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It's late, but it's here. Your friday CAPRU.

Jonathan Kay: George Galloway is a despicable terrorist supporter (and a sitting MP in Britain), but even I think it's lunacy to bar him from entering Canada for "security reasons."

Richard Gwyn:

Capitalism is about greed. It's not exclusively about that. It's also about creativity and independence (the alternative to the market is some form of bureaucracy), providing a service or good that people need, and about providing jobs.

But greed is the motor that powers capitalism. Way back in the 18th century, Adam Smith understood this when he wrote in The Wealth of Nations that the self-interests of the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker benefit the rest of us.

Smith, though, also wrote a second book, one that he regarded as far more important. Its title was The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In it, he tried to come to terms with the ethical consequences of unleashed greed and self-interest.

Between then and now, something has gone terribly wrong. There's no way to describe, except as obscene, disgusting and outrageous, the distribution by the insurance giant AIG of $165 million worth of bonuses to its senior executives after the company was bailed out from bankruptcy by the government, that's to say from ordinary taxpayers.

Rick Bell: Not only are the Cons giving themselves lavish bonuses, they are also taking back tax refunds in the name of "fiscal prudence."

One minute, the Opposition hammers the Tories over years of fat-cat bonuses.

The next minute, Mel Knight, Premier Ed's energy czar, tells everyone with ears a rebate will no longer be on next winter's gas bills.

These Tories are sure smarties.

Spring is here, gas prices have been low the last couple months, not even high enough to trigger a rebate and the earliest any relief would apply is way off in October. So who is paying attention?

What a great time to pull back the helping hand.

Nathalie Collard

Investir dans la réfection des ponts et des autoroutes serait discriminatoire envers les femmes, selon la présidente du Conseil du statut de la femme, Christiane Pelchat.

Mme Pelchat s'inquiète qu'on mise surtout sur le béton pour relancer l'économie. Elle déplore que ces investissements ne bénéficient pas aux femmes, qui comptent pour 50% de la main-d'oeuvre active, mais qui sont peu présentes dans le milieu de la construction.

Cette position frise le ridicule. En effet, le constat du Conseil du statut de la femme fait abstraction de deu choses: la première, les infrastructures québécoises tombent bel et bien en ruines au Québec. Que fait-on? On impose un moratoire jusqu'à ce qu'il y ait suffisamment de femmes dans les corps de métiers de la construction? On compense financièrement les femmes qui ne bénéficieront pas de ces investissements?

Mindelle Jacobs is wondering where the recession is? Clearly it's completely missing the botox, plastic surgery crowd in Edmonton.

Bill Kaufmann on teaching children about homosexuality.

Trumpeting parental choice is a convenient mask.

And it's symptomatic of right-wing tactics almost as old as ignorance itself. It's a shame division at school isn't confined to math class.


Parents projecting their own irrational, childish fears on their children could always do so at home and even in school, but that's not enough in the eyes of some.

Aside from the cheapest of red meat politics of division, the active ingredient in all this is, as usual, religion and the strange deference to it.

If religion clashes with same-sex weddings, civil rights history or specific diseases, whose existence are simple facts, it's not the problem of public schools.

Mentioning their existence and controversy is hardly a call to fornicate.

Peter Foster continues the National Post's attack on any efforts to deal with global warming. This time, he states having scientists in government is a bad thing because they believe in scientific facts like global warming and evolution.

Rick Salutin - Pundits do not match what real Canadians think and believe.

Alongside the economic equality gap, which embodies the current crisis, there's an opinion acceptability gap, which bedevils it. Here's what I mean.

A Strategic Counsel poll in The Globe and Mail this week found: "Slim majority opposes rescue of auto makers." My only surprise was that the majority was not larger. But the question assumed that a rescue is a bailout is a handout, full stop, as has largely been the case in the United States. Responses changed when conditions were added: 88 per cent would be more favourable if auto CEOs took pay cuts, 86 per cent if Canadians got discounts on made-in-Canada cars or if it saved jobs, and 62 per cent if government got an ownership stake in return. Wouldn't you have assumed, from all you read and hear, that there's zero support for public takeover of an auto firm? Most Canadians didn't flinch.

But what if you floated that idea among the opinion elites rather than the unmiked masses? Those editorialists, experts, business leaders, academics, elected officials - would collectively guffaw, you could hardly get a conversation going at their version of the water cooler. There are rare exceptions, such as Toronto Star columnist Tom Walkom, who proposed taking over Chrysler. But his loneliness makes him an exception proving the rule.


This is a linguistic deficit that reflects a democratic deficit, since the views of the majority are simply not heard in a crucial debate.

Carol Goar believes the time for academic theorizing is over, it's time for the government to take a real look at the inequality in this country and take action to shore-up the social safety net.

Jeffrey Simpson:

In corporate Canada, how many times did we see U.S. remuneration used to explain and justify huge salaries in this country? We were told that a North American market existed for top talent and that, if Canadian firms did not offer large salaries, bonuses, stock options and the like, executives would flock south like geese in the fall. So, too, would young graduates, so Canada would suffer a "brain drain."

Now, of course, Wall Street's practices, the complicity of the Bush administration (now mercifully consigned to history's dustbin), a slack regulatory environment and an adoring business media have all been exposed as somewhere between inadequate and fraudulent.

The size of the financial sector's collapse has been stunning, the exposed avarice of many of its leaders staggering, and the disconnectedness of so many leaders with the realities and perceptions of ordinary people, including those who worked for them, so shocking that it will be some time before any kind of confidence is restored in the citadels of capitalism.

Canada's financial services sector, of course, was better regulated, and the laws governing its practices were sound. It turned out, after all, that the public sector, much maligned, was on the job here.

Shorter Terence Corcoran: The sky is falling! the sky is falling! The government is spending money and reporting it correctly, clearly this is the end of America.

That's it for this week, have a great weekend everyone!

Originally posted to MrvnMouse on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 10:33 AM PDT.


Is infrastructure spending sexist?

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41%16 votes

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