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: When a friend gives a friend a lift.

This is not the prime minister’s problem. It must be the ethics and conflict of interest commissioner’s problem. This commissioner acts independently and reports to parliament on those issues that might involve the ethics or any conflict of interest on the part of federally elected persons. We hear that she is currently looking into a ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Put in a word for us when you see the PM.

So, what are you going to tell the prime minister? He’s coming to see you. You just need to contact your Liberal M.P. to get an invitation. He is not coming to our riding. We lost to the Conservatives by 86 votes. And please do not ask the PM if it is cold enough for ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Culling Canada’s Cabinet.

Cabinet making and cabinet tending are different requirements of a prime minister. Those were sunny days in late 2015 when Prime Minister Trudeau chose his first cabinet. Change can come quickly at busy times. What we have to realize is that his perspective on the need for change is quite different from our perspectives. Trudeau ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Let’s march to our own drummer.

It was hardly a surprise when the Prime Minister’s Office said he was not attending Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington next week. Frankly, the Canadian prime minister would just be in the way. It was more of a surprise that he would not be attending the concurrent world economic conference in Davos, Switzerland. It seems ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Not everyone hates Premier Wynne.

It is too bad that Ontario Premier Wynne has no politically smart advisors or staff. Here it is the first week of 2017 and the foolish lady is deep in the do-do of her own making. By selecting the beginning of January to launch her ill-fated cap and trade program, she has been ripped off ...

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 ...

The Disaffected Lib: Who Will Decide Canada’s Policy on Israel, Barack Obama or Donald Trump?

When US secretary of state, John Kerry, proclaimed that Israel had to choose – it could be a Jewish state or a democracy, just not both, Washington’s abrupt epiphany must have caught Justin Trudeau and Steffie Dion with their short pants down. If Washington can say the emperor has no clothes, where does that leave ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Ottawa’s Ghost of Christmas Future.

When Marley’s Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come came to see Canada’s Prime Minister, the ghost looked a lot like American President Elect Donald Trump. Justin Trudeau had many questions for him but the ghost never spoke a word. He just kept on twitting. The ghost took the Prime Minister to breakfast with the Calgary ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The arrogance of Justin Trudeau.

Weighing the pluses and minuses of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first year in office was a tough job. He got off to a good start. How many refugees can claim they were welcomed to their new country by its Prime Minister? In person! And he kept his promise to fix what we used to call ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The rocky road to electoral reform.

It seems obvious at this stage that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has still not gained any conviction on electoral reform. He hardly understood what he was promising when he said that the 2015 election would be the last federal election using first-past-the-post. He seemed to have no understanding of the alternatives. As the expression goes, ...

The Disaffected Lib: A Primer for a Prime Minister

It’s almost impossible to discern how much our prime minister really understands about globalism and the neoliberal order. He claims he gets it but that’s far from clear. The prime ministerial confusion was manifest in his interview today in The Guardian.It was with some relief that I came upon a helpful treatise on neoliberalism by ...

The Disaffected Lib: Relax. We’re a "Post-National State" Now. We Have No Core Values.

Sheesh, didn’t this guy get the memo from our first post-national prime minister, Justin the Liberated? I refer to Michael Doucet, executive director of Canada’s Security Intelligence Review Committee, the outfit that oversees our country’s spy apparatus and operations. Doucet questions whether Donald Trump’s espoused support for torture means Canada should rein in the flow ...

The Disaffected Lib: Oh Yeah, About that "Post-National" Business

Justin Trudeau has proclaimed Canada the “first post-national state.” In fact, we’re not the first country to be smeared with that label. In fact we may be the last. Justin’s world view is hopelessly outdated. …one of the paradoxes of globalization has been that, as cross-border travel, migration, and trade have increased, attachment to national ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: “Well here’s another nice mess, Ollie!”

Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are probably too young to remember the 1920s to 1950s Hollywood comedy team of Laurel and Hardy but they seem to have a comparable act. It was Monsef’s turn on Thursday to dismiss the work of her own committee on electoral reform. She had given ...

The Disaffected Lib: An Impassioned Plea to Tear Down the Walls of Inequality from Stephen Hawking.

The neoliberals who have driven the western world into the ditch over the past three decades need to decide whether to rehabilitate liberal democracy or allow themselves to be erased from memory by generations of strongman rule. Yeah, Justin – you too. First up, theoretical physicist extraordinaire, Stephen Hawking. In an opinion piece in The Guardian, ...

The Disaffected Lib: This Is Trudeau’s Idea of a Bitumen Supertanker Route

“In this recent government-commissioned risk-analysis report on tanker traffic safety in Canada, figure 3 shows in vivid red the “very high risk zone on Southern Vancouver Island. Within that area lie 17 of the province’s 33 Ecological Reserves which have a marine component within their boundaries. The report indicates that the Kinder Morgan proposal would ...

The Disaffected Lib: Monbiot Tackles Neoliberalism’s Death Grip on the West

Neoliberalism has been the default operating system of western governments, Canada included, since it was ushered in during the Thatcher/Reagan/Mulroney era. Justin Trudeau is a neoliberal as were his predecessors over the last three decades.  Canada remains in the clutches of neoliberalism and no one, no leader, no party is putting forward an alternative vision. ...

Pop The Stack: Don’t Throw Away Our Shot

For the first time, we find ourselves not as a reflection of another power. Our politics is not a derivation of Westminster or Washington anymore. Our politics is specific to us, not a derivation from a distant metropolis. — “Canada in the Age of Donald Trump” — Stephen Marche, The Walrus Hello Prime Minister Trudeau, ...

The Disaffected Lib: Encouraging Noises from the Dauphin

He’s saying some of the right things. It’s a start. Prime minister Trudeau has announced a 5-year, 1.5 billion dollar programme to upgrade responses to tanker and oil spills on all three of our coasts. Trudeau said the funding over five years will include creating a marine safety system, restoring marine ecosystems and research into ...

Michal Rozworski: Trudeau’s economic model is clear and it is not good

Last week gave us a good idea of the economic model that Trudeau’s Liberals are gradually putting forward and it is business-friendly to the core. The infrastructure bank privatization scheme was the big news item in the fall fiscal upate (see my post from last week), but there are far more goodies to make business ...

Michal Rozworski: The great rentier give-away

With today’s fiscal update, the Trudeau government has really shown itself to be at the forefront of global left neoliberalism. Taking nearly all his cues from his business-dominated Advisory Council on Economic Growth, the Finance Minister announced a new Canada Infrastructure Bank as the centerpiece of the fiscal update and the Liberal’s economic strategy. Don’t believe the fanfare that ...

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: Trudeau tests veto on vote reform.

This scenario has taken place before. He does it in Quebec thinking nobody in the rest of Canada is going to hear about it. Justin Trudeau is hardly the first politician to test the waters before diving into the deep end of the pool. In this case the prime minister gave an interview to Quebec’s ...

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 ...