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Babel-on-the-Bay: Going ‘All In’ on bitumen.

There were two stories in the Toronto Star the other day from Canada’s western oil patch. The major story was the one by business writer David Olive on Suncor’s gutsiest bet yet on Athabasca bitumen. The other story never mentioned bitumen. It is a Canadian Press story out of North Battleford, Saskatchewan where the city […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Going ‘All In’ on bitumen.

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Trudeau honeymoon carries on.

It has been noted—with some surprise by certain observers—that the honeymoon with Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government continues. Why would anyone expect it to have ended? The major opposition parties are leaderless. There is no real competition on the horizon. And Justin is skating along very nicely, thank you. Our Prime Minister must have been watching […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: The Trudeau honeymoon carries on.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Conservative contest continues contrarily.

It was another step backward towards the abyss. Ontario’s Tony Clement must have found a hat somewhere to throw into the ring of the Conservative leadership contest. It was a pathetic pronouncement by a pathetic politico. It was no surprise. Tony has been on the list of likely losers in the Conservative contest for some […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Conservative contest continues contrarily.

Babel-on-the-Bay: In the rush to reform.

It was amusing reading the editorial in the Toronto Star the other day that urged the Liberal government to “Go slow on election reform.” The ghost of Torstar founder Joseph Atkinson must have done another ceremonial spin in his grave. It sounds like a last gasp from an overly opinionated crowd down at One Yonge […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: In the rush to reform.

Babel-on-the-Bay: When Referenda are Right.

It has to be more than 25 years since we last chatted with one of our favourite Conservatives. His name is Patrick Boyer and he is a gentleman of the old school. You rarely meet a Tory today with his charm and intelligence. A writer, a former MP and a scholar trained in international law, […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: When Referenda are Right.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Sending cannon fodder to Latvia.

In 1941 Canada came to the aid of the British Empire and sent troops to Hong Kong. The Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers were supposed to be a deterrent to war. Of the 1975 Canadians who tried to help defend Hong Kong, quite a few less came home after War II from […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Sending cannon fodder to Latvia.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote Reform Primer: Liking losers.

The following is part of our on-going primer on vote reform that is based on our Democracy Papers of 2007. This is the sixth of the vote reform series. In the 2015 federal election there was an effort made at strategic voting. It was based entirely on the strong desire to get rid of the […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote Reform Primer: Liking losers.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote Reform Primer: Causing coalitions.

The following is part of our on-going primer on vote reform that is based on our Democracy Papers of 2007. This is the fifth of the vote reform series. Democratic Reform Minister Maryam Monsef was quoted recently as saying that “Elections should unite Canadians and not appeal to narrow constituencies.” That statement was seen by […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote Reform Primer: Causing coalitions.

Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s okay to pollute if you need the money.

Have you ever watched two avowed tree-huggers fight over who is the more devout conservationist? When they do it in your local paper you at least do not get whiplash trying to follow the ball. It all started last week when the Town Greenie served up an easy lob in his weekly op-ed piece that […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s okay to pollute if you need the money.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Separatist threats are a Canadian custom.

It has always seemed that the more serious threats of separation in Canada come from the West. There have been times when you barely had to scratch the surface in Calgary to find another cowboy or cowgirl who would rather partner up with the folks to the south. There are even people out in Victoria […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Separatist threats are a Canadian custom.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Electoral Reform: A “Road” to nowhere.

If you are old enough, you might remember the Dorothy Lamour, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope series of Road movies that cashed in on Lamour’s looks, Crosby’s crooning and Hope’s humour. The all-party parliamentary road show on electoral reform is supposed to be invited by all MP’s to 338 town halls in every constituency in […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Electoral Reform: A “Road” to nowhere.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Did we cause a kinder Canada?

It was last year on Canada Day that Babel-on-the-Bay asked if we could consider a kinder Canada. We never said it was based on getting rid of Mr. Harper and his awful Conservatives but we might as well have. And we did it. That was a heady time late last year when Justin Trudeau and […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Did we cause a kinder Canada?

Babel-on-the-Bay: Are referenda democratic?

It was a surprise twist in an otherwise boring CBC National News panel the other night. It was an argument over whether a referendum was really democratic or redundant in a representative democracy. While it was not the well respected At Issue politically expert panel, the argument held enough interest to mull over as we […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Are referenda democratic?

Babel-on-the-Bay: What’s Jason Kenney doing? And who cares?

Yes, the Conservative Party of Canada is having a convention in a year or so to pick a new leader. After all, the party could hardly allow temporary leader Rona Ambrose time to get comfortable at Stornoway. So far, it is a very thin field of applicants. Though what would you expect when the leader […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: What’s Jason Kenney doing? And who cares?

Babel-on-the-Bay: On curiously confused commentary.

Not being a regular reader of the right-wing National Post, we are not as familiar with commentator John Ivison. He appears to be a believer in conspiracy theories. In his commentary of June 22, he wrote of Linking pipelines to planes and CO2. According to Mr. Ivison, it all appears to be a dastardly Liberal […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: On curiously confused commentary.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Pennies for a pension plan.

Did we all forget how conservative Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau can be? As MP from one of the most conservative electoral districts in Toronto, he is considered a Member from Bay Street, not Main Street. He proved it for all to see when he bargained improvements in the Canada Pension Plan down to the […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Pennies for a pension plan.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote Reform Primer: FPTP.

The following is an updated primer on First-Past-the-Post voting from the Democracy Papers of 2007. This is the fourth of the vote reform series. First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) voting is an electoral system that we have known for hundreds of years. While some people tell us that FPTP is flawed it is hard to pin these people […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote Reform Primer: FPTP.

Babel-on-the-Bay: If Canadians had their druthers on the Senate…

The delays are over on the government’s Bill C-14 on assisted dying. The Senate showed its true colours: cowardice. After one effort to help fix the flawed bill from the Commons, the senators surrendered. It is disappointing to report that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s solution to the senate seems to be working. When he was […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: If Canadians had their druthers on the Senate…

Babel-on-the-Bay: The braggadocio of the blogger!

That is one way to describe it. There is a hollowness in the endeavour. It is not just a hobby or an interesting way to waste away a few hours in your day. A daily commentary develops a life of its own. It is not like a Facebook page that you tend like a garden […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: The braggadocio of the blogger!

Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote Reform Primer: Preferential.

The following is a new primer as we did not consider preferential voting a factor in the Democracy Papers of 2007. This is the third of the updated series. Preferential voting is a system that is also known as alternative voting, instant run-off, ranked voting, transferable voting and other variables that have been considered and […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote Reform Primer: Preferential.

Babel-on-the-Bay: He wanted an independent Senate; he got it.

We told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that this independent Senate of his would bite him on the ass. And it happened sooner than anyone expected. But to make the point on the assisted dying bill was pure justice. The Senate has challenged Justin on a key provision of this ill-considered bill. It is the very […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: He wanted an independent Senate; he got it.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Politicians are just like us.

Maybe it is because they are never a hero to their valets that we have never been overly impressed with politicians. As a publicist and confidante to many politicians over the years, we have found that they share the same foibles, failures and frustrations as anyone else. Nobody is perfect and the person offering to […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Politicians are just like us.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Minister Monsef, hurrying to do nothing.

It looks like someone in the Trudeau cabinet came to the aid of the party and exerted some influence on the vote reform file. It is not that the Minister of Democratic Institutions was causing anything to happen. Ms. Monsef has been looking like a deer caught in the headlights. It is about time someone […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Minister Monsef, hurrying to do nothing.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Bill Blair, won’t you please come home?

We never have been able to find Bill Blair when we needed him. Back when Bill was Toronto Police Chief in 2010, he was nowhere to be found when his police officers were busy kettling innocent citizens out for an summer’s evening walk. Now as Justin Trudeau’s Minister of Pot, he is nowhere to be […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Bill Blair, won’t you please come home?

Babel-on-the-Bay: “This is Justin Trudeau’s Party.”

Those were the wrap-up words from Toronto Star reporter Susan Delacourt from the Winnipeg Liberal convention to Global reporter Tom Clark whose weekly show was originating in Vancouver at the Conservative convention. Delacourt had told viewers that Justin had arrived from the G-7 in Japan during the convention and seemed to be everywhere dominating his […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: “This is Justin Trudeau’s Party.”