• The culture war has been won, so now we fight about words

    The long-running fight over language – in which the words and phrases of the ideologically earnest are rejected as “politically correct” – is being mistaken for some larger and more irreconcilable battle over underlying ideas and beliefs. Those who are truly intolerant and opposed to pluralism – those who think social justice is not just an awkward phrase but a bad idea – are a small and declining group. But that group is manipulating language conflicts to their political advantage.

  • Ontario city rushes in where first-past-the-post adherents fear to tread [Ranked Ballots]

    London, Ont., will be the first Canadian city in recent history to elect representatives using ranked ballots, in which voters mark their top three choices rather than just one, allowing an instant runoff in which losing candidates are eliminated and votes redistributed until someone has a majority. And once it’s over, the spin battle will begin – about whether that system deserves to be adopted elsewhere, or whether it’s enough of a bust that it shouldn’t even be used again here.

  • Federal spending tops $332 billion as revenue gets a $20 billion boost

    … revenue was up by $20.1 billion, or 6.9 per cent, from 2016-17 to $313.6 billion. Driving part of that increase was an additional $9.9 billion in personal tax revenue. Officials said Friday said that was in part due to a rebound of personal tax revenues from 2016-17. The drop that year was caused when high-income earners declared income in the 2015 tax year to avoid higher taxes for those making more than $200,000 introduced by the Liberals for 2016.

  • 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.

  • 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.