In seeking to redress the underrepresentation of women in key positions of political leadership, Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau has pledged gender parity within government at decision-making levels, vowing as Prime Minister to appoint an “equal number of women and men” to cabinet. Unveiled in June as part of a larger “Fair and … Continue reading →
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Daniel Marans reports on Bernie Sanders’ push for international action against austerity in Greece and elsewhere. And Binoy Kampmark documents the anti-democratic and antisocial ideology on the other side of the austerity debate.
- Noah Smith writes that while there’s no discernible connection between massive pay for CEOs and actual corporate performance, there’s a strong link between who an executive knows and how much the executive can extract.
- The CP reports on UNESCO’s push to study the impact of the tar sands on Wood Buffalo National Park. And Tavia Grant breaks (Read more…)
Here, following up on these posts about the possibility the Cons might decide to ignore their own fixed election date and delay the election expected for October 19.
For further reading…
- The Canada Elections Act is here. And for an interesting comparison, see Saskatchewan’s fixed election date provision from the Legislative Assembly Act, 2007: 8.1(1) Unless a general election has been held earlier because of the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, the first general election after the coming into force of this section must be held on Monday, November 7, 2011.(2) Subject to subsection (Read more…)
Some high-profile commentators seem to be accepting a highly dubious conclusion about the federal election date expected this fall. So let’s take a quick look at what a “fixed” election date actually means for a government which has no qualms about breaking the rules – and why the fact that we’re seemingly on track for an October election doesn’t mean we can rule out an abrupt change in course if it suits the Harper Cons’ purposes.
Here’s what the Canada Elections Act now says about election dates: 56.1 (1) Nothing in this section affects the powers of the Governor (Read more…)
Well I wasn't really shocked that somebody forgot to invite me to the Bilderberg meeting at that luxury resort in Austria.You know, the top secret conclave of the rich and the powerful, which has been called everything from the home of the New World Order, to the lair of the Fourth Reich. But I must admit I was disappointed.Because I've got three opinions on EVERYTHING, I absolutely LOVE shrimp cocktails, and I've always wanted to drive my Porche, or in my case my bicycle, into the lobby of a fancy hotel…
Disappointed that is, until I read this story. Read more »
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Michael Hiltzig examines the evidence showing that austerity serves as a major obstacle to economic growth. And Ian Hussey argues that Alberta (like other jurisdictions) is out of budgetary balance due to a lack of income rather than any need to cut social supports.
- Branko Milanovic studies (PDF) the historical relationship between inequality and long-term economic growth and finds no reason to think the former does anything but impede the latter: More political power and patronage implies more inequality. The frequent claim that inequality promotes accumulation and growth does not get (Read more…)
Last night, Andrew Coyne published a column in which he champions introducing a minimum income over raising the minimum wage as a radical policy suggestion for Alberta’s new NDP government. Coyne couches the column in his typical pseudo-contrarianism. Here he is supposedly advocating socialism…gasp! In reality, however, Coyne gets it backwards: a minimum income in Alberta today would almost certainly be a dangerous neoliberal measure. It’s raising the minimum wage that can help open more space for progressive politics.
First, the basics. The $15 minimum wage was a key promise of the NDP campaign and increasingly being adopted across North America. A minimum income is a theoretical idea that’s never (Read more…)
H/t Michael de Adder
Anyone who regularly reads this blog will know that I (along with guest posters The Salamander and The Mound of Sound) regard Peter MacKay as just one of far too many blights on the political landscape, perhaps distinguished only by his less-than-pedestrian intellect and very public absence of integrity. The most egregious example of the latter occurred during a very public soul-selling transaction (most such deals, I assume, go on behind closed political doors). After promising David Orchard during what turned out to be the final leadership convention of the federal Progressive Conservatives that he would (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Sean McElwee examines new evidence of the deliberate choice of past U.S. governments dating back to Ronald Reagan to completely discount the policy preferences of anybody but the rich: In a new book, political scientists James Druckman and Lawrence Jacobs examine data on internal polling from U.S. presidential archives and other existing research to determine how presidents use their knowledge of public opinion to craft policies. What they found is disturbing: Presidents tend to focus on the opinions of the wealthy and well-connected insiders, ignoring the views of most (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- CBC follows up on the connection between childhood poverty and increased health-care costs later in life. And Sunny Freeman points out how the living wage planned by Rachel Notley’s NDP figures to benefit Alberta’s economy in general.
- Meanwhile, William Gardner laments our lack of accurate information on health and well-being in the wake of the Cons’ census shredding, particularly among exactly the marginalized communities who are most likely to need help.
- And Richard Thaler reminds us why it’s foolish to assume that people and economies can be treated as if they’ll (Read more…)
Here, on how the rise of Rachel Notley’s NDP serves largely to bring Alberta’s political system into step with those of its regional neighbours.
For further reading…- Murray Mandryk had previously pointed out why we should be cautious about reading too much into the Alberta results. But the most important distinction looks to be that Saskatchewan is currently functioning as a pure two-party system – so the support level which won Rachel Notley a resounding majority would leave the NDP on Saskatchewan’s opposition benches. – Dan Arnold and Andrew Coyne both confirm that a progressive victory in Alberta (Read more…)
Andrew Coyne wants to pretend we shouldn’t worry what legislation gets passed by the Harper Cons on the theory that there’s absolutely nothing stopping a future elected government from reversing course.
Which means it’s a good thing there’s no antiquated, undemocratic chamber of Parliament where regardless of the results of any federal election, a Conservative majority will continue to hold the power to unilaterally negate the decisions of elected representatives.
The Calgary Flames are preparing to host their first playoff game since 2009 in a matter of days. While the Flames are working hard to even up their series, the politicians are working the doors. The province of Alberta may be preparing to elect a new party to power for the first time since 1971.
Does this sound familiar? Just three years ago I was responsible for the following assumption:
Danielle Smith is likely to be the next premier of Alberta
It doesn’t sound like a terrible statement, but this type of statement reveals a foolish reliance on poor (Read more…)
Here, on how the sudden disappearance of Danielle Smith and her fellow Wildrose Party defectors offers a case in point of the dangers of forgetting that politicians ultimately answer to the public.
For further reading…- CBC reported on the actual deal between Smith and Jim Prentice here, while Darren Krause reported on Smith’s nomination defeat. And CBC examines Wildrose’s bounce back in the polls as it elected a new leader.- Don Braid notes that Smith was warned about some of the dangers of crossing the floor at the time, while Andrew Coyne sees a bait and (Read more…)
I’ve previously highlighted the need for media and citizens alike to press our opposition parties on how they’re willing to cooperate to replace the Harper Cons after the next federal election. But let’s note that there’s a similar question which still needs to be directed at Stephen Harper at every available opportunity – even if we can’t expect much more than instructive non-answers.
As Andrew Coyne notes, it’s still an open question how far Harper would go in trying to cling to power under all kinds of circumstances: As prime minister, Mr. Harper would retain a number of prerogatives (Read more…)
The latest round of discussion about the possibility of a coalition to offer something better than the Harper Cons seems to have taken an noteworthy turn. At this point, everybody but the Libs seems to have settled on the position that there’s no real obstacle to a coalition government – and the Libs’ spin machine has responded with little more than a plan to fabricate mistrust between themselves and the NDP.
But no matter how far that effort goes, the foreseeable outcomes of the next election feature a low probability of anybody holding a majority, and a strong prospect that (Read more…)
National Post columnist Lawrence Solomen is now running an anti-vaxxer website. You can see it here. This is from the “About us” section:
VaccineFactCheck, headed by Lawrence Solomon, is a project of Consumer Policy Institute.
The “Consumer Policy Institute” is also just more Solomon, another part of his “Energy Probe” network of astro-turf groups pushing various corporate causes.
Now, Solomon probably wouldn’t call it an anti-vaxxer site; he’d probably just claim he was trying to “teach the controversy”. But that is, of course, bullshit. And after that whole thing with The Star’s Gardisil article I thought the whole nation had (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- Tavia Grant, Bill Curry and David Kennedy discuss CIBC’s analysis showing that Canadian job quality has falled to its lowest level recorded in the past 25 years: Several reports have concluded that the country’s job market is not as strong as it looks and now a study from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce paints an even worse picture. According to the bank’s analysis, job quality has fallen to its lowest level in more than two decades. A CIBC index that measures 25 years worth of data on part-time versus full-time work, paid versus (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Danyaal Raza highlights how Canadians can treat an election year as an opportunity to discuss the a focus on social health with candidates and peers alike: Health providers are increasingly recognizing that while a robust health care system is an important part of promoting Canadians’ health, so is the availability of affordable housing, decent work, and a tightly knit social safety net. Upstream-focused clinical interventions, like the income security program available where I practice, are increasingly meeting that need – but no such program works in a vacuum.…Thinking differently requires speaking differently. (Read more…)
Andrew Coyne offers what’s probably the most reasonable argument to treat the negligible threat of terrorism differently from the other risks we so readily accept (and indeed which are regularly exacerbated by deregulation).
But Coyne’s argument falls well short of justifying the response actually on offer from the Cons – and indeed looks questionable on its own merits. (M)otive comes up at many points in the criminal law – if the motive is self-defence, for example. And motive, in the case of terrorism, is inseparable from the act. The terrorist does not seek only to kill for killing’s sake, or (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Larry Elliott writes that at least some business leaders are paying lip service to the idea that inequality needs to be reined in. But Alec Hogg points out that at least some of the privileged few are using their obscene wealth to remove themselves from the rest of humanity, rather than lifting a finger to help anybody else.
- Meanwhile, Joseph Stiglitz observes that sheer stubborn stupidity on the part of austerians is doing untold damage to the global economy. But Jon Henley notes that in advance of Syriza’s election victory, a new (Read more…)
Truly, I wish Andrew Coyne’s latest actually described policy-making in Canada, and not merely the state of theoretical political debate.
But in fact, we live in a country where “let’s consider whether a trade agreement actually has benefits, rather than signing whatever gets shoved in front of us” has been shouted down by two national parties and the corporate press as an extreme view.
In fact, the “progressive” premier put forward as the paragon of leftism is from a government which brags about both trashing regulations for the sake of trashing regulations, and imposing perpetual real-money cuts to the public (Read more…)
Let’s talk coalition …
The recent poll showing that most Liberal and NDP supporters would rather have a new government than have a Harper one after the 2015 election, even if this means some form of a coalition, has sparked renewed talk about the possibility of a coalition.
One problem with such talk is that a lack of understanding of our constitutional laws clouds the issue, as Andrew Coyne has pointed out in an interesting article.
And in a recent interview, Justin Trudeau has added to the confusion by slipping into the Either-Or mode of thinking, which sorely limits the permissible (Read more…)
Does anybody remember which particularly prominent political pundit went far out his way to trumpet the idea that basic unit of political legitimacy is the caucus – to the point of repeatedly advocating a legislated requirement that a caucus vote override the decisions made by the whole of a party’s membership?
I ask only because he seems to have been replaced with a far more reasonable impostor.
By the majority-of-caucus standard set under Michael Chong’s Reform Act (or the stronger forms suggested by Andrew Coyne among others), the decision of a majority of Wildrose Party MLAs to join up with (Read more…)
Here, taking a quick look at Canada’s options for electoral reform while arguing that an MMP system would create far better incentives for our political leaders than the alternatives.
For further reading…- Alison wrote about our options in advance of yesterday’s vote on the NDP’s electoral reform proposal. – Eric Grenier discusses the possible outcomes under the three main alternatives based on current polling. And I’d argue that the current party standings offer a useful litmus test as to one’s weighting of representativeness versus defaulting toward majority government – as a preferential system would put the Libs within (Read more…)