thrusday reader

The Thursday Activist Reader is designed to be an online readers’ pick compilation of reading and discussion for a better world. You are invited to join in the discussion as well as in sending a list of one or more articles from your reading that you think would be informative and interesting to Comox Valley activists.


How embattled NDP Leader Tom Mulcair stacks up against his predecessors

Though good by historical standards, 2015’s election results may not be enough after 2011 success

Tom Mulcair has to go.  The New Democrats started the campaign leading in the polls, only to be delivered one of the worst defeats ever suffered by a federal party in Canada.

What else do you need to know? Tom Mulcair did his best and needs to be thanked and respected for that, but the whole Mulcair approach to politics—run terrified before any thought of controversary and obviously pander after votes that you will never get—just doesn’t work, especially when you have an opponent that is invading your tent!

Holding a news conference in Toronto today, a group that calls itself the NDP “socialist” caucus ramped up its campaign to replace Mulcair.

Chairman Barry Weisleder said the party has strayed too far from its democratic, social justice roots. Mulcair should not be “rewarded” for losing 60 per cent of the party’s seats and one million votes in the last election, he said.

“The problem is capitalism, not mismanagement of the deck chairs on the Titanic,” he said. “The importance of the leader should not be exaggerated to the detriment of other factors. We are mindful of the fact that big change comes from the bottom up, but in order to open the doors and windows to a more democratic and socialist process, there is no choice now than to vote for leadership review in Edmonton in April.


Charities push back against Liberals on political audits

They say Liberal government has failed to implement its campaign promise to end the practice

This is really disappointing to hear. I took Trudeau at  his word.  I thought he was being sincere in his statements about ending the repression.  On Jan. 20, National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier said 24 political-activity audits currently underway will continue their course, and the five groups under notice of deregistration will not be spared, though they can appeal.

The only change was that auditors would be stood down in six cases of charities scheduled for political-activity audits that had not yet begun, and the $13.4-million program would eventually be wound up

Some groups, including the tiny Canada Without Poverty, have been under continuous political-activity audit for four years, a drain on their limited money and staff – and with no conclusion in sight.

The initial wave of audits concentrated on environmental groups, including Environmental Defence, but in later years expanded to cover human-rights, international-aid and poverty groups. One group, Dying With Dignity Canada, had its charitable registration annulled after a political-activity audit, and another small group surrendered its registration after being given notice of revocation.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a left-leaning Ottawa think tank, remains under a political-activity audit that was launched, in part, because its publications showed “bias,” according to an internal CRA document the group obtained under the Access to Information Act. And—yet—no thought to examining the Fraser Institute or the CD Howe Institute—what bunk!


All BC School Districts Are Struggling — Not Just Vancouver

Despite seeing an increase in enrolment across BC, school districts are facing yet another year of devastating budget cuts.. Since 2002 the BC Liberals have closed 240 schools across BC (not including this years closures) .

The government cites declining enrollment for both schools closures and constant cuts to overall funding. They blame school boards for mismanaging their money, constantly insisting they just need to cut the low hanging fruit. They blame teachers for asking for too much with their salaries and class size demands, despite the fact that we have some of the lowest paid teachers and highest class sizes in Canada.

This constant assertion by our government that their funding formula works just fine and the never ending finger pointing at boards, teachers and enrollment numbers is just a huge slap in the face. I challenge you to find one board that will agree that the funding they are given is adequate or sufficient. Find me one PAC who doesn’t work hard all year to raise thousands of dollars to cover funding shortfalls. Find me one district who hasn’t cut services to the bone and isn’t waiting to have millions of dollars in maintenance projects completed.

Year after year the BC Liberals continue to show complete disregard for our public education system. Schools are closing, services are being cut and our children are losing their most basic right to a good quality, equal and fair public education.


Rafe: By backing LNG, the Horgan NDP lost election before it began

Rafe Mair accuses BC NDP leader  John Horgan of making the same mistakes as Tom Mulcair and Adrian Dix—the inability to stand up and be counted on the issues that mean something to voters.   Mair rightly calls Horgan’s wimpering about  “we cannot be against everything”, “the most nonsensical thing I have ever heard in the political arena.” Such a tactics tell voters that  whether or not the leader approves of a policy depends not on whether it’s good policy but the optics.

Horgan has come out enthusiastically in favour of  fracking  – even though most scientists condemn it. And  how, asks Mair,  can Horgan, as leader of the opposition  favour licensing a crook, big time tax-cheater and jungle-burner – the owner of Woodfibre LNG (WLNG)?

We have to start talking about the next provincial election and what we can do to ensure that we have real choices in front of us on election day.