Babel-on-the-Bay: Is the political middle just one?

Nobody seems to be able to nail down this middle ground in politics. It is like the middle class that Justin Trudeau chased in the last federal election. Did Trudeau even suspect that they would add up to almost 40 per cent of the voters?  And were they all centre-right voters or was there a ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Weep not for vote reform.

Among each successive generation there are those who seek to change how we elect our representatives to run our cities, our provinces and our country. Good for them. It is important that we think about it. We need to be sure we have the best system possible. And we do. Now that we have completed ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Even an elite Senate needs direction.

It seems you cannot keep a newspaper person from writing. Even with a sinecure such as a guaranteed salary for sitting in the Senate (until age 75) former La Presse editor André Pratte keeps writing. The past week it was a piece he wrote for the Toronto Star on why an evolving Senate must adapt. ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: In the quiet before the storm.

It is the ho-hum time between New Year’s and the real reasons for having a January. In our area, that just means more damn snow. At least the ski hills are buzzing. But we want to talk about how we vote and who we vote for and what’s wrong with our constitution. For a political ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Queen advises: “Take a deep breath.”

We can all buy into that advice. It was directed mainly to Great Britain in Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message to the Commonwealth. It was obviously related to the surprise Brexit vote by Britain earlier in 2016. It is also excellent advice for the rest of the world judging by the recent antics of the American ...

daveberta.ca – Alberta Politics: So long, Senate Nominee Elections!

The Senatorial Selection Act, the law that governs Alberta’s unique Senate nominee elections, expires on Dec. 31, 2016. With the current session of the Legislature expected to end at the end of this week, it is unlikely the law will be renewed…. Continue Reading →

Alberta Politics: RCMP explanation of why Nigel Wright was never charged doesn’t quite pass sniff test

PHOTOS: Sen. Mike Duffy arrives at the courthouse for the final day of his trial in April 2016 in this screenshot. A couple of hours later he would look considerably happier. Below: Nigel Wright, Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff at the time of the events for which Sen. Duffy was criminally charged; ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The silence of Trudeau’s lambs.

You wonder what a writer such as Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs) would make of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s most recent elitist appointments to the Senate of Canada. What is really different in this circumstance is that these people are reported to have actually applied to be appointed. It is a strange type ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: What’s in it for us?

That is not a selfish question. It came up the other day when reading another boring presentation to the House of Commons special committee on electoral reform. “What is in it for us” is likely to be the cri de coeur of Canadians when they see what the months of gestation of the electoral reform ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Patience: Elites at work.

It seems we might be seeing more of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s elitist senate. A committee of senators think they should have their own television channel. It is just a recommendation at the moment but you never know with these things. After all, who would have believed a TV channel that does nothing but burn ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: What does electoral reform solve?

With one of the least experienced ministers in the government responsible for democratic institutions, you sometimes wonder what this special committee on electoral reform is supposed to solve. It seems to be a distraction. If there was a list prepared of the 100 most serious problems facing Canada’s democracy, it is likely that how we ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: If Canadians had their druthers on the Senate…

The delays are over on the government’s Bill C-14 on assisted dying. The Senate showed its true colours: cowardice. After one effort to help fix the flawed bill from the Commons, the senators surrendered. It is disappointing to report that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s solution to the senate seems to be working. When he was ...

Alberta Politics: Appalling gun lobby press release begs Canadians not to blame the gun used in massacre

PHOTOS: Retired Quebec Liberal Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette (Alchetron.com), whose Senate bill would make a sensible model for government gun-control legislation. Below: Conservative British Columbia MP Bob Zimmer, an advocate of lifting all Canadian restrictions from weapons like the one used in the Orlando massacre a week ago (BobZimmer.com). It is impossible not to be appalled ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The braggadocio of the blogger!

That is one way to describe it. There is a hollowness in the endeavour. It is not just a hobby or an interesting way to waste away a few hours in your day. A daily commentary develops a life of its own. It is not like a Facebook page that you tend like a garden ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: He wanted an independent Senate; he got it.

We told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that this independent Senate of his would bite him on the ass. And it happened sooner than anyone expected. But to make the point on the assisted dying bill was pure justice. The Senate has challenged Justin on a key provision of this ill-considered bill. It is the very ...

The Disaffected Lib: The Senate of Canada – Back on the Job.

To some they’re still unelected meddlers who should just sit down and rubber stamp the government’s assisted dying law, just as they would have done during the Harper “shut up and do what I say, when I say it” era. That’s not their job. Freed from the yoke of an iron fisted prime minister, the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Harper goes “quietly into the night.”

That line from Shakespeare’s Henry V is a haunting phrase that can give deep meaning to a legacy. The only problem for Canada’s failed and former Prime Minister Stephen Harper is his lack of a legacy. He united the right and rode that tiger into power. Yet he could never dismount. He ruled firmly from ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: An appropriate salute to Queen Victoria.

The following is a repeat of our 2013 salute to Queen Victoria. Nothing has changed. Enjoy your long weekend. Happy birthday Your Majesty! As children in Ontario, we used to set off fireworks to celebrate your birthday. It was a joyous occasion. It was wonderful to know that the sun never set on your empire. ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: All the Honourable Persons.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must be looking at the Senate of Canada and wishing he had taken a different approach. There is no guarantee that the honourable persons that he appoints to the Senate will have any more restraint than the returning Senator Mike Duffy. A judge has declared that Duffy’s sense of entitlement was ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Rainy days on those Sunny Ways.

You hate to tell this to our optimistic Prime Minister but occasionally it rains. We were thinking of that when we noted that in the past week, few people really appreciated the government’s feeble, last-minute attempt to manage assisted dying and the Senate was having trouble making the PM’s silly Senate solution functional. The combination ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Is Justin Trudeau’s senate legitimate?

When a leading Liberal thinker such as Pierre Trudeau’s former Principal Secretary Thomas Axworthy challenges us on how to make the new independent(?) Senate of Canada legitimate, workable and effective, we need to pay attention. The only problem is that in a think piece for the Toronto Star on March 26, Tom writes that Justin ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A guaranteed income for Canadian elites?

That was a firm step backward in time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday. He gave jobs to people who had no need for another job. He gave the title of senator to people who had no need for further titles. He made a mockery of much needed reform. This is elitism at its worst. ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Honourable Members All!

A reader brought up what he considers a serious weakness in first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting yesterday. It is the assumption that we elect “honourable members’ to our legislatures and the House of Commons and select the same for our Senate. The member we elect with at least a plurality is assumed capable of representing all voters ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Justin: On electoral versus constitutional reform.

In a sit-down conversation with Justin Trudeau about six years ago, it was immediately obvious that he is an emotional person and as easy to read as an open book. Other than being eager to get him into a poker game, it was interesting to test his reaction to some basic political propositions. While he ...

Alberta Politics: Tories’ Senate gambit shows Harper still runs the party and the party still holds Parliament in contempt

PHOTOS: The Senate chamber, empty, as it should be. Below: Stephen Harper, apparently still the de facto leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Conservative Opposition’s threat to use its majority in the unelected Senate to thwart the Trudeau Government’s plan to repeal two ...