Miscellaneous material to start your week.
– Thomas Walkom writes that the federal Libs’ idea of “real change” for the economy reflects nothing more than the same old stale neoliberal playbook: At its core, the federal government’s “bold” new plan for economic growth is strikingly familiar.
The scheme, worked out by Finance Minister Bill . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
– Scott Sinclair and Stuart Trew applaud Wallonia’s principled stance against the CETA. And Joseph Stiglitz discusses the need to set up social and economic systems which actually serve the public good, rather than favouring corporate interests: Where the trade agreements failed, it was not because the US was . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links
This week, Justin Trudeau backed away from his promise to reform Canada’s electoral system by the next election. There was — rightly — an explosion of criticism. By the end of the week, Trudeau was saying that his government is “deeply committed” to electoral reform. Alan Freeman writes:
Trudeau was rightly attacked from all sides . . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: Electoral Reform Cannot Be Postponed
In an earlier post, I recommended that our MPs consider a rather simple way to achieve significant and effective electoral change.
The essence of that proposal is this:
The FPTP system has one overwhelming feature in its favour: It is very simple to explain, very simple to understand, and very simple to apply. So . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: A Proposal for Electoral Reform in Canada
My earlier post on the issue of electoral reform had these recommendations, which might help solve the problem of political legitimacy for comprehensive electoral reform; here they are: 1. For the terms of reference of the all-party parliamentary committee to require it to study the matter, and then to present AT LEAST two alternatives to . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: How the Liberals can have a voter referendum on serious electoral change
Yesterday I celebrated the one-year anniversary of the day Justin Trudeau brought down the Con regime, after a decade of darkness.Only to be reminded how fragile was that victory.And how desperately the Con media are to return us to the nightmare we escaped.And to try to destroy Justin.Read more »
. . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Justin Trudeau and the Electoral Reform Farce
This and that for your Thursday reading.
– Owen Jones highlights the toxic stress and other health problems borne disproportionately by members of the LGBT community who face systematic discrimination. And Tayla Smith and Jaitra Sathyandran discuss how temporary foreign workers (and others facing precarious work situations) tend to suffer preventable harm to their health . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
Today we read that PM Trudeau is musing that his government is so popular that they might back off their solemn promise before last year’s election to carry out electoral reform.
The NDP reaction was swift:
NDP critic Nathan Cullen warned that if the Liberals “think they’re so incredibly popular that people will forgive them any broken promise, . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Justin Trudeau should resign as PM if this is true
It wasn’t long ago when a series of Canadian federal elections saw Stephen Harper and his Conservatives take more and more power – culminating in over four years of a false majority government – even as upwards of 60% of voters opposed virtually everything it stood for.
Some of us then figured it was worth . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On false prophets
“There will be no consensus that includes the Conservative party that does not include a referendum” “there is simply no flexibility of any form.” Conservative MP Scott Reid the party’s senior member on the electoral reform committee. Well Mr Reid how one can achieve consensus by setting preconditions, particularly ones that are all but . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: No Consensus without Referendum say Conservatives.
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
– Alex Himelfarb discusses why a proportional electoral system can be expected to produce better and more representative public policy: The adversarial approach often means major policy lurches when the government changes. For example, the Harper government undid some important initiatives of the previous government, including the Kelowna Accord, . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
– Baratunde Thurston makes the point that even beyond income and wealth inequality, there’s an obviously unfair distribution of second chances in the U.S. depending on one’s race and class. Denis Campbell reports on the link between poverty and childhood obesity, while Jen St. Denis highlights how poverty . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
Marc Mayrand, the outgoing chief electoral officer, has apparently put together a number of suggested changes that he would like to see made to our electoral system. I can only say thet the eight highlighted by Kady in the Ottawa Citizen look pretty good to me……..
“While it’s well worth perusing the full . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: An Electoral Framework for the 21st Century
You might think that Rona Ambrose's main concern would be the way her allegedly new/nouveau party is turning into a collection of bigots and right-wing religious extremists. What with Kellie Leitch trying to scapegoat refugees and immigrants for their "anti-Canadian values."While Brad Trost stands up for those anti-Canadian values by taking aim at women . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Rona Ambrose’s Desperate Attempt to Sabotage Electoral Reform
This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Mary O’Hara notes that even a relatively modest and incomplete set of progressive policies has created some important movement toward reducing poverty. And conversely, Caroline Mortimer writes that child poverty is exploding under the Conservative majority government in the UK.
– Dean Beeby reports on the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
Last week I posted the details of out local Mp’s (Larry Miller) upcoming Telephone Town Hall re Electoral Reform not to promote him but to promote discussion about this important initiative. Well said teleconference is now history and the reports are in and they are not good. I had said in my previous post . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: A Farce of a Electoral “Consultation”?
There is an electoral reform meeting here in Brantford-Brant on Sunday to discuss (what else?) Electoral Reform. It is being sponsored by the three Liberal Party of Canada Clubs here (the Women’s Commission, the Seniors Commission and the Young Liberals of Brantford-Brant), but it is meant to be a non-partisan event.
You can find more . . . → Read More: Scott's DiaTribes: Electoral Reform Townhall in #Brantford #Brant on 10/2/16
This and that for your Thursday reading.
– Valerie Strauss discusses the disastrous effects of corporatized education in the U.S. And Alex Hemingway examines how B.C.’s government (like Saskatchewan’s) is going out of its way to make it impossible for a public education system to do its job of offering a bright future to all . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
This and that for your weekend reading.
– Naomi Klein discusses how Canada’s longstanding – if far from inevitable – identity as a resource economy is standing in the way of both needed action on climate change and reconciliation with First Nations:
In Canada, cultivation and industrialization were secondary. First and foremost, this country was built on voraciously devouring wildness. Canada was an extractive company – the Hudson’s Bay Company – before it was a country. And that has shaped us in ways we have yet to begin to confront.
Because such enormous fortunes have been built purely on the extraction of wild animals, intact forest and interred metals and fossil fuels, our economic elites have grown accustomed to seeing the natural world as their God-given larder.
When someone or something – like climate science – comes along and says: Actually, there are limits, we have to take less from the Earth and keep more profit for the public good, it doesn’t feel like a difficult truth. It feels like an existential attack.
The trouble isn’t just the commodity roller coaster. It’s that the stakes grow larger with each boom-bust cycle. The frenzy for cod crashed a species; the frenzy for bitumen and fracked gas is helping to crash the planet.
Today, we have federal and provincial governments that talk a lot about reconciliation. But this will remain a cruel joke if non-Indigenous Canadians do not confront the why behind those human-rights abuses. And the why, as the Truth and Reconciliation report states, is simple enough: “The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to Aboriginal people and gain control over their land and resources.”
The goal, in other words, was to remove all barriers to unrestrained resource extraction. This is not ancient history. Across the country, Indigenous land rights remain the single greatest barrier to planet-destabilizing resource extraction, from pipelines to clear-cut logging.
– Susan Delacourt highlights
Charlie Angus’ frustration with the Libs’ Teletubbie political style, while Tony Burman notes that Middle East relations represent just one more area where Justin Trudeau’s actions couldn’t be much further from his rhetoric.
– But Ethan Cox’ report
on an Indigenous treaty alliance also signals what may the most effective response – as rather than allowing the Libs to feign friendship while pursuing another agenda, First Nations are presenting a united and direct contrast to Trudeau’s plans. And Doug Cuthand points out
the widespread protest against the Dakota Access pipeline as the latest and largest example of that solidarity being put into action.
– Meanwhile, Marc Lee signals what we might expect from a federal climate change action plan based on the working groups currently reviewing the options.
– Laurie Monsebraaten reports on a needed push to ensure that child care funding is used to create not-for-profit spaces. And Ashifa Kassam points to Wellington’s loss of water rights to Nestle as a prime example of what happens when corporate dollars trump public needs.
– Finally, Alon Weinberg discusses why now is the time to implement a proportional electoral system in Canada. And Craig Scott makes the case for mixed-member proportional over the other options under consideration. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links
September 27th, 2016 – MP Larry Miller will be hosting a community TeleForum for residents in the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. 7pm-8pm. Residents will receive a phone call at approximately 7pm and will be given instructions on how to participate.
Larry Miller, Member of Parliament for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, will be hosting a telephone town hall meeting (teleforum) with residents of the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound on the topic of electoral reform. The teleforum will take place on Tuesday, September 27th from 7:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Residents will have the opportunity to listen to and join in a discussion with Mr. Miller on the topic of electoral reform including: whether a national referendum is required to change the voting system, alternative voting systems, mandatory voting and online voting. The discussion from the teleforum will inform a submission from Mr. Miller to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE).
Residents will receive an automated phone call shortly before 7:00p.m. on the 27th and will be prompted to remain on the line. Those wishing to participate must simply remain on the line. Those who miss the call but receive a message on their answering machine will be given instructions on how to participate.
“I am looking forward to hearing a number of different concerns, questions, and opinions on electoral reform,” said Miller. “It is my hope that a community teleforum will allow for the greatest number of participants possible. I hope that all will take the time to participate in this important discussion.”
Those with questions or concerns about how to participate are encouraged to contact Mr. Miller’s office.
The Sun Times reports that….
“Miller said there should be a full national referendum before changes are made to the electoral system.
He said about 80 per cent of the people he has heard from share that view.
Miller said about two-thirds of the constituents who have contacted him or responded to a question that was sent in a recent mail-out from his office have said they support the current first-past-the-post voting system.”
Personalty I am not going to bother, I have made my views known directly to the committee and I have little faith that Mr Millers report to them will accurately represent the wide variety of opinions that will no doubt been pressed by those that manage to get a minute or two to speak in the hour allowed at his teleconference.
As for the majority contacting him “supporting the current first-past-the-post voting system.” that may well be true in that the Conservative mantra is just that however this does not reflect the general feeling a cording to a number of national polls. The only reason for supporting a referendum on any changes is to further support this position in that those that do not understand a new system will undoubtedly vote for the status quo, and make no mistake some of the options currently on the table are fully understood by very few citizens.
Cross posted at The Rural Canadian
. . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: Local MP to hold Teleconference.
On Monday September 19, 2016, the Special Committee on Electoral Reform launched its cross-Canada tour to consult Canadians on the best alternative to replace the current anti-democratic first-past-the-post system. The post Electoral Reform Committee … . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Electoral Reform Committee Launches Cross-Canada Public Consultation Tour
Dear Mr. Saini, I am one of your constituents and I must say very happy you won your seat and your party won the recent election even though I am not always a Liberal voter. I was unable to attend your open house last night in Kitchener with Minister Monsef but I have a strong […] . . . → Read More: Pop The Stack: My Letter to my MP on Electoral Reform
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
– David Dayen and Ryan Grim write that “free trade” agreements are in fact turning into little more than cash cows for hedge funds and other big-money speculators:
Under this system, a corporation invested in a foreign country can appeal to arbitration panels, consisting of three corporate lawyers, if that country enacts a law or regulation that violates a trade agreement or discriminates against the company. The ISDS courts can then award billions of dollars to the corporation to compensate it for the loss of expected future profits.
The problem is that these courts can also be used by speculators, who buy up companies for the sole purpose of filing an ISDS claim, or who finance lawsuits from corporations for a piece of the claim award.
“ISDS allows a small group of ultra-rich investors to extract billions of dollars from taxpayers while they undermine financial, environmental and public health rules across the world,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), an early opponent of ISDS, told HuffPost. “Our trade deals should not include ISDS in any form.”
The use of ISDS as a moneymaking engine, rather than for its initial purpose ― to protect foreign investors from having their factories expropriated or their businesses nationalized ― raises the question of whether there’s a better system available.
“Why should hard-won sovereign advances, like rules against polluting or consumer protections, be at risk when the obvious solution is for the investors to put their skin, not ours, in the game?” wondered Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden and a critic of TPP. “The simple solution is to have them self-insure against investment losses.”
– Mike Balkwill highlights the need to stop consulting endlessly about poverty, and instead take action by ensuring people have enough resources to meet at least their basic needs. Ann Hui reports on the especially dire circumstances facing First Nations families in Northern Ontario who have to spend upwards of half of their income on overpriced food. And Miguel Sanchez criticizes the Wall government’s attack on benefits to people with disabilities in Saskatchewan.
– Nicole Thompson points out how the Libs’ changes to the temporary foreign worker program are actually making matters worse for caregivers by eliminating any right to apply for permanent resident status. And Martha Burk documents how workers can lose out when employers force them to accept payroll cards rather than paycheques.
– Erich Hartmann and Alexa Greig argue that it’s long past time for Canada’s federal government to provide stable funding for health care in partnership with the provinces, rather than contributing only as much as it wants to at any given point. And Tom Blackwell reports on the dangers of relying on private providers by highlighting how they inevitably leave the public system to deal with complications.
– Finally, Tom Parkin notes that we should base our discussion of electoral reform on the actual experience of similar countries, not the obviously-false claims of people wanting to fearmonger us into accepting the status quo. And Andrew Coyne draws a parallel to the census as an argument for mandatory voting. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
With a mandate to broadly consult Canadians from all walks of life, the Special Committee on Electoral Reform will criss-cross Canada this coming September and October. The Committee will use this opportunity to hold formal hearings and public sessions where members of the public may share their views on electoral reform, online voting and mandatory voting. For the open-mic sessions, it will be first come, first served. The format for these public sessions and the specific locations for the sessions remain to be determined. A press release providing further details will be issued at a later date.
The Committee’s mandate was set out in the motionadopted by the House of Commons on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The Committee must present its report to the House of Commons no later than December 1, 2016.
Committee’s Travel Schedule (Tentative)
| Monday, September 19|| Regina, Saskatchewan|
| Tuesday, September 20|| St-Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba|
| Wednesday, September 21|| Toronto, Ontario|
| Thursday, September 22|| Québec, Québec|
| Friday, September 23|| Joliette, Québec|
| Monday, September 26|| Whitehorse, Yukon|
| Tuesday, September 27|| Site visit (to be determined) |
Victoria, British Columbia
| Wednesday, September 28|| Vancouver, British Columbia|
| Thursday, September 29|| Leduc, Alberta|
| Friday, September 30|| Yellowknife, Northwest Territories|
| Monday, October 3|| Montréal, Québec|
| Tuesday, October 4|| Halifax, Nova Scotia|
| Wednesday, October 5|| St. John’s, Newfoundland|
| Thursday, October 6|| Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island|
| Friday, October 7|| Fredericton, New Brunswick|
| To be determined|| Iqaluit, Nunavut|
Those wishing to contribute to the Committee’s discussions may find out how do so by reading the full news release on the Parliament of Canada website..
We wonder exactly how useful these few meetings where the committee members will hear a few opinions from a limited number of people on a first come first heard basis, I would suggest a written submission would be to the committal to be much easier and more effective for most folks. I also wonder about the above proposed schedule which details one meeting per province or territory EXCEPT Quebec where 3 are scheduled and BC where 2 are on the list, I wonder what criteria such inequality was based upon?
We know that each MP is expected to hold a ‘Town Hall’ to permit some of their constituents to express their views on electoral reform and many have done so already and been reported upon in various local news media. It will be interesting to see how closely the subsequent reports from those MP’s match the actual general tone of said meetings and how much of the various ‘party lines’ colour these synopsis of the meetings!
Finally for those not following such thing closely one of the Conservative members of the committee has withdrawn, it is unclear if a replacement has been named or if he or she will be equally wasting the committee’s time bellyaching about having a referendum!
According to the Hill Times’s report, Mr. Kenney “quietly gave up his spot on the key federal reform committee in the middle of August.” How quietly? According to the publication, his resignation was “unbeknownst to journalists who at the time were covering testimony” to the committee on Aug. 22, and also “even unknown to at least two MPs on the busy panel” until last week.
No loss I would say given his confrontational style both in this instance and elsewhere.
. . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: Special Committee on Electoral Reform to travel across Canada
The Special Committee on Electoral Reform began witness hearings in July and this week, launched an electronic consultation to probe citizen views on electoral systems and other vital aspects of voting. The introduction to that multiple choice sur… . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform Online Survey Available