Thursday, May 18, 2023

Today's News and Views: from Poilievre to Penguins

First, this is such a juvenile response from Poilievre, isn't it: Now, of course, Poilievre's staff is desperately trying to walk back his juvenile response, blaming Johnson for whatever. 
Moving on, did you know that tens of Canadians are pining for the fjords want to join the United States? Here's the story of how a stupid story gets going:
I maintain subscriptions now to a couple of dozen Substack writers - mostly free, I admit. But its worthwhile checking my Substack Inbox every day to see what is being posted. I also frequently check Longreads, Digg, and, for Canadian news, National Newswatch
Here's some of the stuff I saw recently: 

Here Be Dragons - The misadventures of Bill Morneau/Ron Graham/Literary Review of Canada
...An investment dealer, more libertarian than neo-con, once asked me, “Why do we need any government?”
“Well,” I said, “let’s start with traffic lights.”
Bill Morneau isn’t one of those run-of-the-mill executives who believe that the best thing that government can do for business is to get out of the way. He appreciates the countless reasons that government is needed to grow the economy, especially in Canada, even while fulfilling its obligation to redistribute the nation’s wealth. And that works best, he knows, when the public sector works in partnership — sorry, has a relationship — with the private sector for their mutual benefit, which is why he’s so proud of establishing the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
Liberals understand that. Conservatives understand that. Even most New Democrats, particularly in office, understand that. The people who generally don’t get it are Morneau’s business friends. They sit in their clubs, sipping their own bathwater from crystal goblets, railing against the taxes, the regulations, the waste, the scandals, the idiocy, as though CEOs aren’t just another vested interest group and as if they never make stupid investments, flawed predictions, or short-sighted decisions based on quarterly results and bonus packages.
...Bay Street is constantly looking for a champion in Ottawa and is constantly foiled. Robert Winters lost to Pierre Trudeau. John Turner resigned as finance minister. Donald Macdonald lacked the royal jelly. Michael Wilson was kneecapped by Brian Mulroney. John Turner was propped up and sent back into battle, only to oppose free trade and stagger back to his corner table at the York Club. Paul Martin, fired by Jean Chrétien, proved a dud as prime minister. Mark Carney went to London and came home brainwashed by the greens.
Bill Morneau doesn’t deliver on the promise he makes at the start of his book to explain why so many things don’t work on Parliament Hill. Instead, he prefers to report home with news from the front that’s even worse than his friends suspect: Trudeau is just a performer, the PMO is brain-dead, the ministers are spendthrifts, Ottawa doesn’t give a damn about growing the economic pie, yada, yada, yada. Which is more shameful than an inadequate explanation. It’s a lost opportunity.
Morneau devotes the last four chapters of his book to the importance of everyone pulling together — the federal and provincial governments, the public and private sectors, all parties, all interest groups — to put Canada on the path to prosperity. We must set aside our “trivial concerns and turf wars in times of major threats.” We must not insult the Americans. We must keep talking to the Chinese. In particular, government will need business, and business will need government, to meet the challenges of infrastructure, energy transition, research and technology, health care, immigration, and productivity.
What he neglects to explain is how these relationships will be advanced by walking away from an important seat of power, shitting in public on the colleagues you’ve left behind to do the heavy lifting, and reducing the complexities of managing government to a matter of personalities. For those who take from Bill Morneau’s book the belief that getting rid of Justin Trudeau will cure the nation’s ills — well, good luck with Prime Minister Pierre Poilievre.
Pierre Poilievre: The Secret to His Success/ Frank Graves and Stephen Maher/ The Walrus
...Sixty-six percent of Conservatives, according to the Ekos poll, say they never trust the government to do the right thing, compared with 8 percent of New Democrats and 4 percent of Liberals. Their embrace of conspiracy theories reflects a much higher consumption of disinformation. This is a coalition deeply convinced shadowy forces orchestrated COVID-19. They are attracted to the idea of a strong leader who will get things done.
In lashing out against “woke” Liberals, Poilievre has positioned himself as that strong leader. His mission to “give Canadians back control of their lives” is striking a chord with disaffected voters who feel left out of Trudeau’s Canada—voters angry with a government that appears more concerned with virtue signalling than dealing with inflation or creating affordable housing.
Some of the problems that Poilievre has identified are critical. His followers complain they have not seen the kind of progress their parents and grandparents did. Pensions and secure retirement are a mirage.
But this discontent shows striking similarities to public sentiments that researchers have uncovered beneath the rise of populist leaders elsewhere—Donald Trump in the United States, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Silvio Berlusconi in Italy, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Narendra Modi in India. In each case, economic grievances became linked with broader fears about a nation in decline. And, in each case, the electorate was buoyed by promises to turn back the clock to better days.
Sincerely, Your Sister/Jillian Horton/The Globe and Mail
... Wendy’s surgery years earlier had been a “success”; her brain tumour had been completely excised. But in the days after that surgery, she developed bacterial meningitis. That infection changed the course of her life. Over a few cruel days, Wendy lost the ability to talk, write, walk, regulate her emotions and control her body. Eventually, when she was conscious, she often raged and fought, unable to speak or communicate her terror, pain and frustration.
As soon as it became clear that Wendy would be left severely physically and mentally disabled, many medical professionals began suggesting to my parents that everyone would be “better off” if she were in an institution.
But who exactly would be better off? My parents’ dream for Wendy’s life did not include separation from her family. They railed against ableism long before it had a name. They knew Wendy’s worth as a person with a disability was unchanged from her worth as a child born without one. But as is so often the case when parents fight and advocate tirelessly for disabled children, they were often branded “the problem.”
... We push people so close to the brink. The wonder isn’t that they break. The wonder is that it doesn’t happen more often.
Finally, here's some Penguin drama as a palate cleanser!

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