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daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Prentice term-limit idea is gimmicky and probably unconstitutional

TweetYou are Jim Prentice. You have the podium and the attention of Alberta’s media. You are the next Premier of Alberta. You can dream big. You could promise to replace all of Alberta’s aging hospitals by 2020, to build a high-speed railway from Calgary to Edmonton, to forge a new relationship with municipalities through Big City Charters, or reinvent the […]

Politics and its Discontents: Back To Earth

I had planned this to be my first piece post-holiday, but Nelson Mandela’s passing yesterday prompted my post about that giant who walked among us. I purposely kept it brief, since thousands upon thousands of words will be written about him in the days to come, a testament not only to his stature throughout the world but also, I suspect, to the rarity of such dignity, integrity, and moral greatness.

On to other matters.

One of the advantages to a week-long sojourn in Cuba, from which we returned late Wednesday night, is the fact that the Internet there is both (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Some Inspiration From Kevin Page

There is an excellent piece in this morning’s Star by outgoing Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page. In it, he talks about how his son’s death was the catalyst for his abandoning a natural desire for job security and his subsequent pursuit of the job which has incurred so much Harper wrath while at the same time endearing him to millions of Canadians. Unfortunately, the piece seems to be only in the print edition, but should it become available online, I will provide a link.

At the end of his article, Page urges all of us to write to our M.

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Some Inspiration From Kevin Page

calgaryliberal.com: Budget 2013: Petty Politics in the PCs

The Conservatives, in a grand act of pettiness, have punted the Canadian Taxpayers Federation from the budget lockup on the 7th. It is likely in response to the organization holding the government’s feet to the fire. The budget lockup is a long tradition of the province that invites politicians from the opposition benches, the media, and [...]

Impolitical: Only in Britain?

Only in Britain, you say. Pity: I only ask because a few days ago the government released a transparently self-serving “response” to a request from its own MPs, showing that it costs as much as $150,000 to respond to a question tabled by an opposition politician in Parliament, and therefore that opposition politicians should not be permitted to ask questions of the government.

This is yet more evidence of the fantastic fiscal competence of “Canada’s responsible majority government,” I must say. The British government says that the average written response to a question costs just £164.

Oh the fun

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Politics and Entertainment: The Agonizing Challenge of Voting in 2015

“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” – Emma Goldman

There’s been much talk of late about uniting the main opposition parties in some sort of delusional effort to defeat the Harper Regime come the next faux election either as a one-time strategic plan or by way of a more long term relationship.  Here’s a reality check for those fantasizing about such a possibility.

1) First of all, not one of the parties is really progressively left, though all three like to spin that they are when it suits them, especially if they espouse support for social programs. (Read more…)

Politics and Entertainment: Over 120 Lawyers Ask for Proposed Environmental Changes to be Removed from Bill C-38

You would think that such a significant resistance from the law community might have an effect on the Regime’s thinking, but don’t count on it. The goal is the full implementation of a neoliberal agenda in the belief that it will be next to impossible to reverse – even were there to be a regime change – because so firmly entrenched.

THE FIFTH COLUMN: The Bill That Couldn’t Happen Here

Back when I worked for the House of Commons, every time an Omnibus Bill was proposed (and the usual discussions and negotiations around splitting it were occurring) we would joke about the ultimate Omnibus Bill – An Act for the Government of Canada, with everything a government wanted to do in one bill. Of course, we never believed it would ever happen in our democratic system. But that is

Impolitical: C-38 Speaker’s ruling reaction

Key point on Scheer’s ruling and the ongoing discussion over C-38, the government’s monstrous omnibus bill that jams unrelated and consequential bills into the budget process: “It’s something that clearly means we’re going to have to change the way Parliament does business,” Rae said. “If we can’t succeed in doing that under this government, we’ll have to succeed in doing it under a government in the future.”

This is not an inside the Queensway argument after all that should be diminished as something people don’t care about. Good government is one of our constitutional hallmarks (section 91)

. . . → Read More: Impolitical: C-38 Speaker’s ruling reaction

Politics and its Discontents: Andrew Coyne On The Decline Of Parliament Under Harper

Despite his right-wing orientation, there has been unmistakable evidence in the work of Andrew Coyne this past year or so that conveys a clear disenchantment with the Harper regime. Using the sad spectacle of David Wilk’s public humiliation, today in the National Post Coyne offers the re-education of the Kootenay-Columbia Conservative MP as an object lesson in how debased Parliamentary traditions have become under the nation’s autocracy known as Harper Inc. Recommend this Post

Politics and Entertainment: Repressive Tactics Smack of History

Of course the so-called budget bill, stuffed to the gills with non-budgetary items as such, has multiple political purposes, but one of them is clearly to limit dissenting voices within parliament itself and to usurp parliamentary power and transfer it to cabinet – as can be seen, for example, in the new environmental regulation proposals. This is a significant undermining of parliamentary democratic legislative procedure, but equally disturbing are two other recent repressive tactics that smack of other repressive regimes witnessed in history.

Can there be any doubt that both the proposed further criminalization of wearing a mask at a lawful assembly

. . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Repressive Tactics Smack of History

Impolitical: There’s open government & then there’s not so open government

So Tony Clement was on the Twitter this late afternoon, having his picture taken while at the keyboard, tweeting on the #opengovchat stream during a Treasury Board Secretariat sponsored chat on open government. Open government to the datafiles has a specific meaning, where the objective is to enable open access to government data, documents, proceedings, in order to encourage greater citizen oversight, participation and even to promote innovation in society. Where citizens can access troves of public data and create useful applications, for example. So there’s that technical meaning.

Not surprisingly, the chat also prompted other perspectives on open

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Impolitical: In Camera government

Beyond all the excitement on the Hill today, there is an important development that Kady O’Malley has noted at the parliamentary committee level that is worth a look.

Apparently Conservative MP Mike Wallace of Burlington has put forth a motion at the Government Operations Committee that would mean that all future committee business conducted there would automatically be conducted in camera. I.e., without public viewing. The Conservatives want this to be the operating presumption at that committee which is antithetical to what a parliamentary committee’s operations should be in a, you know, democracy. …while much of yesterday afternoon’s

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Runesmith's Canadian Content: Occupy: Why Voting Isn’t Enough

Overhead view of the Occupy Toronto encampment, St. James Park (from Torontoist)

Al Gore’s book, “The Assault on Reason” is one of the best treatises on American democracy I’ve ever read. Written almost five years ago, the book goes into great detail about the many ways in which that democracy has been undermined in recent decades, and gives this warning:

“The derivation of just power from the consent of the governed depends upon the integrity of the reasoning process through which that consent is given. If the reasoning process is corrupted by money and deception, then the consent of the governed is based on false premises, and any power thus derived is inherently counterfeit and unjust. If the consent of the governed is extorted through the manipulation of mass fears, or embezzled with claims of divine guidance, democracy is impoverished. If the suspension of reason causes a significant portion . . . → Read More: Runesmith’s Canadian Content: Occupy: Why Voting Isn’t Enough

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Minority Governments for Dummies (and Tory PMs)

the voters elect the House of Commons to governthe leader of the current government (the government before the election) has the right to meet the House and attempt to gain its confidence, however usually the party with the most seats gets the first op… . . . → Read More: THE FIFTH COLUMN: Minority Governments for Dummies (and Tory PMs)

THE FIFTH COLUMN: The Coalition is Dead – Someone Tell Stephen Harper

The idea of a coalition government is dead for the simple reason that it is not in Michael Ignatieff’s political interest to enter into a coalition that would require him to share power. Although it is in his political interest not to contradict Stephe… . . . → Read More: THE FIFTH COLUMN: The Coalition is Dead – Someone Tell Stephen Harper

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Democracy Election

While thousands worldwide sacrifice their lives for the right to free elections Canadians complain about having one.That is not to say there are no reasons for some Canadians not to want an election. Certainly if you support the Reformatories you have … . . . → Read More: THE FIFTH COLUMN: Democracy Election

Runesmith's Canadian Content: Another Decree from King Stephen I

I’ve been wondering what it would take to rouse me from my municipal campaign-induced indifference to federal politics. This did the trick: Ottawa bars ministers’ staff from appearing before committees New Conservative policy says ministers, not th… . . . → Read More: Runesmith’s Canadian Content: Another Decree from King Stephen I

Runesmith's Canadian Content: My Canada 150 Presentation: "The Creative and Competitive Economy"

What follows is an expanded version of what was supposed to be a five minute presentation at the Canada 150: Halton conference – and a MUCH expanded version of the 2 1/2 minutes I actually got to speak.____________________________Canadian Culture in th… . . . → Read More: Runesmith’s Canadian Content: My Canada 150 Presentation: "The Creative and Competitive Economy"

bastard.logic: Prorogation, Disengagement and Cutting the Democratic Deficit in Canada

by matttbastard With thousands of Canadians reportedly hitting the streets this past weekend to express their disapproval of Stephen Harper’s latest arrogant bird-flip to Parliamentary democracy, it seems apparrent that our political elites are out of touch with the people … Continue reading . . . → Read More: bastard.logic: Prorogation, Disengagement and Cutting the Democratic Deficit in Canada