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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Roderick Benns interviews Scott Santens about the effect of a basic income:Benns: Why is the concept of a basic income guarantee so important at this point in our societal development? Santens: We’re living in a pa… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: On turnout

Daniel Schwartz reports on the final vote count from last month’s federal election. And given the record vote total and unusually high turnout based on the percentage of eligible voters, it’s particularly worth noting what’s changed since previous, lower-turnout elections.

Since 2011, the Conservatives eliminated the per-vote subsidy, which provided political parties with a direct financial incentive to seek out votes even where they were less likely to flip seats. To the extent Canada’s political parties included the subsidy in their election planning, we’d thus have expected a lower turnout this time out.

Since 2011, the Conservatives also eliminated Elections (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- I’ll start in on my own review of the NDP’s election campaign over the next few days, focusing on what I see as being the crucial decisions as the campaign played out. But for those looking for some of what’s been written already, I’ll point out recaps and analysis from Charlie Demers, Tim Ellis, Hassan Arif, Evan Dyer, Jenn Jefferys, Christopher Majka, Gerald Caplan, Jim Quail, Elizabeth McSheffrey and Paul Dechene – while noting that I’ll be challenging and/or expanding on some of their analysis (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On distinguishing factors

The common personalities and strategies by tired right-wing governments are leading to some comparisons between the ongoing Canadian campaign and the UK’s election earlier this year. But even as we treat David Cameron’s re-election as an important warning, let’s note that there’s a rather crucial difference between the two.

In the UK, the Conservatives’ sudden win seems to have been entirely unexpected, within prominent forecasters having seen the race as a dead heat rather than one in which Cameron had any prospect of taking a majority. And that likely affected coverage of the race as well as party strategies in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On game theories

Paul Dechene’s riff off of this post is definitely worth a read. But while we’re largely in agreement on the significance of polls, I will challenge his wider view as to what election coverage means: Policies? Platforms? These are not the weapons political parties wield in an election. Those are the clothes political hopefuls wear. They define the personalities of the contestants. They’re the pixeled skins that overlay each blank politician sprite. This guy here is the angry Bowser who’s scary and likes to blow things up but at least he’ll cut your taxes. Here’s the cheerful Princess Peach who’s kind (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: On political placement

While others have already commented on Adam Dodek’s argument that judges should never enter politics after leaving the bench, I’ll offer a couple of observations of my own having to do largely with our perceptions of politics (and the need not to let them override democratic principles).

Dodek’s concerns arise largely out of attacks launched by the Cons against Carol Baird Ellan based on some of her past decisions. But it’s worth asking whether the problem lies primarily with Baird Ellan’s candidacy or the Cons’ standard in evaluating it – and how best to address that problem once it’s identified.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On full responses

I’ll weigh in quickly on the controversy surrounding Jean-Francois Delisle – and start by noting that his comments yesterday reflected a desire to alter law to discriminate against a particular group that we shouldn’t accept from any political candidate or party.

That said, today’s follow-up statement also signals that responsibility will fall where it should for a comment which has nothing to do with party policy. Delisle will answer personally for the content of his opinion, with voters in Megantic-L’Erable getting to judge his comments in the context of their other choices on the ballot.

Meanwhile, voters elsewhere can rest (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: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Paul Weinberg discusses the need to focus on inequality in Canada’s federal election, while Scott Deveau and Jeremy Van Loon take note of the fact that increased tax revenue is on the table. The Star’s editorial board weighs in on the NDP’s sound and progressive fiscal plan. And Matthew Yglesias includes the rise of the NDP as part of the growth of a new, international progressive movement.

- Rank and File interviews Michael Butler about the privatization of health care in Saskatchewan, as well as the role of the federal government in (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: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Joseph Stiglitz notes that the recent stock market turmoil may be most important for its effect in highlighting far more important economic weaknesses. And Richard McCormack discusses the link between stock buybacks, inequality and economic stagnation – meaning that a plan to eliminate loopholes for stock options may also have positive spillover effects for the economy as a whole.

- Barry Schwartz writes about the meaning of work, while noting that a focus on theoretical efficiency by eliminating all satisfaction from a work day may be leading to worse results for employers and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Robin Sears discusses the hubris behind the Cons’ early election call, while Tim Naumetz notes that the extended campaign is just one more issue where the Cons are offside of the vast majority of the public. And the Guardian comments on the reasons for optimism that we’re nearing the end of Stephen Harper’s stay in power.

- The Ottawa Citizen makes the case for better economic management than we’ve been able to expect from the Harper Cons. And Alan Freeman weighs in on the costly frivolity of the Cons’ latest tax credit scheme.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, with my suggestions as to what viewers should watch for in tonight’s leaders’ debate – particularly in a campaign where we’ll have ample opportunity to see everything but interaction between party leaders.

For further reading…- David Reevely describes the staging behind most of the campaign events we’ll see between now and election day. And Scott Reid takes a look at the preparation which goes into each debate as well.- Macleans offers a primer on tonight’s debate. And Aaron Wherry, Bruce Anderson, Laura Payton, and Chantal Hebert all note a few additional points to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Robert Reich describes how U.S. voters are rejecting the concept of a ruling class from both the left and the right – while noting that it’s vital to get the answer right as to which alternative is worth pursuing. And Owen Jones sees Jeremy Corbyn’s rise as an inevitable response to the emptiness of New Labour in the UK: Corbyn’s campaign has been unique in the Labour leadership campaign in actually offering coherent policies and a fleshed-out economic strategy: a radical housing programme; tax justice; democratic public ownership of utilities and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition

The current Liberal leader, who apparently saw no reason to think his actions in the present might result in the loss of his party’s self-proclaimed brand: Trudeau said he finds Canadians he talks with when he travels are open to the idea of balancing security and rights. But he conceded that he may have underestimated the backlash, partly because he thought that as a Liberal he wasn’t vulnerable to being seen as lax on defending the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (The Charter was, of course, introduced as part of the constitutional reforms ushered in by his late father, former (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jeffrey Sachs writes about the need to shape a more moral, less exploitative economy. So needless to say, the Cons are instead working on promoting corruption.

- Mark Weisbrot discusses how the Troika’s attempt to impose continued austerity on Greece in the face of public resistance can’t be seen as much more than an attempt at coercive regime change. And John Nichols reports on just a few of the voices rightly lauding the refusal of Greece’s electorate to go along with that plan.

- Scott Eric Kaufman talks to Erik Loomis about (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On half measures

Having written this column a couple of weeks back on electoral financing in Saskatchewan, I’ll take a moment to address this letter to the editor in response from R. Curtis Mullen.

It’s indeed true that Saskatchewan has spending limits which apply during an election campaign. But the Canada Elections Act does in fact regulate both donations and campaign spending, leaving little room for anybody to argue that it’s an “either”/or situation.

More importantly, though, campaign spending limits fall short of addressing the principled basis for donation restrictions on two fronts.

First, they do nothing about the problem of concentrated donations.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Apparently they’ll let anybody blather away on the intertoobz

Here, for instance, is me chatting with Paul Dechene.

(And to correct myself, the impending provincial election is the second under fixed election dates – though the first where it’s lining up with an associated federal election.)

Accidental Deliberations: On powers of appointment

Andrew Coyne has rightly pointed out the gall the Senate is showing in nixing Michael Chong’s watered-down Reform Act (even if there’s something to a few of the criticisms). But let’s not miss the most absurd suggestion of all as to who should be given increased power over a party’s leadership (emphasis added): “I just don’t think this kind of things should be left in the hands of caucus, when our process for electing leaders [is] in the hands of the grassroots,” [Con Senator David] Wells said. He suggested the bill be amended to require a minimum consent of 50 (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On fitting results

It will be some time yet before we see how Rachel Notley translates the Alberta NDP’s election triumph into policy. But we have had a chance to see Notley’s response to frivolous attacks on the NDP’s newly-elected MLAs – and she’s had absolutely the right reaction so far in not letting those attacks undermine elected representatives: Premier-designate Rachel Notley says she doesn’t see Drever’s Facebook photos as a big problem for the NDP.

“I think transition and the challenges that come with transition are what happens when governments change, which is something that happens in normal, healthy democracies,” Notley said.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: The democratic alternative

Some time ago, I put together this list of principles worth considering when talking about structured cooperation between political parties. And consistent with Ian Gill’s own warning about his lack of connection to party structures, his proposal for a secret pre-election pact manages to fail on nearly every front.

But while there’s some reason for question about Gill’s intended direction, the bigger issue is his presumption that we need our political parties to drag us there. So let’s clarify the options available to Canadians who want to further an “ABC” agenda in the lead up to this fall’s election.

While (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Joe Gunn argues that it’s long past time for Canada to live up to its climate commitments. And Carol Linnitt writes that further delay will do nothing but damage to our economy and our democracy as well as our planet: Taking meaningful climate action would mean increasing green infrastructure, prioritizing sustainable cities and investing in renewable and low-carbon sources of energy.

It would also mean slowing the rate of expansion of oil and gas projects including the oilsands, which would eventually put a stop to new pipeline projects. That would come with (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On conventional choices

Following up on this post, other commentators are starting to raise questions about what will happen after the impending federal election.

Based on the Harper Cons’ track record, the default assumption has to be that they aren’t about to consider themselves bound by mere conventions or if there’s a chance to cling to power by using thir incumbency to their advantage.

In a worst-case scenario, that could mean that regardless of how Canadians vote, the Cons could continue to exercise all manner of executive power (as bolstered by the ability to “disrupt” peaceful activity under C-51), while freezing (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On transition planning

I’ve previously highlighted the need for media and citizens alike to press our opposition parties on how they’re willing to cooperate to replace the Harper Cons after the next federal election. But let’s note that there’s a similar question which still needs to be directed at Stephen Harper at every available opportunity – even if we can’t expect much more than instructive non-answers.

As Andrew Coyne notes, it’s still an open question how far Harper would go in trying to cling to power under all kinds of circumstances: As prime minister, Mr. Harper would retain a number of prerogatives (Read more…)