Accidental Deliberations: On corruptible structures

Yes, there’s no doubt that Kevin O’Leary’s suggestion of selling off Senate appointments is nothing short of asinine. That’s not so much because the idea is inherently unconstitutional, but because of its substantive implications. The sale of Senate seats it would involve institutionalizing the worst aspects of the Senate’s historical purpose (creating a systemic on ...

Democracy Under Fire: Obama on Democracy

Last Tuesday President Obama presented his final speech of hispresidency before the incoming Twit in Chief take power this coming Friday. The focus of his speech was as he said “the state of our democracy.”, meaning the state of democracy in the U.S. which surely looks bleak given the Twits recent twittering, however many of ...

Politics and its Discontents: The Lifeblood Of Democracy – A Guest Post By Pamela MacNeil

In response to my post yesterday on rebellion, Pamela MacNeil had this commentary, which I am featuring as a guest post: Rebels Lorne, especially intellectual rebels, are the life blood of democracy. From the time we are born or at the very least from the time we start school, we eventually learn that conformity is ...

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that to start your 2017. – Ideas examines how the assumptions underlying far too much economic theory have produced disastrous real-world results. And Harold Meyerson writes that research is proving that skeptics of corporate-driven free trade have been right all along. – Gary Younge writes that the rise of populist right-wing politicians can ...

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading. – Anatole Kaletsky discusses the gross failures of market fundamentalism. And William Easterly points out that the risks to democratic governance which now seem to be materializing can be traced to the lack of a values-based defence of empowering people to decide their own future at the societal level. ...

Politics and its Discontents: Guest Post: An Incompatible Marriage

In response to my post the other day featuring some stellar letters from Star readers on inequality, regular commentator Pamela MacNeil offered an insightful analysis of the fundamental incompatibility between democracy and neoliberalism. Here is that analysis: Governments who value Democracy, Lorne, will govern in the interests of people according to democratic principles. They will ...

Dead Wild Roses: Voting, Citizenship and the Political Process – W.E.B. Du Bois

Can we draw parallels between the political experience of Du Bois and our present time?  The situation the Du Bois describes can easily be translated into a commentary of what is happening in 2016 – the message is clear – reputable people cannot abandon the political realm despite what the chattering classes say, as it ...

Politics and its Discontents: "The Cancer Of Inequality"

In a recent post well-worth reading, The Mound reflected on the decline of support for liberal democracy. Today, Star readers respond to an article carried by the paper entitled, How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’. Their message is clear: inequality is at the root of the problem, fostered and promoted by the ...

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading. – Ben Tarnoff discusses the two winners – and the many losers – created by the spread of neoliberalism: Neoliberalism can mean many things, including an economic program, a political project, and a phase of capitalism dating from the 1970s. At its root, however, neoliberalism is the idea ...

Democracy Under Fire: Mixed Scientific Message’s

After nearly a decade our federal scientists are now free to speak about their research and findings to the public without censure. Scientists working for the Canadian government have successfully negotiated a clause in their new contract that guarantees their right to speak to the public and the media about science and their research, without ...

The Disaffected Lib: So Much for Democracy

We now know that Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by well more than 2.5-million ballots. Perhaps as many ballots again were not counted due to Republican efforts to disqualify eligible voters. – Strike One. We now know that investigations by the Central Intelligence Agency determined that Russia meddled in the election by ...

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the crisis of liberal democracy around the globe – and how we face our own obvious risks in Canada. For further reading…– Yascha Mounk’s research into the precarious state of democracy is discussed here by Amanda Taub. And Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Erica Frantz trace how a seemingly secure democracy can fall apart incrementally.  ...

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform Report Solves Nothing.

A special all-party committee is recommending that the Trudeau government design a new proportional voting system and hold a national referendum to gauge how much Canadians would support it. ……… The report does not recommend precisely how a referendum should be conducted or how many electoral options Canadians should be asked to choose among, other ...

The Disaffected Lib: Neoliberalism Out, Neofascism In?

Cornel West says America is in for a makeover, Trump style. White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and ...

Democracy Under Fire: Fair Elections Act Updated

This week the Liberals introduced a bill to reverse many of the more egregious changes brought in with the Conservative “fair” elections act, the summary of this legislation says…… This enactment amends the Canada Elections Act to (a) remove limitations on public education and information activities conducted by the Chief Electoral Officer; (b) establish a Register of ...

The Disaffected Lib: The A, B, C’s of Dictatorship

Harvard prof and Foreign Policy columnist, Steven Walt, has a thoughtful essay, “10 Ways to Tell if Your President is a Dictator.“ My fears about Trump’s foreign policy have always been two-fold: that he might pursue a more sensible grand strategy but do it incompetently, thereby weakening America’s international position, or that he will eventually get ...

Democracy Under Fire: The Good, the Bad and the Narcissist

Regular readers will be aware of a lack of posts of late and no commentary on the situation south of us and perhaps are asking how a blog about democracy can be silent about the upcoming change in the U.S. Administration. Apart from being driven almost speechless by the American people electing a lying hatemonger ...

Song of the Watermelon: The Travesty of the Electoral College

Of the myriad outrages that define last week’s United States presidential election — namely, the elevation of scandal over policy, of demagoguery over competence, of unabashed sexism and racism and conspiratorial paranoia over reasoned debate — perhaps the most egregious is the fact that the winner of the popular vote will not be the one ...

Against the Grain: Rethinking attitudes about voting in democracies

“Voting is a chess move, not a Valentine.” -Rebecca Solnit So there’s still a lot of postmortems popping up concerning the US Election and one theme that is quite common among all of them is this notion that Clinton was unlikable. Setting aside the hazy malaise that expelled such conspiracy theories as “Clinton is a lesbian” ...

Things Are Good: Easily Browse Online Anonymously

In a world where our digital lives are tracked by democratic governments (Canada and the UK amongst them) we need to ensure that we can have private conversations online. Over at Digg they have collected a very easy to follow setup to get your protecting your privacy online in only an hour! Keep Your Private ...

the disgruntled democrat: Democraphobia Runs Rampant in North America

The fear of democracy has a long history.  Plato was mistrustful of the demos, believing it would be subject to bullies and to tyrants. In England, the storming of the Bastille in France by the sans-culottes during the French Revolution was dismissed as a regrettable manifestation of “mobocracy”. According to Thomas Jefferson, one of the most influential ...

The Disaffected Lib: Money + Politics = Support for Democracy

At least that’s what finance minister, Bill Morneau, says whether he believes it or not. Finance Minister Bill Morneau is continuing to defend his fundraising activities, arguing that people who attend political fundraisers are supporting the democratic process and keeping good people in politics. “What’s happening at those fundraisers is, people are saying we support ...

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Wall Took Money From Who?

Who has the Saskatchewan Party accepted donations from? The UofR, City of Regina, Regina Public Library, etc. Most of the cash came from oil companies such as Crescent Point, Cenovus, Encana and PennWest, though the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the Canadian Western Bank and construction company PCL also contributed. …The NDP last year campaigned on getting big ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Building higher walls #nlpoli

A new government security policy does everything short of banning people from Confederation Building altogether.  Visitors to the main government building in St. John’s now have to enter through a single entrance in the basement of the building at the back.  There’s no parking available and the whole thing is so congested that on busy ...

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral News

For the last few months I have been focusing on Electoral Reform here at Democracy Under Fire and in order to ‘keep up’ have a Google Alert set to give me the headlines on this subject each day. Generally they are just ‘more of the same’ with one side whining about having a referendum and ...