Mandos

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I kept meaning to write about the events going on around Greek membership in the Eurozone, but events kept happening so often that the post that I usually write first in my head kept getting out of date. And now it’s too late to post with a Twitter echo, heh — although I suppose it frees me up from having to try to write first sentence clickbait.

I have been following the Greek situation with completely rapt attention, since every twist, turn, and repetition of it — a.k.a. “The Passion of Hellas” — has been deeply educational. And now the situation may, just may, finally be coming to a head. Or not! If there’s one thing that the Syriza government in Athens has done for us that we can hopefully all agree on, it’s to reveal that the emperor has no clothes. It really does appear to be a case of people following a bad theory off a cliff, because they are too blind or cowardly to do otherwise.

Because of all these twists and turns, any kind of analysis that does the whole situation justice won’t fit here, alas. In lieu of this, I offer you a few remarks:

1. We are continuously told that left-wing solutions won’t “work”, left-wing parties and their positions run counter to the Eternal Truths of economics, etc, etc, human behaviour doesn’t allow it, yadda yadda yadda. OK. If that were so, why is there a whole elaborate and very blatant superstructure constantly being erected and renovated to ensure specifically that humans behave so that left-wing solutions won’t work. Consider, like, every single “free trade” agreement of note for the past umpteen years.

And yet, in this Greek situation we see it at it’s most obvious, when it becomes clear that the troika is willing to entertain helpful political fictions and flexibilities about a Greek debt policy that has obviously failed. But it nevertheless insists on using the debt payment schedule as a means to force the Greek government to enact precisely the sort of reforms that any left-wing government worth its salt can’t accept. (Surprisingly, it appears that Syriza is a left-wing government worth its salt as leftists — needless to say, one is saddened by the fact that this is a surprise.)

2. Speaking of which, one of the most fascinating things about this whole episode, in terms of media at least, is the frequent speculation in European media of just when Greek PM Alexis Tsipras will see reason, ditch his finance minister, and fire the left-wing portion of his caucus, as well as the nationalist coalition partners — in order to form one of the usual weak-tea social democratic coalitions that will promptly give in to the troika and sign on the dotted line. It’s not only media — apparently the political culture of Brussels simply has a very hard time understanding that there are people who could be working outside their particular intellectual framework and yet be serious about it. What makes this all even stranger is that Syriza conducts its discussions more or less in the open, if you look at the correct media — which is of course not the media that the mainstream European media read.

The reason why I think the situation is at a (bad, depending on your point of view) turning point is that the EU-level politicians are finally coming to realize, with some chagrin, that the incentive structure of politicians that are actually left-wing is different from that of a government of post-social post-democrats. Syriza’s behaviour has been far from strategically perfect, but it is the sort of behaviour you would expect from a left-wing government with a gun to its head — the absolute minimum level of slow compliance. EU politicians seem to think that they’re actually offering a carrot as well as a stick, but they seem to have overestimated the attractiveness of the carrot.

It’s for this and other reasons that I find that explanations that reduce this situation to the bad behaviour of banks in 2008 to be overblown. There is a huge component of ideology and entrenched ways of doing business here. Indeed, one of the complaints about Yanis Varoufakis is that he is an “amateur”, which we can immediately translate into “bad at helping other people keep political cover.” Which he may be. The previous Greek governments hardly managed to implement structural adjustment in any effective way, but they were professionals in that sense — they gave other European politicians cover, and for that they are missed.

So, in that sense, Syriza really is like the child that pointed out that the Emperor has no clothes.

3. And speaking of the previous governments, isn’t it interesting how everything is all of a sudden due and payable and how Syriza must implement in a few weeks what has been avoided for years? One can’t help but imagine that this is only the expected reaction to a left-wing government being elected. Indeed, it turns out that, in the short run at least, it isn’t Germany that is Syriza’s principal enemy in the Eurozone, but rather the governments of other crisis countries, particularly Spain and Portugal for exactly the reason I mentioned above: the Syriza government takes away political cover from these governments by its very existence.

Indeed, not all the reforms demanded of Greece are bad ones. Greece has a widespread and problematic tax-evasion problem, for example, but it turns out that taxes are really deeply cultural. The German language has a great word for this: Steuermoral It is very hard to build a different Steuermoral and very hard to collect taxes consistently without the right kind of Steuermoral. That gives us an opportunity to learn yet another German word: Daueralimentierung — long-term feeding. Much of this agony has been about avoiding (the appearance of) the Daueralimentierung of Greek finances in the Eurozone. The structural reforms (bog-standard IMFery) are supposed bring Greece into some kind of long-term sustainability as an export competitor (!) to Germany. Obviously, this is a fantasy: Erst kommt die Daueralimentierung, dann die Steuermoral.

4. Which, of course, brings us to the real issue: Europe is not a real country, and the situation is, in fact, clear evidence that a currency zone must be a real country. Within an economic unit, there will always be subunits that are chronic underperformers, especially if your goal is (!) a continuous export surplus with everyone else. These subunits create, over the long run, a kind of death spiral situation, unless they are supported by the “overperformers”. Every long-lasting, successful currency union (USA, Canada, West Germany under the DM, etc) has some kind of transfer mechanism. There is no possibility that the Federal Reserve will pull the plug on Mississippi banks just because Mississippi is a big recipient of US federal program spending. (Exactly this very dangerous politicization has taken place with the ECB and is the reason why this is such a dramatic crisis for Greece — the plug-pulling was threatened almost immediately after Syriza was elected and the bank run hasn’t ended.)

The Eurozone was conceived and written explicitly under the guarantee that it would not become a “Transfer Union”, which in the northern countries means, “pay lazy southerners to loll about on the beach”. Therefore, arcane, wishful-thinking requirements were written into the treaties, allegedly designed to avoid this situation. These requirements are only as strong as the Eurozone somehow preventing a large economy like Spain or France from, um, falling into the “wrong” hands. Of course, since not all contingencies can be accounted for, adhering to these requirements can increase the possibility of a political upset. A transfer union of some form is necessary and inevitable — or the Eurozone will fall apart.

But the Eurozone is not a real country. Canada, despite its two languages and the binational griping, is a real country. Even if you were able to make a case for the overall benefit of an Eurozone-wide transfer union (and there are arguable benefits even for the payers, most importantly, well, a single currency), many citizens of Germany and elsewhere shy away from the idea. And the lock-in effect of the present arrangement into a neoliberal frame of thinking leads me to come to the conclusion that many German commentators have come to: Lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende. Better a horrible end than an endless horror. Especially since an important principle, the primacy of democracy over debt and credit relations, is also at very much at stake.

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Dr.Dawg

Weird sex stuff

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Cheating.jpgSo here we are in 2015 and progressives still haven’t figured out sexual relations. Monogamous, bounded, closed? Or polyamorous and open? Or points in between (since this of all things shouldn’t be reduced to a binary)? Spoiler: I think whatever works is good. But…even with that general understanding, questions arise.

How did this come up? Why, it was my last hurrah on Twitter. A very bright PhD candidate who has made herself an expert on decolonization, and with whom I have had friendly dealings for some time, was Tweeting about things she didn’t like in dudebros. (“Dudebros” is shorthand for unreconstructed young sexist males. I can’t recall if she actually used the term or not.) “Mansplaining” was there, of course. Also “cheating.”

That last brought me up short. I asked her what she meant. Yup, the traditional term for a monogamous partner stepping out. So I allowed as how I thought this was a little old-fashioned, but OK, then.

And, as so often happens in that wretched medium, dung pellets immediately hit the mini-fans. I was instantly blocked. Then the pile-on began. Screamers rushed in, some thinking I was talking about the student’s own partnership (God forbid). I discovered that I am judgemental, faux-superior, patronizing and smug, something I really should have been told a long time ago. No wonder I don’t have any friends.

For once I lost my presence of mind, and responded badly. And I’m sorry I did. I have enormous respect for this student. She can tell you every micro-nuance of how colonization works, whether of land or of the mind. To use the lingo, I thought Twitter was a safe space to discuss the social mores that she had indirectly brought up.

Nuh-uh. That’s not how taboos work. They’re discursive black holes.

So here’s what I meant to say, and the floor is open for comment.

When it comes to human relations, I don’t privilege one kind of consensual arrangement over another. I will, however, admit to some strong prejudices when it comes to the language used to talk about them. For example, the word “relationship,” hard as it is to avoid, gets my back up. I find it cold, impersonal, alienating and reifying. I received a card once that sums up my feelings on this score: a woman is addressing a man, saying: “That sounds great, but would it be good for the relationship?” At the next fold we see a monster in the living room, chained to a stake.

Precisely. My soul-mate and I preferred the word “partnership.” It seemed to be more person-focussed and egalitarian, at least to us.

And another word that makes me react is “cheating.”

Make no mistake: I think that lying to one’s partner(s) is fundamentally wrong and destructive. Transparency and honesty are essential in a lasting partnership, however that partnership is constructed. These are essential elements of trust. It’s the privileging of sex in the hierarchy of no-noes that has me scratching my head a bit.

Here’s the standard definition of “cheat”: “act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage.” Of course, we all know the more colloquial meaning, which—to be blunt—sounds way over the top when juxtaposed with the dictionary one. The last place I would look for 1950s vocabulary like that is within progressive ranks. We’re supposed to be cultural critics, for crying out loud, reflecting on everything in society that’s taken for granted. The question of “gender” is under examination 24/7, and people consciously confront various oppressive assumptions and behaviours that had remained unquestioned until recently. Ditto, “race.”

And yet…here be tygers.

I haven’t, I admit, heard the word “unfaithful” come up so far, but it must be lurking there somewhere. The two words, if not synonymous, obviously overlap. Both imply that a grave injury is being inflicted on someone simply by performing a sexual act outside the confines of the partnership. Both suggest, then, that the very basis of fidelity to another is sexual restraint.

I know that in some partnerships there is agreement on precisely that restraint. And I don’t judge this in the slightest way, because people are complex and form a variety of arrangements for mutual comfort, and that’s the way it should be. But I can’t begin to understand the frequent enormity of the reaction to breaking that agreement, other than to the objectionable sneaking around and lying that can go with it—also very conventional and 1950s, by the way.

Contrast and compare. What if a spouse drains the other spouse’s bank account to spend on booze? Pawns his valuables? Assaults her? Lies about him to his boss? Disrespects her in public? Emotionally abuses her? We find suitably disapproving terms for all of these oppressive behaviours. But somehow, “unfaithfulness” and “cheating” aren’t among them. Isn’t that…a little odd?

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Dr.Dawg

A few words of gratitude

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My learned pal Richard Warman, ably assisted by my co-blogger Balbulican, set up a crowdfunding page a little over a month ago to assist in my legal expenses for my recently-concluded lawsuit.

Their dedication and hard work has been an expression of true friendship. I can offer in response only the slightly awkward phrases allowed us by social convention.

The campaign is now done—there was never any intent to let it drag on—and funds are on their way to me. They came from friend and foe, and from strangers who saw merit in the cause. I am heartened by the generous-spiritedness expressed by all.

To those who claimed their “prizes” for contributing, or who were high bidders on the “Dawgtion,” rest assured that these matters are in hand!

And in the meantime, once again—thank you, to everyone who took part. Heart-warming. Deeply appreciated. I’m sincerely grateful.

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Dr.Dawg

Twitter no more

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Das Gerede, Martin Heidegger called it, “idle chatter.” It’s the sea of everyday speech in which all of us are immersed, and from which most of us never emerge. Those who manage to do so are answering a silent call of conscience.

If there were ever a perfect model of das Gerede, it would have to be Twitter. I have Tweeted for years now, drowning in ephemeral and worthless commentary. We are not meant to speak to each other in twenty-five words or less. This isn’t concision, but truncation.

At its best, Twitter points elsewhere, to news links, or even to lengthy and thoughtful analyses that encourage us to wrestle once more with our angels. Seldom, however, does a Tweet, or a series of them, contain or convey much content. Jeet Heer has attempted the Twitter essay, but for me this is rather like trying to put the theory of relativity into rhyming couplets. Twitter is a fundamentally unserious medium. It is too small to contain who we are or what we mean.

Worse, it is highly addictive. The Twitterverse is populated by Gabor Maté’s hungry ghosts. It’s Usenet on a slightly higher level, moderated by the blocking and muting function and by its enforced brevity, but it’s still a park for the self-indulgent, with their endless unsatisfied craving for interaction.

Guilty, by the way. No Ishmael, I.

For years I have had two major writing projects on the go. I’ve dillied and dallied and found excuses and procrastinated. I want to complete them. There is nothing that aids procrastination like Twitter. And blogging, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

What decided me? My own voice on Twitter. Wasted words. Crazed interlocutors. The hissing and spitting of ideological pallbearers, shouldering their dead creeds, barging their way through the crowds, shouting commands and imprecations. Shoddy market stalls. Affectation. Trolls. Poseurs of every stripe. Wilful misunderstanding to alibi the gushing toxic spill of call-out culture. Straw men and women. Narcissism.

There are wonderful folks on Twitter. I’ve become firm friends with people I’ve never seen in the flesh. We call to each other through the crowd-noise, toss a little sustenance to each other. But this is no longer enough, if it ever was.

Blogging has been my other joyful distraction. I’m not ready to give it up, but I won’t be writing as many articles, or as my father would have called them, squibs. I put thought and passion into those pieces, but it’s a zero-sum game: every morning one has a finite amount of what Hemingway called “juice,” and what goes into my op-ed-type opinion writing is what doesn’t go into my long-term creative work.

Now I get to find out if I’m serious. It’s about time.

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Dr.Dawg

Minority Report

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How many Canadians realize that they can be arrested and have their liberties curtailed by court order—even if they haven’t actually done anything or been charged with anything?

The law that permits this, introduced by the Liberals after 9/11, was on the books, then off the books, then put back into force by Stephen Harper in 2013 with Liberal support. Until recently, it was little used. Yet, just as a new wave of anti-“terrorist” hysteria is receding, life has finally been breathed into it. The fear machine must be fed.

Never mind the unpassed Bill C-51. You can be arrested and imprisoned up to a year right now, or forced to live under a “peace bond,” for what amounts to a pre-crime. The police have begun rounding up suspects with funny names who “may” commit a crime sometime in the future, as well as giving free reign to their time-honoured practice of entrapment. In case no pre-crime exists, after all, one can always be artfully constructed for deficient protagonists by those who are worn to serve and protect.

In this respect, the well-known film offered more security to the citizenry—the “pre-cogs” really could see into the future, at least most of the time: without intervention a crime would indeed be committed. But here in Canada in 2015, we don’t have pre-cogs. Instead we have eager-beaver cops who target the weak-minded and vulnerable, and make police-flavoured guesses about the intentions of others. In lockstep, the judicial system is playing along, imposing strict conditions upon ordinary citizens whose future acts are the subject of present scrutiny.

Better be safe than sorry, we are told. “Terrorism”—which can mean just about anything these days—must be nipped in the bud. Yet, remarkably, public opinion has reversed on Harper’s Bill C-51, which will give CSIS broad new powers to harass dissenters. Most people, as it turns out, don’t want laws that can be easily abused by unaccountable agents of the state. The problem is—they’re already in place.

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Dawgtion.jpgWe’re in the home stretch for the auction to support Dr. Dawg; bidding closes on at 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 15th. Here are five indisputable arguments for getting your bid in.

REASON 1: BECAUSE IT WAS EASTER ONLY A WEEK AGO AND BABY JESUS WANTS YOU TO.

REASON 2: BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T, YOUR CONSCIENCE IS GOING TO FORCE YOU TO MAKE A DONATION ANYWAY, AND YOU WON’T GET ANYTHING FUN FOR DOING. (Of course, if you DID want to make a donation anyway and not get something fun for it, we love you deeply, and you can do at the main Indiegogo campaign page).

REASON 3: BECAUSE THERE’S SO MUCH COOL STUFF. Here’s what’s up for grabs, with the current bids.

Lot 1: “Emergency Measures”; First edition, poetry collection by John Baglow, personally autographed for the successful bidder. Current bid: $42.00

Lot 2: Mont Tremblant Ski Pass: SOLD

Lot 3: Official Global Warming and Pirates Coffee Cup. Current bid: $20.00

Lot 4: “Oryx and Crake”, Margaret Atwood, hardcover and inscribed by the author. Current bid: $50.00

Lot 5: “The Unwritten Girl Trilogy” by James Bow, inscribed to the successful bidder. Current bid: $51.00

Lot 6: Your Own Personally Commissioned Poem, scribed to your specs by John Baglow. Current bid: $100.00

Lot 7: Rare Frontier College - 100th anniversary Canada Post Official First Day Stamp Cover. Current bid: $10.00

Lot 8: “Original People, Original Television: The Launching of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network”” by Jennifer David, autographed. Current bid: $10.00

Lot 9: “Beluga and Narwhals”, an original drawing by Goo Pootoogook. Current bid: $50.00

Lot 10: “Journey Under Glass”, personally autographed by John Baglow for the successful bidder. Current bid: $10.00

REASON 4: BECAUSE THESE ARE THE BEST BARGAINS SINCE THE ALASKA PURCHASE. An original Goo Pootoogook for fifty bucks? C’mon!

REASON 5: BECAUSE JOHN’S A GREAT BLOGGER, A GREAT GUY, AND HE COULD USE OUR HELP.

So. The clock is ticking. Mesdames et Messieurs - faites vos jeux.

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Dr.Dawg

Eduardo Galeano: ¡Presente!

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The brilliant and beautiful Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano left us yesterday. Let others assemble the capsule biographies to mark his passing: there will be many such tributes. I can speak only personally about this loss. My loss.

Excerpts from a letter that I sent to him in 2000:

Through Bob Carty I have finally tracked down your address, something I have been searching for, on and off, for many years. Your books are wandering about the lands and the minds of the world, having their own adventures that their author might never know—but these books send some of us back as messengers to recount their stories to you. Here are a few of them.

Reading Memory of Fire after a former lover told me about you, reading it aloud to her in bed, in particular *Century of the Wind,” a long account that needed the invention of an entirely new genre, the synthesis of poetry and journalism, poetry with a bibliography. Later, days after we had woken up to the news that the Sandinistas had lost the election in Nicaragua, lying there paralyzed that morning, unable to speak, we read your essay, although what I most remember was the critique of the Soviet project in a few words—“orthopedic socialism.” [P]ulling the people along by the ear. But the image of the child lost in the storm has remained with me, a Canadian socialist and union leader who has no idea where to go next.

Then, shortly after meeting my life partner more than five years ago, reading “The Book of Embraces,” I saw there a new level of being human that I could only dream of becoming, an amplified humanity refined by fire, balanced, wise and passionate. Marianne lived in the Yukon then, more than two thousand miles away. Your words needed to travel there….Later, when she moved to Ottawa, I read it to her…laughing one moment, crying the next.

I gave my late mother a copy of the book, too. I had no idea what her reaction would be, but wanted her to know more about me and what my aspirations were. I thought your Left politics would put her off, no matter how humane, how informed by the best of human passion they were. I was wrong. She phoned me to ask me to buy more copies for her friends.

And so, on behalf of your books, coming to me through the tinted glass of translation, I want to thank you.

And he responded, thanking me in turn and wishing me a joyful New Year, and adding a little drawing as part of his signature.

Later, in 2009, he visited Ottawa to read from his new book, Mirrors. I was there with the woman who had first introduced me to him. I went up to the signing table, shook his hand. I looked into his warm eyes and wondered what it must be like to be so deeply alive. I told him I had written to him years before, and received a card from him. His eyes twinkled. “That was a good card, wasn’t it?” He signed my new book, and also my copy of The Book of Embraces: “To John, abrazos!”

I embrace his Magical Marxism—“one half reason, one half passion, a third half mystery.” He was a storyteller who melded harsh reality with unquenchable dreams of hope. He invented a new way of telling that never-ending story, in a style that was the very core of his vision.

There was talk a few months back that he had repudiated his young polemic, Open Veins of Latin America. Read the silly NYT article at the link with a critical eye, and pay attention as always to his words—not those of his posturing opponents, or the vapid reporter. The fault he found in that book was the fault that all of us, growing older, see in the creations of our youth. Unrefined. Too raw. Too angry. Lacking the deeply human dimensions of his later work, that should inform any practical politics that dares to deem itself progressive.

And now he has no more words.

You left us too soon, compañero Eduardo. Hasta siempre.

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10th and final lot!

“Journey Under Glass” (Penumbra Press, 2004). “If nothing is constant but change, then everything for the marvelling consciousness is a journey, a process of transformation in which we may choose to drift or, if we are possessed of luck, vision, foolhardiness or desperation, try to set our own course. These poems are the trace of one, or more than one, such voyage.” Personally autographed by John Baglow for the successful bidder.

Place your bids in the comments below, with a $1.00 minimum for each increasing bid. Bidding will close April 15 at noon (12h00 Pacific Time) No bid received after the closing time will be accepted.

Don’t forget to check out the earlier lots!

Items will be shipped, postage paid, upon receipt of payment at the indiegogo site specifying the item number, or upon receipt of a money order or certified cheque.

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Lot 9:

“Beluga and Narwhals”, an original, signed drawing by Goo Pootoogook, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

Goo Pootoogook was born in a tent, in a camp near Cape Dorset 54 years ago. His family was resettled by the Canadian government to Cape Dorset. He learned to draw while recovering from TB in a Toronto hospital when he was 10, tracing characters in Spider Man and Donald Duck comic books. His grandmother, Pitseolak Ashoona, was also a well-known Cape Dorset artist and printmaker.

He became a full-time artist in 1987, and lives with his family in Iqaluit. His easel is his kitchen table. His light comes from a window. His medium is pencil, black pen, pencil crayon and water colour. He uses most in combination for each piece, and works in freehand for the most part.

His work is valued for its energy and simplicity, and for the sly humour reflected in his depictions of the natural world.

11” X 13”, unframed.

Place your bids in the comments below, with a $1.00 minimum for each increasing bid. Bidding will close April 15 at noon (12h00 Pacific Time) No bid received after the closing time will be accepted.

Items will be shipped, postage paid, upon receipt of payment at the indiegogo site specifying the item number, or upon receipt of a money order or certified cheque.

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Dr.Dawg

Last word on C-51

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demos.jpgI wasn’t going to write another word on Harper’s Bill C-51, because all seemed to me to have been said. 1) It’s an appalling Bill, creating an unaccountable political police with wide powers—a piece of legislation clearly designed to stamp out civil dissent; and 2) With a few cosmetic changes, it’s already a done deal.

But a formidable new expert has now been heard from, and any waverers need to listen. Before getting to that, though, since we’re on the subject, here’s a brief resume of the proposed Conservative amendments to C-51, as reported by the media.

Removing the word “lawful” from the Bill seemingly clarifies that acts of peaceful civil disobedience, trespass, and (in Montreal) exercising the former right of free assembly to protest government austerity, will not be considered “terrorist” acts. The Bill will now emphasize that CSIS has no power to make arrests. Information-sharing will be restricted, but we don’t yet know to what degree.

Has the Bill been defanged, then, after nation-wide protests and plummeting public support for these alleged “anti-terrorist” measures? In a word, No.

Permitting, or appearing to permit, peaceful civil disobedience is less of a change than it appears. Got a couple of Black Bloc provocateurs in your peaceful demonstration of dissent? That triggers the “unless carried on in conjunction with” clause in the CSIS Act, sufficient legal cover to unleash CSIS against the demo’s organizers, leaders and organizational participants. That’s even without C-51, which expands the powers of CSIS without serious accountability.

No CSIS powers of arrest? It’s not as though they are living in a silo. Their colleagues can be counted upon to do the arresting, or the secret police of other nations, leaving CSIS to do the interrogations. CSIS is explicitly not allowed to kill you or rape you or inflict lasting bodily injury under C-51—which, by implication, means that pretty well everything else goes. Fancy a swim?

How much will information-sharing be cut back? Will that include the provision of personal information to torture-prone governments abroad? Remember what the previous Liberal administration got up to on that score. C-51 just widens the gate to more abusive practices.

So, oversight of CSIS is clearly a key issue. It’s been a major concern of the Bill’s opponents from the beginning. The Harper Conservatives have demeaned and defamed those critics, and prevaricated throughout the process; but the fact remains that there is no oversight now, and C-51 will not provide any.

Two bodies used to survey the doings of CSIS. The first, the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), takes a cursory look, at best, at past CSIS activities. It was headed up at one point by an accused fraudster who would likely fail a security clearance himself, followed immediately by a pipeline lobbyist whose conflict of interest was so glaring that he had to step down shortly after Harper appointed him.

The grossly ineffective and compromised SIRC was, however, accompanied by the Office of the Inspector General of CSIS, whose small body of experts provided some genuine oversight. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Harper Conservatives abolished that office in 2012, leaving everything in the hands of SIRC.

Now, in an explosive scoop by iPolitics journalist Andrew Mitrovica, the last Inspector General has spoken out. To put it mildly.

Eva Plunkett, nobody’s fool or hand-puppet, doesn’t hold back: “This government, even though they go on and on about security, they have no interest in accountability so they put their political hacks in that joke of a committee called SIRC.”

Whew. Read the whole thing. There’s a lot more.

To sum up: a secret police, well known for what a federal judge—and even SIRC!—have called a “lack of candour,” a body of shady operatives already out of control, will be gifted by Stephen Harper with vastly expanded powers, and “overseen” by an ineffectual body composed largely of Conservative political cronies.

What could possibly go wrong? Ask Eva Plunkett.

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