How do you save democracy from itself? You appoint a Senate.
In 1990 the democratically elected House of Commons passed Bill C-43 which would have criminalized all abortions. That bill was defeated by the appointed Senate. To this day abortions remain legal solely because of the Senate’s actions. In 2013 the democratically elected House of Commons passed Bill C-377 which would have weakened labour unions. That bill was stopped by the appointed Senate. Today the democratically elected House of Commons is preparing to pass Bill C-23 The Fair Elections Act which seeks to undermine democracy. The appointed Senate is (Read more…)
Jim Flaherty was unethical, incompetent and he should have been fired. Those aren’t my words, they’re Thomas Mulcair’s, spoken just last year in Question Period. Yet after the former Finance Minister’s death, Mulcair has called him a good man and a great public servant.
There’s no doubt that the NDP Leader genuinely mourns the loss of Jim Flaherty, but this recent death and the response to it by all politicians, not just Mulcair, shows the real tragedy of a political life.
Because it’s only now, after resorting to the lowest denominator in attacks against Mr.Flaherty for his whole political (Read more…)
Yesterday was Pink Shirt Day, it’s a day dedicated to ending bullying. Now if you didn’t wear a pink shirt, don’t feel too bad, because unless you spent the day threatening someone with violence and having to be physically restrained, you’re still one up on Conservative MP Ron Cannan.
Because it was on Pink Shirt Day that this backbencher MP chose to make a brave stand for bullies everywhere. Now he didn’t ask Parliament why we don’t have a national day for bullies, Camoflage Tank-Top Day if you will, he did one better; he brought the bullying to the House (Read more…)
Unelected Conservative Senators have a surprising amount of electoral expertise. It must come from all those years of not getting elected.
@JDanAiken @bruceanderson Elections Canada should not have a vested interest in recording a high voter turnout. That’s a conflict.
— Senator Linda Frum (@LindaFrum) April 9, 2014
Every day these posers are proving the irrelevance of a partisan Senate…. this is not the stuff of sober second thought. Its stuff you expect from a bunch of drunks in a kitchen-party at 24 Sussex.
The post The Senate is drunk on partisanship appeared first on The Right-Wing Observer.
Full disclosure: Tom Lukiwski is a four-letter word in my home. The fact this man continues to get elected in our home province embarrasses us deeply. He has a demonstrated ability, practiced really over decades, to offend people with thoughtless comments. Thankfully, we don’t live in his riding, so our shame is balanced by our pride in being represented by the honourable Ralph Goodale.
Context: Lukiwski serves on the PROC committee, currently studying everyone’s favorite piece of legislation since the last omnibus budget bill. Witness after witness is giving them an earful of negativity against Pierre Poilievre’s ‘terrific’ piece of (Read more…)
A poll was commissioned by The Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students, and LeadNow.ca to find out how Canadians feel about the Fair Elections Act. The poll was conducted in late February and early March.
I started to put together a visualization of this data, starting with the first two questions asked in the survey. The questions asked about the bill were:
Please indicate how familiar you are with this Bill: very familiar, somewhat familiar, somewhat unfamiliar, or very unfamiliar. Please indicate how you feel about this Bill: Strongly oppose, somewhat oppose, neutral, somewhat support, strongly (Read more…)
When a person or an organization observes an opportunity for profit or gain and are then confronted with laws that make it illegal to proceed, they usually have to make a choice between two or three vastly different courses of action:
Break the law and attempt to escape detection, capture and punishment; Decide that the costs of being caught breaking the law are not worth the risk and forfeit said opportunity; or Decide that the law is morally right and therefore said opportunity does not actually exist.
In Ottawa, the Conservative Party of Canada currently reigns as the democratically elected, (Read more…)
Alison Redford was defeated because her party is too successful. And there’s proof.
In politics there wouldn’t be many opportunities to test such a theory; to really know if it was the success of Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives that caused Redford to resign. Luckily for this experiment there just happens to be a control group next door, it even comes with its own Alison Redford.
BC’s Christy Clark has a lot in common with Redford. Both were seen as outsiders. Both ran for leadership with little caucus support, each having only one other MLA supporting them. Both became leader of a (Read more…)
Our household is down to our last 20kg of Litter Purrfect clumping cat litter. This is the brand we buy at Costco. Costco didn’t have any this week or last week, so we sent an email to the good folks at Litter Purrfect to find out why.
Turns out their factory in Lethbridge has a shortage of clay.
Where I live (Regina), we have lots of clay in the ground, but it’s frozen solid! So I guess it gets shipped in from some place warmer. As it turns out, the Litter Purrfect people told us the clay isn’t getting to (Read more…)
Visible government = accessible government = accountable government.
The Federal Identity Program (FIP) reportedly uses this as their motto. This is the gang responsible for maintaining the Government of Canada’s Brand: the people behind all that Conservative Blue on Government of Harper websites and making sure Canadians know that Harper is hard at work for us. So it’s questionable whether they have anything to do with visibility, accessibility, or accountability.
One of the requirements of FIP is that the use of any non-compliant symbols must be approved by the Treasury Board as an exemption to the policy. When Amy Minsky (Read more…)
Over the weekend, I was asked to sign an open letter regarding the proposed “Fair Elections Act”, a seriously-flawed piece of legislation with an Orwellian name. I was happy to sign it, particularly as the recipient of a diversionary robocall in Guelph on voting day of the last federal election. The open letter, signed by many Canadian professors, appeared in the National Post and Le Devoir today. I encourage you to read the letter, which outlines a number of key concerns.
The press release accompanying the letter reads as follows:
FAIR ELECTIONS ACT WOULD HARM CANADIAN DEMOCRACY, (Read more…)
This fascinating and scary post just showed up on the FairVote Canada Facebook page:
The Conservative version of equality. Bigger picture below.
A couple of things to notice here and I’ll just leave it at that.
The Conservative party is worried about what the NDP and Green Party have to say about reforming our democracy. They are scared of PR and Elizabeth May and the NDP. They are scared that Canadians will finally say yes to staring to improve our unfair system.
Ridings, Not Voters
“Our country was founded on the equality of riding first and foremost.”
With the Throne Speech a one-day wonder, the Hair had nothing left to do but head for Brussels. The home of the European Union, Brussels today is more than a Mecca for tourists. It is here that the Hair has signed a tentative European trade treaty.
Nobody seems to care that the poor hairdresser had little time to rinse out a few intimate things before being hustled back onto that damn Airbus A310. The Hair needed a different set of lackey’s for the European trip than last week’s jaunt to Indonesia but where the Hair goes, so must go the (Read more…)
Here is a rough translation of Canadian political culture for Americans and others who may be unfamiliar with the political landscape of the second largest country on earth, the holder of the largest oil and mineral resources on earth, the pantry to the American empire, one of the richest nations on the planet, and a member of […]
When writing about the ‘Dump the Dummy’ campaign among Ontario Conservatives a couple days ago, we could hardly imagine the Tories having any choice. It gives you serious pause though when you find out who are the people leading the charge to get rid of Ontario Leader Timmy Hudak.
If you thought the people behind the move were responsible, level-headed red Tories who cared about the mess Hudak is making of things, you were wrong. It seems to be Tiny Tim’s fellow crazies over on the right wing of the party who are seeking vengeance. The most level headed is (Read more…)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been saved by the rain on the plain. With Calgary recovering from serious flood conditions, it is no time for a Conservative Convention. Stephen Harper must think that God is smiling on him. If he had his way, the convention would never happen. He does not need it. He probably thinks of it as a masquerade for people with dyslexia. Party goers will wear masks to allow them to have their say.
Regrettably, few will be able to say what they really wish to. It will be difficult to contain the frustration. Harper held (Read more…)
In the free market prices reflect demand, instead of choosing a few events to speak at arbitrarily, Justin Trudeau set a price to attend those gatherings that wanted him the most. This method of relying on market prices to benefit charities and businesses is a rather conservative idea.
So yes before he was Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau set a price to reflect the demand of those wanting to hear him speak, Stephen Harper for years did too, it just happened no one would pay to hear him talk.
Now the irony is that as Prime Minister we all pay when (Read more…)
If there was no John A. Macdonald, there would be no Canada.
Our most important founding father and first Prime Minister died 122 years ago today. Canadians of all political persuasions should take a moment and remember John A. Macdonald because they share so much in common with the man who made this country.
For Conservatives they owe much to Macdonald. Their majority government was elected because of moderation and stability, two values Macdonald owed his 19 years as Prime Minister to.
Jack Layton undeniably shared perhaps the most valuable trait with Macdonald, and that is being a man of (Read more…)
Out of Canada’s 33 Fathers of Confederation, only one went to university.1
It’s not that Nova Scotia’s Charles Tupper was the only intelligent one among them, other founders were businessmen, doctors, and lawyers, it’s that none of those jobs, and many others, did not require any post-secondary education.
The eduction jobs in the late 19th century did require was entirely made free shortly after confederation because provincial governments, though extremely small and limited, believed that their public schools should provide all the instruction necessary for citizens to obtain jobs in any sector, be it agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, commerce, medicine (Read more…)
If Justin Beiber was in the Canadian Senate it would be the most watched institution in all of government, and, undoubtedly, the most accountable.
For if the Biebs walked down the Ottawan red carpet into that similarly coloured chamber, his every action would be televised, sensationalized, and scrutinized. There wouldn’t be a Bieber vote that wouldn’t make a headline.
And not only would every single one of his receipts be analyzed by the Toronto Star and every other news agency, there would be over a hundred pictures documenting the young star in racking them up.
Though he would still be (Read more…)
Nobody really thinks Senator Mike Duffy received $90,000 in return for some political favour, but that public perception would most certainly change if he and every other Senator faced regular expensive election campaigns that depended on large contributions and even larger political favours.
An elected Senate requiring hundreds of thousands of dollars every four years for its members to run for office in much larger ridings would without a doubt only increase the likelihood of Senators exchanging votes for large financial contributions, both over and under the table.
In contrast, appointed Senators aren’t as vulnerable to bribes or shady deals.
90% of Americans support universal background checks for guns yet on Wednesday the American Senate struck down that legislation. That’s not very democratic, is it?
Those in Canada who fervently cling to the idea that voting will make our Senate democratic almost completely ignore the problems that come with it, such as the lobbyists and interest groups, like the National Rifle Association, that frequently override public opinion.
Contrasted with the American example, it is the Canadian appointed Senate that actually represents its citizens, because in not being elected the Senate recognizes the public does not empower it to drastically change (Read more…) defeat bills from the House of Commons.
And when the Senate does, in the rare times, reject bills from the elected house, it is to protect the interests of minorities and Canada’s regions, as it did in 1991 where it defeated a bill to re-criminalize abortion.
Considering the . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: The Undemocratic Elected Senate & The Democratic Appointed One
Justin Trudeau and the late Jack Layton have quite a few similarities, underestimation by Conservatives is yet another.
It wasn’t too long ago a certain inexperienced federal politician became leader of a third place political party. Though the son of a prominent politician1, in his early life he had not been immediately drawn to federal politics and instead chose a career of teaching. But with time this idealist realized that Canada deserved better than the “conservatives” in power and ran for his party’s leadership.2 He easily won it by a large margin on the first ballot… in (Read more…)