ConCalls: Giving In

At what point can Canadians no longer claim to be a democratic people? We widely recognize when other countries were running sham elections, but our closeness to our own has coloured perception of crimes here. Some don’t mind so much because the resulting government is the one they think they wanted, and others aren’t even aware of the trickery that changed the result. It seems so unlikely for our quiet, peaceful, democratic nation, and long standing champion of human rights (despite our long standing hypocritical treatment of Aboriginal people). Corruption in Canada? Certainly nothing that bad, we’re just not that improper, tut tut. Pass the Grey Poupon[, or another Pil].

Thwap thinks the time is near (or here) where we can’t claim to be a democracy. Acceptance of a situation creates a precedence, and collectively we’re choosing to accept that 566 days after an election tampered with by illegal robocalls and illegal live calls misdirecting voters away from legitimate polls, it’s normal for Elections Canada to have charged exactly 0 people with the crimes. The crimes were conducted on computers and telephones, with logs, passwords, and solid electronic-paper trails. If these crimes can’t be resolved with this sort of evidence, which ones can?

Today’s blog post deals with accepting the significance of the situation. It seems that it’s only in politics that we acquiesce to the most blatant cheating and criminality. We put up with all sorts of bullshit because we can’t fathom doing what is necessary to respond appropriately.

Let’s be clear: Even if Harper didn’t steal his majority (and he did) he’s on record as showing he has nothing but contempt for the institution of Parliament. His [stolen] domination of the majority of seats in Parliament is the source of his authority but he didn’t respect it when he had a {minority}. As I said in the aftermath of the 2011 federal election, his electoral supporters either didn’t care about this (showing their own contempt for Parliament) or they were ignorant of this. (And who would trust their future to an ignoramus?)

The longer we tolerate this, the less right we have to declare ourselves a democratic people.

Let’s be clear: stephen harper has no claims on our obedience. His omnibus legislation has no legitimacy. Once we have toppled him from power they must be declared null and void.

==

Hostess (US) is out of business. The maker of Twinkies has gone bankrupt again. The pension they promised to their workers faces a $2B unfunded liability, yet there are people blaming the workers for refusing to work until the problem is corrected. Rather than negotiate a solution, management is cutting their losses, and closing down.

If a business cheated you as a customer, you’d be outraged. Why do some people blindly fault unions for standing up to businesses who cheat?

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13 responses to “ConCalls: Giving In

  1. Democratizing the Constitution- a must read for any Canadian that wants a properly functioning democracy. We need to make some rules such as the other British style Parliamentary democracies have made to keep the power of the Prime Minister in check and Parliament the real power. The loop holes are huge. Trudeau and Chretien used them also to some degree- but Harper ran right over Parliament and rules from his office. Get rid of Harper without making changes is just asking for a repeat by someone else just as ruthless and power hungry.

    • You’re right that changing the player won’t change the game. If Kenney is the next PM, as I fear he may be, things will get even worse in our deadmockracy.

  2. You would think that perhaps this blogs readership would be entitled to a little more, ahem, up to date information in the Twinkie Wars… http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/national-international/NATL-Twinkies-Maker-Hostess-Going-Out-of-Business-179643161.html

    The union won its pyrrhic victory. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”. Looks like you can’t get blood from a stone after all.

    Some folk on this blog have promoted proportionate representation for our parliament. I’ve noted that would be akin to more pigs feeding at the trough… “(the) company had already reached a contract agreement with its largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. But thousands of members in its second-biggest union went on strike late last week after rejecting in September a contract offer that cut wages and benefits. Officials for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union say the company stopped contributing to workers’ pensions last year.”

    Ohhhh hydra’s many heads.

    • Thanks for helping to raise the level of discourse in my comments section. One can only handle so much Redjefff all of the time.

      Good link too.

      I wonder if the Twinkie Brigade will ride to the rescue and work for Hostess, for no pension. I’ve seen at least two on the Net willing to saddle up just because they see it as a way to piss off a union.

    • Oh, come on now. Of course it was the union’s fault! Corporate executives are infallible and perfect. The Market(tm) is infallible and perfect, and therefore all who worship it truly and sacrifice customers to it will partake of those attributes. Therefore, only agents of the infernal Anti-Market, such as Unions or Government Red Tape, can cause any corporation anywhere to fail to make a profit.

    • Yah, great link matt… all 8 lines of a letter to the editor. Allow me to ‘lower’ the level of discourse to perhaps a more appreciable level. Given the audience…

      Firstly- the unfunded pension liabilities alone costs Hostess a debt of $2 billion. Closing on $3 billion including creditors (from Sask ref). This means that there is no money to pay for the existing monies owed. There is no longer anyone willing to lend. There is no more money. Did the unions drive them out of business? Absolutely not. They just twisted the knife.

      But this is but a microcosm of what IS taking place and WILL take place with a lot more frequency unless we get our financial house in order.

      Exibit 2 (1 being Hostess)- San Bernadino. “the city’s decades-long journey from prosperous, middle-class community to bankrupt, crime-ridden, foreclosure-blighted basket case is straightforward — and alarmingly similar to the path traveled by many municipalities around America’s largest state. San Bernardino succumbed to a vicious circle of self-interests among city workers, local politicians and state pension overseers.” http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/13/us-bernardino-bankrupt-idUSBRE8AC0HP20121113

      But could it get worse? What do you think?

      Exibit 3- The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. These guys are the federal agency that insures pensions for more than 40 million Americans. What’s up with them? Glad you asked! It had its biggest defecit in its history. “its deficit grew to $34 billion for the budget year that ended Sept. 30. That compares with a $26 billion shortfall in the previous year. Pension obligations grew by $12 billion to $119 billion last year. Assets used to cover those obligations increased by only $4 billion to $85 billion. The agency has now run deficits for 10 straight years.” dubya dubya dubya dot bigstory.ap.org/article/us-pension-insurer-runs-record-34b-deficit

      We’ve promised to pay with money we don’t have. the sooner we realize this the better.

  3. Question: What is the procedure for inviting foreign observers to monitor our next federal election? Who exactly makes the request and to whom?

    • Presumably citizens, or citizens orgs could, since one can’t exactly expect their authorities or government to do so. The request could be made to the UN or a trustworthy other nation willing to help, I’d also assume. This is new territory for me. Borys W. of the Liberals has done this sort of monitoring in Ukraine, so would know what to do… too bad the Supreme Court kept him from contesting a new by-election in Etobicoke Centre…

  4. Canada has become so putrid and rotten with corruption, we would have to shut the entire country down, and start over. The rot starts at the top and filters right down to the bottom, into every nook and cranny. All dictators are obsessed with control and obsessed by paranoia. Their behavior, becomes more and more bizarre. No-one is permitted to say or do anything, all has to go through the dictator first.

    That is what happened in the dictators, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini’s reigns of paranoid terror. There were lies, deceit, thefts, corruption, dirty tactics, dirty politics and they all cheated to win. All of those country’s failed. Even some of their military offices, woke up too late. Their citizens became destitute and suffered horribly. We all know how those dictators ended up. However, their people were very mislead and didn’t see the danger their country’s were in, until it was far too late and their country’s were razed to the ground.

    Such is the tyranny in every dictatorship country. Canada’s Democracy is vanishing. Canadians Civil Rights and Liberties are being taken away. Our Freedom of Speech is under attack again. Our Human Rights are fading away.

    Canadian citizens are now living in very evil times. When will we say, that is damned well enough??

  5. I cannot think of one company pension plan that does not have the employees contributing to the fund. I suspect the Hostess pension plan was funded through both employee and employer contributions – so in essence – it suggests Hostess stole their employees pension contributions.

    Now I am unsure of the American laws governing pension funds but if this happened in Canada there is a good chance the Board and Executive Mgmt would be facing civil and criminal charges for using their employees pension fund as a kind of slush fund to the tune of $2 billion.

    Hostess filled for bankruptcy protection in January and the original motion asked the court to allow the company to shut its business operations and sell off its assets. The court granted protection but did not allow it shut down its affairs and sell off its assets…which suggests to me that the management had very little interest in trying to make Hostess an ongoing concern but cynically used its negotiations with the unions to provide justification to the court to allow its original motion….and thereby painting the Union as the ‘bad guy’. From what I can see of the financials – even with wage and benefit reductions there was no guarantee the company could make its payroll commitments even in the short-term.

    The Baker’s Union had already made significant concessions the first time the company went chapter 11….as I understand it the company did not use the reductions to modernize the operation but executive compensation was increased while workers wages stagnated which brought the company to the bankruptcy court for the second time in 8 years but let’s blame the union for the poor business practices of the board and executive management of Hostess.

  6. Saskboy,

    I was thinking that this was so close to what I was saying that I had to comment. Then I saw that it was an intro for a link to a post of mine.

    I notice that the gutless hack preferred to blather on about unions and twinkies rather than his usual obsession of cheering harper’s assaults on democracy.

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