• The evidence is clear. Canada needs electoral reform

    The imperative of moving to proportional representation is neither a right-wing nor a left-wing point of view. It’s simply democratic common sense. And recent Canadian election results underline the urgency of getting a move-on… In a proportional system, every vote will be taken into account equally… Three of the past five federal elections have produced minority governments. With a first-past-the-post electoral system, this can be a recipe for increasing instability… such a system exaggerates the effects of even tiny swings in voting

  • To avoid catastrophic climate change, we need carbon pricing

    The adoption of carbon pricing is accelerating, and there are more real-world examples that carbon pricing works with each passing year… The Nobel Prize and the IPCC report are just two more data points in a sea of evidence. Climate change is real, climate change is a problem and climate change deserves a serious policy response. There will be disagreements over how we move forward, but we need to tell the truth.

  • The future is populist in this age of disruption, Stephen Harper says in new book

    Present-day populism is not an all-or-nothing proposition. There are parts of it that reflect legitimate grievances with the elite consen­sus. There are others that should be opposed. What is happening requires understanding and adaptation, not dogma and condescension. Populists are not ignorant and misguided “deplorables.” They are our family, friends, and neigh­bours. The populists are, by definition, the people.

  • Ontarians did not sign up for deep cuts in services

    … According to that report [by financial consultants EY Canada and released last week] Ontario could “reconsider application of universality to all programs,” opting instead for “means-testing to selected programs.” … It provides no specifics. But just about the only two services the province provides to Ontarians without a fee, regardless of their income, are health care and public education.

  • Doug Ford turns Conservatives to the hard right

    Everyone on Ford’s team… agrees the size of government must be cut and front-line delivery of services is best left to private and non-profit sector… Ford is expected to make major changes in social support programs, and slash the senior bureaucratic ranks in the health and education ministries… Fire sales may be held for the LCBO, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and Ontario Power Generation. Also on the possible chopping block are eHealth and dozens of agencies, boards and commissions.

  • Provincial spending cuts will take people from bad to worse

    Ontario already has Canada’s lowest per-person program spending, including the lowest per-person investment in health care. There’s a reason school repairs are backlogged and hallway medicine has made a comeback. Now a 15 per cent cut threatens to take people from bad to worse. Already, Ford has cut $330 million a year from mental health and $100 million from school repairs… Working-class people are already struggling with low wages, no benefits and unaffordable everyday life.

  • Why can’t liberalism be populist, too?

    Populism begins from popular suspicion of political, economic and other elites. At its best, however, and from its origins, liberalism too has cultivated such suspicion. The great early liberal thinkers – Spinoza, Locke, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, the authors of the Federalist Papers – mercilessly skewered the elites of their day, along with human pretensions generally… After all, Liberals, too, are supposed to be concerned with fair treatment for the little guy.

  • Time for the Liberals and the NDP to unite

    The distinctions between the two parties — one traditionally centrist, the other social democratic — have diminished at both the provincial and federal levels in recent years. Both the provincial Liberal and NDP platforms in the 2018 election included increases in the minimum wage and minimum vacation time, pharmacare and dental benefits (though delivered in different ways), added protections for renters, and a continuance of cap-and-trade. The two platforms weren’t identical, but they were certainly similar in many respects, especially when compared to the PC platform.

  • Doug Ford can’t apply the notwithstanding clause retroactively to impede democracy

    In the light of his impatience in regard to changing the rules for the municipal election – and even to the time it takes to appeal judgments he dislikes – we can expect more retroactive overrides. These actions will, in effect, pre-empt the role of the judiciary designated by the Constitution to be impartial arbiters of the constitutional validity of legislation… The Charter expressly guarantees fundamental rights so that we can live our lives within a rights-protecting constitutional democracy dedicated to the rule of law.

  • We should judge decisions, not judges

    Of course politicians are elected and judges are appointed. But that does not mean that governments should be free from the scrutiny of the courts. Nor that judges must be elected for that scrutiny to be legitimate… But Canadian courts have largely avoided the deep ideological and partisan divisions we see south of the border.