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The Tory Pirate - Politics & Policy: Education Reform In New Brunswick: What Japan Can Teach Us (Part 1)

As a graduate of New Brunswick’s education system I sometimes reflect onthe quality of the schooling I received. I also have a longstanding  interest inJapanese culture. It is natural then that I would eventually get to looking at howJapan does education. What I found was a school system that better instills thevalues of leadership, sense of community, and respect than anything I’ve seen inNew Brunswick. I figured I may as well detail some of the highlights of theirsystem and make the argument that New Brunswick would do well to adopt atleast some of these policies. (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Tory Pirate – Politics & Policy: Education Reform In New Brunswick: What Japan Can Teach Us (Part 1)

atypicalalbertan.ca: Harper is not serious about senate reform

Stephen Harper is not serious about senate reform.

Despite his announcement last week that he plans to stop filling vacancies in the upper chamber until the senate is reformed, his track record on the issue is very poor.

Stephen Harper, cc: pmwebphotos (Flickr.com)

Harper was first elected to parliament in 1993 as the Calgary West MP for the Reform Party, which was well known for its stance favouring a Triple-E (equal, elected, effective) senate. Since becoming Prime-Minister nearly 10 years ago, his only substantive action on senate reform has amounted to just two things: appointing senators elected in ad (Read more…)

The Tory Pirate - Politics & Policy: The Case for a Province of First Nations

UPDATE: It appears I am not the first to consider this idea. A paper was published by Queens University which goes intomuch more detail than I ever could. Link

The problems facing Canada’s First Nations are many and longstanding. Some of these problems are structural. Bandleadership often has to deal with all the considerations of a province while dealing with federal red tape which renderseven capable ministers overwhelmed (and politics has shown us that our leaders can’t always be capable administrators).Having to seek permission from Ottawa for major projects further prevents effective leadership. Further, First Nations (Read more…)

The Tory Pirate - Politics & Policy: A Look at ’100 Remedies for a Broken Democracy’

I received a link to this site from The Friends of the Reform Act. It is essentially a site to crowd source the top 100 ideas forimproving Canadian democracy (there is a separate effort for the USA). So far they are halfway to 100 ideas. Notsurprisingly electoral & Senate reform dominate the proposals but a little bit of everything has been covered so far. The intention is to publish a book of the most popular ideas. 

Since I like this sort of collaborative effort I figured I’d let people know about it. I also put forward (Read more…)

The Tory Pirate - Politics & Policy: Electoral Reform: Bennett Method 2.0

Note: An earlier version of this article had a calculation error in regards to the Bloc Quebecois. I have corrected it and added additional information in italics regarding calculating voting power.

I have been posting about electoral reform for a while now. Mostly this has been concerning a new system I devised which I named the Bennett Method. I applied it to the results of the recent provincial election but the flaws were already becoming evident. The results just refused to move as close to proportionality as I would like. Re-tooling was in order it was clear.

After some thought (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Are Canada’s Disaffected the Raw Material for a Leftist Renaissance?

Europe is still reeling from the victory of the Syriza party in the recent Greek elections.  It was a matter of days before that spread to austerity-wracked Spain’s Podemos movement that has gone from nothing to the country’s second largest political party in just six months.

Now The Tyee’s Crawford Killian asks whether Canada’s politically disaffected might provide the fuel for a similar movement to displace our neoliberal parties.

Could we see a Syriza or Podemos in Canada? It’s clear that our dismal voter-turnout numbers reflect a political alienation far deeper than we would like to admit, especially among our (Read more…)

LeDaro: Harper’s ‘Fair’ Elections Act

 Has Harper gone crazy? Does he care about democracy? He seems more and more a dictator. Harper’s Conservatives even shortened debate in the House of Commons over this bill.

The Chief Electoral Officer was not involved in the drafting process, he only saw it after the media did. Usually, for a bill of this nature, the Chief Electoral Officer would be involved. This bill limits the ability of the Chief Electoral Officer to communicate with the public, he stated that he is barred from talking about democracy.

It was quite something watching Harper’s Minister of State for Undemocratic Reform, Pierre (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Is This How the Senate Whitewash Begins?

Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau turfed out in disgrace by a gaggle of Tory senators who had expense skeletons in their own closets to conceal.  Word from Ottawa is that there are plenty of other senators in the same boat on housing expenses, perhaps two to three dozen, who all voted as they were directed by the prime minister to rid him of his three senatorial embarrassments. 

As if in contemplation of the damaging – and damning – audit reports looming before the Red Chamber and the prime minister’s office, today we saw the conveniently-timed release of a second (Read more…)

LeDaro: Justin Trudeau’s Senate Move… a great political move or amateurish

Harper has been mired in embarrassing scandals concerning his Senators, from Wallin to Duffy to Brazeau. Justin Trudeau has responded with a move that some have called “bold” and “game-changing” by kicking all Liberal Senators out of caucus. I don’t think it’s “bold” or “game-changing” and it does not show Trudeau to be a Senate reformer.

The supposedly “independent” caucus in the Senate – whom Trudeau did not seem to consult on this move – still call themselves Liberal, have Liberal members as employees, and will still be active members of the Liberal Party. Looks all smoke and mirrors (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: Senate reform still desired over Senate abolition or status quo

Despite the Senate scandal deepening, it appears that for now, Canadians still prefer reforming the Senate over abolishing it, as indicated by this Ipsos-Reid poll from a couple of days ago. 49% of respondents indicated reform (and the Ipsos question on reform is worded as “..reformed to make it for example an elected body“) while 43% preferred abolishing it. Only 8% preferred the status quo – leaving it as is.

All discussions on what should be done with the Senate are on hold until the Supreme Court of Canada rules on the government’s referral on what can and can’t (Read more…)

ParliamANT Hill: WallAnt audit has opposition demanding PM response

Inspired by these headlines: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/08/14/pol-wallin-senate-audit-ndp-dewar-turmel.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/08/13/stephen-harper-pamela-wallin-video_n_3749071.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

The Canadian Progressive: Saskatchewan: A beachhead of labour law reform?

By: Andrew Stevens | First published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on May 3, 2013: Sweeping changes to Saskatchewan’s labour relations and employment standards legislation are on the verge of being passed. Bill 85, the Saskatchewan Employment Act, will dramatically transform the laws governing trade unions and industrial relations in the province. The [...]

The post Saskatchewan: A beachhead of labour law reform? appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Saskatchewan: A beachhead of labour law reform?

By: Andrew Stevens | First published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on May 3, 2013: Sweeping changes to Saskatchewan’s labour relations and employment standards legislation are on the verge of being passed. Bill 85, the Saskatchewan Employment Act, will dramatically transform the laws governing trade unions and industrial relations in the province. The [...]

The post Saskatchewan: A beachhead of labour law reform? appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Scott Ross: The Undemocratic Elected Senate & The Democratic Appointed One

90% of Americans support universal background checks for guns yet on Wednesday the American Senate struck down that legislation. That’s not very democratic, is it?

Those in Canada who fervently cling to the idea that voting will make our Senate democratic almost completely ignore the problems that come with it, such as the lobbyists and interest groups, like the National Rifle Association, that frequently override public opinion.

Contrasted with the American example, it is the Canadian appointed Senate that actually represents its citizens, because in not being elected the Senate recognizes the public does not empower it to drastically change (Read more…) defeat bills from the House of Commons.

And when the Senate does, in the rare times, reject bills from the elected house, it is to protect the interests of minorities and Canada’s regions, as it did in 1991 where it defeated a bill to re-criminalize abortion.

Considering the . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: The Undemocratic Elected Senate & The Democratic Appointed One

The Canadian Progressive: NDP: Abolish the “unelected and unaccountable Senate of Canada”

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Mar 4, 2013: The New Democrats today repeated their call for the abolition of Canada’s scandal-ridden “useless, expensive, undemocratic appendage of government”, the Senate. The Official Opposition’s MP for Toronto-Danforth, Craig Scott, issued the following statement earlier today: In order to address the irresponsible conduct of the unelected Senate, NDP Democratic and Parliamentary Reform Critic Craig Scott READ MORE

The Scott Ross: Why Canada Needs An Elected Senate Just Like America’s

“Washington is broken.” – Barack Obama

Looking at the Canadian Senate in isolation might motivate many to question it, but compared to the American Senate, Canadians should be proud of their upper chamber.

Besides the fact that googling “Ottawa is broken” brings zero related results, the American Senate is so dysfunctional quite a few of its members, like former Senators Olivia Snowe and Evan Bayh, have actually quit, citing that the American institution is just too broken.

From the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s to bringing the world’s largest economy to the brink of collapse in the fiscal crisis

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Why Canada Needs An Elected Senate Just Like America’s

The Scott Ross: America’s Broken Senate

There might not be a more persuasive argument against an elected senate than the American example. From filibustering to partisan deadlock to disproportionate representation, this broken institution south of our border is largely responsible for the lo… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: America’s Broken Senate

Law is Cool: LSUC Publishes Articling Task Force Report

This article was originally published on www.LFTI.ca

The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC)’s articling task force has released its final report on its proposed solution for what has been dubbed the “Articling Crisis” facing recent law grads in Ontario. The report directly concerns current law students, new graduates of law programs, law firms, and those considering entering the legal profession. Its main recommendation is the creation of a new Law Practice Program (LPP) — a blend of coursework and co-operative work placement — to co-exist with the current 10-month articling requirement. If approved, the program would (Read more…)

An individual with opinions.: It’s conclusive, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy is definitively leaning towards the Conservatives.

The [Manning] centre would not be another political party, but help build an “infrastructure” for existing Conservative parties federally and provincially, Mr. Manning said. (source)

As other progressive bloggers have pointed out, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy is obviously partisan – slanted towards the Conservatives. You really just had to look at their board of directors, 1. Preston Manning – Reform party founder and leader for many years. Long time associates with Harper for obvious reasons.2. Cliff Fryers – currently the far-right party Wildrose party chairman. He was also party and campaign chairman for the Reform (Read more…)

CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: Immigration Bill C31: Auschwitz Survivor Wiesel Confronts Harper

“I feel morally compelled to remain on the side of other uprooted men and women everywhere. Today, as yesterday, a nation is judged by its attitude towards refugees.”

The sobering words of Jewish-American political activist, Nobel laureate, writer, professor, Elie Wiesel. The Holocaust survivor’s response to the Harper Conservative governments’ draconian changes to Canada’s refugee system, to be implemented through Bill C-31, ”Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act.”

The Romania-born Wiesel has joined with the Toronto Board of Rabbis to express concern about the bill, which amends Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. The . . . → Read More: CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: Immigration Bill C31: Auschwitz Survivor Wiesel Confronts Harper

The Scott Ross: Arguments For Free Post-Secondary Education

1. Free post-secondary education is a student loan that the country takes out and gets more money back than it ever put in. The government will receive more money from income taxes on the resulting increased salaries and wages of graduates than it spent on the initial investment for free higher education. (Compared to high school graduates, college graduates have a 21% higher income and university graduates have a 61% higher income.)

2. All other education is free because education is a public good. If high school is free, so should post-secondary education. Previously, other levels of

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Arguments For Free Post-Secondary Education

The Scott Ross: EI Isn’t Perfect & That’s Why Reforms Are Wrong

Employment Insurance isn’t perfect, and that’s why the Conservative reforms are wrong.

EI’s very purpose is to give money to people without jobs, it is a program that gives the unemployed incentive not to find work. The only reform that will ever fix that is getting rid of EI, anything else is just increasing government’s size and control.

The current Conservative government has argued that their EI reforms will remove the disincentive for the unemployed to find work, but as long as EI exists, there will always be a disincentive to work. Since the 16th century with the English Poor

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: EI Isn’t Perfect & That’s Why Reforms Are Wrong

The Leadership Narrative

Way back when, a few months after the last federal election, I replied to the Susan Delacourt’s “Is the Liberal Party dead?” question, echoed ad nauseum in the nation’s press, with a warning to be wary of forcing Canadian politics to fit a certain narrative.

That narrative presupposes the inevitability of a polarized left-right dichotomy; in other words, it’s natural and normal to have large social democratic and conservative or Christian democratic parties alternating in power, perhaps allied by necessity (as in Great Britain) with a small, squeezed, and increasingly insignificant centrist third party. Canada isn’t different; Canada is

. . . → Read More: The Leadership Narrative

The Scott Ross: How Old Age Security Should Have Been Reformed

Instead of raising the retirement age and distressing seniors with low-income the government should have prevented wealthier Canadians from receiving Old Age Security; not only would this have been fairer but would have saved hundereds of millions of dollars more.

It makes sense that Canadians who are 65 and older and who make over a million dollars don’t receive an Old Age Security Pension; they certainly don’t need it. But what doesn’t make sense is that under the current reforms made by this Conservative government, a 67 year old senior who will make $100,000 will still receive OAS while a

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: How Old Age Security Should Have Been Reformed

The Scott Ross: Liberal Pride

Many Liberals may take pride at the sight of increasing poll numbers, they shouldn’t.

The Liberals have problems, increasing poll numbers aren’t going to fix them. Liberals need to build a new party, that will take time, determination and purpose. Poll numbers aren’t going to stop backroom deals, poll numbers aren’t going to hold coffee meetings, poll numbers aren’t going to make the apathetic passionate, and poll numbers aren’t going to better Canada.

The Liberal Party could surge even higher, even surpassing the Conservatives, but in the longrun that will mean nothing, because polls are temporary while a party true

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Liberal Pride