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Michal Rozworski: The media love the TPP, but should you?

My piece on the mainstream media’s trade deal boosterism was published at Ricochet yesterday.

Canada’s media have heaped fawning praise on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the biggest free trade and investment deal in years. Rather than raising questions and red flags over a secret deal with mixed impacts, our media has been cheering and patting elites on the back.

Negotiations over the TPP concluded early Monday morning in Atlanta. The deal was signed onto by 12 countries from around the Pacific Rim, including Canada. Details of the deal are murky as the negotiations were secret and the final text has yet to (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Liberals surge to 43% in Battleground Ontario says Nanos

Here’s the Nanos latest poll:

Nanos Nightly Election Tracking Highlights (3-day tracking ending October 2) – Federal Liberals trend up for last two nights of Nanos tracking National Ballot – In the latest Nanos tracking completed Friday evening the Liberals had 34.6% support followed by the Conservatives at 30.5%, the NDP at 25.1%, and the Greens at 4.8% nationally. (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Liberals surge to 43% in Battleground Ontario says Nanos

CuriosityCat: Tom Mulcair says Not a Snowball’s Chance in Hell he will prop up a Harper minority government

The end of the Harper era

Tom Mulcair has firmly rejected any chance that the NDP would support Stephen Harper’s government in any confidence votes after the October 19 election:

Earlier Wednesday, Mulcair was also asked whether he would support a Conservative minority government.

“There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell,” he said.

“There’s no likelihood that the NDP would ever, under any circumstances, be able to support Mr. Harper, his divisive politics, his backward economics that have left 400,000 manufacturing jobs disappear over the last few years.”

That echoed a pledge from Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who said (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Coalition or no coalition? What will happen on October 20

Qualified support? OK

Polls show the Conservatives slipping, and the NDP and LPC in a dead heat for the role of replacement government, but neither of those two parties expected to gain a majority of seats in the House (170 seats). And this has given rise to intense debate about coalitions. Trudeau is right in one sense when he scoffed at Canadians wanting a coalition government, as reported in Huffington Post: Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says Canadians don’t want a coalition if a party wins a minority government after the election.

Trudeau was in Amherst, N.S., (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Coalition or no coalition? What will happen on October 20

CuriosityCat: Prime Minister Trudeau will lead us out of the Harper darkness

Harper’s sham democracy

It is difficult to think of a more important election for Canada’s future than the coming October one. The choice is stark: more of the Harper Conservative chipping away at our democratic institutions, or, under Justin Trudeau as our PM, a refreshing change that will usher modern democratic methods into Canada.

Make no bones about it. If Trudeau is PM and Harper is not, Canadians will have wrested control of Parliament away from the highly centralized, undemocratic PM Office and returned it to their representatives. We will notice the difference within months, starting with the first few (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Justin Trudeau’s legacy will equal that of his father

Just when Tom Mulcair was starting to measure the curtains in Harper’s home so that he could replace them when he became Prime Minister; when the polls showed a surge of votes for the NDP after the dramatic events in the recent Alberta election; and when pundits have started writing about Justin Trudeau being a washed up politician, Trudeau has taken to the airwaves to unveil a set of promises that will radically change the way that Canadians vote for and interact with their federal government.

The scope of the changes included in the plans to restore democracy in Canada (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Ranked ballots in 2018: Democracy is coming to Canada!

Politician with Courage

And not a moment too soon! The Liberal Party government of the province of Ontario deserves the congratulations of every Canadian for their bold step in dragging democracy into the 21st century with this step:

The provincial government will change the Municipal Elections Act to allow cities to adopt ranked-ballot voting by 2018.

The announcement, made Thursday morning by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin, was the central focus of a current review of the elections act, which will also look at campaign finance rules and enforcement of those rules.

Cities will not be (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: UK Election: Labour leader’s nonsense about no cooperation with SNP

Sturgeon’s view of Miliband’s anti-cooperation nonsense

Next week Britons go to the polls, and Labour leader Miliband has once more put his foot in his mouth with a statement that he is not interested in any post-election coalition or cooperation with the surging Scottish SNP party. Labour will be blown out of the water in almost 100% of the big block of Scottish seats. The Scots have decided en masse to hold the feet of the rest of the UK to the fire of the “vow” made by Labour and the Tories during the Scottish referendum, by sending to Westminster (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Why the UK needs proportional representation

The Damsel is in distress

The Telegraph has this introduction to the article on safe seats: Has your constituency already been won in the 2015 general election? Find out here. Does your vote really count? New research shows that more than half of MPs are in safe seats. Find your constituency on this map to discover if you’re one of the 25 million people (out of 60 million) who already know who will be your MP after May 7. And here’s the harsh reality:

Have you ever had the feeling that your vote was pointless? You could be right. (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Why the UK needs proportional representation

CuriosityCat: Why I want Elizabeth Warren as the next US President

Senator Elizabeth Warren: The Voice of the Left

It’s time for a progressive, highly educated, intelligent, tough as nails, committed liberal to inhabit the White House one President Obama moves on to other things.

And the article in Politicosums up why I think Warren would make a great president for that powerful nation: Warren didn’t have to struggle to define herself; she entered the Senate with instant credibility. Her rhetoric doesn’t soar like Kennedy’s, but its articulation of progressive valuesis just as unabashed, as in this campaign upbraiding to go-it-alone conservatives: “There is nobody in this country who (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Why I want Elizabeth Warren as the next US President

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…)