Elections, a theatre of democracy (Huffington Post)

By: Étienne Boudou-Laforce, Ianik Marcil, Steve E. Fortin, Bianca Longpré; signatories at bottom of post
Originally published on: October 15 2015
Original French text here: http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/etienne-boudou-laforce/election-theatre-democratie_b_8307102.html

With its cardboard stage set, contrived acting and empty issues, federal elections can resemble an interminable production of summer theatre. Thankfully, at the end of the day, the theatricality makes way for handsome and unshakeable democracy. Elections are in fact the people’s calling to vote and choose their own destiny. Is it not a deeply noble thing to see democracy enacted?

Theoretically, the answer is yes, indeed. But maybe you should check with Greece. They elected an anti-austerity party and won a referendum against austerity, and yet their creditors answered back with a categorical “no” and even greater austerity in order to possibly punish them for even thinking they could get away with a referendum. As Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund-Adorno once said, “if voting could change the system, it would be illegal”.  Does this mean that our “less bad system” would be a simulacrum of democracy that is more pernicious than others because it suggests real political consequence? Is Étienne Chouard correct in stating that “the fact of having to designate our masters is a fraudulent imposition. It yields plutocratic results, with the rich leading for the past 200 years”?
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Austerity fashioned from candle ends (Le Journal de Montréal)

By Ianik Marcil
Originally published on February 19, 2015
See original French text here: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2015/02/19/austerite-de-bout-de-chandelles

After the “Hats Off, Girls!” program, which encourages young women to choose non-traditional occupations, today we learn that the Couillard government is slashing the “Secondaire en spectacle” [High schools on stage] program. Yet another short-sighted decision, which shows that the current government, under the pretext of “fiscal restraint”, is pursuing ideological goals.

There is nothing illegitimate about the party in power redefining the size and role of government. This is an act of political vision that can be defended in the democratic game. On the other hand, using the argument of a balanced budget as a weapon to dismantle specific programs is at best misleading, and at worst, is an intellectual fraud and deceit.

I have written it enough in these columns and elsewhere – and I’m obviously not the only one -: there is no urgency or imminent disaster. To suggest otherwise, as do Philippe Couillard, Martin Coiteux and Carlos Leitão, is to downright falsify reality.

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To Pay for One CHUM per Year (Le Journal de Montréal)

Taxes should be paid where economic activity is generated.

By Ianik Marcil
Originally published on January 28, 2015
See original French text here: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2015/01/28/se-payer-un-chum-par-annee

Apple just announced record profits of $18 billion for the last three months of 2014. This represents $200 000 per day. Of profits. Despite all of this, the business manages to only pay 2% taxes on these earnings.

The last few years, some journalists have brought to light the fiscal strategies that allow Apple and some other very big businesses, notably the giants of the technology sector, to pay almost no taxes, despite their formidable profits. They do not falsify their declarations of revenues any more than they hide bundles of bills in safes in their basements. Rather, they have recourse to what we call “fiscal optimization” – a euphemism for tax avoidance.

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