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CuriosityCat: Mulcair leads the way to a more democratic Canada

Mulcair: The man who would bring democracy to Canada

Thomas Mulcair, that very capable MP who is leader of the NDP, has publicly committed himself to remedy our democratic deficit, as this post indicates. Mulcair is to be commended for two things. First, for signing the Fair Vote Canada declaration (click herefor the full text). Second, for strongly coming out in favour of a modified proportional representation system of electing our federal MPs. The Fair Vote Canada declaration has this very important commitment:

What is important about the Fair Vote Canada declaration is that it is the modern equivalent (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Mulcair leads the way to a more democratic Canada

CuriosityCat: 2015 election: Coalition gains favour

Which one, or two, of these men will lead Canada?

The end of the Harper government is clear from this latest poll, which shows that the Harper scare tactics of the past have run their course: Liberal and NDP supporters, meanwhile, have expressed a tepid willingness to consider each other, suggesting that a Liberal-NDP coalition may be feasible should the Conservatives pull off a minority win in 2015. Indeed, unlike in 2011, it appears now that Liberals and NDP supporters are equally likely to say they are certain to be voting. The rise of greater commitment to vote in (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Kudos to Premier Wynne for remedying our democratic deficits

Political Reformer Premier Wynne

While many premiers, MPs, politicians and commentators wring their hands about the low voting counts in elections, and the feeling of impotence of many citizens, Premier Wynne of Ontario has decided to stop whining and do something about it. With one bold step, Wynne will provide Ontario municipalities with the chance to try a radically different method of electing municipal councillors than the undemocratic first past the post sytem:

Premier Kathleen Wynne has ordered her municipal affairs minister to give Ontario cities the alternative of employing ranked ballots in the 2018 civic elections.

In her (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Why is Justin Trudeau dancing to victory?

Heather Malleck in the Toronto Star has a few good reasons why our next Prime Minister will be named Justin Trudeau:

But what makes some politicians attractive and others repellent?

Trudeau is intelligent, humane and self-confident, a Québécois who is devoted to Canadian unity and has the most marvellous family: a sophisticated career-minded wife, Sophie Grégoire, and three adorable young children with the interesting names that only confident parents bestow: Xavier James, Ella-Grace and Hadrien. He has an English degree from McGill, a UBC teaching degree and taught for several years. He has his father’s intellect and wit, while being (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Ontario Election: A Good Case for Proportional Representation

Premier Wynne led her Liberal Party to a majority government this week, trouncing the anti-statist (drown the government in a bathtub) frothings of the Conservative Party, and shouldering aside the NDP expectation that governmental power was theirs for the taking, like ripe fruit, without any real effort on their part to justify this to voters. But yet again the majority one is a mathematical majority, but not a moral one. Premier Wynne’s Liberals would be foolish to interpret their majority of seats as being a sign of a massive mandate from a majority of Ontarian voters. It is not. That (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Robocalls and our Democracy: Michael Harris’ Compelling Ten Questions

Michael Harris: The Big 10

A must read for all who fear for our democracy, Michael Harris has done all Canadians a favour by spelling out ten questions he wants answered, along with some supporting facts that are background to each question he has posed. The inaction or lack of response by those whose job it is guard our democracy from voter suppression beggars belief. I trust that the three opposition parties will raise his article in iPolitics and his 10 questions during Question Period. And that they will demand that someone from Elections Canada appear to explain what is (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty: Evil fruit from Secret talks

It is worth reading the article by Joseph Stiglitz on the problems posed by the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty. Our government is one of those negotiating in confidence a treaty that will substantially effect the livelihood of all Canadians. Stiglitz highlights the problems posed for democracies by the one-sided secrecy rules – citizens are kept in the dark while big business is invited to take a seat at the table during the negotiations: These high stakes are why it is especially risky to let trade negotiations proceed in secret. All over the world, trade ministries are captured by corporate and (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: A Liberal Party Mess in the Making

A man of principle

This is a mess. Justin Trudeau and his advisors had better get on to this debacle post haste, reveal all the facts and communications, and make sure the principle of open nominations is adhered to. If we start retreating from opennes and transparency before the election is here, we will not form the next government. And congratulations to Zach Paikin for taking a principled stand (my underlining): But a letter sent to Innes by Liberal national election readiness chief David MacNaughton and obtained by the CBC has suggested the move may have been driven by a (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Canada: A Simple Election Law (“SEL”)

At the Montreal convention, the Liberal Party overwhelmingly agreed to Priority Resolution 31, Restoring Trust in Canada’s Democracy. An important part of that resolution is this: AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT immediately after the next election, an all-Party process be instituted, involving expert assistance and citizen participation, to report to Parliament within 12 months with recommendations for electoral reforms including, without limitation, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation, to represent Canadians more fairly and serve Canada better. Electoral reform has a bad record of success in Canada, with several referenda for modernizing our antiquated and undemocratic (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Liberal Party Convention: The Most Important Policy Resolution

In my view, the single most important policy resolution at this week’s convention in Montreal is the prioritized number 31, which should significantly reduce our democratic deficits. That resolutionreads: 31. Priority Resolution: Restoring Trust in Canada’s Democracy* BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Liberal Party pursue political reforms which promote: Open, democratic nominations of candidates; Fewer “whipped” votes in Parliament and more “free” votes requiring individual MPs to assume full responsibility for their decisions; Stronger Parliamentary control over public finances, including an annual deadline for the budget; accounting consistency among the Estimates and the Public Accounts; more clarity in voting (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Ontario Byelections: The change that really counts

It seems that the leaders of all three poltical parties in the province of Ontario sense that voters want change.  Premier Wynne, leading a minority Liberal government, was rejected by voters in the two byelections, but says change is wanted: Real Change Wynne?

After writing off the byelections as “skirmishes” that aren’t indicative of how things will go in a general election, Wynne vowed that the Liberals will do better whenever the campaign is held. “I know people are looking for change in this province,” she said. “Well I’m the change. My plan is the change. My team (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Brian Rice: The right person for President of the Liberal Party of Canada

Brian Rice – Political reformer par excellence

For many reasons, I believe that Liberals should elect Brian Rice as the next President of the Liberal Party. He is a mover and shaker, a man of ideas, an adept politician in his own right, and a very hard worker. One very good reason for choosing Brian is his intention to make the choosing of our candidates for the next general election a far more efficient and representative one. This is an extract from Brian’s blog, which was posted on Liblogs. I have bolded the two suggestions that I feel are (Read more…) 1 out of 100 Calgary Co-op members vote.

It’s election season for Calgary Co-op. For the month of February if you’re a member-owner of Calgary Co-op you can select three of their nine-member board. Most people don’t know they can help select representatives on that board. Out of some 440,000 members the Calgary Co-op cooperative only nets a little over or under 5,000 votes […]

CuriosityCat: Senate expenses scandal: Snippets from the Mounties

They’re are the march … to protect our democracy

A bombshell burst in Ottawa today when the Mounties filed a request for a search warrant dealing with the Duffy expenses scandal. Reading that request is interesting. I include a few snippets that caught my eye. Overall, my impression from the sketchy information in the document (which is  based on interviews by the (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Senate expenses scandal: Snippets from the Mounties

CuriosityCat: Robocalls: Who is blocking Elections Canada?

Our new flag?

If thisis true, then we live in a banana republic: Elections Canada has heard complaints of dirty tricks in the 2011 election from over 200 ridings. Many of the grievances don’t amount to much, sources say, but a substantial number are thought to be of a serious nature. A source with knowledge of the Elections Canada probe said investigators are handicapped because they are being blocked from gaining access to Conservative party records.  As a result, he said there is only a small chance of charges beyond those against Sona being laid. The sooner the police (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: The Senate Scandal: How to hold the Prime Minister to account in Question Period

Thomas Mulcair in Question Period

The leader of the NDP has done Canadians, and Canadian democracy, a service through his dogged, skillful, meticulous and highly professional questions posed to the Prime Minister during Question Period. Mulcair has clearly spent a great deal of time researching the facts of the Sentate expenses scandal, reviewing previous statements by the PM and other government spokespersons, and zeroing in on the essence of the manner. Of late, he has made a point of highlighting the evasions of the Prime Minister to questions, clearly spelling out exactly when the PM has refused to answer very (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 […]

CuriosityCat: 2015: The ballot question in Canada’s next election?

Methinks John Ivison has hit the nail right on its head with this:

If the Auditor-General’s report does suggest a systemic problem of corruption and abuse, who would bet against the Conservatives using the Senate as a classic wedge issue, pointing out that the Liberals are in favour of preserving the country’s most expensive eventide home as is.

One approach could (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: 2015: The ballot question in Canada’s next election?

The Disaffected Lib: Don’t Say This Question Hasn’t Crossed Your Mind

Is our system of government incapable of meeting the challenges we face?     A very simple question raising a point that has been addressed here at length several times.  It gets into issues of what it means when we vest such enormous powers in our elected apparatus, in our leaders, who then fail or outright refuse to exercise them on our behalf or, even worse, use those powers we have vested in them against our interests.  What then?     The WorldWatch Institute addressed this issue in the context of what it calls  ”the Long Emergency (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: US government shutdown, and other fairy tales and political theatre

I’m not sure what to make of the hoopla going on in the US right now. I’m inclined to think it’s all just political theatre, as Gerald Celente calls it, designed to distract the people from the real issues – the central one being, who controls the government and the nation? Wall Street, the big […]

Writings of J. Todd Ring: The deeper reasons for the “war on drugs”

There is a deeper reason for the war on drugs, which is the central reason for the policy, even outweighing profits from private prisons and seizure of property by law enforcement officers, both of which no doubt are also significant and strong motivations for keeping the “war on drugs” going. Nearly thirty years ago, Chomsky […]

Impolitical: Prorogation, obviously

The big news on an August Monday: Prime Minister Stephen Harper has confirmed he will ask the Governor General to prorogue Parliament until October, when his Conservative government will introduce the next speech from the throne.

“There will be a new throne speech in the fall, obviously the House will be prorogued in anticipation of that. We will come back — in October is our tentative timing,” Harper told reporters in Whitehorse Monday. Harper is in the Yukon on the second day of his annual summer tour of the North.

A few thoughts to add to the online maelstrom.

I (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Justin Trudeau raises the bar for MPs and Senators

A breath of fresh air in Ottawa

In a move that is refreshing, because it shows an MP who is willing to listen to criticism, and to rethink matters in the light of such criticism, Justin Trudeau has announced that he will work with charities to reach some solution satisfactory to both: “Political leadership is about raising the bar on openness and transparency. Canadians faith in public office holders and politics has been seriously shaken in recent weeks by the ethics scandal rooted in a $90,000 payment by the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff to a sitting legislator, and the (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Top Priorities of the 21st Century

If I were asked what I felt were the top priorities facing human beings today, in the 21st century, I would have to say there are four that top the list, in my mind. 1. Halt the global corporate coup. Defeat the corporate war on democracy, which is now escalating daily, and take democracy back. […]

CuriosityCat: Stéphane Dion: Let our MPs take a pocketful of votes to Parliament

A pocketful of votes

Dion gave an interesting talk at Joyce Murray’s meeting in Vancouver this morning, dealing with the different kinds of electoral reform that we could adopt. One new idea that he dropped on the table is interesting, and, I believe, novel: that our MPs votes in Parliament be counted in an entirely different way than they are now. In the past Dion has proposed his P3 variant of proportional representation, which might work well. His new idea is intriguing: let our MPs take a pocketful of votes to Parliament. It works this way. We use his (Read more…)