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Democracy Under Fire: A cabinet that looks like Canada, why …. “Because its 2015”

Given the large number of Liberal MPs elected that was one of the easier promises to keep but never the less a damn fine start. Now comes the more difficult stuff so let briefly review the platform promises in regard to our democratic institutions and how “Fair and Open” this government intends to be. We all know we have heard similar phrases before and the outcome was nothing like the promise! With this in mind over the next few weeks I will take a closer look at some of the promises and some of the difficulties that may arise in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Andrew Jackson discusses a few of the choices the Trudeau Libs need to get right in order to actually set Canada on a more progressive fiscal path: Progressives who worry about growing income inequality will note two key features of the new government’s tax plans. First, the plan is not quite as redistributive as it looks at first sight since it  leaves out below-average income workers. Second, the net effect is not to expand the federal income tax base.

True, the Liberal platform talks of examining some loopholes, such as the favourable taxation of (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Electoral Reform: Will it be set up to fail?

So say many commentators, included failed MP candidate Craig Scott. There are three lines of attack on the Liberal Party promise of “electoral reform” during the election. Critics are rushing to frame the electoral reform debate by setting parameters which will restrict the right of elected MPs to decide on an alternative to our current archaic system. The Three Lines of Attack: The first line of attack is that the promise was of electoral reform, but did not guarantee that our first past the post system of electing our MPs would be replaced by either a proportional representation or a (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Electoral Reform: Will it be set up to fail?

Democracy Under Fire: Election Revisited

The election has now taken place and for many of us the results may override any concerns that we had with the process however make no mistake this election process was far from flawless. If we are to believe the folks who reported problems at Pollwatchthere were polls that failed to open on time or ran out of ballots, poll staff who did not understand or follow the rules regarding identification, numerous errors on voter identification cards regarding poll locations (only some of which EC caught before the election), failure to update voter lists for those who took the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Lars Osberg discusses the positive effects of raising taxes on Canada’s wealthiest few. And Avram Denburg argues for a speedy end to income splitting due to both its unfairness,and its impact on the public revenue needed to fund a healthier society: (I)ncome splitting primarily benefits middle- and upper-income families, provides relatively little tax relief for low-income families, and skirts single parents altogether. Just as importantly, it acts to deter both parents from equal engagement in the workforce and devalues family policies that promote dual engagement.

From the point of view of child health, (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: PR—an essential first step

Our brand spanking new Liberal government has promised us electoral reform. Specifically, it is “committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.” Assuming the new system will provide proportional representation, this would be an essential first step in ensuring that all Canadians are fairly represented in their governance.

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Amy Goodman interviews Joseph Stiglitz about the corporate abuses the Trans-Pacific Partnership will allow to take priority over the public interest. And Stuart Trew and Scott Sinclair offer some suggestions to at least ensure that Canadians have an opportunity for meaningful review and discussion before being stuck with the TPP.

- Robert Benzie reports on a financial accountability officer’s review finding that like so many other privatization schemes, the Ontario Libs’ Hydro One selloff will only end up costing the public money.

- Jeff Sallot wonders whether the Trudeau Libs have the (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: How We Can Bury the Harper Cons Forever

As you know the Harper Cons have set out on a long journey through the political wilderness to choose a new leader, after the shocking loss of the only one they ever had.And now it seems that journey could be an even longer one.Debate is growing within the leaderless Conservative Party about how long to wait before picking a new chief, sources say. Some Tories are urging party brass to put it off for as long as two years, while others advocate for concluding a race for a permanent leader by the middle of 2016.With the so-called Red (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Steven Klees notes that there’s no reason at all to think that corporatist policies labeled as “pro-growth” will do anything to help the poor – and indeed ample reason for doubt they actually encourage growth anywhere other than for the already-wealthy. And the Economist finds that GDP growth in Africa has been almost entirely top-heavy, leaving many of the world’s poorest people behind.

- Ehab Lotayek makes the case for a proportional electoral system where voters’ actual preferences lead to representation, rather than one designed to spit out artificial majorities.

- Carol Goar (Read more…)

the disgruntled democrat: In Opening Up the Pandora’s Box of Electoral Reform, Canada Should Look Down Under

Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.  (Otto von Bismarck)

I never though that I would see this day come.  We have a newly elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who stated publically that this election would be last using the first-past-the-post voting system, which is quite something considering he now governs Canada with a majority government although the Liberal Party only garnered 39% of the vote.

Scrapping the present voting system and putting another one in place, especially since it hasn’t been decided what that new system will be for the next election, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Les Leopold takes a look at the underpinnings of Bernie Sanders’ unexpectedly strong run for the Democratic presidential nomination. And Sean McElwee discusses the type of politics U.S. voters are rightly motivated to change, as big donors have been successful in dictating policy to both major parties.

- The Edmonton Journal comments on the unfairness of first-past-the-post electoral politics both in allocating power across a political system, and in determining regional representation within it.

- Murray Mandryk calls out the Wall government for its contempt for public money when it comes (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Welcome Back To Canada- The Sun Is Shining Brighter!

It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood.

This post should write itself. I should be able to rest my fingers on the keyboard and have them automatically write of the defeat of Conservative PM

Read more…

CuriosityCat: Be a part of History & win your Bragging Rights by Voting on Monday

When you vote on Monday, you will earn Bragging Rights for your part in one of the most historical events in Canadian history. In years to come, you will be able to hold your head high and tell your friends, relatives, colleagues and strangers that YOU voted in the election that:

©     Exciting: It was the most exciting election for years, flipping this way and that way for week after week, during the longest campaign in living history; ©    Pink Slip: Gave Stephen Harper permission to step down as prime minister, and, should he wish to, (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Be a part of History & win your Bragging Rights by Voting on Monday

Cowichan Conversations: Democratic reform is the real change that must come from Canadian election

If Canadians don’t see a commitment for major change from Monday’s winner, the nastiest and most divisive election in our history, by far, will be for naught.

Change is never easy and the results

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CuriosityCat: Welcome move by Mulcair closer to Liberal position on cooperation and electoral reform

Mulcair has shown a welcome willingness to work with a minority Liberal Party government post-October 19 so as to do two things: work together without the need for a formal coalition agreement between the LPC and NDP, and to establish a commission to examine the best alternatives to be presented to Canadians to replace the first past the post system, not just the modified proportional representation system. Here’s the reported willingness to support confidence votes (without a formal coalition government) if the Liberal Party gets the most votes as between the LPC and NDP, and Trudeau becomes prime minister of (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform in our Future?

With all parties except the Cons promising electoral reform and with what appears to be a lot of support for such a change we must look at exactly what is being promised to help us chose our next government in what looks like will be a minority government. Both the system and the manner of its inception vary from party to party, Mulclair would impose his choice of voting system upon us, Trudeau would have an all party committee study the options and make recommendations as would the Greens.

Specifically under the NDP’s preferred MMP system (a voter) first ticks (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Party Platforms, some thoughts!

If the choice is between fixing the hole in the roof and remortgaging the house then the choice is obvious, particularly with the interest rates so low. Throwing a tarp over it and putting a bucket under the drips is not a long term viable solution, that for so many of us finding a job to even purchase a tarp is a major problem simply highlights the position we are in both individually and as a country. If the roof has been leaking for some time and just moving the buckets around as needed was the solution chosen then simply (Read more…)

Politics Canada: Misrepresentation = Our current first past the post system

Here is a short about our current roulette voting system:

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

Democracy Under Fire: Harper History, Part 8 – Senate reform / suspensions, Election Act

2013 – 2014 Even with the ongoing Senate expense scandal, the Robocall investigation crawling along (much delayed by the presence of the Conservative lawyer at E.C. Interviews) another suspension of parliament for no apparent reason followed up by another massive austerity budget it was the (un)Fair Elections Act that got all the attention during this period. The closing or cuts to any number of federal programs and departments continued, many aimed at scientific, public safety and oversight areas, in an apparent effort to be able to ‘balance’ the budget just before the 2015 election. It becomes increasingly difficult to (Read more…)

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…)

Democracy Under Fire: Too Much Money?

With much speculation (Harper, will meet with Governor General David Johnston, Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Canada, Sunday at 9:55 a.m., according to a statement released late Saturday by the prime minister’s office.) that today is the day that Harper will go to the GG and dissolve parliament thus resulting in a record 11 week election period (or not) here is a quick review of the inordinate amount of money that will be spent during that time. No attempt has been made to estimate the millions spent by the Harper regime in recent months assassinating (Read more…)

Politics Canada: How can we change the electoral system?

Our system is an absolute farce. 38% of the vote gives you 55% of the seats and absolute, unchecked power. Power that is concentrated in the PMO like never before in our history.

When I approach our first past the post (fptp) system I feel the way someone must feel when they have to clean a smoking, loaded and cocked pistol. Who knows what the outcome will be? Certainly not what I intended.

Will some well organized group of fringe radicals through intense discipline, deception, and extreme message control be able to get the required 38% to take absolute power?

We (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Jeff Spross argues that in addition to ensuring that employees are fairly paid for the overtime hours they work, we should also be pushing to ensure people aren’t required to work as much to begin with. And Angella MacEwen points out that any spin about increasing wages is based almost entirely on a proportional increase in hours worked, rather than workers receiving any benefit from improved productivity.

- Meanwhile, Cory Doctorow highlights new research showing that the CEOs who manage to squeeze the most money out of businesses actually perform worse than (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Mr. Trudeau brings more good news on the democracy front

This is shaping up to be a good week for democracy. The new Alberta government’s banning of political donations by corporations and unions has been followed with a surprising and very welcome announcement by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau of major democratic reform if his party wins the October election.

Some of the Liberal proposals I particularly like include the following:

A thorough study