Category Archives: Democracy

Get Uppity, BC, or Get Screwed Again

I’ve written about being “uppity” many times before.

It’s a controversial word. UppityNegroLab

  1. It’s been used to insult women and people of colour who don’t know their place. Who don’t know they should keep quiet and not try to cut back on white male entitlement. Don’t ya know.
  2. The fear of being uppity creates a chill that discourages many people from trying to upset the social order.

Image result for uppityBut really, British Columbians, if you want BC to slink even deeper into the right-wing neoliberal sewer, you better get uppity, and fast. Because you didn’t in 2005, 2009 and 2013.

Complacency and apathy are awesome goals of contemptuous politicians.

If you think the current government has any interest in making BC better for anyone other than the 1% and carbon energy corporations in particular, you may be complacent or apathetic.

For instance, if you think a BC Liberal cabinet minister should be applauded for winning medals at the Paralympic Games, you may not realize that maybe you should be stunned at how hatred of the poor and disabled shouldn’t be government policy.

But there’s a cure!

It’s here. Get uppity and read this:

We Must Completely Obliterate the BC Liberal Party

Parlez-Vous Contempt?


PC diversity

Conservative contempt for democracy, representation, culture, and people not like themselves [really really white!] does not end with Harper or #TheNewHarper.

This new francophone minister, the anglophone Squires, not only clings to her talking points as if her political life depends on it [which it does], but she also waxes unironically about herself, showing how giddy she is to get into the cabinet room and get an office.

Watch her spinning and weaving here:

The biggest punch in the throat to non-anglos, though–beyond her being responsible for sports, culture, heritage, women and the franco universe, all lumped together–is that this anglo represents the riding of Riel!

Do they have no one elected who could speak French?

Is there no Quebecois Harperite senator they could fly in and appoint to cabinet?

Or are they just content with cultivating disdain from people who would generally never vote for them anyway.

Right, the latter.

So Squires, with a distinctly English last name [but French-ish first name], is basically minister of people the government doesn’t care about.

Residents in St. Boniface are raising questions about Premier Brian Pallister’s choice to oversee francophone affairs in Manitoba — because the minister he chose does not speak French.

Rochelle Squires is a unilingual anglophone who represents the Winnipeg electoral district of Riel. She has a background in communications, journalism and fine arts and along with francophone affairs, she will oversee sport, culture and heritage as well as status of women in Pallister’s new cabinet.

Source: St. Boniface not impressed with English-speaking francophone affairs minister

11 Weeks of Daily Harper Protests

The Harper Re-election Disaster Bus Totalitarianism: daily, for 11 weeks!

Get used to this.

People hate Harper and his Conservatives. We will see through his weak attempt to wedge oppositions parties by running a long election campaign because he has more money to spend.

Saturation will come fast.

We will remember how much contempt he holds for people and democracy.

We will listen to his 5 non-answers to 5 media questions each day and we will be constantly reminded of how much we can’t stand what he has done to Canada.

And we will see this. Every day:

More of Harper’s First Nations Racism

The federal government tells CBC News that 84 First Nations have until Wednesday to post their audited financial statements for the last fiscal year, including the salaries and expenses of their chiefs and councillors.
The federal government tells CBC News that 84 First Nations have until Wednesday to post their audited financial statements for the last fiscal year, including the salaries and expenses of their chiefs and councillors.

Pam Palmater is one of the most important voices in Canada in this young century so far. Here’s another reason why:

Below she calls out some racism in the form of settler-occupied hypocrisy.

The first nations, so go the racists, are incompetent and corrupt. Like the unions and the poor. That’s why we have Bill C-377 to make the unions pay for working for working people. That’s why Jean Swanson had to write Poor Bashing.

And since the racists and Conservative Party [including the overlap there] think the first nations need to be transparent to us, we have a new bill, C-27, to make them give themselves an exercise in transparency to justify their leadership.

Except federal politicians don’t have to live up to the same standard. Are there corruption and conflict of interest in political bodies in Canada? Yes. This bill, however, will do nothing to explore and alter the generations-old dynamic of politicians’ contempt for democracy.

That kind of hypocrisy is racism. Don’t dance around with weak narratives. Call it what it is.

Imagine if any political leaders in Canada had to report their personal wealth in addition to the salary of their public office. Prime Minister Harper is the 6th highest paid political leader in the world with a salary of approximately $300k/year. Harper not only makes 7 times what the average Canadian makes, but makes far more than other world leaders with much larger populations and economies.

But let’s forget about his salary for a minute. What is Prime Ministers and federal politicians had to publicly disclose their PERSONAL wealth? Then we are no longer talking about over-paid Prime Ministers, we are talking about million dollar Prime Ministers. Stephen Harper’s personal wealth has been estimated at $5M. Former Prime Minister Paul Martin is in the hundreds of millions. Why the double standard?  Why did so many federal MPs refuse to disclose their own expenses? I agree there is an issue of accountability in Canada, but it’s with the federal government, and not First Nations.

Indigenous Nationhood: Myth of the Crooked Indians: C-27 First Nations Financial Transparency Act.

Whitby-Oshawa Shows the Need for Active NDP-Liberal Cooperation

The Pundits Guide has a spectacular analysis of what it takes to almost take out a strong Conservative seat in a by-election. See below.

It shows that a relatively weak NDP campaign with a very strong Liberal campaign almost is enough.

What more does it take?  Ask Nathan Cullen and others in the NDP and Liberal orbits who know that more actual NDP-Liberal cooperation and coordination is necessary to defeat the Conservatives. They won’t be decimated, but they will still be in government without far more intentional Anything But Conservative coordination in our broken electoral system.

If NDP and Liberal arrogance and devotion to the FPTP crap shoot of absolute power continue to remain too strong, we get more Harper, a privatized CBC, the end of Medicare, more bombing foreign nations to get Harper some more Tough Military Leader badges, and the end of most of the rest of our social programs.

Plus, since the Conservatives are criminals [the Party pleading guilty to election fraud, plus Dean Del Mastro], expect they’ll cheat again in the next election. That can’t help.

So. More coordination and cooperation, or Harper cheats his way to a second majority. And that would be on us.


Whitby-Oshawa, ON - Party Vote Share, 2000 - 2014

The Liberals certainly put in a herculean effort on the campaign, which paid off in a restored vote share and second-place standing as against their nemeses in the NDP (which presciently downplayed both its campaign efforts and expectations ahead of time).

Yet even draining the NDP of all but its most core base vote in this typical red-blue race in the 905 East, the Liberals were unable to pass the Conservatives, who again confounded Forum Research as they had done so many other pollsters in Ontario during the last federal election campaign with a substantial ballot-box bonus.

In other words, even though the Liberals have been successful in completely rebooting their field operations and adopting more modern campaign techniques for voter targeting, identification and GOTV, the Conservative ground game is still superior in Ontario and well capable of getting the job done, in spite of the Liberals’ superior penetration of the media spin game.

By-Election Shocker! Conservatives retain Whitby-Oshawa  ››  Pundits’ Guide.

A Year Without Politics – Month 1

Just after 9am on October 1st, I sat down at my computer, left every political group I was a member of, unfollowed every political page I was a fan of (except PRS, because I write here), and hid every political post in my newsfeed posted in the previous 12 hours. I ended up hiding 16 posts, including almost every post made by one of my favourite people… and the bulk of those 12 hours were overnight.

I found myself questioning what constituted “political” an awful lot. This study that shows children who grow up on dairy farms have 1/10th the risk of developing allergies is basically just science, but the underlying issues of how and where we live is political. This post about how we should just teach kids that sex is about pleasure is a parenting concern, but attitudes toward sexual education have political ties.

There are political overtones to articles about parenting as a member of Generation X, articles about Ebola, articles about food. Where does the line get drawn? Eventually I decided that if someone without a lot of political awareness wouldn’t consider the political ties to a subject, it could probably stay. But man, my news feed was boring. Quizzes, petty complaints, videos of funny cats, and knitting patterns.

Unsure of what to read, or where to read it, I turned to Buzzfeed. But even Buzzfeed was a political landmine. A sampling of the front page headlines brought:

  • Hong Kong Walk to Freedom
  • 16 Women Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the Way Business is done in the ARab world
  • Coming Thursday: When Battered women are treated as criminals
  • Russia Suspends U.S. Exchange Program, Claiming Student Was llegally Adopted By Same-Sex Couple
  • Facebook Requires LGBT People To Use Real Names Even In Countries Where Homosexuality Is A Crime
  • Nation’s Largest Teachers Union Plans To Spend More Than $40 Million In 2014
  • Mayor Of L.A. Suburb Fatally Shot By Wife, Officials Say
  • FCC Considering Whether To Ban Broadcasters From Using “Redskins”
  • Lawmakers Urge Obama To Include LGBT Protections In Immigration Executive Action
  • This One Photo Perfectly Sums Up Why Climate Change Is Real
  • The “totally ridiculous” Romney Boomlet
  • 17 Celebrities Who have the right idea about feminism
  • David Cameron Just got called evil in a rather unfortunate tweet

After the first few rough days, I started to gain an awareness of how futile it was to try to feign political ignorance. It was like trying to pretend I didn’t know where the streets in my neighbourhood went. Politics are as much a feature of my mental landscape as the streets are of my physical landscape. The only thing I could do was try to keep my head down and hope nobody asked me for directions.

That didn’t work, by the way.

With a municipal election looming for most of the month, it seemed impossible to avoid political discussions, especially when my children asked me questions like “Why is Dad voting for that candidate?” A lawn sign supporting a candidate for city council that went up before my political abstention started just raised more questions. “Why do we have a sign for him on our front lawn? Why do you like him?”

Well, because he represents a change in political culture that I’ve been waiting a long time to see in this city. Because he’s been fighting for this ward on his own time for years. Because he’s kind of a friend of mine, because when you’re politically active, you’re kind of friends with everyone who is politically active in this city.

Which is another problem in and of itself. To divorce myself from politics is to divorce myself from my entire social circle.  I get invited to voter engagement brainstorming meetings (because a 34% turnout is bullshit and everybody knows it), and I accept because why wouldn’t I? Not only am I interested, but all my friends are going and it’s a cheap morning out. I get invited to educational workshops about urban planning and modes of transit, and I accept because knowledge is beautiful and all my friends are going. I have coffee with friends and we talk politics. I stand around on the playground after school and my friends are talking politics. I screw around on the computer after my children are in bed and my friends are talking politics on Facebook, and my husband is talking politics with his mouth.

I thought this whole political vacation was going to be easy, because all I had to do was stop doing something. It turns out that the inertia of decades of political awareness and activism makes just stopping almost impossible.

Let’s see what November brings.

Russell Brand Re-Spins Stephen Harper, Expertly

Politics, Re-Spun hereby bestows honourary Canadian and Politics, Re-Spun citizenship upon Russell Brand for his precise and effective re-spinning of Steve Harper and his soft fascist, neo-conservative manipulation of most of last week.

And we all need to think more carefully about “convenient murders.”

His new passport is in the mail.

Ottawa Killings: Who Wins? Russell Brand The Trews (E174) – YouTube.

The Election-Eve Racist, Sexist Attack on Olivia Chow

If this cartoon were published, say, 2 weeks before the election, it would have been debated as a tool of racist, sexist propaganda and yet another blemish on corporate media. Her support would likely have grown after such a brutally immature attack.

But because politics is a dirty, disgusting, sociopathic game, it was published the day before the Ontario municipal election.

Read what Olivia Chow thinks of it below:

View image on TwitterChow told CP24 she thinks the cartoon is “disgusting.”

“Because I am Chinese-Canadian, I must be a communist and have slanted eyes and glasses … and since I am a woman, I must be inferior and therefore not good enough for the job of the mayor so I must rely on my deceased husband so it both racist and sexist,” she said.

via Toronto Sun’s Olivia Chow Cartoon Slammed As Racist (TWEETS).

Harper, the Dog of War

For Harper, 6 CF-18s in Kuwait, all war all the time, phoning up the Pentagon asking where we can become more militarily engaged…all these things lead to a war posture, including a soldier being killed at home.

A war posture is good for Harper’s base and makes Canadians more scared so that we more more disinclined to vote him out next year.

Don’t change horses in midstream, as the sick spin goes.

Expect Harper to manufacture/inflame more political strife and militarism in the months leading up to the federal election.

All of us should be profoundly uncomfortable that any politician would be speaking about this tragedy – and assigning motive – before the police. That is not the way our system works. And it raises the distinct possibility that Harper and his advisors are willing to reduce a soldier’s death to a talking point.

via We live in dangerous times | Warren Kinsella.

People Want BC Corporations to Pay More Tax

…or do they?

Every year the BC government consults with citizens on what should go into their budget.

Last year over 25% of the online survey respondents said new revenue should come from increased corporate taxes, triple the rate of people who thought personal income taxes should go up.

But there are problems with that; see below:

Programs and services are largely funded by tax revenues, and government works to balance where the money comes from. How would you generate one new dollar of tax revenue from among the sources below?

– from Report on the 2014 Budget Consultations


  1. There are 4.6 million British Columbians.
  2. Only 262 people filled out the online survey. That’s a bad response rate of only 1/17,557 people.
  3. The government does a poor job actually soliciting people to fill out their online survey of fiscal preferences.
  4. The government doesn’t really care what we think.
  5. So do you think the 2014 budget had massive/any corporate tax increases? The regressive MSP increased. Again. The general corporate tax rate remained unchanged at 11%


  1. Get thousands more people to fill out the online budget survey, somehow?
  2. Publicize the survey widely so people know it’s there, and have people login with their SIN to fill out the survey, making it like a referendum, which would increase people’s expectation of follow-through of their ideas?
  3. Try to convince people that the government actually cares about what we think to the point that more than 262 bother to share their opinions?

Today is the deadline for submissions for the 2015 budget, though in the past they often extended the deadline. Did YOU even hear about it and the survey you could fill out? Will more than 262 fill it out this year? Will the government care about its civil society consultation, or are they far too cynical to actually care?

Apathy and ignorance favour totalitarianism. But when the government cultivates apathy and ignorance and cynicism, they manufacture a state of governance without oversight, a hallmark of the rising totalitarianism.