Canadian dollar and thereby increase exports.
The problem is that strategy is a political choice, one that would require an intelligent government interested in generating employment rather than imposing wage-suppression and sustaining asset stability.* But the new head of the Bank of Canada apparently plans on maintaining the same old failing monetary policies of his predecessor and his CEO, Flaherty, by privileging inflation over employment as a primary policy direction - albeit a mandated policy but one that nevertheless serves only the neoliberal investor class, not ordinary Canadians. This narrow, misguided perspective is no doubt the reason Stephen Poloz has been chosen as the new Governor.
‘Growth’ and ‘inflation’ are prominent in the news stories about the new Governor with a wish to increase employment nowhere to be found. He’ll get along just fine with Steve and Jim.
* Inflation is an enemy of neoliberalism for two reasons: it erodes the monetary value of already held assets such as bonds and creates pressure to increase wages. Quantitative easing of any sort is a no no under our strict neoliberal regime, though I would not be surprised to see it applied to private sector financial organizations should they need bailing out of some sort.

**  For example, "the number of temporary workers in Canada hit a record two million last year, according to Statistics Canada. That amounts to 13.6 per cent of the work force compared with 11.3 per cent in 1997, when such record-keeping began.
And since the recession, temporary work has grown at more than triple the pace than permanent employment – up 14.2 per cent for temp work between 2009 and 2012, versus 3.8 per cent for permanent workers."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why are governments addicted to neoliberal #austerity?

The key to deficit reduction is not austerity - reducing government spending by cutting programs and personnel - but good old-fashioned employment. Stanford’s argument is in the Krugman reformist, Keynesian tradition. He doesn't seek a transformation, merely a technical economic readjustment, but, given our failure to transform capitalism so far - which can be brought about, in any case, only with a political strategy, not mere economic tinkering - it has value within the framework of a capitalist reality - a stopgap of sorts. 
As I've said many times in that context:
Without employment, no income; without income, no spending; without spending, no demand; without demand, no production; without production, no economy.
And thus no tax revenue to pay down the deficit. Frighteningly simple, especially when one realizes that government itself instead of firing people could be employing them and establishing employment programs in an effort to stimulate the economy when the private sector is failing to do so during these stagnating times.
Still, the question remains: why is it that so many governments continue to drink the austerity koolaid when it is so evident from countless global examples that it simply doesn't work? Because of course, as the main partner in corporatocracies, they serve their corporate brethren and their plutocratic masters. Austerity always privileges this investor class, and, while it may seem counter-intuitive, recessions, as Robert Pollin has suggested, actually benefit this class*. Ontario is no exception in its allegiance to the financial sector - after all Bay Street isn't in Boise -  especially since it necessarily controls so much of Ontario’s industrial economy too. As long as industrial economic activity is fulled by debt/credit, the financial sector and its capital will be in control.
We should nevertheless be grateful, I suppose, that the Ontario Liberals chose to ignore Don Drummond’s highly dubious classic neoliberal recommendations. Who knows the horrors they might have wrought.

* In the eyes of the investor class, austerity presumably generates confidence by working to maintain government solvency and asset value, especially long-term government bonds, by way of keeping inflation in check through reduced spending. Thus Canada’s neoliberal fiscal policy complements the Bank of Canada’s monetary policy of low interest rates, which also keep inflation in check. This is important to the investor class because government is of course the final guarantor of the plutocrats’ investments and their banking institutions. The outsourcing of government services if they happen at all under austerity is only an incidental benefit as is increased neoliberal freedom in the “marketplace,” for spending, whether intended by the policy or not, is also seriously inhibited in the general economy..

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Maybe its time to begin thinking about withdrawing our patronage from all retailers and services that offshore labour

"Yes, the Conservatives are focused on what they call the economy. But their economy is a ruthless, inhuman task-master. It demands that the very profitable Royal Bank be even more profitable. It demands that 45 highly trained people lose their jobs. It demands that Canada’s visa system allow all of this to happen. The government serves this economy faithfully. Whom does this economy serve?"      - Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star
Maybe its time to begin thinking about withdrawing our patronage from all retailers and services that offshore labour - including perhaps even call centres, which are the most inefficient offshore labour* of all. That might be hard to do, but choices can be made on the scale of evil, even though it’s true, as Phil Soubliere once told me, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

One could also continue to educate one’s family, neigbours, and friends about the exploitative practices that lie behind their shiny new mobile phone or computer, their wonderfully au courant clothing, their expansive new internet service, and their friendly neighbourhood bank. I find, however, that most people, wanting to get on with their necessitated drudge lives, could care less. Yes, of course you’re right, my dear fellow, but what can I do about it? So good luck with that. Maybe your mother will listen.
*English is indeed the language of business and global commerce thanks to U.S. imperial control of global finance, but the cultural differences, the nuances, the subtexts, the connotations, the rhythms among English language speakers are significant when it comes to communication efficiency - which is what a call centre should be all about. An English-speaking German really doesn’t speak the same language as an Indian or Texan. This is why offshoring call centres in the interest of profit and wage cost cutting is a failed business practice. It frequently if not always alienates clients.  The neoliberal habit of displacing domestic workers is also of course in and of itself morally reprehensible.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Continuing our way to aggregated no growth economy

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Change will not come from government and this policy or that - only from extra-congressional, extra-parliamentary strategies.

Here is a two-part interview with Stephanie Seguino, who, though focusing squarely on income inequality and its racial and gender implications, is not a revolutionary transformer of capitalism but a technical reformer in the Krugman Keynesian tradition. Like  Krugman, she advocates closely monitored public spending as a way to stimulate the economy. An interesting argument - especially on how profoundly youth, blacks, Hispanics and single mothers are disparagingly affected by income inequality resulting from the 2008 crisis - but one, alas, that simply asks for better management, not change to the very system itself. It remains clear that change will not come from government and this policy or that -  only from extra-congressional, extra-parliamentary strategies.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The issue is not #capitalism under new management, but the transformation of #capitalism itself. #neoliberalism #cdnecon

More and more I tend to agree with George Monbiot that it is not neoliberalism in and of itself as an ideology or economic theory that is the root cause of our economic/political/social woes, but the ruling oligarchy’s alibiing use of that model to further their own wealth no matter the harm that results from that quest. (Is it any wonder they’re called “the feral rich.”) The distinction is important because it shifts the strategic focus to the plutocratic investor class itself and in turn their banking, regulatory, and corporate institutions - their agents of destruction -  which are served of course by compliant governments everywhere and nowhere more so than right here in Canada. Our banks are now “too big too fail.” This is, sad to say,  the point to which the financialization of the Canadian economy has descended: 80% of  financial assets are held in these institutions. Be prepared for the socializing of bank debt down the road now that the framework's in place; that is, you'll pay for any bailouts.

More and more too I find myself in agreement with both Greg Albo and Leo Panitch, who have argued persuasively that progressives groups here (including the Council of Canadians) and elsewhere are very big on tactics and “micro-politics” but woefully lacking in overall strategy and considerations of  long-term consequences. I would add to their basic argument that the self-interest of the progressive groups each with its own agenda determined largely by their executives - as is the case with political parties - will no doubt continue to inhibit any collectivizing co-operative movement towards a larger, focused pragmatic goal of institutionalizing social democratic controls.

For a brief moment, there was a ray hope with the establishment of CommonCauses, but apparently all they wish to do is replicate the actions of other progressive groups and to replace the Harper Regime. The issue of course is much larger than that simplistic goal. The issue is not capitalism under new management, but the transformation of capitalism itself. Else all is lost.

Is it hopeless? Perhaps not. Perhaps all that is required is patience, As Richard Wolff has said, "As has happened often in human history, what provokes change is less any clear vision of where we go next and more the intolerability of where we are. Capitalism is no longer "delivering the goods" for most people. The circle of its beneficiaries grows smaller and richer and more out of touch with the mass of people than ever."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Inform your "fiscally conservative" friends please of this astounding failure

#neoliberalism Under Flaherty the #cdnecon since 2006 has been a debt-fuelled financialized one only with little real production, productivity, or significantly increased employment to drive demand. Credit card debt has gone from $35.6 billion in February 2006 to $77.4 in February 2012, a staggering 117% increase.  

Mortgage debt has gone from $672.5 billion to $1111.8 billion in February 2012, an eye-popping 65.3%. And these figures do not account for the past 12 month period, in which we already know personal debt has substantially increased even more.  The personal debt to income ratio is 165% - which ought to be an embarrassment to all Canadians not just the so-called Finance Minister.

 Why has Flaherty remained credible to the mainstream media? Because he's enabling them to make record profits, we know why he has to the financial community, especially since all his private sector economic consultants are from the banking sector. And of course it is these same consultants to whom the press turns for its stories. They're both inside the neoliberal bubble.

Yes, I'm repeating myself. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

To begin the process of democratizing the economy step 1 is to restore the banks to their status as public utilities

More at The Real News

This is Part 2 of a three part discussion with James K. Galbraith and Leo Panitch on whether any sort of New Deal is now possible in America. This segment crystallizes for me the difference between Keynesian reformers like Galbraith and Krugman, say, and revolutionaries like Panitch. Galbraith  continues to have faith in regulation and the government institutions that are capable of controlling economic and financial policies, claiming in effect it’s just a question of reform, of having the right personnel in those institutions and a reasonable government in power. Panitch recognizes that the problem isn’t a mere issue of personnel or government.  It’s a structural problem because these institutions are embedded in Wall Street, maintaining the financialization of the economy and undermining thereby a real industrial economy based on supply and demand. These institutions in fact serve Wall Street. 
What we need, Panitch argues - and I  could’t agree more - is to begin the process of aggressively democratizing the economy. The first step would be to restore banks to their status as public utilities, for it is the oligarchical control of banking corporations with their destructive neoliberal policies that is the root cause of all our social and economic malaise. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A 516.7 billion increase in personal debt and 140 billion in federal debt since Flaherty took over

Whatever economic movement we've had has been fuelled by essentially personal debt, an astonishing  516.7 billion increase since 2006, at a staggering 165% debt to disposable income ratio. Only #banksters and the investor class benefit from such a financialization of the economy. And we’re 140 billion deeper in federal financial debt since Flaherty took over with a net debt balance of 650 billion and a stagnating global economy - the effects of which will be hard to escape since, lacking a diversified domestic economy,  all our economic growth eggs are in export markets and in particular commodities - namely oil and mining. The classic neoliberal agenda has failed miserably. Time for Drummond, Hyder, O’Leary and Co. to wake up from the dream.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Economic Forecast: Canada To See Years Of Stagnation, BMO Report Predicts

Deeply, dangerously indebted “consumers” (aka Canadian citizens) at a 156% debt to income ratio aggressively imposed upon us by banksters motivated by bottom line greed, an overpriced (by at least 10%) declining housing market with a potential bubble waiting to burst, the waning of a diversified export market and eroding commodity (read oil and minerals) prices, the absence of business (corporate or otherwise) investment plans, failing austerity and deficit reduction programs at all levels of government, an impoverishment of economic government policy and meaningful stimulus programs, stagnating wages necessitating the recessing of “consumer” spending* and the effect of that on demand, deepening income disparity and anti-union sentiment, the gradual disappearance of the middle class and the evil tenacity of the 1-10% plutocracy in clinging to their destructive neoliberal investor-oriented economic agenda - in short, we have a stagnating economy until at least all the oil runs out in 50 to 90 years and the inevitable forced shift to local economies the absence of that energy infrastructure will bring. Without a real revolution, we must wallow in this slough of despond for at least a generation unless global warming and climate change do us in first - which seems increasingly likely.
*“Canadian consumers were the linchpin of the economic recovery, contributing more than half of total GDP growth in 2010 and 2011,” the report says. “Unfortunately, a good chunk of that consumption was fuelled by debt, making it unsustainable.”
Note: Much of what I enumerate here applies to the U.S.. of course and other western capitalist countries.
 P.S. I sometimes like to think that moment of revolution is soon upon us with both the Canadian and global economies now settling into permanently stagnant conditions. An economic-social crisis would seem imminent. The complete and utter vacuousness of the neoliberal monster and all its evil tentacles will emerge of necessity from the dark pool of greed and avarice to be seen as the destructive horror it really is. And so every contribution to public discourse about this source of our all woe, this powerful engine of all our misery, helps - and that despite the embarrassing inadequacy of our Canadian media to deal with the matter in any meaningful way. How can they when they’re inscribed in the neoliberal myth as much as any true believer like the banksters, Flaherty, Harper, et al, though it's difficult not to wonder whether these last really know it’s fundamentally a  Ponzi scheme and always has been since at least 1970.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Economic Reality

#nogrowth #cdnecon - let me reiterate - for the foreseeable future with no more than a relative 2% forever

Even if one were a true believer worshipping daily at the altar of neoliberalism and its side altars the Dow and TSX, how can a mere 0.7%  growth of the Canadian economy in the last half of 2012 be remotely considered acceptable?  Isn't such a distressing figure an index of failing economic policy - of a failure to encourage and develop a diversified domestic economy  instead of  the weighted “natural resources”  (read oil and mining) export economy we have?  One can only take blaming appalling global economic conditions so far since it is the same neoliberal agenda responsible for those dire conditions. The global neoliberal agenda with its “market-based solutions” is slowly but surely imploding - which, with peak oil,  may lead to a forced but desirable shift to local economies.

"Sustainable Economy" an Oxymoron

All this talk of a “sustainable economy” swirling around the tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline lately should remind us of just how oxymoronic such a concept is in the context of a non-renewable ”natural resources” based Canadian economy. For such a deep exploitative capitalist agenda is destructive at its core and even its perpetrators know this is so. With the exception of the wilfully ignorant, the world knows that the damage done to the land, to nature, to the environment  and the social and political radiating effects of that evil can never be repaired. And for what is this destruction wrought? To feed the bottom line of corporations, the 1%, the investor class, the plutocracy and those who gleefully serve it such as the Obama administration and the Harper Regime. Time perhaps for something beyond petitions, rallies, marches, and social media.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why a completely unremarkable film called Argo won the Oscar

How ironically fitting that Michelle Obama announced the Oscar for the winning picture. Argo is a putative "true" story from the not too distant U.S. past - a past to which American viewers can easily relate - a feel good story of American perseverance, ingenuity, courage, an inspiring version of U. S. exceptionalism resulting in a bloodless American victory with only, according to the script but not Ken Taylor, a smidgen of help from Canadians. Such an uplifting image was far more appealing to mean-age 63 Academy voters.  
Does Argo deserve the Oscar? Depends on what "deserves" means. 
For the film is remarkably unexceptional in every way including the Howard Hawks overlapping dialogue and suspense building cross-cutting sequences, this last a sequence structure we've see a hundred times before. There are no outstanding scenes, no notable performances - just workmanlike stuff from mostly television actors - no innovative shooting strategy or editing, no production design worthy of note, no serious moral or political challenges offered - only a fiction of another young CIA agent bucking the system to do the right thing thereby exhibiting once again American courage and creativity. (Cf. Homeland and Zero Dark Thirty.) Voters  preferred this image to the dry debates about the dark past of slavery and the questionable conduct of the CIA. 

Postscript: to add insult to injury as it were, Argo was not even shot on film. What possible aesthetic rationale justifies the choice of digital over film for such a conventional project?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty Leaves Plenty of Space for Viewer's Moral Judgment

Spoiler alert: The U.S. Navy SEALS murder Osama Bin Laden and several others in his Pakistani compound without mercy and with vengeful malice.
Most of the controversy swirling round the film revolves around whether the filmmaker, Kathryn Bigelow - positioned as auteur by most commentators -  endorses torture or  whether the film’s narrative raises the moral issue of torture for contemplation. There is, in my reading,  no overt moral position offered by the film on torture or even the morality of CIA procedures in general.  Many commentators have unwittingly bemoaned this absence or taken it as a tacit moral endorsement of torture - their right as viewers - but it is is overwhelmingly clear that torture and CIA investigative procedures, as morally problematic as they might be to us as viewers, are judged - are valued - in the film only in terms of their pragmatic effectiveness in what is for both viewers and participants a classic revenge narrative structure. "Do these procedures and practices work to help us catch terrorists, and in particular do they work to help us get Bin Laden so that we will be able to murder him in a bloody act of revenge?"

Representations of torture are recessed in the second half of the film, it should be noted,  not because of a moral awakening  by any given character but only because of a policy decision by a new administration. The Obama TV moment presented in the background in the context of a CIA war or situation room makes this crystal clear. Even Dan’s warning to Maya  - relatively early in the film -  about the possible repercussions of “enhanced” methods of detainee interrogations comes in the form of a political warning about saving her CIA ass, not moral reprehension.

The devastating loss of American lives on 9/11 is the initiating narrative event that rolls out a straightforward revenge structure ending in the murder of Bin Laden and several of his domestic companions.  Before the film proper begins in earnest, however, we are exposed to an introductory screen text informing us that the representations we are about to watch are based on  "firsthand accounts of actual event." There is an implicit moral distancing in this textual strategy - “I'm just showing you the way it was” - but certainly one of its other effects is to suggest that what we are about to see carries the weight of authenticity and is therefore important if not “real.” The now conventional use of handheld cameras is meant to reinforce this effect with a documentary-like style of shooting. In other words, the “realism” of the film is not an allegiance to “truth” or reality,” whatever those may be since neither is a given, but a filmic effect resulting from a well-established set of film conventions creating an illusion, a fiction, of “what really happened.” It seems appropriate to evaluate the film as such.

The film proper opens with a black screen over which we hear the dying voices of only American victims of the twin towers, a restriction thus positioning us emotionally if not ideologically as American viewers. Immediately after this audio text, we are treated to roughly forty-five minutes of extensive torture sequences, including several instances of the infamous water-boarding technique. Juxtaposing the first visual torture scene of al-Qaeda’s No. 3 leader, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, with the voices of the twin tower Americans who are about to die creates a  structural effect implying a retaliatory cause-effect relationship - “I am torturing you because of 9/11” -  and that effect is sustained throughout the entire 45 minutes of multiple scenes of torture and implied throughout the entire film.

These kind of scenes are gradually recessed as we move in the second half of the film towards interrogations without torture - but nonetheless grounded in bribes or threats - and sequences of CIA group intelligence analysis:  the so-called “hard work” some critics want to see as the reason for discovering Bin Laden.  But the dialogue reveals on several occasions that the analysis - the “hard work” - really results from information received from interrogated detainees, on screen and off, and those detainees, we know, were abused in some form or other if not overtly tortured.  "Does our treatment of detainees work? You bet."

Inter-cut with these intelligence analysis scenes is a revenge justifying history of  major terrorist attacks against westerners since 9/11, but especially against Americans, each successfully gaining more screen time and thus significance until the final, climactic suicide bombing in Afghanistan of one of Maya’s closest colleagues, Jessica, who has been betrayed  by her al-Qaeda connections. Now it’s “personal” is the implication as we move towards the final bloody revengeful act of murder in Pakistan.

But, in truth there has been little if anything personal in the film - no character development for anyone let alone Maya who has been merely the driving agent of revenge. We know little more about her by the end of the film than we do at the beginning, and the final scene of Maya in a giant U.S. army transport plane alone, isolated, and small is telling in its ambiguity.  "Where do you want to go?" asks a crew member,  his question unanswered. And what do we read on her face?  Relief? Satisfaction? Sadness? An unwinding? Anxiety now that her obsessive-compulsive revenge narrative has come to its end?  Plenty of room for the  the viewer’s meaning.

Following that final character scene is another screen text rounding out the ideological thrust of the film in its acknowledgement of the victims of 9/11 once again and all those who serve the American exceptionalist project.  Closure is provided by that framing text confirming the essence of the film as an apologia of sorts, a justification of policy, of strategy: “Revenge and all that that entails, including torture, are okay because they drove us to get Bin Laden, and we did that for you.”  Whether this is a impaired moral justification is the viewer’s decision.

In the end, it matters little what the filmmaker or commentators say about Zero Dark Thirty.  You are the site of meaning: it’s your reading of the film conditioned though it may be by your cultural, moral, and social inscription that matters. Like any text, film texts are unstable, dynamic, their meaning put in motion by your engagement with them. In a sense there is no film without you.Zero Dark Thirty is provocatively open enough - disturbing in so many ways - to allow for a variety of ways to read it, and that makes it a challenging, ideologically complex film well worth viewing - far more exciting than some of its straightforward conventional Oscar challengers.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Unintended Consequences of Military Intervention:

The Roots of Mali and Algeria Crisis in Libya. And let's not forget Canada's gung-ho involvement in Libya - which might partially explain the interest in Mali now. what was unleashed in Libya is coming home to roost.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bill McKibben on #IdleNoMore | The stakes couldn’t be higher, for Canada and for the world

"The stakes couldn't be higher, for Canada and for the world. Much of this uprising began when Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper rammed through Parliament an omnibus bill gutting environmental reviews and protections. He had no choice if he wanted to keep developing Canada’s tar sands, because there’s no possible way to mine and pipe that sludgy crude without fouling lakes and rivers. (Indeed, a study released a few days ago made clear that carcinogens had now found their way into myriad surrounding lakes). And so, among other things, the omnibus bill simply declared that almost every river, stream and lake in the country was now exempt from federal environmental oversight. Canada’s environmental community protested in all the normal ways – but they had no more luck than, say, America’s anti-war community in the run up to Iraq. There’s trillions of dollars of oil locked up in Alberta’s tarsands, and Harper’s fossil-fuel backers won’t be denied. But there’s a stumbling block they hadn’t counted on, and that was the resurgent power of the Aboriginal Nations. Some Canadian tribes have signed treaties with the Crown, and others haven’t, but none have ceded their lands, and all of them feel their inherent rights are endangered by Harper’s power grab. They are, legally and morally, all that stand in the way of Canada’s total exploitation of its vast energy and mineral resources, including the tar sands, the world’s second largest pool of carbon. NASA’s James Hansen has explained that burning that bitumen on top of everything else we’re combusting will mean it’s “game over for the climate.” Which means, in turn, that Canada’s First Nations are in some sense standing guard over the planet."

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mission Accomplished for the shrewd person who decided on the Deloitte Audit Release

It’s difficult not to think that the timing of the release of  the Deloitte financial audit of Atawapiskat was calculated in its anticipation of a potential backlash against Spence and, by association, #idlenomore.  The audit prompted Spence to shut down media relations, a closed door thus leading to the media’s usual the-people-deserve-to-know resentment and dog-with-a-bone mentality about being squashed.  That in turn led to bad press, especially from the Coyne, Blatchford,  and Wente types, and bad press led to an apparent shift in public opinion.  The squabbling over today's meeting doesn't help. 
Mission accomplished for whoever it was who decided to release the audit.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Harper May Have his Coalition but he doesn’t have Canada

Stephen Harper keeps support of ‘coalition’ of voters: poll

“Among the findings in the Dec. 7-12 Ipsos Reid poll:

 * 44 per cent of Canadians think Harper’s majority government is “working well,” while 56 per cent don’t think it is.
 * 45 per cent like the way Harper is “handling his job as prime minister,” while 55 per cent don’t.
 * 44 per cent share Harper’s “values” on where Canada should be headed, compared to 56 per who don’t.
 * 48 per cent think Harper’s “approach to politics” has been good for Canada, while 52 per cent don’t think so.
 * 44 per cent think Harper’s approach to politics has been good for Parliament, while 56 per cent don’t think so.
* 43 per cent think Harper should run for office again in the next election, set for 2015, while 57 per cent think he should quit.”
Stephen Harper keeps support of ‘coalition’ of voters: poll
Yes, he has his coalition of old white men living in rural Canada, much of the immigrant “market” of suburbia, and the #BigOil country of Western Canada. But, as the poll makes clear, he still hasn’t got the majority of Canadians – which means he does not really have a fundamentally democratic mandate. He rules only because of flawed electoral and riding systems. See my post on this issue elsewhere on this blog:

The Agonizing Challenge of Voting in 2015

Wednesday, January 2, 2013