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Bill Longstaff: Germany stands up for democracy

Finally, someone has said enough to the erosion of democracy brought about by “trade” agreements. From NAFTA to the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, these agreements have eroded the power of governments in favour of investors.

International agreements are, in themselves, a very good idea, one way of imposing orderly behaviour

Democracy Under Fire: Harpers “Democracy”

With the Harper Regime loosing a series of rulings in the Supreme Court of Canada from their plans for the senate to prostitution laws to his nomination to the court it should be no surprise that as well as Harpers direct attack upon Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin he now has set his minions out to attack the Supreme Court in general. It would seem that the Court making rulings that follow the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is now a “problem” and that groups using the Charter to defend their rights when a new attack upon our democracy issues (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: Globe and Mail Letter

Please, dear readers, take a gander at today’s Globe and Mail for a letter I wrote urging the establishment of recall at the municipal level of government. For the record, I also favour such a mechanism at the provincial and federal levels, but in this particular case, I was responding to an op-ed by Preston Manning that argued for municipal “responsible government,” which I consider to be the wrong approach.

My letter is fourth from the top.

Filed under: Democracy, Letters to the Editor, Municipal Politics Tagged: Globe and Mail, Preston Manning, recall

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Globe and Mail Letter

Bill Longstaff: Why Canadians must resort to the courts for democracy

Federal Conservatives have been complaining lately about the courts being used, in the words of MP Dan Albas, “to do an end-run around our democratic process.” My immediate reaction to Albas’s remarks was, what democratic process? If he is referring to our current governance, describing it as democratic is overly generous.

To begin with, our government is run by a party that won the support of

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper Tries To Foment A Crisis

Harper has taken a surprising number of losing cases to the Supreme Court of Canada.  Most, if not all, were obviously places where the government’s position is one that is in direct contradiction with the Constitution of Canada.  Even a relative neophyte in Constitutional law in Canada can spot that, whether it is Harper’s desire to “reform” the Senate or the government’s daft position on prostitution.  

Now we have the CPC caucus starting to trot out the “undemocratic” talking points. Dan Albas, the MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, says that while he respects the courts he also believes an increasing number (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – Personal Perspective

After more than 5 years of writing about our declining democracy and having several times reviewed the options open to us should we ever get a government in power willing to put the issue of voting reform before the people I am now going to try and spell out my own wishes in this regard. Such wishes must be tempered by some practical considerations, wishing for things that simply are never going to happen is an exercise in futility – perhaps this whole series on Electoral Reform should be filed under that heading!

I will start by reiterating that I (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Class Warfare CAUSED Income Inequality, Not the Opposite

Horatio Alger mythology is designed to make us leave the 1% alone and shut the fuck up.

If you haven’t yet seen John Oliver’s amazing rant about the perils of inequality and how the rich shame us out of talking about it by suggesting we’re trying to invoke class warfare, you can see it below.

The truth is, income inequality doesn’t just happen one day, then the classes fight each other. Class warfare is what creates the conditions for income inequality.

But as long as the 1% can keep us from talking about class issues, we can say income inequality (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – The Parties Position

Its sometimes hard to see where the parties stand on any particular issue given the hype, bafflegab and spin that issues from almost all of them at times and the ever changing positions taken depending upon their position in the polls or whether they are in power or not. As far as I can tell the following is their current position on Electoral Reform.

Trudeau is a supporter of a preferential ballot, having made it a plank of his leadership platform.Liberals say they will launch all-party consultations on reform. The party passed a resolution at its convention earlier (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: BC’s Deep Deep Racism, Shhhh!

Shhh, this is uncomfortable. It might make you ashamed.

Hopefully it will anger you to action?

First Nations burial grounds in BC have less protection than settler cemeteries.

Along with desecration at a Musqueam burial site, someone is building their home on top of another burial ground on Grace Islet off Saltspring Island. On stilts [see the horrible details below]. And the person building this home was once fined $150,000 for putting fake safety labels on retail products. Sigh. Morality much? Ever?

The minister responsible said in the legislature that Grace Islet’s “owner” “and the archaeology branch had (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Occupy Movement Has Changed the Narrative, But We’re Not Done

Recently, with the WEF spending the last few years acknowledging global income inequality is a problem, I’ve declared a kind of victory for the Occupy Movement: getting the lexicon on the 1% and inequality on the tongues of the sly gazillionaires who rule the world, and into mass consumption.

Now we see that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest cancers of neoliberal capitalism and a prime mover of the 2008 crash, has admitted that income inequality is a problem and a destabilizer. Sadly, though not surprisingly, in this interview he also trotted out typical neoliberal “realities” (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The 1% Has More Solidarity Than We Do

In Davos, the 1% rule the world. Literally. They also have the guns.

The 1% are claiming we have it out for them; that if we don’t tone down the rhetoric and stop calling them names like “the contemptuous rich,” we might end up starting a class war. But they already know there’s a class war, and it’s been going on for generations. Today, the rich are winning because they have more solidarity than we do. The year 2014 is a battleground and the currency is solidarity. If we don’t start organizing together, quickly, and far more effectively, the contemptuous (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – Voting Systems

I have said that simply calling for PR (Proportional Voting) is not sufficient but that we must understand the various systems that are generally promoted as ‘proportional’, and the alternatives. I wrote about the various systems some 3 years ago and will simply re-post part of that article with some updates and additional thoughts here in this series on Electoral Reform.

First however I must point out that non of the systems thus far proposed can be compared with what is often touted as the outcome from FPTP in so far as ‘the popular vote’. We currently vote for an (Read more…)

Left Over: Desperation and Distraction, but a Little Satisfaction?

 

http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2014/07/the-increasing-desperation-of-stephen.html

Two things have me momentarily distracted these days, and both are all about the lack of traction that the Cons are getting from attacking both Junior and the NDP..vis a vis the ‘scandal’ that never was re their supposed illegal Parliamentary postal charge avoidance..what happened with that? Sadly (IMHO) the NDP are falling in the polls, yes, but I think that redemption may be at hand, at least in the form of continuing to be the Loyal Opposition after Junior’s team get elected..yes, I fear the writing is on the wall, I (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Corporations suing countries—how crazy is that?

Lone Pine Resources sues Canada because Quebec has imposed a moratorium on fracking. Philip Morris sues the Australian government over its tobacco plain packaging legislation. Swedish energy company Vattenfall sues Germany because of that country’s decision to phase out nuclear energy.

Fracking is a method of exploiting oil and gas reserves that has been accused of, among other things, poisoning

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Shocker: Conservatives win Alberta by-elections

TweetConservative candidates were elected in two federal by-elections yesterday in Alberta. This is an event which would normally not be a source for much commentary, but there are some interesting points to be made from the outcome of these two by-elections. Conservatives hold, but support shrinks In Fort McMurray-Athabasca, Conservative David Yurdiga was elected with 5,945 votes (47% of the […]

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – Proportional Representation

Proportional Representation or PR for short has become the buzz word for those who are advocating for Electoral Reform (and that group includes myself) but what exactly do we mean when we say we want PR? The broad definition is “a method of voting by which political parties are given legislative representation in proportion to their popular vote.” , in Canada we have to add “within the limits set by our constitution” as some provinces have a minimum representative threshold. We must also add “as close as possible within practical limits” after all we cannot put fractions of MPs (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Unpacking the undemocratic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Jeremy Malcolm argues that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) repeats the errors of ACTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and imperils democracy and the broader public interest.

The post Unpacking the undemocratic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

the disgruntled democrat: Congratulations Ontario For Having Successfully Outsourced the Governance Function

Way to go Ontario!  When it comes to thwarting democratic rule in Canada, you continue to lead the way.

Not only did Ontarians peviously vote in a province-wide referendum against the notion of changing the anarchistic voting system (first-past-the-post) that allows a political party to form a majority government with less than 50% of the popular vote, they were able to elect a new government with the participation of about half the eligible voters in last week’s general election.

Talk about efficiency!

In Ontario, depending on how the vote is distributed, a political party can go on to rule the province as if it had the (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: That Was Predictable

Way back in 2003 when the United States invaded Iraq (long before the Afghanistan mess had been anything close to resolved), I remember having a conversation in which I said that within 5 years of the US withdrawal from Iraq, that the country would founder in civil war.  (I believe much the same thing will inevitably happen in Afghanistan as well)

This week, we have seen the “insurgency” in Iraq transform from a few disorganized groups into a coherent military force not to be trifled with.

Anybody who is surprised by this hasn’t been paying close attention since 2001.  The (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Election Stories

With the Ontario election now history and a slight uptick in the voter turn out I will relate a few of the problems various voters have encountered whilst trying to vote in an effort to make both the voters and those that run the system aware of impediments to voting during said election. Most of these stories are specific to rural areas and related to poll location and rural addressing issues, it may be that in urban areas such things are not such a problem and it would seem that Elections Ontario either is unaware of such problems or considers (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Ontario Election: Polling Fails Again!

After spectacular failures during the Alberta and BC elections, polling, as an industry struggling for credibility, lost yesterday’s election in Ontario along with the neoliberal, anti-social Hudak.

308.com reviewed the polling as of the day before the election. Polls indicated that there would most likely be a Liberal minority government. Those polls missed the extra 10 seats the Liberals earned at the expense of the PC’s, and had the PC’s 4 points higher than what they really earned.

What’s wrong with polling?

Random sampling is necessary to make inferences for all of the population. When people block calls, use (Read more…)

Eh Types: Why Do We Vote?

In a democracy there are almost as many reasons to vote as their are voters. Some vote out a sense of civic obligation, others vote so they can still feel entitled to complain about the results. For some one issue not only dictates why they vote but how they vote. Others still will vote out […]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: #PCloadLetter The Ontario PCs Send Misdirecting Mail #VoteOn

.@kady @KrankyKanuck @Mary_OGrady @1223Chuck Wouldn't you rather unmarked envelopes tell you where? twitter.com/LibPressSec/st… #PCloadLetter— Saskboy K. (@saskboy) June 11, 2014

(PC Load Letter is from printer displays of the past, and the comedy Office Space. It indicates the paper tray is empty. It was the best pun I could come up with on short notice.)

@AshleyCsanady front and back of London PC letter and envelope. No PC identifier. Hudak was flat wrong. http://t.co/GtGel61DSb— Press Office (@LibPressSec) June 11, 2014

Looks like a blatant vote misdirection scheme, akin to RoboCon used (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Elections Ontario Struggling……

Elections Ontario is struggling to find enough staff to fill the positions required to process your vote, this is not a particular surprise to those who have worked the polls before, it always tough to find responsible folks available for a one day 12 to 1`4hr shift with no breaks! I am not sure how Elections Canada gets away with it but poll clerks and others who work the polls are expected to be at their station the entire time that the polls are open and then some must remain to count ballots or forfill other duties related to closing (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: Trial Begins for Sona in #RoboCon #elxnfraud

An important trial in Canadian history is underway in Guelph, Ontario. Michael Sona, the only person accused by prosecutors of carrying out the illegall robocalls in Guelph to redirect people to the “Old Quebec St. Mall”, faces jail and fines. However, he could not have carried out this crime by himself, calling into question the accuracy of the investigation by Al Mathews.

Mathews is accompanied by Chris Crawford, a former CPC staffer and former Guelph campaign worker. http://t.co/ZKDBAihkwQ— Robocalls trial (@robocallstrial) June 02, 2014

From #robocalls trial via @stphnmaher: "Agreed statement of facts: No record of (Read more…)