Ukraine: Doors open for Putin
Today, much to the surprise of some, a public agreement was announced by the US, Russia, EU and current Ukraine government, dealing with concrete steps to move the matter forward. The following is the full text of that agreement, with the most important part (in my view) bolded:
Geneva Statement of April 17, 2014The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.
All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Russia advances its creeping-federalization agenda
Charlie Smith: Thought-Provoker
We all agree with the principle that Polluters should pay for the impact of their pollution. So why not make those responsible for the inflated prices of homes in our cities pay a tax – the Inflators should pay principle? Consider this question posed by a London city council for debate by its residents: It also asks: “Do you agree with Islington Council’s intention to require owners of properties which are kept unoccupied to make a financial contribution to the council, which would be used to deliver affordable housing elsewhere in the borough?” Charlie Smith in (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Our housing problems: Should we charge an Inflation Tax on absentee home owners?
Putin’s Push: Reality versus Rhetoric
Congratulations to Thomas Graham, a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute, who was the senior director for Russia on the US National Security Council staff 2004-2007. He has shrewdly analyzed the Russian push under Putin, in its historical context, and outlined the steps that the West has to take to deal with Putin. Visa denials and economic sanctions, while nice sound bytes, are pretty meaningless. His views:
The way to stymie Russian expansion is not by denying visas and freezing assets of Russian officials and their business associates, the West’s current approach. Nor will (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Some Commensense on Dealing with Russia
Foreign Minister Lavrov – the man with the answer
Within a week or so the outlines of a solution to the Ukraine predicament will become clear to all. As I expected (and hoped), wiser heads have come up with a workable formula. The Russians are leading the way, with Obama ready to follow. At tomorrow’s meeting between Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, the Russians will table the solution: “We are bringing our approaches closer together,” Mr. Lavrov said. “My last meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in The Hague and my (Read more…)
Premier Marois’ Lobster Strategy
What a difference a campaign can make! Just four weeks ago, it seemed the Marois-led PQ juggernaut was a shoo-in for a majority government in the province of Quebec, and now it seems the wheels have fallen off the machine, as pollster Three Hundred Eight illustrates. In less than 20 days Premier Marois has through her ill-advised lack of discipline moved the needle from a majority government to being a government clutching a pink slip in its sweaty hands, as its core Francophone constituency moves away:
Down 5% over 20 days in this core supporter (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Quebec election: 20 days and 5%
The first debate in this unexpectedly interesting provincial election has yet again proved that the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. The Premier and her advisors had carefully planned a year long campaign designed to drive a wedge between the voters in preparation for the election, by holding public meetings to discuss their Charter of Values. And it seemed to be working well, crystallizing support among Francophones and leaving opponents waffling with Me, Too faint emulations. So Marois and her Brains Trust decided that if it worked with the Charter of Values, why (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Quebec: Premier Marois’ Walk into Darkness
It is worth reading the article by Joseph Stiglitz on the problems posed by the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty. Our government is one of those negotiating in confidence a treaty that will substantially effect the livelihood of all Canadians. Stiglitz highlights the problems posed for democracies by the one-sided secrecy rules – citizens are kept in the dark while big business is invited to take a seat at the table during the negotiations: These high stakes are why it is especially risky to let trade negotiations proceed in secret. All over the world, trade ministries are captured by corporate and (Read more…)
Daron Acemoglu’s articleon the Ukraine in today’s Globe & Mail is a must read for all who are concerned about the mammoth task facing Ukraine right now. Unlike so many writers who skate across the thin ice of ignorance in their commentary on what is really happening in that blighted country, Acemoglu gets to the heart of things with a penetrating analysis of the reality facing those young men and women who took to the streets. He starts with this succinct summary:
But at the root of the situation is a legacy of political and economic institutions that have (Read more…)
Reaction to the PQ Lobster Strategy?
Battles for votes rise or fall on framing: the ballot question, your opponent, your own side, the issues. Framing happens, with you or without you; sometimes best with you.
Ms Marois and the PQ have recoiled in horror from any discussions of the independence referendum or of an independent Quebec, because their original election plan was to talk about their Charter of Values and get their majority, then launch their ongoing PR campaign to soften up their citizens regarding a referendum, known as their White Paper process, and then – but only once they (Read more…)
PQ lobster trap for unwitting Quebecers
Try as they might, the PQ cannot direct the definition of the ballot question in the upcoming provincial election into fields of their choosing. They would rather talk about their Charter of Values, which has given them a good crack at Francophone votes to boost them into a majority government position. Or the bright prospects for a Quebec economy, with debt reduced and business booming. But every time they try, those pesky journalists keep asking about the PQ’s plans to launch a permament campaign as a majority government, disguised as a White Paper process (Read more…)
Andre Turcotte – the Curves Tracker
Sometimes a picture is really worth a thousand words, much to the consternation of the conservatives huddled in Ottawa for the annual Manning Centre rightwing navel-gazing gathering. Pollster Turcotte presented a series of graphs showing what a poll of a thousand Canadians today think about the (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Election 2015: The Crossing of the Curves
The latest Angus Reid poll highlights the Achilles heel of Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Most Canadians do not trust him to protect our elections, as Susan Delacourt points out. This is a stark finding of the Angus Reid poll: The views of an increasingly larger number of Canadians have hardened about Harper’s likeability, trustworthiness, and fitness to lead the country. And this swift, dark and deadly undercurrent is what will ensure that this is his last term as prime minister of Canada. . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Stephen Harper’s Achilles heel: Trust
At the Montreal convention, the Liberal Party overwhelmingly agreed to Priority Resolution 31, Restoring Trust in Canada’s Democracy. An important part of that resolution is this: AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT immediately after the next election, an all-Party process be instituted, involving expert assistance and citizen participation, to report to Parliament within 12 months with recommendations for electoral reforms including, without limitation, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation, to represent Canadians more fairly and serve Canada better. Electoral reform has a bad record of success in Canada, with several referenda for modernizing our antiquated and undemocratic (Read more…)
New Principles for Energy Industry
This post touches on the duty to consult, the impact of recent court decisions on the cumulative effect of energy resource development on claims of First Nations, the linkage of First Nations claims under our Constitution to the harm that might happen to their rights under global warming, developments in the Supreme Court that hold out fresh hope for a new way of looking at the problem, and two suggested principles that could radically change the way the issues are handled: the use by the Supreme Court of the Precautionary Principle now used by the (Read more…)
Dr. Clotiere Rapaille
Within 18 months of so Canadians will elect a new prime minister and a new government. Of the three contenders for the top job – Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau – which one offers Canadians a leader best in tune with what Canadians really, really want in their leader, deep down in the innermost recesses of their hearts?
Because if you are a leader offering them something else, that does not fit that deepest desire, you will not be the next prime minister. So what do Canadians want in their prime minister? Dr Clotaire Rapaille (Read more…)
Is it time for Canada’s largest city to have its very own purple rain? The Editorial Board of the Globe & Mail seem to think so. They frame the issue this way: Toronto needs to be rethought from its suburbs inward, not from its centre outwards. And its politics have to move beyond tired, left vs. right clichés. Mayor Rob Ford has been less than successful in competently running the city, reducing its council meetings to high farce, worthy of earlier British comedy skits more than of the governing board of a major city. The G&M is scathing (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Deperately seeking Toronto’s Nenshi
George S. Patton
I expect the Throne Speech in late January 2014 to be the timing for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to dissolve Parliament and call for an election in the spring of 2014, rather than wait for the legislated October 2015 date. The Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau are targeting a spring election a year later: “We’re building a (campaign) approach that’s very much flexible. I think one of the aims we’re working at is spring of 2015,” he said, noting that Harper has ignored his own law in the past. Paul Wells in his Macleans article, (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Why Stephen Harper will call an early election in spring 2014
Methinks John Ivison has hit the nail right on its head with this:
If the Auditor-General’s report does suggest a systemic problem of corruption and abuse, who would bet against the Conservatives using the Senate as a classic wedge issue, pointing out that the Liberals are in favour of preserving the country’s most expensive eventide home as is.
One approach could (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: 2015: The ballot question in Canada’s next election?
The Cat goes to the Senate
Twenty-four hours of so before the US government ran out of money to pay its debts, Republican senators nudged aside the Tea Party senators and House representatives, to kick the can down the road and renew the fight in two months time:
The expected Senate deal would avoid a potential U.S. debt default, but it would only set new deadlines for lawmakers to make decisions about the long-term course of fiscal policy.
As outlined by aides, the deal would fund federal agencies through Jan. 15 and extend the nation’s borrowing authority through Feb. (Read more…)
After Prime Minister David Cameron’s failure to bring along with him a majority of the MPs in the British Parliament, America has been reduced to vocal support from Germany (but no fighting Germans) and vocal and forceful support from France, in his attempts to put together a coalition to punish Syria for what the US claims is a breach of an international treaty on the use of weapons of mass destruction. And now President Obama has stunned the chattering classes in the USA by stating today that he has the power as President to unilaterally decide to take limited steps (Read more…)
Christy Clark outworking and outframing Dix
If you relish the nitty-gritty of political campaigns, like reading a well-written journalist post, and want to learn why framing cost the BC NFP a surefire win in the recent provincial election, then study the article headed Anatomy of a Comeback by Gary Mason in today’s Globe & Mail.
The disemboweling of Adrian Dix and his NDP: Mason lays out how the Christy Clark team of professionals went about disemboweling the inept NDP leader, Adrian Dix, starting with an analysis of how to frame three things: the ballot box question, the Dipper leader (Read more…)
The Senate under siege
With the press baying at the prime minister, calling for answers to serious questions about a possible deal with a senator accused of fudging expenses, PM Stephen Harper decided to leave Canada and visit South America. Resolute in his own righteousness, Harper refused to allow “distractions” to prevent his government from concentrating on the economy. Despite an openly rebellious crowd of journalists, who felt they had been unceremoniously brushed aside while raising serious questions about serious issues, Harper refused to address the issue which is tearing his party apart, and consuming Ottawa: Harper left on a (Read more…)
The 2012 presidential election has been a time of momentous and historic changes in American politics. For the first time the Republican voter suppression tactics boomeranged, with millions of those targeted turning out to exercise their votes – taki… . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Grover Norquist: The Bathtub Drowner meets his comeuppance in 2012
The gods of politics abhor predictability and delight in upsetting humans’ applecarts. Just when Mitt Romney was doing so well, along came hurricane Sandy, wreaking devastation on the eastern seabord. Sandy has given President Obama a gift: the opportunity to use FEMA to clearly demonstrate to voters the enormous difference between his policies and those of his “starve the beast” opponent, Mitt Romney. How to use FEMA: How can Obama use FEMA to draw such a stark comparison between his view of what the federal government should do, and Romney’s downsizing view? Simple, really. Obama should immediately place FEMA front . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Sandy & FEMA: How Obama can ensure his second term, if he moves fast
President Obama surged to victory in 2008 riding the twin horses of “hope” and “change”, in the process beating off Hillary Clinton and then The Maverick and his moose-hunting Veep candidate. But right now the mantle of “change” candidate seems to have settled on the shoulders of the Gekko-like shape shifting Republican candidate. Who would have figured? Romney’s business background is proving to be a valuable asset in year where the economy is in first gear:
A similar story developed during a focus group conducted by MSNBC after the debate Tuesday night. After every single one of MSNBC’s far-left anchors
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Obama & Romney: Who is the "change"candidate this time?