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Accidental Deliberations: On uncosted liabilities

So even from the sketchy details made public so far, and even leaving aside the more general harm done by limiting government action and entrenching corporate monopolies, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will cost Canada: $4.3 billion in compensation to dairy, chicken and egg farmers Up to 20,000 lost jobs in the auto sector – meaning both lower revenues and higher costs for the affected communities Job losses in other industries which are supposed to “adapt”, again resulting in both higher costs and lower revenues A higher price for prescription drugs funded both publicly and privately

Naturally, none of those costs (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: The Political Prisoner’s Dilemma

Let’s double back to Karl Nerenberg’s take on the opposition parties’ messages in Canada’s federal election and point out how it relates to a classic decision-making hypothetical, the prisoner’s dilemma.

In the case of the federal election, here’s how the dilemma plays out for anybody whose primary goal is to see the Cons replaced. (And as in any of these types of discussions, I’ll leave aside what I see as the important distinctions between the parties which ensure that I’m not in that group – while also noting that the parties themselves likewise have every reason to focus on their (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Jennifer Wells writes about the drastic difference in pay between CEOs and everybody else. And Henry Farrell interviews Lauren Rivera about the advantage privileged children have in being able to rely on parents’ social networks and funding rather than needing to learn or work for themselves: One of your most counter-intuitive arguments is that students from working class and lower-middle class backgrounds are less likely to get elite jobs, because they concentrate on studying rather than their social life at college. That’s the opposite of what the conventional wisdom would suggest. How (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Readiness!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada: Sitting in his riding office in Montreal, Cotler says he didn’t like C-51, despite ultimately voting for it. The Liberals, he says, supported C-51 largely out of political considerations. “The party voted against the multilateral mission [against ISIS]. Then comes C-51. Harper’s saying, ‘I’m the guy who’s standing up to terror.’ If, after the ISIS vote, the Libs had been against C-51, then Harper would have said, ‘You can’t really trust these Liberals; they’re soft on terror, soft on crime,’ ” Cotler says. Trudeau, Cotler says, was (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, expanding on this post about the crucial difference between the types of change on offer from the NDP and the Libs.

While there wasn’t room for this point in the column, I’ll also note another rather important distinction between the two parties.

In the NDP’s case, Prime Minister Tom Mulcair would have to take into account the real and consistent preferences of party members and supporters who have coalesced primarily around shared policy goals. And while the base is likely willing to be patient so long as the result is real progress, one can’t imagine Mulcair being able (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On partial answers

Having posted earlier on the message we should expect from our opposition leaders when it comes to ensuring change, let’s make clear exactly what Justin Trudeau has now said – and most notably, what he hasn’t said. “There are no circumstances” under which the Liberals would prop up Harper should the Tories emerge with only a narrow plurality of seats, Trudeau said Tuesday in his strongest statements to date on the possibility of a Tory minority.… NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has long maintained that his goal is to ensure Harper doesn’t win government. He has also said he would be (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On rigged outcomes

I’m not sure when “what would Michael Ignatieff do?” became the Libs’ operating mantra. But as long as the subject of fighter procurement is on the table, let’s highlight the real similarity between two parties on that front: both the Cons and the Libs seem bent on handing Lockheed Martin billions of dollars it’s done nothing to earn.

In the Cons’ case, that means pushing Canada into an ill-advised, sole-sourced contract based on the deliberate neglect of alternatives.

And in the Libs’ case, that means publicly prejudging a procurement process in a way which would give Lockheed (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Roheena Saxena points out that personal privilege tends to correlate to selfishness in distributing scarce resources. And that in turn may explain in part why extreme top-end wealth isn’t even mentioned in a new inequality target under development by the UN.

- Or, for that matter, the Calgary Board of Education’s continued provision of free lunches to executives while students lack food and supplies. Meanwhile, Laurie Monsebraaten reports on the spread of hunger in Toronto’s suburbs, while Karena Walter points out the need for more action on poverty in Canada’s federal election.

- (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On contrasting activities

Thomas Walkom rightly notes that this fall’s election has seen somewhat more discussion of government acting in the public interest than we’ve seen in some time. But it’s worth drawing a distinction between the varieties of intervention on offer from the NDP and the Libs respectively.

As much as the latter have tried to suggest that running immediate deficits is the sole measure of progressivism, the real difference between the two lies in their longer-term plans.

For the NDP, the goal of an active government is to build up a stronger social safety net over time. Immediate funding for child (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On changing standards

Paul MacLeod reports on the latest candidate to be summarily axed due to an even mildly controversial social media history uncovered by Robert Jago, while Robyn Urback suggests either a truce or a wholesale destruction of past posts.

But it’s worth asking what comes next for Canada’s political parties – and particularly whether they’ll have to change their standards in a hurry.

Between now and September 28, it’s possible for a party to nominate a replacement for a candidate. And I’d fully expect new names to be substituted on the ballot for all of the candidates nixed so far (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On wasted opportunities

Before the first federal leaders’ debate, I wrote about the factors worth watching for which we might not otherwise get to evaluate during the course of a campaign. But unfortunately, we didn’t get much chance at all meaningfully test the party leaders’ judgment due to some poor choices in the presentation of the Globe and Mail’s debate tonight.

Again, I’d expect a debate to push candidates beyond their talking points, with both the moderator and the competing candidates contributing to that effort. But that only happens if the debate includes a few key elements: questions which ask for more than (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On unclear pictures

David Akin may have been right to point out that Justin Trudeau’s response to the federal government’s latest fiscal update was based on an avoidable lack of knowledge. But it’s worth noting why it’s so difficult for anybody to have an accurate picture of what’s actually happened within the federal government – as Akin himself observes in a follow-up post: In any given year, we won’t know what the final numbers are, including lapses, for the government as a whole and for individual departments until a document called the Public Accounts of Canada is tabled in Parliament. All (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, summarizing these posts as to how the opposition parties can set the stage for a minority Parliament by telling us what they’ll do on the first set of confidence votes – and how we can make better voting choices if they fail to do so.

For further reading…- Having mentioned the expected outcome of a Parliament in which two of the NDP, Libs and Cons are needed to support a government, I’ll point out the seat projectors which have reached that conclusion – including Too Close To Call, Three Hundred Eight, the Globe and Mail’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Exchange highlights the World Economic Forum’s observation that countries can do far more to combat inequality. And Angus Reid finds that Canadian voters are far more receptive to Tom Mulcair’s progressive economic plan than to more of the same from either of the major competing leaders.

- Meanwhile, the Leap Manifesto offers an important target as to the more fair and sustainable society we should be aiming for in the long run. And Bruce Campbell, Seth Klein and Marc Lee discuss how it’s well within our means.

- Aaron Wherry takes a look (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- David Climenhaga sees Jeremy Corbyn’s resounding victory in the Labour leadership race as compelling evidence that progressive hope can win over centre-right fearmongering, while Michael Laxer takes some lessons away for Canadian politics. And Paul Krugman notes that there’s a reason why voting members didn’t take the Blairites seriously when it came to the economy in particular.

- Meanwhile, PressProgress points out that the Cons have been reduced to trying to create panic about their own economic failures in the hope that it’ll somehow keep voters wanting to continue with what’s failing (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On simplified procedures

Following up on this post, let’s also note how the right answer from Canada’s opposition parties could combine with the seeming agreement between the major party leaders as to the “most seats first” principle to take nearly all of the guesswork out of a post-election minority Parliament.

Again, the range of possible outcomes absent some consensus between the parties as to what should happen next would be virtually infinite. The Cons would be entitled to hang onto power without meeting Parliament for an extended period of time, and could play all kinds of games in seeking to avoid votes (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On basic questions

The National Post’s editorial board offers the latest reminder as to how confidence is won and lost in Canada’s Parliament. And it only highlights the need for our candidates – particularly those promising change – to offer a clear indication as to their post-election plans.

But while it’s worth discussing what types of agreement might be possible between various combinations of opposition parties, there’s one set of questions which doesn’t require any agreement at all. So let’s see what our opposition leaders and candidates have to say about these:

A. Will you commit to voting non-confidence in Stephen Harper at (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jordan Brennan details (and expands on) how corporate tax cuts have served solely to further enrich the people and businesses who already had the most: (F)ar from improving economic outcomes, there is evidence to suggest that corporate income tax reductions depressed Canadian GDP growth. I present a detailed explanation of why that’s the case in a forthcoming study to be published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Given the election debate around raising the CIT rate, I thought it worthwhile to summarize my findings.

In my study I contrast three Canadian (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On historical connections

Needless to say, we have ample reason to laugh at Justin Trudeau’s attempt to cast himself as bearing any similarity to Tommy Douglas when it comes to social justice and economic management. But it may not be long before one significant link develops between the two.

Based on a quick scan, the 1962 federal election looks to have been the last time a major party leader managed to retain that position while losing his own riding: Douglas lost in Regina City in the NDP’s first federal election, before winning a seat in Parliament in a Burnaby-Coquitlam by-election.

Well, Trudeau enjoys (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition

On the one hand, there’s what Canadian voters actually want… (N)early 60 per cent of respondents support the idea of two or more parties forming a coalition government, if no party gains a majority of seats in October’s election.

And this: By a margin of almost two-to-one, the voters of today would send Mr. Harper packing in favour of a coalition.

And this: More than two-thirds of Liberal and NDP supporters favour the idea of the parties forming a coalition in the event of a Conservative minority in the Oct. 19 election, according to a new poll by Forum Research.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On settled issues

As Dan Gardner points out, Stephen Harper is continuing to misrepresent the nature of Canada’s system of government. But he’s nonetheless made a noteworthy concession in doing so: PM: HERE’S THE QUESTION THOUGH. UM IS IT A CORRECT ASSUMPTION TO MAKE THAT WHICHEVER PARTY ENDS UP, IF WE’RE IN A MINORITY SITUATION, WHICHEVER PARTY ENDS UP WITH THE MOST SEATS SHOULD FORM THE GOVERNMENT?

SH: Yeah that’s my – that’s I think how conventionally our system works and for good reason and that’s – that’s my position. Obviously our view is we’re going to win and we’re going to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On changed messages

Paul Wells highlights the major change from the Cons’ messaging in 2011 compared to today, as the party which spent years doing nothing about obsessing over (and demonizing) the possibility of a coalition has suddenly gone mum except in front of the most partisan of crowds. But it’s worth noting that there’s another factor beyond those mentioned by Wells which might explain the change – and it involves the message backfiring to some extent the first time it was used.

Wells notes – as confirmed by the polling set out here – that even at worst, roughly half of the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On choosing one’s goals

If Justin Trudeau wants to set this up as the the measure of his campaign’s success… “I look forward to support from labour unions across the country.”

…I for one don’t see much reason to argue.

But can we also agree with the natural conclusion that if Trudeau can’t in fact point to support from unions as the election approaches, then he’s failed in his campaign?

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Louise Arbour’s interview with The House includes both her compelling criticisms of both the Cons’ terror bill, and the Libs’ failure to stand up against C-51. And the Canadian Press reports on Justin Trudeau’s continued fecklessness, as he won’t even take a position on whether the bill is constitutional after having ordered his party to support it.

- Crawford Kilian writes that while it’s too late to atone for the death of Alan Kurdi, we should have no hesitation in making sure the same doesn’t happen to other people we can help. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On the rule of law

It’s for the best that the Cons’ use of secret orders-in-council is drawing some further attention. But the problem goes further than the Libs’ response seems to suggest – even if it’s obvious why they’re pretending otherwise.

Here’s the Libs’ complaint about secret laws: Dion likened the secret OICs to omnibus bills — another legal procedure which he said has been abused by the Harper government.…While he said a Liberal government would overhaul Canada’s access to information law — applying it to the prime minister’s office and ministers’ offices — Dion would not say what the Liberals would do (Read more…)