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Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the Senate’s recent attempts to claim any relevance to Canadian politics, and what they should tell us about the failures of our actual elected representatives.For further reading…- OpenParliament’s status report on Bill C-14 (featuring the … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Andrew Coyne argues that the Senate’s role in overruling elected representatives – which only seems to be growing under the Trudeau Libs – represents an affront to democracy. And Duncan Cameron has some suggest… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- David Crane identifies the good news in the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report on climate change – which is that we can meet our greenhouse gas emissions targets through readily feasible policy choices as long a… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: On common values

There’s reason to be wary about the Libs’ handling of the Senate, as Thomas Walkom writes in his latest column. But it’s also worth noting that contrary to Walkom’s conflation of the two, there are important differences between selecting prospective Se… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On common values

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Owen Jones writes that the UK’s flooding is just one example of what happens when the public sector which is supposed to look out for the common good is slashed out of short-term political calculation. And J. B… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

The Tory Pirate - Politics & Policy: The NDP "is not planning any changes to our current form of the parliamentary system" 

It is not often I get to talk about issues related to the monarchy on this blog. I mostly keep that on the other blog I writefor. However the Monarchist League of Canada recently surveyed the main federal parties on their views towards theCanadian Monarchy. One of the answers was curious though. The NDP’s reply was thus:

“The NDP is not planning any changes to our current form of the parliamentary system. Ourfocus is on meeting the challenges of middle-class families for better jobs, affordablechildcare and reliable healthcare.”

Now there are a few things to (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: So Who’s the Dictator Now?

Recenty, former NDP MP, Bruce Hyer, has come out to the press about his former boss’s dictatorial style and problems he had with honesty; evident in the way that he is constantly contradicting himself.

When asked during his interview with Peter Mansbridge about this, Mulcair only said that Hyer did not want to vote with his colleagues. In an email to HuffPost, however, Hyer called Mulcair’s statements “a total fabrication.”  ”I always supported 95 per cent of the NDP party platform. I still support much of it! But I feel very strongly that my primary role is as the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On caretakers

Since there’s been plenty of talk lately about caretaker governments and their duty to exercise restraint, I’ll raise one question as to the appointments made the last time a new federal government took office.

The day he and his Cabinet were sworn in, and two months before Parliament convened following the 2006 federal election, Stephen Harper announced the Senate appointment of Michael Fortier. And while there was plenty of outrage over Harper’s first (if far from his last) breach of a promise not to appoint unelected Senators, I don’t recall there being any serious question raised as to whether (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On practical changes

One of the main attacks on the NDP’s election platform has been the question of what support there is for the constitutional change required to abolish the Senate. But it’s worth distinguishing between the relatively limited constitutional role actually mandated for the Senate which requires following the constitutional amendment formula, and other past practices and historical expenses which should be subject to change in relatively short order based on existing Senate precedents.

On that front, let’s take a closer look at Kady O’Malley’s criticism of Thomas Mulcair: (F)or the time being – and, most likely, at least, the short to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Thomas Walkom discusses how Canadian workers are feeling the pain of decades of policy designed to suppress wages – and notes there’s plenty more all parties should be doing to change that reality. And Doug Saunders points out what we should want our next federal government to pursue to bring about lasting growth: Many economists came to realize not only that government intervention bailed many countries out of the post-2008 recession and restored growth and employment, but that the crisis itself may have been caused, in good part, by the disappearance of active (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Ian Welsh rightly points out how our lives are shaped by social facts far beyond individual’s control: If you are homeless in America, know that there are five times as many empty homes as there are homeless people.

If you are homeless in Europe, know that there are two times as many empty homes are there are homeless.

If you are hungry anywhere in the world, know that the world produces more than enough food to feed everyone, and that the amount of food we discard as trash is, alone, more than enough (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Philip Berger and Lisa Simon discuss the health and social benefits of a guaranteed annual income: At the community level, poverty also has deep and lasting impacts — some visible, some not. We’ve seen these visible impacts in Simcoe County Ontario, where one of us works. One in four single-parent families experience moderate or severe food insecurity at some point every year. A family of four receiving Ontario Works would have to spend 93% of their monthly after-tax income on rent and nutritious food alone, leaving little remaining for all other necessary expenses.

(Read more…)

Mind Bending Politics: Harper’s House of Cards is Falling Down

If you haven’t tuned into the Duffy trial over the past week, than you are living under a rock, or you’re missing one of the best political dramas in Canadian history. The cross examination of Nigel Wright in Senator Mike Duffy’s trial over inappropriate expenses, is becoming quite interesting to many Canadians. Canada seems to […] . . . → Read More: Mind Bending Politics: Harper’s House of Cards is Falling Down

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Harper Lied In The House

Check out @LeslieCBC’s Tweet:

What the PM said then, and how it stacks up against evidence submitted in court: @pnpcbc #Duffy fact check #cdnpoli

— Leslie Stojsic (@LeslieCBC) August 14, 2015

Duffy’s trial is giving facts about Harper’s criminal gang in his office.

Accidental Deliberations: On points of agreement

Let’s see if we can turn Stephen Harper’s otherwise laughable spin on his PMO’s widespread cover-up into a couple of points we can all agree on.

First, the ultimate responsibility for lies and cover-ups lies with superiors rather than subordinates – in Harper’s own words:

Second, exactly one person fits bears that responsibility when it comes to the unethical actions of the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff and central advisors.

And there are plenty of Conservatives ready to shout down anybody who tries to suggest otherwise.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Althia Raj, Karl Nerenberg, Tim Harper, Jennifer Ditchburn and Kristy Kirkup, Lee Berthiaume and Jason Fekete, PressProgress and CTV News all point out some of the more noteworthy aspects of Nigel Wright’s testimony in Mike Duffy’s trial (along with the large amount of material brought to light as a result). Frank Koller observes that we should be insulted by Wright’s belief that full cover-ups can be bought, while Sandy Garossino highlights how quickly Wright’s talking points fell apart once they were subject to meaningful scrutiny. The Star, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Good to go

A few images which may or may not become highly relevant in just a few minutes. 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 (

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…)

Accidental Deliberations: On final excuses

I’ll offer one more post arising out of the flurry of discussion about the Senate – and particularly the timing of an announcement which would seem to have been equally easily made during the campaign if it was intended solely for platform purposes.

Let’s remember that the last time Stephen Harper broke his promise not to appoint unelected Senators (give or take a Michael Fortier), his rationale had nothing at all to do with the passage of legislation. Instead, it arose in response to the prospect of a coalition government winning power – and Harper’s explanation was that if any (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On leadership failures

Among the many responses to the Cons’ latest Senate shenanigans, one (from someone who’s not exactly known for his recent NDP ties) stands out as being worthy of mention: In his 10 years in office how many meetings with the prov premiers did PMSH hold to discuss Senate reform or abolition ? Ans: 0 #cdnpoli

— Bob Rae (@BobRae48) July 24, 2015

That obviously represents an important rebuttal to the Cons’ claim that they’ve done everything they could – or indeed anything at all – to keep their past promises. But it seems to me an equally powerful argument against (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On common application

Between Stephen Harper’s combination of broken promises and ongoing scandals, I’m rather shocked that anybody thought the Senate would be anything but a political liability for the Cons. But let’s highlight what’s worth taking away from an announcement which came nowhere close to living up to its billing. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he refuses to name any senators until the Senate is reformed, adding he hopes it will put pressure on the provinces to figure out a plan to update the institution.…The policy will remain in place as long as the government can pass its legislation, the prime minister (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: To Senate Or Not To Senate

There will be no questions. Well, almost none, as per usual.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaking with Premier Brad Wall at legislature today. #yqr #skpoli #cdnpoli

— Natascia Lypny (@wordpuddle) July 24, 2015

Gluttonous child has gorged himself on the ice cream; now declares a moratorium on more ice cream. #cdnpoli #SenCA

— Saskboy K. (@saskboy) July 24, 2015

L. Lea ‏@YukonGale : “@althiaraj Basically he’s saying he won’t appoint any more senators but he can’t make that binding upon the next government, right?”

Not without a Constitutional amendment.

PM taking questions now. First (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- PressProgress makes the case that we can’t afford to risk another term of government neglect by the Harper Cons. Jeremy Nuttall discusses how the Cons’ fixed election date and anti-social economic policies each figure to cause direct damage to Canada’s economy in the course of a downturn. And Michael Harris discusses the utter implausibility of the Cons’ spin on the economic and security alike.

- Meanwhile, Sophia Harris tells the stories of a few of the Canadians already suffering the consequences of an anti-worker government. And Roderick Benns interviews Toni Pickard about the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Senate Wars V: The Harper Empire Strikes Back

“But surely,” said the Senate apologist, “even if an undemocratic upper chamber is utterly useless in actually reviewing legislation, we can still pretend it has value based on its willingness to study issues on something less than a wholly partisan basis.”

Then this happened. And the Senate apologist was once again reduced to complaining that change couldn’t be done.

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Armine Yalnizyan writes that reliance on temporary and disposable labour is utterly incompatible with long-term economic development. And Joey Hartman and Adrienne Montani comment on Vancouver’s efforts to support a living wage rather than grinding down employment standards.

- Andy Skuce points out that our already-worrisome best estimates as to the effects of climate change may underestimate the damage done as land-based carbon sinks turn into carbon producers. And Charles Mandel reports that this summer’s spate of wildfires across Western Canada may become the new normal as droughts become more common.

- Meanwhile, (Read more…)