Babel-on-the-Bay: Who owns this party anyway?

It has always seemed a Canute-like task of denying the tides to defend the Liberal Party. There just seem to be too many of the elements aligned against us. A party leader can work at destroying his or her party on whims and the rest of us are left with the pieces on which to ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Making sense on vote reform.

It was a delight the other day to sit and read a presentation to the special house of commons committee on electoral reform that made sense. The committee has been struggling along, wasting a perfectly fine summer, listening to mainly academics who have been touting a variety of proportional voting systems ad nausea. While reading ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Remembering Mel Hurtig.

It might be the dog days of summer but we have some catching up to do. We were out of town recently and while you might think we write a new commentary every day for this web site, we sometimes have as much as a week ahead set to automatically roll out each day. Even ...

Mind Bending Politics: China’s Economic Espionage Against Canada Refuses To Be Dealt With By Government

(China’s Artificially Created Housing Bubble In Canada Set To Burst Warnings Suggest) It’s been no surprise that Canada has long been in a housing bubble.  Foreign investors from China have been buying up property in Canadian cities for years, and reselling them to Canadians for way more than the property is worth.  China seems to ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: If it’s democracy, it must be a ghost.

It always seems strange to hear people talking about our democracy in Canada. You get the impression that our democracy is some sort of spectre. We talk about it but nobody has ever really seen it. And democracy is such a simple concept. It is based on recognizing the value of the human being. It ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Brokering Political Power.

During one of the presentations to the special parliamentary committee on vote reform, there was an interesting remark on brokering power under different forms of voting. The speaker, an academic from Queen’s University, explained that in our first-past-the-post governments, the power brokering is usually done before the election, and, in a proportionally elected—which usually produces ...

Mind Bending Politics: Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Explained Perfectly

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement mostly negotiated in secret by quite a few governments bordering the pacific ocean.  Canada has been a part of these negotiations and is committed to ratifying the treaty.  Both US presidential candidates are now on the record against this treaty, while current US president Barack Obama has ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A ‘better way’ than what?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is changing how we select candidates for Canada’s supreme court. The Toronto Star gave the official announcement sufficient column space to explain the idea and then devoted much more space on the editorial page to extolling what might be the virtues of this ‘Better Way.” Frankly, the editorial would have been ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Jason Kenney’s double duty summer.

Do super heroes ever rest? Not super heroes such as Calgary’s Honourable Jason Kenney MP. He is doing double duty this summer with the challenges to save Ottawa for democracy and to save Alberta for right-wing politicos. The work of a super hero is obviously never done. In Ottawa this summer the fat and 48-year ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote reform is not everyone’s cup of tea.

The Canadian government’s special parliamentary committee on electoral reform has now had a number of hearings. You can see some of them on computer at the cpac.ca website. While these hearings are engrossing for the Members of Parliament on the committee, the rest of the country can continue to enjoy the summer months. What is ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Betrayal by news media.

This is the “unkindest cut of all.” Luckily for William Shakespeare, he did not have to contend with the unkind vagaries of modern news media. Slipshod reporting and careless editing are feeding the problem but they are also helping the oil and gas industry to side-step the critics of shipping diluted bitumen through pipelines. The ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Mandatory voting is not in the cards.

It would be hard to think of anything sillier than for our Canadian politicians to make voting mandatory. They might just get more than they deserve. Anyone promoting the idea of making it mandatory probably has no idea of the why, when and how of voting by the general population. They might not realize that ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Going ‘All In’ on bitumen.

There were two stories in the Toronto Star the other day from Canada’s western oil patch. The major story was the one by business writer David Olive on Suncor’s gutsiest bet yet on Athabasca bitumen. The other story never mentioned bitumen. It is a Canadian Press story out of North Battleford, Saskatchewan where the city ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Trudeau honeymoon carries on.

It has been noted—with some surprise by certain observers—that the honeymoon with Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government continues. Why would anyone expect it to have ended? The major opposition parties are leaderless. There is no real competition on the horizon. And Justin is skating along very nicely, thank you. Our Prime Minister must have been watching ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Conservative contest continues contrarily.

It was another step backward towards the abyss. Ontario’s Tony Clement must have found a hat somewhere to throw into the ring of the Conservative leadership contest. It was a pathetic pronouncement by a pathetic politico. It was no surprise. Tony has been on the list of likely losers in the Conservative contest for some ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: In the rush to reform.

It was amusing reading the editorial in the Toronto Star the other day that urged the Liberal government to “Go slow on election reform.” The ghost of Torstar founder Joseph Atkinson must have done another ceremonial spin in his grave. It sounds like a last gasp from an overly opinionated crowd down at One Yonge ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: When Referenda are Right.

It has to be more than 25 years since we last chatted with one of our favourite Conservatives. His name is Patrick Boyer and he is a gentleman of the old school. You rarely meet a Tory today with his charm and intelligence. A writer, a former MP and a scholar trained in international law, ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Sending cannon fodder to Latvia.

In 1941 Canada came to the aid of the British Empire and sent troops to Hong Kong. The Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers were supposed to be a deterrent to war. Of the 1975 Canadians who tried to help defend Hong Kong, quite a few less came home after War II from ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote Reform Primer: Liking losers.

The following is part of our on-going primer on vote reform that is based on our Democracy Papers of 2007. This is the sixth of the vote reform series. In the 2015 federal election there was an effort made at strategic voting. It was based entirely on the strong desire to get rid of the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Vote Reform Primer: Causing coalitions.

The following is part of our on-going primer on vote reform that is based on our Democracy Papers of 2007. This is the fifth of the vote reform series. Democratic Reform Minister Maryam Monsef was quoted recently as saying that “Elections should unite Canadians and not appeal to narrow constituencies.” That statement was seen by ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s okay to pollute if you need the money.

Have you ever watched two avowed tree-huggers fight over who is the more devout conservationist? When they do it in your local paper you at least do not get whiplash trying to follow the ball. It all started last week when the Town Greenie served up an easy lob in his weekly op-ed piece that ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Separatist threats are a Canadian custom.

It has always seemed that the more serious threats of separation in Canada come from the West. There have been times when you barely had to scratch the surface in Calgary to find another cowboy or cowgirl who would rather partner up with the folks to the south. There are even people out in Victoria ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Electoral Reform: A “Road” to nowhere.

If you are old enough, you might remember the Dorothy Lamour, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope series of Road movies that cashed in on Lamour’s looks, Crosby’s crooning and Hope’s humour. The all-party parliamentary road show on electoral reform is supposed to be invited by all MP’s to 338 town halls in every constituency in ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Did we cause a kinder Canada?

It was last year on Canada Day that Babel-on-the-Bay asked if we could consider a kinder Canada. We never said it was based on getting rid of Mr. Harper and his awful Conservatives but we might as well have. And we did it. That was a heady time late last year when Justin Trudeau and ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Are referenda democratic?

It was a surprise twist in an otherwise boring CBC National News panel the other night. It was an argument over whether a referendum was really democratic or redundant in a representative democracy. While it was not the well respected At Issue politically expert panel, the argument held enough interest to mull over as we ...