• Hot!

    End of a Painful Era

    … the Harper government waged an all-out war on civil society, parliamentary democracy, the environment, organized labour, First Nations, and anyone else that might pose an obstacle to its economic and social policy objectives. First among them was Harper’s plan to reposition Canada as a pro-business, deregulated, low-wage “energy superpower,” followed closely by the party’s ideological commitment to small government and low taxes.

  • Trudeau’s victory is a triumph for decency

    Millions were repelled by Conservative efforts to scare people into voting for the status quo… Trudeau spoke out fiercely and repeatedly for human rights… rejected a Tory economic model that left too many behind, and refused to be shackled by the conventional wisdom that budget-balancing trumps all. That progressive vision informed his promises of greater tax fairness, his bold investment in job-creating infrastructure and his pulling together of a generous, equitable child benefit from a hodgepodge of Tory programs that collectively favoured the affluent.

  • Voters delivered a moral judgment on Stephen Harper

    In electing Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, the voters were saying they’d had enough of mean-spiritedness in politics… But by this election, that non-Conservative majority was determined to see them gone… faced with a choice between the Liberals and a social democratic party posing as Liberals, voters opted for the real thing… The Liberal leader is hardly a radical. His father, Pierre, wasn’t either… But the Liberal leader is different in style. He is sunnier; he exudes optimism; he seems more open.

  • Hot!

    The rise of a Machiavellian PMO

    Political leaders like Harper have innately understood that power and continued electoral success are dependent on firmly controlling all aspects of a government’s day-to-day life, no matter how trivial or insignificant the issue may be. Based on past precedent, the thinking is that if you permit the media to dictate your agenda, attack or mock any inconsistencies in your policies or focus on a hasty remark made in a weak moment, then the journalistic knives will be out.

  • Hot!

    Our health needs a healthy civil service

    We have a public service that is muzzled, emasculated, derided and decimated. There are about a quarter-million federal public servants in Canada, a considerably lower figure than from a decade ago… mired in red tape and frustrated by cumbersome processes that leave them unable to do their jobs… While it is fashionable to bad-mouth the bureaucracy and sing the praises of free market, public regulation plays an essential role as a ballast to corporate excesses driven by self-interest.

  • Hot!

    ‘Government by photo op’

    Harper tended to put himself in fewer and fewer situations where he had to deal with open-ended questioning by any reporters. One often-used alternative was to engage in question and answer sessions with business types. By 2014, as far as television was concerned, Harper sometimes gave interviews only on the condition that the questions were restricted to one topic, such as the historic importance of D-Day.

  • Hot!

    What does Alberta’s election have to do with socialism?

    If resistance to this renewed barbaric capitalism must be collective… and if collectivity is embodied in nations and nationalism, and if nations must express their aspirations through governments… The end [of a political dynasty] was never particular policies or nationalism, it was always actual people and their needs. It was humanism, really. So if Alberta’s election provides some impetus for people to act together politically to create a nobler future, then maybe it’s somehow socialist, too.

  • Hot!

    How Harper created a more conservative Canada

    Nine years after Stephen Harper was sworn in as prime minister, we are a more conservative land… Absolutely not, you say? Then would you support increasing the GST by two percentage points? Do you want to relax parole eligibility for sex offenders? Would you get behind some big new national program, even if it infuriated Quebec and Alberta? … If a ship filled with refugee claimants appears, should we just let them in? And how do you think your neighbours would answer these questions?

  • Hot!

    Is there a despot in the House?

    … chronicling the Harper government’s bullying, abuse, duplicity, betrayal, affinity for crooks, public shaming of individuals, diminishment of democratic institutions… “Parliament can hardly be weakened any more than it already is. Harper can’t go much further without making the institution dysfunctional. He is trying to control every aspect of House business. In fact, it will have to be returned to its former state by someone if we are to have a democracy.”

  • Hot!

    When you were born affects who you vote for

    Voter choice is a complex process that takes into account many factors ranging from your ideology to your parents’ party affiliation, from your religion to your evaluations of government performance. However… age… can help to explain not only the small stories of politics about how voters’ politics change with their life cycles, but also the big political narratives of how important events and historical context can influence whole generations of electors.