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Six Reads to Get You Through #elxn42

It’s the longest election period since 1872. When horse sh*t was the end product of the active form of transportation at the time, and perhaps the speech as well. I keep thinking speeches were better back then. Anyway it’s a long time. Between the gestation period of a wolf and a leopard, as noted by the Globe and Mail (although they consider it quite short compared to the campaigning that goes on down south). As active and engaged citizens, you’ve little excuse not to find time to do some reading. So here’s six books to take you through to election day. Those candidate flyers printed on card stock do make excellent bookmarks.

1. Harperland – The Politics of Control

“As a Reform MP, [Stephen Harper] …. said of one piece of legislation that ‘the subject matter of the bill is so diverse that a single vote on the content would put members in conflict with their own principles.’ The bill he referred to was 21 page long — or 883 pages shorter than the one he was now putting before Parliament.”

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2.  The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada

“Since Stephen Harper’s Conservatives had first formed a government in 2006, the pact between evidence and policy had eroded and crumbled and then finally given way at some fundamental level—the one that sent scientists marching in their lab coats on Parliament Hill. The process had been slow and sporadic at first—esoteric programs cut here and there, experts and their studies forced into the custody of media handlers, their conclusions massaged to corroborate talking points dictated by the Prime Minister’s Office.”

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3.  Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada

“The current Conservative government treats Parliament as an inconvenience at best and with contempt at worst. The current executive routinely shuts down debate by implementing time allocation (it has imposed strict time limits on debate seventy times since the last election); it has prorogued Parliament to avoid a confidence motion it was sure it was going to lose, shut down a parliamentary committee investigating the transfer of Afghan detainees without obtaining assurances against torture, and to avoid, for over a month, answering awkward questions regarding the PMO involvement in the Senate Expenses Scandal.”

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4. Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Your Right to Know

“Journalists make lousy politicians because they think they always need to tell the truth. —Stephen Harper”

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5. Party of One: Stephen Harper And Canada’s Radical Makeover

“Elections Canada is now banned from campaigning to boost voter turnout. The position of elections commissioner has been moved from Elections Canada to the office of Canada’s director of public prosecutions. Tellingly, the new law does not change the rules to ensure that people are required to cooperate with Elections Canada investigations.”

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6. Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada’s Failing Democracy

“Take the Harper government, whose individual MPs are required to submit their press releases for “vetting” through the PMO, according to Inky Mark. Whether you cite as evidence the Mark Warawa or Brent Rathgeber episodes, it seems clear that the Conservative political machinery frowns on anyone speaking out in any way that might be perceived to contradict the party platform – regardless of how their constituents may feel about the issue. The agency of the individual MP has diminished to a point where little remains at all.”

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