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Democracy Under Fire: Party Platforms, some thoughts!

If the choice is between fixing the hole in the roof and remortgaging the house then the choice is obvious, particularly with the interest rates so low. Throwing a tarp over it and putting a bucket under the drips is not a long term viable solution, that for so many of us finding a job to even purchase a tarp is a major problem simply highlights the position we are in both individually and as a country. If the roof has been leaking for some time and just moving the buckets around as needed was the solution chosen then simply (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Gob-smacking!

“It was possibly the most gob-smacking election launch in modern Canadian history.” So says much respected parliamentary reporter Susanna Kelley 

“The shockers began almost immediately after Stephen Harper announced he’d asked the Governor General to dissolve parliament and call an election for October 19 — at 78 days, it will be among the longest in Canadian history. “I feel very strongly … that … campaigns need to be conducted under the rules of the law. That the money come from the parties themselves, not from government resources, parliamentary resources or taxpayer resources,” he said. That statement came to the slack-jawed shock of every (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: National Televised Debate set for October.

The group of networks known as the broadcast consortium, including CBC News, has set the English-language debate for Thursday, Oct. 8, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. ET, and the French-language debate for Wednesday, Oct. 7, from 8 to 10 p.m. ET…… despite an ongoing boycott by the Conservative Party. In a news release, the consortium which includes CTV News, Global News, Radio-Canada and Télé-Québec and CBC News, said the broadcasters maintain their invitation to the Conservative Party, who have thus far declined, to participate.

Some criticism has been heard regarding the time slot allocated, particularly from the western provinces where (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Abdicating Responsibility

Collingwood Council has, in its short time in office, abdicated much of its responsibility to the business of government and to the people of this town. Council has sloughed off the duties they were elected to shoulder with remarkable alacrity. Some of that responsibility landed on staff, who assumed control of the budget process and drive […]

Democracy Under Fire: The Debate about the Debate has started!

With the Conservatives quietly considering a proposal to hold up to five regional televised debates in the upcoming federal election to contrast Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s experience with rookie Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau the debate about the debates has started. Hoping to exploit Trudeau’s shoot-from-the-lip style, some Conservative insiders believe Harper could benefit from additional debates.

In my opinion that very much depends upon how much said leaders (particularly Harper) are held to account for untruths and inaccurate assertions & allegations. One way to see that such things do not go unchallenged is to ensure that the “Hardest Working MP” (Read more…) My MLA? Ol’ Whazhizface?

I have a question for you, dear reader. What factor was the biggest factor that drove your voting decision in the 2012 Alberta election? Did you base your vote on a platform, a leader, a party, a local candidate or was it a combination of two or more factors?

The 2011 Canadian Election Study asked a similar question of 2500 voters after they voted in the 2011 federal election. Responding to the question, “Which of the following was most important in your decision to vote for this party,” most voters said they liked the policies of the party they voted for (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: An Open Letter to Tom Mulcair.

Dear Sir I am in receipt of you self congratulatory email boasting of how you have just signed the Fair Vote Canada’s Politicians’ Pledge,I congratulate you on doing so and would hope that many other MPs from all parties join you in doing so but have a number of concerns with the other issues raised in you communications. Firstly your “commitment to make 2015 the last unfair election — and 2019 the first election to use a truly democratic electoral system” is clearly unobtainable…… unless you intend to either impose a new system upon Canadians without public consultation and (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Vitriolic nastiness does not breed respect.

Stephen Lewis , the former Ontario NDP leader, United Nations ambassador and lifelong human rights advocate recently took aim at the “pre-paleolithic Neanderthals” in office and their role in the decline of Parliament, the suppression of dissent, the plight of First Nations, their blinkered climate-change policy and our plummeting world status. That his words have been picked up by numerous newspapers and bloggers this week makes it no less important that his assessment of the Harper Regime be repeated here, they are words that need repeating time and time again.

Lewis told the Symons Lecture on the future of confederation: (Read more…)

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Experience and government #nlpoli

In the 1980s, local entrepreneur Craig Dobbin bought a batch of helicopter service companies across Canada and merged them with his own company  – Sealand – to form Canadian Helicopters. 

By the time Dobbin died in 2006,  CHC was one of the largest providers of helicopter support services in the world.

Not just Newfoundland and Labrador.

Or Canada.

Or even North America.

The world.

(Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Blind Obedience, the Tool of Tyrants

A guest post by Pamela Mac Neil

“Here is how you’re going to vote and here are your talking points”

On capital hill the above line is the kind of conversation, probably repeated many times, initiated by junior in the PMO’s office, to Harpers backbenchers and various cabinet MP’s. He/she may continue to say, the PM wants this bill passed at tomorrows question period and by the way, junior may add to the selected MP, usually a back bencher, the PM would also like you to ask this question in the House. Could the PM elaborate on “unconfirmed reports (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: A Stark Contrast.

I dont often comment upon the daily actions of politicians on this blog preferring to look at the broader picture of how their actions affect out democracy but one recent report realy got my attention in its stark contrast between a potential leader and the current one. The way in which our ‘leaders’ interact with our local and national media, be they the press, television new outlets or simply citizen bloggers has much to do with democratic freedom and our need to know and understand what ‘government’ is doing on our behalf.

This item from Matt Guerin outlines the contrast….. (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Democracy and Freedom in Harperland

A guest post by Pamela Mac Neil There have been Canadian Prime Ministers I have disliked and Prime Ministers whose ideas I have disagreed with. I have never however, with any of these Prime Ministers, worried about losing our democracy and consequently our freedom. That is until Stephen Harper as our PM was given a majority government in 2011. I knew what he was capable of before he got his majority, but I never worried as long as he had minority governments. When he got his majority, I took notice and proceeded to study him closely on a daily basis. (Read more…)

Trashy's World: Leadership – it’s vital

After watching the municipal campaigns in Ottawa unfold thus far, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the defining issue is leadership. Pro green bin or not (I pity the fools!), love Phase 2 of the LRT or scrap it, raise taxes, lower them or keep them the same, what really sets out one candidate from […]

Democracy Under Fire: Peacekeepers ignored by Harper.

Today our Canadian military members and veterans as well as police officers come together in ceremonies across the country to honour and remember all Canadian peacekeepers who have served or are currently serving in support of peace operations around the world. Among those who will NOT be there are PM Stephen Harper, Veterans Minister Julian Fantino, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, Veterans Affairs have condescended to send a parliamentary secretary provided that the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping write his speech!

It remains to be seen if the regimes censors will (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: What can the results of the last Ontario PC leadership race tell us about the current one? That Elliott could be hard to beat

Long-time readers will remember when I did some fairly in-depth coverage of the 2009 Ontario PC leadership race. I was reading over some blog posts from that era, bit of a trip down memory lane. I kind of forgot Hudak’s big selling point to grassroots conservatives was pledging to eliminate Human Rights Tribunals, Christine Elliott running on a flat tax to increase her appeal beyond just red Tories, and of course Hudak Bingo!

The map at the top of this post shows the first round results from the 2009 leadership results, coloured in by which candidate won plurality (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: New study reveals best and worst cities to be a woman in Canada

by: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives | Press Release | April 23, 2014

OTTAWA—A new study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) reveals the best and worst cities to be a woman in Canada. According to the study, Québec City is the best city to be a woman and Edmonton is the worst.

The study, by Kate McInturff, a Senior Researcher at the CCPA, ranks Canada’s 20 largest metropolitan areas based on a comparison of how men and women are faring in five areas: economic security, leadership, health, personal security, and education.

“Canada has made great (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Best of Both Worlds

A guest article by Jared Milne.

Politically, 2013 wasn’t much different than previous years. In Toronto, Rob Ford accused his opponents of wanting to keep the “gravy train” going, while his opponents accused him of hypocrisy and failing to live up to his promises. In Ottawa, the Conservative government accused the opposition parties of wanting to drastically raise taxes to pay for their political promises, while the official Opposition accused the Conservatives of slashing essential services and transfers to Canadians. In St. Albert, critics of the city government’s current direction stated that our current level of spending is unsustainable, while (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the link between personality politics and the culture of scandal that’s developed around Stephen Harper, Rob Ford and other political figures.

For further reading…- Once again, Dan Leger and Leslie MacKinnon provide the column’s starting point in discussing the central focus on scandals in 2013.- Eric Grenier’s year-end political grades offer a prime example of the type of election-results-only evaluation that feeds into the problem.- And Frank Graves discusses the Canadian public’s waning trust in its current crop of politicians.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman highlights why inequality is indeed an issue which demands action – both for its own sake, and for its impact on other goals such as economic sustainability. And Bill Moyers discusses the difference between a government responsive to its people and one completely controlled by elites: The historian Plutarch warned us long ago of what happens when there is no brake on the power of great wealth to subvert the electorate. “The abuse of buying and selling votes,” he wrote of Rome, “crept in and money began to play an important (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Backbenchers Grow a Backbone?

Many of us have been sounding the alarm bell for some time about the amount of power and control the Prime Minister and the PMO have over both the daily working of parliament and more particularly the amount of control exercised over MPs and senators elected or appointed under the Conservative banner. Now it would seem a few backbenchers have finally become tired of following orders and want to do what they were elected to do, represent their constituents without having to rigidly follow the scrip provided by the PMO. “Tired of being a $160,200-a-yearvoting machines, the group (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: TV or Democracy

With the next set of promises recently presented in the House after several days of targeted leaks of some of the content which highlighted ‘more choice of cable & satellite TV channels’ I wonder if Canadians are really as shallow as the Harper Regime seems to think. Can we really be bought by a promise to give us more choice in selecting TV channels and similar meaningless goodies, is this such an important thing that it needs to be in the throne speech and have legislation brought forward to force the companies concerned to open up more choice, a move (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Save Democracy from Politics

The title says it all, our very democracy is in danger of being totally subverted by partisan actions which are aimed at keeping or gaining power with little regard to the well being of Canadian peoples or our country. Elizabeth May is correct when she says there is no consensus on how to achieve the replacement of the flawed and highly biased first past the post electoral system. I fully support the Green party in their long held view that the system is broken and requires a major reform and applaud Ms May’s efforts to leave partisan politics behind and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On independent thought

It’s for the best that the idle speculation and gossip about a single point of policy difference between Thomas Mulcair and Linda McQuaig have been put to rest. But let’s make clear just how pernicious the “ZOMG!!! Candidate X occasionally thinks for herself!!! Clearly she must be muzzled!!!” line of political analysis actually is.

Simply put, there’s absolutely no contradiction between:- a party leader promising that a given policy that will form part of the party’s platform; and- a candidate holding the personal opinion that a particular different policy would produce superior outcomes, while nonetheless supporting the (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Dysfunctional Legislatures

Is there any such thing as a fully “functional” legislature in Canada? I am starting to wonder. I do not follow all the various provincial maneuverings but it seems to me that many of our governing institutions across the country are in disarray. Certainly the only time our federal government can be called somewhat functional is when the legislature is not sitting, which situation appears to be the preferred option of the Harper regime and now the BC government. I cant speak to the rest of the provinces but it seems to me that they will take note that if (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Of rules and rulers

I’ll readily agree with the Star’s editorial board that we should expect our lawmakers to have some respect for the law. But while David Climenhaga draws one contrast between Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper, I’ll point out what looks to be a more apt comparison – one which also involves sheer personal indulgence rather than any statement of principle: Prime Minister Stephen Harper went ATVing today…on the runway at Tuktoyaktuk.

He took off, and left his RCMP detail in the dust. They then chased him. Two officers on ATVs, and some more in pickup trucks.

Harper roared up and (Read more…)