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The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s Orwellian “Fair Elections” Act Violates Canadian Constitution

by: Obert Madondo

Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Photo by Remy Steinegger

The Harper Conservatives’ Bill C-23, the so-called “Fair Elections” Act, violates Section 3 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It’s clear the Conservatives are preparing to steal the 2015 federal election. Bill C-23 is part of their ongoing war on the politically-marginalized. It unequivocally proposes to disenfranchise non-Conservative voters and marginalized groups.

The Charter’s Section 3 clearly states that “Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of the members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for (Read more…)

LeDaro: Justin Trudeau’s Senate Move… a great political move or amateurish

Harper has been mired in embarrassing scandals concerning his Senators, from Wallin to Duffy to Brazeau. Justin Trudeau has responded with a move that some have called “bold” and “game-changing” by kicking all Liberal Senators out of caucus. I don’t think it’s “bold” or “game-changing” and it does not show Trudeau to be a Senate reformer.

The supposedly “independent” caucus in the Senate – whom Trudeau did not seem to consult on this move – still call themselves Liberal, have Liberal members as employees, and will still be active members of the Liberal Party. Looks all smoke and mirrors (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Is Harper Americanizing our Supreme Court?

When I first heard about Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati’s challenge of the federal government’s appointment of Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court, I had little interest, thinking this was just some esoteric legal matter that had little meaning to us laymen. But the more it I learn about it, particularly listening to the views of various legal experts, the more I begin to think Galati hit on

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Murray Dobbin recognizes that there’s more at stake on the federal political scene than merely replacing the Harper Cons – and that the most important debate may be found within the NDP. Meanwhile, Tim Harper is concern trolling on that front, demanding that Thomas Mulcair silence Linda McQuaig and anybody else whose principles might not align perfectly with Fraser Institute talking points.

- Carol Goar makes the case (as I’ve done before) to deal with the Senate through a new convention which simply avoids future appointments. But Andrew Coyne proposes a far (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: NAFTA, “Free Trade” and the TPP: Fast-Track To Full Corporate Rule

“Twenty years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law. At the time, advocates painted a rosy picture of booming U.S. exports creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and economic development in Mexico, which would bring the struggling country in line with its wealthier northern neighbors. Two decades later, those […]

Accidental Deliberations: The road to abolition

Ian Peach’s guest post at Pundits’ Guide is well worth a read in setting out a feasible path to Senate abolition. But I’ll note that the exact wording of an abolition resolution would need to be somewhat more complex than that proposed by Peach – while the political push might also take a slightly different shape than he seems to be counting on.

Peach’s proposal for an abolition resolution – which, as he rightly notes, could originate with a province rather than the federal government – is as follows: The resolution would be simple: that sections 26 through 31 of (Read more…)

A BCer in Toronto: There is an argument for the Senate – just not this Senate, or this House of Commons

The Senate has been much in the news lately, with the expense troubles of a few Senators – compounded by the mishandling of their investigation – bringing much  negative attention to the other place. While this is really a scandal about Stephen Harper’s decision-making and the style of governance he fosters, a serious and real national debate about the Senate’s place in our democracy is long overdue.

It’s easy to look at the shenanigans and say just abolish the thing. The NDP wasted little time in making that case. I think the misdoings of a few Senators is a poor (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: NDP Convention 2013: New Democrats’ constitution gets a new preamble

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: Perhaps the biggest take-home thing from the New Democrats’ biennial policy convention in Montreal was the adoption of a new preamble to the party’s constitution. With a vote of 960 to 188, delegates approved the preamble, described by leader Thomas Mulcair, as “the way to connect and reach out [...]

The post NDP Convention 2013: New Democrats’ constitution gets a new preamble appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Leftist Jab: Here’s Why Removing "Socialism" From the NDP’s Constitution Preamble is Superb

Modernizing the terminology is a good step forward.

While there were grumblings with some of the delegates regarding this change, allow me to put forward the thoughts of British historian and essayist Tony Judt on the appellation of socialism (25:25 mark to 28:45) regarding the term “socialism” as the NDP removes it from its constitution’s preamble.

Here’s the highlight:

[...] we cannot get

Autonomy For All: How Difficult is Senate Abolition? A Law Professor Responds

Yesterday I came across this piece in the Hill Times that was quite negative on the constitutional prospects for Senate abolition.  A couple different experts were quoted in the piece, and a couple elements of what they’re quoted as saying weren’t clear to me so I wrote to one of them, Bruce Ryder of Osgoode Hall Law School.  He was gracious enough to write back, quite quickly.  My questions and his answers follow.

Before I start, a quick primer on amending the Canadian Constitution, there are several sections of the 1982 Constitution referenced, here’s what they roughly mean:

s38

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bastard.logic: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney On Targeted Killing: Lethal Strikes On U.S. Citizens ‘Legal,’ ‘Ethical,’ And ‘Wise’

Words fail (h/t):

A friendly reminder from TAFKAdnA:

The Obama administration claims that the secret judgment of a single ”well-informed high level administration official” meets the demands of due process and is sufficient justification to kill an American citizen suspected of working with terrorists. That procedure is entirely secret. Thus it’s impossible to know which rules the administration has established to protect due process and to determine how closely those rules are followed. The government needs the approval of a judge to detain a suspected terrorist. To kill one, it need only give itself permission.

“Trust me” != due process, Mr. POTUS.

Related: Thomas P.M. Barnett:

For

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The Canadian Progressive: President Barack Obama’s 2nd Inaugural Address: VIDEO

Barack Obama took the ceremonial oath of office on Monday for his second term as President of the Unites States. Throughout his historic Inaugural Address, Obama repudiated the right-wing agenda. He urged Americans to cooperate on immigration reform, poverty, climate change, gay rights, economic inequality & other progressive issues. To emphasize this call collective action, Obama used the phrase “We, READ MORE

The Canadian Progressive: President Barack Obama’s 2nd Inaugural Address: Full Text

Barack Obama took the ceremonial oath of office on Monday for his second term as President of the Unites States. Throughout his historic Inaugural Address, Obama repudiated the right-wing agenda. He urged Americans to cooperate on immigration reform, climate change, gay rights, economic inequality & other progressive issues. To emphasize this call collective action, Obama used the phrase “We, the READ MORE

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Bill Curry reports on what looks like a thoroughly warped view of the role of the Minister of Justice and Parliament in assessing the constitutionality of legislation (h/t to bigcitylib): Ottawa is crafting legislation that risks running afoul of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms without informing Parliament, a federal lawyer charges.

In a highly unusual case, Department of Justice lawyer Edgar Schmidt is challenging his own department in Federal Court and revealing details about the internal guidelines used by federal lawyers. The department accuses Mr. Schmidt of violating his

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Song of the Watermelon: Emerging Consensus on Gay Marriage

Assuming that the world survives this coming December 21, the United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases in June which could result in the nation-wide legalization of gay marriage.

I cannot forecast with certainty how the court will decide, but supposing for a moment that it rules in favour of marriage equality, the short-term results are easy to predict: conservative commentators across the country will complain of judicial activism, despite having in many cases urged precisely such an overreach one short year before when Obamacare hung in the balance. Right on cue, public support for same-sex

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Writings of J. Todd Ring: Go Back To Sleep America, At Your Own Peril

I never reprint other people’s writings, no matter how good – but I will make an exception for this. This article is a true must-read. Please, take the time to read it. Then act. Good morning America. It’s time for a new day. Kudos and warm thanks to Jill Dalton at recoveringarmybrat. I will definitely [...]

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Stephen Maher follows up on this week’s Supreme Court ruling on Etobicoke Centre by pointing out where we should be most worried about our electoral system: Fraudulent voting is far from the biggest problem facing our democracy. Disengagement is.

Voting rates are declining steadily, particularly among young people, which means politicians see little point in discussing youth issues.

MPs are going to be looking at changes to the Elections Act after this fiasco, and they ought to tighten up the process. But I hope they won’t require mandatory picture identification, as the Republicans

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Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Stephen Harper Regarding Senate Reform

Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

I am writing today in response to reports that you will seek a Supreme Court reference on the constitutionality of your proposals for Senate reform. In a way, I can understand this. You would like clarity on a politically tricky issue, one that would otherwise almost inevitably face judicial challenge.

Personally, I do not believe the court will fully endorse all features of your plan, as the Constitution Act, 1982, is quite clear regarding the constitutional amendment requirements for such fundamental changes to the upper house. But either way, both you and I know

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Canadian Progressive World: The day Canada’s white supremacists saluted Stephen Harper

So far, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ideology-inspired of project of social and political engineering expresses itself most eloquently as the Conservatives’ egregious assault on civil liberties, the metamorphosis of Canada into a petro-state, and militarization of both Canadian society and foreign policy. We’re yet to acknowledge how this project oppresses the “other” while empowering utopian idealists who believe that the eradication of minorities will cleanse their world of some perceived contamination.

In early June, Canada’s white supremacists saluted Harper.

The Conservative majority in the House of Commons had just passed Bill C-304 by 153 votes to 136. As usual, the

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Progressive Proselytizing: Why Boy Scouts of America is allowed to discriminate: Comparing US and Canadian human rights laws

I recently expressed outrage over the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to continue banning members who were LGBT or atheists/agnostics. Ideally, groups like BSoA would be able to figure out for themselves that this homophobic and discriminatory policy is not acceptable. But there is also a legal question as to how it is that such discrimination is even allowed to continue in the United States while it would not be in Canada.

In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that Boy Scouts of America could continue its practice even in states like New Jersey that have specific laws against discrimination based (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: The Difference In Popularity Between NDP & Its Principles

How could the Conservatives or the Liberals weaken the New Democratic Party? Show Canadians what New Democrats stand for, the end of capitalism.

Because both Conservatives and Liberals have for so long ignored the NDP’s first principle, socialism, it may seem like an exaggeration to ordinary Canadians that the orange wave wants to sink Canada’s capitalistic system however that’s exactly what the party stands for.

In the preamble of the New Democratic Party’s constitution, a document that is the foundation of the party and which for obvious reasons was not posted on its website for many years, it declares that

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bastard.logic: Happy 30th Anniversary, Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms

According to Louise Arbour, Canada’s internationally renowned & universally lauded Charter of Rights & Freedoms (HBD, eh?) “has transformed a country obsessed with the federal-provincial division of powers and enabled it to address its diversity in a substantive, principled way.”

Gee.

No wonder Harpercon insurrectionists can’t stand the fucking thing.

Progressive Proselytizing: On unnecessarily codifying specific freedoms such as the freedom of religion

Should there be explicit protection for the freedom of religion in the founding documents of society? This question may at first seem to be an obvious ‘yes’ since almost everyone – including most atheists such as myself – consider it to be abundantly clear that people should have the freedom to believe in and practice whatever religion they like. I would immediately reject any constitution or charter that did not protect such things. The question, however, is whether religious freedoms should be explicitly enumerated and codified in these documents or whether a larger principle of freedom which includes religious freedom

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The Scott Ross: The Undemocratic Conservative Coalition

There is only one federal party in Canada that calls for the creation of a coalition. Of the four major political organizations, there is only one that has in its constitution as one of its founding principles the responsibility to develop such a union. It isn’t the Green Party, it isn’t the Liberals, it’s not even the NDP. The party that believes in coalitions so much is the same party that opposed them as undemocratic in 2009; the Conservative Party of Canada.

Of course it makes sense that the Conservatives, themselves the result of a merger between the Canadian Alliance

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The Scott Ross: Does Stephen Harper Support Coalitions?

If coalitions are undemocratic and a threat to Canada, why hasn’t this strong stable Conservative majority government done anything to make sure they don’t ravage our nation? Simple, Stephen Harper supports coalitions.

Just over three years ago Stephen Harper and members of his party said coalitions were a threat to our nation, that they were undemocratic and that Conservatives would use all legal means necessary to ensure a coalition never took power. Yet it’s 2012 and Stephen Harper is Prime Minister, he has a large majority, his opposition parties are in disarray, and still this Conservative Leader has done nothing

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