The DEEPLY Depressing 2015 Canadian Election 2

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (L), NDP leader Thomas Mulcair (C) and Progressive Conservative leader Stephen Harper pose for a photo opportunity prior to the beginning of  the Globe and Mail Leaders Debate in Calgary, Alberta September 17, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Sturk  - RTS1NBL

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (L), NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Progressive Conservative leader Stephen Harper (C) pose for a photo opportunity prior to the beginning of the Globe and Mail Leaders Debate in Calgary, Alberta September 17, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Sturk – RTS1NBL

I watched a second English language leaders’ debate the evening of September 17. It was sponsored by the Globe And Mail and took place in Calgary. The focus was on the economy. The rightwing Globe wouldn’t let Elizabeth May particpate. That was shameful. She sits in Parliament and is the leader of her Party! Even more shameful, and rather secret, was the Globe’s partnering with tax evader Google! This is the outcome of the privatization of elections. They will reach far fewer people, showing that Harper’s idea of democracy isn’t democracy. He’ll call it democracy only because he couldn’t get away with admitting that he’s not democratic.

Here’s some of what Dennis Howlett, who’s with Canadians For Tax Fairness, had to say about Google’s support for this undemocratic debate:

“The economy has been a key issue in this campaign. And how – and who pays their taxes is an essential part of that discussion. So it would make sense that it would be a hot issue at Thursday’s leaders’ debate on the economy. But there’s a worrisome development. One of the world’s biggest tax avoiders is getting in on the election action. Google is partnering with the Globe and Mail to host a leaders’ debate on the economy…

“More leaders’ debates and new audiences are a good thing for democracy. Updated formats are simply window dressing if the new players are themselves playing the system. Canada’s economy has been hobbled by lack of political will to stop widespread corporate tax avoidance. There is a growing public realization that tax breaks aimed at working families pale in comparison to the free ride corporations get. Who is served by tip toeing around that issue on debate night?

“Canada’s corporate tax rate is officially about 26 per cent (federal and provincial combined). It is the lowest in the G7. With devious but legal tax tricks, Google has an effective tax rate of 2.7 per cent in its international division. That decimal point makes a billions of dollars difference.” (See “Google Is Notoriously Anti-Tax: Why Is It Supporting Leaders’ Debate On Economy?”)

Elizabeth May on the subject of efforts by everyone, except the Canadian public, to exclude her from leaders’ debates:

“Canadians rejected Stephen Harper’s bogus corporate debate strategy,” said May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada. “Debates are about Canadians. It’s not about me, the Green Party, or Harper’s strategy.

“Canadians deserve the opportunity to hear from all party leaders. It is critical that the English National Television Broadcasters’ Debate (CBC News, CTV News, Global News) on October 8 goes forward as planned.

“Tom Mulcair committed to attending the French national televised debate, yet he won’t confirm if he will attend the English debate. Last election, over 10 million Canadians watched the English national televised leaders debate. Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Harper do not seem to care that their decision not to participate in the English debate undermines the democratic process and limits Canadians’ ability to hear from all party leaders.” (See “Elizabeth May interacted with more Canadians than any party leader during the Globe Debate”)

I dropped the following comment into a Rabble discussion following the debate. Rabble’s discussion forums are just terrible. They seem to like it that way. They’ve been terrible for some time. There wasn’t any discussion. Just a lot of mostly lame, isolated comments. There’s no sort of thread structure that allows a poster to reply to a particular poster, which is good for side discussions and clarity. I haven’t had the time or energy to fluff this post up and if it stays in draft mode any longer, the election will be over.

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Trudeau nailed Mulcair on the bulk water export fib. See here (http://huff.to/1F3HWwE) and here (http://bit.ly/1Qa020o). Trudeau was the only one, that I recall, who mentioned Harper’s abandonment of the long form census. But he gets a fail on his response to Mulcair’s poking him with his Party’s plan to repeal the police state Bill C-51, whose constitutionality, as others noted, Trudeau didn’t care about. It’s a Bill that Harper wants us to pretend is totally innocuous. Harper wants us to be afraid when it will keep him in power and he wants us to not be afraid when he thinks that will keep him in power. I think Murray Dobbin summed it up nicely in his article titled “Harper is right: The election is about security versus risk.” (http://bit.ly/1P0mx7p)

Harper brags about a knowledge economy, but I wonder how the 2000 educated, knowledgeable government scientists he fired feel about that comment. Indeed, As Donald Gutstein points out in “Harperism,” Harper’s all about ‘sound science’ as opposed to ‘junk science’. Sound science is what hunters, some landowners, sport fishers and I don’t know who else you want to throw into the list, see with their own eyes, directly, and report to government so that the government can say that it then knows what it needs to know in order to make policies pertaining to fished-in streams and lakes, wild areas where hunters are hunting, etc.. In other words, Buy off people to give your government the stamp of approval and call it wise management and sound science.

Mulcair lacks honesty. Like Harper, When you catch him, he just keeps on fibbing. Like Harper, ‘his’ fabric is cut from the same ideology as Margaret Thatcher, as this video reveals: (http://bit.ly/1K2Ji7A) Like Harper, Mulcair is fact-proof. He’d fit right into Harper’s cabinet. Again with the wrong numbers about Keystone’s projected jobs. He talks about some 40,000 jobs attached to construction of Keystone in the US that he would bring to Canada by refining oil here, if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, Turning on Harper and telling him that ‘Those are your figures’ is misleading. He could turn to Canadians and tell them, ‘Oh yes. By the way. The State Department, and others, have estimated that the number of full time, permanent jobs that would be created by building the Keystone XL is about 50. There will be thousands of jobs for a year or two only.’ (http://bit.ly/1KkgLwH) He did the same thing in the first English language leaders’ debate.

The moderator, I have no doubt, knows about that State department figure and Obama’s citation of it and the numerous news (alt and mainstream) reports about it and yet he didn’t do his job and correct the false statement. Maybe he’s audtioning for a moderator’s job for the Republican candidates debates down south. The moderator also didn’t point out the big flaw in Trudeau’s otherwise laudible plan to do infrastructure spending, namely his intention to employ P3’s. That’s privatization by stealth. We need to go in the opposite direction, but expecting any of these ‘leaders’ to propose nationalizing banks and preventing health care and other things from being privatized would be too much. They are all neoliberal politicians within neoliberal Parties. Donald Gutstein calls them neo-liberal-ish. No. Just call them what they are. When you do deficit terrorism and blather on about balanced budgets, that makes you neoliberal, for that’s what that talk signifies. Trudeau is phoney and can’t convince me that his Party, which entrenched neoliberalism in Canada, has suddenly moved left. What do we call his idea of deficit spending that employs P3’s? That’s a proposal to invest in trouble for Canadians, as Duncan Cameron explains here: (http://bit.ly/1K2e28J)

“The ideology the think tanks promote is properly called neo-liberalism because, in contrast to libertarians who want a small, powerless state that leaves people alone, neo-liberals require a strong state that uses its power to create and enforce markets, and prop them up when they fail… It’s fair to say that they believe in government, but not in democracy…

“…after the 1984 federal election, the Progressive Conservative Mulroney government adopted neo-liberalism as its guiding light… Neo-liberalism became entrenched under the Liberal governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, who accepted the ideology as their own policy orientation… By the time Harper took over the reins of government, neo-liberalism was normalized as the accepted way of running the country.” -pgs 12 & 14 of “Harperism” by Donald Gutstein
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