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Babel-on-the-Bay: Mr. Harper, we hardly knew you.

As we read and listen to the various obligatory farewells to Canada’s former prime minister, there seems to be lots of hypocrisy going around. The Hair and his hairpiece have left the building in Ottawa and that is that. He was not liked while he was there and he left with no wisdom to share […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Mr. Harper, we hardly knew you.

Babel-on-the-Bay: FPTP: What if it is not broken?

As the first witness before the special commons committee on electoral reform Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef gave the committee eight principles for their task. These principles might be conflicting in some ways but they are definitely in conflict with the path the committee is taking. The first principle promoted by the minister is to […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: FPTP: What if it is not broken?

Babel-on-the-Bay: Leaping nation building at a single bound.

In analyzing where Canada’s New Democrats are headed, we took another look at the LEAP Manifesto. Frankly LEAP stumbles on the first hurdle. It reads like the Regina Manifesto without the socialist ranting. It fails us. And where does this document get off treating Canada’s first peoples as some sort of pathetic wards of the […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Leaping nation building at a single bound.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Justin Trudeau has his Angels.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau certainly has his angels. We are talking the kind of angels that Charlie had in the old television series about Charlie’s Angels. Those were flesh and blood actors who supposedly made a living solving problems. While the fictional problems often involved murder and mayhem, Justin Trudeau’s angels are just supposed to […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Justin Trudeau has his Angels.

Babel-on-the-Bay: A federal failure of FPTP.

It has been noted occasionally that first-past-the-post voting is not perfect. You get failures in the system such as has happened to the voters in the federal electoral district of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. Our elected member of parliament is an embarrassment. We like to think of him as a failure in strategic voting. Our MP is proof […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: A federal failure of FPTP.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Elizabeth May, please step forward.

It has always been our opinion that Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is far smarter than anyone else in the Green Party. And she has certainly carried all those folks on her back for far too long. It is time now for Elizabeth to take on a real challenge. Surely it is obvious to her […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Elizabeth May, please step forward.

Babel-on-the-Bay: The bother of bloody bitumen.

It sure makes you wonder when two cities in Saskatchewan have to import clean water because of what the media consider a small spill of something they call ‘Heavy Oil’ but is really bitumen and a diluent. Citizens of North Battleford and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan have been finding out the difference between ‘Heavy Oil’ and […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: The bother of bloody bitumen.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Dark side of proportional representation.

It has been tiring over the years listening to people such as University of Toronto Professor Peter Russell selling proportional representation as the only voting system for Canada. The only good news about his ideas are that they are based on logical argument and not some of the outrageous claims made by organizations such as […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Dark side of proportional representation.

Babel-on-the-Bay: How Canadians vote.

There must be a better way to spend a hot summer than arguing about how we vote for our federal government in Canada. Reading the transcripts or watching recorded hearings of the commons special committee on electoral reform, it is hard to tell if anyone appearing before the committee really knows how Canadians vote and […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: How Canadians vote.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Who owns this party anyway?

It has always seemed a Canute-like task of denying the tides to defend the Liberal Party. There just seem to be too many of the elements aligned against us. A party leader can work at destroying his or her party on whims and the rest of us are left with the pieces on which to […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Who owns this party anyway?

Babel-on-the-Bay: Making sense on vote reform.

It was a delight the other day to sit and read a presentation to the special house of commons committee on electoral reform that made sense. The committee has been struggling along, wasting a perfectly fine summer, listening to mainly academics who have been touting a variety of proportional voting systems ad nausea. While reading […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Making sense on vote reform.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Remembering Mel Hurtig.

It might be the dog days of summer but we have some catching up to do. We were out of town recently and while you might think we write a new commentary every day for this web site, we sometimes have as much as a week ahead set to automatically roll out each day. Even […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Remembering Mel Hurtig.

Mind Bending Politics: China’s Economic Espionage Against Canada Refuses To Be Dealt With By Government

(China’s Artificially Created Housing Bubble In Canada Set To Burst Warnings Suggest) It’s been no surprise that Canada has long been in a housing bubble. Foreign investors from China have been buying up property in Canadian cities for years, and reselling them to Canadians for way more than the property is worth. China seems to […] . . . → Read More: Mind Bending Politics: China’s Economic Espionage Against Canada Refuses To Be Dealt With By Government

Babel-on-the-Bay: If it’s democracy, it must be a ghost.

It always seems strange to hear people talking about our democracy in Canada. You get the impression that our democracy is some sort of spectre. We talk about it but nobody has ever really seen it. And democracy is such a simple concept. It is based on recognizing the value of the human being. It […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: If it’s democracy, it must be a ghost.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Brokering Political Power.

During one of the presentations to the special parliamentary committee on vote reform, there was an interesting remark on brokering power under different forms of voting. The speaker, an academic from Queen’s University, explained that in our first-past-the-post governments, the power brokering is usually done before the election, and, in a proportionally elected—which usually produces […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Brokering Political Power.

Mind Bending Politics: Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Explained Perfectly

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement mostly negotiated in secret by quite a few governments bordering the pacific ocean. Canada has been a part of these negotiations and is committed to ratifying the treaty. Both US presidential candidates are now on the record against this treaty, while current US president Barack Obama has […] . . . → Read More: Mind Bending Politics: Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Explained Perfectly

Babel-on-the-Bay: A ‘better way’ than what?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is changing how we select candidates for Canada’s supreme court. The Toronto Star gave the official announcement sufficient column space to explain the idea and then devoted much more space on the editorial page to extolling what might be the virtues of this ‘Better Way.” Frankly, the editorial would have been […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: A ‘better way’ than what?

Babel-on-the-Bay: Jason Kenney’s double duty summer.

Do super heroes ever rest? Not super heroes such as Calgary’s Honourable Jason Kenney MP. He is doing double duty this summer with the challenges to save Ottawa for democracy and to save Alberta for right-wing politicos. The work of a super hero is obviously never done. In Ottawa this summer the fat and 48-year […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Jason Kenney’s double duty summer.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote reform is not everyone’s cup of tea.

The Canadian government’s special parliamentary committee on electoral reform has now had a number of hearings. You can see some of them on computer at the cpac.ca website. While these hearings are engrossing for the Members of Parliament on the committee, the rest of the country can continue to enjoy the summer months. What is […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote reform is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Betrayal by news media.

This is the “unkindest cut of all.” Luckily for William Shakespeare, he did not have to contend with the unkind vagaries of modern news media. Slipshod reporting and careless editing are feeding the problem but they are also helping the oil and gas industry to side-step the critics of shipping diluted bitumen through pipelines. The […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Betrayal by news media.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Mandatory voting is not in the cards.

It would be hard to think of anything sillier than for our Canadian politicians to make voting mandatory. They might just get more than they deserve. Anyone promoting the idea of making it mandatory probably has no idea of the why, when and how of voting by the general population. They might not realize that […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Mandatory voting is not in the cards.

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.