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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.”

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Liberal Party is not computer competent yet.

Before you think the writer is a computer Luddite, it should be mentioned that we spent a lengthy business career explaining computers and computer software through the media. Our last company was a pioneer in database development that helped usher in the excesses of the Internet era. It was only when Katie Telford told the […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: The Liberal Party is not computer competent yet.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Trudeau misspending his capital.

In Winnipeg this weekend, Justin Trudeau is misspending his capital with liberals and the Liberal Party. Mind you, he fully deserves the plaudits for his remarkable determination that took his party from third place to a majority last October. It is his follow through by trying to change the nature of the Liberal Party that […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Trudeau misspending his capital.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Harper goes “quietly into the night.”

That line from Shakespeare’s Henry V is a haunting phrase that can give deep meaning to a legacy. The only problem for Canada’s failed and former Prime Minister Stephen Harper is his lack of a legacy. He united the right and rode that tiger into power. Yet he could never dismount. He ruled firmly from […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Harper goes “quietly into the night.”

Babel-on-the-Bay: A Richler’s epiphany on Toronto.

In a somewhat rambling op-ed for the Toronto Star the other day, Noah Richler tells us of his experience as a sacrificial lamb (candidate) for the New Democrats last year. He also explains (sort of) why Bombardier cannot seem to deliver Toronto’s streetcars. Being a Montrealer by birth, Richler’s decision to run in Toronto-St.Paul’s was […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: A Richler’s epiphany on Toronto.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Experience needed to do a Morning Line.

Just like the racing experts who produce a morning line for the day’s racing card, a morning line for a political race requires considerable experience. And nobody would be so foolish as to try to create one without knowing and studying the performance of the horses in the race. That is why we are a […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Experience needed to do a Morning Line.

Babel-on-the-Bay: My Green is greener than your Green.

You sometimes get the impression from Canada’s Green Party candidates that they want us to keep them as pets. They are too nice and they are always trying to prove how green they are. You would think they would check to see what other parties are offering to do for our environment. Maybe they would […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: My Green is greener than your Green.

Babel-on-the-Bay: A line in the tar sand for Trudeau.

The ball is in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s court. A three-person panel of the Calgary-based National Energy Board has approved twinning the American-owned Kinder Morgan pipeline. The board panel has stipulated some 157 conditions related to it but the key is getting the Canadian Cabinet to sign off on the approval. That is anticipated later […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: A line in the tar sand for Trudeau.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Taking the measure of Minister Monsef.

Last we heard, the former MP from Maryam Monsef’s Peterborough electoral district was still arguing over the length of his prison sentence. Former MP Dean Del Mastro, having failed to do the honourable thing by committing ritual seppuku after being found guilty of election fraud, has continued various appeals against his conviction. Maybe he likes […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Taking the measure of Minister Monsef.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Welcome to our revolution.

Canadians seem to range from raging lassitude to constrained ennui. It is hard to get them excited or motivated over more than a hockey game. It is not that they do not care, they just consider their own lives more interesting. This concern came up the other day by way of a long e-mail from […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Welcome to our revolution.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Overwhelming ennui on democratic reform.

Democratic Reform Minister Maryam Monsef must feel like Cinderella—left behind while everyone else goes to the ball. And here she was under the impression that the Prime Minister was asking her to do something important. We could have given her a head’s up but she ignored us. Even the chattering classes have been admitting in […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Overwhelming ennui on democratic reform.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Trudeau doesn’t know democracy.

One of the promises Justin Trudeau made to Canadian Liberals before becoming Liberal leader was that he would restore democracy in the party. He lied. He is now asking us to give up any of the rights we had as members of the Liberal Party of Canada. Justin Trudeau wants the Liberal Party to just […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Trudeau doesn’t know democracy.