Roundup: Stampede Triumphalism

With it being Stampede time in Calgary, Stephen Harper has made a triumphant “homecoming speech” to the crowd there about how he wants to transform Canada to be one of the “next generation of economic powers,” and that even though all of his changes aren’t popular they are necessary. Note that he again takes credit for Paul Martin’s achievements and for resource prices. Also in attendance were Alison Redford and Danielle Smith, and Redford got more applause than Smith, even though that federal Conservatives tend to be more in the Wildrose Party camp.

As is typical at this time of year, journalists seem mystified that the Liberals are showing the flag in the heart of “enemy territory” – as if there are no Liberals in Alberta, which is not true. Bob Rae says that looking at the elections of Naheed Nenshi and Alison Redford shows that there is an appetite for centrist, progressive politics in places like Calgary – though traditionally this has been harder to achieve at the federal level, as Calgarians tend to vote increasingly conservative the higher level one goes. And add the obligatory Justin Trudeau leadership speculation as he works – and woos – the crowds there.

If you do plan on attending Stampede, here is some expert advice from stylists on how to dress without looking like a complete bumpkin.

Elsewhere in the country, it seems that veterans are still seeing their pensions clawed back despite promises that the practice would end after that court decision.

Here’s more about the 30th anniversary of the Access to Information Act, and the needed reforms to it in an age of increasing government secrecy.

A major international donor’s conference pledges $16 billion in aid for Afghanistan. Of that, Canada is pledging $227 million, with a pledge from the Afghan government to seriously crack down on corruption.

Here’s more on the rise in prison violence in this country. (Hint: There’s plenty of overcrowding, despite what Vic Toews likes to tell you.)

And here’s your look ahead to tomorrow’s Supreme Court hearing on the Etobicoke Centre election, which both sides are billing as the battle for “democracy itself.” Um, no. The battle for democracy is much bigger, further-reaching and more systematic than this one skirmish, but thanks for playing.