Harper’s anti-drug strategy gets a little less compassionate

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

25 July 2012
Despite Harper’s early emphasis on balance… the planning and priorities report tabled with the federal Treasury Board for the next five years reveals deep cuts in Health Canada’s budget for drug treatment—but hefty increases in budgets for drug enforcement by police and prosecutors… The government has done nothing to publicize the anti-drug policy’s second five-year phase, much less drawn attention to the apparent shift in funding priorities… So you now have programs that have proven their efficacy, but there are no resources to sustain them…

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The Great White tax haven

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

July 19, 2011
While Canada is reforming and lowering its taxes, politicians in other developed countries—those faced with crushing debt loads and economic stagnation—are turning a hungry eye to the bank accounts of their richest citizens. At the same time, instability in the Middle East and Asia means wealthy individuals are looking for a safe place to move their families. Where they might have flocked to the U.S. in the past, many now see Canada as the better option. Tax specialists even use terms like “the Great White tax haven” and “Switzerland of the North” when talking about Canada.

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Top 50 socially responsible corporations

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

June 9, 2011
The Top 50 Socially Responsible Companies in Canada were selected on the basis of their performance across a broad range of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) indicators… The companies selected rank at the top of their respective peer groups… in areas such as environmental initiatives, impact on local communities, treatment of employees and supply-chain management. Some are notable for their development of products or services that contribute directly to sustainability.

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The power to appoint judges doesn’t mean Harper will get what he wants

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

May 20, 2011
When the final Insite decision comes down, don’t expect much of a rift between Harper’s appointees and the majority who were there before he came along… the Charter of Rights… says the government cannot act in a way that restricts Canadians’ “life, liberty and security of the person.” … [The PM] cannot choose a justice who would make the Charter of Rights go away. The two he has selected to date, Cromwell and Marshall Rothstein, have not diverged consistently from their colleagues… It’s Parliament, more than the courts, that will shape Canada’s future.

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No country for good men

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

May 4, 2011
What is so remarkable about Ignatieff’s tenure as Liberal leader, and with this past election campaign in particular, is how little he tried to take advantage of intellectual strengths and interests. Confronted with a cartoonishly small-minded prime minister acting as chief puppeteer over a caucus of frat boys, yes men, and idiocrats, surely there was an opportunity for a leader who would speak to those Canadians who see themselves as responsible citizens of the world… Having seen how Michael Ignatieff was treated, can any reasonably intelligent and ambitious person be ever expected to go into national politics?

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A know-nothing strain of conservatism

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

August 17, 2010
It isn’t just that the Tories habitually ignore the expert consensus on a wide range of issues—crime, taxes, climate change—it’s that they want to be seen to be ignoring it. It’s the overt antagonism to experts, and by extension the educated classes, that marks the Tory style. In its own way, it’s a form of class war. You can see it in the sneering references to Michael Ignatieff’s Harvard tenure, in the repeated denunciations of “elites” and “intellectuals.” In the partial dismantling of the census, we reach the final stage: not just hostile to experts, but to knowledge. It’s an old game, in some respects… But there’s something different going on here… Harper Conservatives are just as hostile to the interventions of experts on what one might suppose to be their own side… The result is a uniquely nasty, know-nothing strain of conservatism.

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RCMP and the truth about safe injection sites

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

August 20, 2010
Last fall, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, after months of intense, private talks, agreed to face the media together to declare their agreement that research shows the “benefits” and “positive impacts” of supervised injection sites for intravenous drug users… For the RCMP, making such a statement would have been a turning point: the Mounties would have had to distance themselves from dubious studies, commissioned by the force itself, that were critical of Insite… The proposed joint media release was never issued.

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If we’re cutting useless things in Ottawa

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

July 23, 2010
Finally, the serious business of tearing down the Canadian federal state has begun… the business of cramming the mighty oak of overgrown government back into an acorn starts with a little hedge trimming… the revolution must not end here… Once we’re done gutting the census—sorry, I mean scattering the quinquennial bean-counting armies of tyranny—it will be time to move on to the next hill. What on Earth can the Harper government do for an encore?… It’s time to think bigger. It’s time to fire half the cabinet.

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Sometimes a gaffe is more than a gaffe

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

July 16, 2010
There are libertarians and there are libertarians. When it comes to Tony Clement and James Moore, theirs is not the principled and defensible small-government ideology of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. It’s more like the sweaty-palmed fanboy libertarianism forged by too many late nights in high school spent switching between the anti-feminist Nietszcheanism of Ayn Rand and the corporatist space fantasies of sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein.

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Those budget cuts, in full

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

March 6, 2010
My fellow pundits seem greatly impressed by the budget’s “austerity,” to judge by the headlines and commentary that appeared afterward. Here, then, in graphic form, is just how austere it was…
…spending in this “austerity” budget totals nearly $28-billion more over three years than in last year’s “stimulus” budget. Strange but true…

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