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Art, Writing, and Learning: The Clerisy Quarter => Discussion and Debate - The Philosopher's Plaza => Topic started by: dubsartur on January 12, 2021, 02:53:34 AM

Title: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on January 12, 2021, 02:53:34 AM
So, last spring's observation that Canadian politics were in a quiet phase were a bit premature, although this government has run things more or less as expected.

According to a briefing for the Privy Clerk, the 46 year old reservist who broke into the gardens of Rideau Hall with loaded firearms on 2 July 2020 (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/hurren-rideau-hall-arrest-1.5866297) "was seeking to have the prime minister arrested for his policies related to firearms restrictions and COVID responses."  Apparently he left a note in his car saying something about a communist dictatorship.

There is growing anger at politicians and officials who traveled outside Canada over the holidays while telling the public to stay home and not mingle outside their household, and at provincial governments which are handling the epidemic especially poorly.  For many Canadians, spending a few weeks or a few months somewhere warm and sunny every winter is a treasured routine.  Parties which saw this coming and issued warnings to their caucuses tend to have less members to apologize for. 
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on January 12, 2021, 12:07:53 PM
I still think Canadian politics feels from an international viewpoint like it's in a quiet phase: but that's compared to other countries, more than to the rolling average.

(Also, given that the governing party is governing as a minority, in a pandemic, it's interesting things aren't much more rowdy).

Looking it up, I note from a short Wikipedia browse that the Canadian senate seems to have undergone a number of changes in recent years, with lots of appointments to nominal independents such that there are now two independent groups which comprise over half the seats or some such, with the Conservative and Progressive (post-Liberal) groups combined amounting to less than the bigger independent bloc. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on January 12, 2021, 11:01:27 PM
I still think Canadian politics feels from an international viewpoint like it's in a quiet phase: but that's compared to other countries, more than to the rolling average.

(Also, given that the governing party is governing as a minority, in a pandemic, it's interesting things aren't much more rowdy).
The people who like to gossip about Canadian federal politics suspect the Liberal minority government will call an election sometime this year while people are thinking about the pandemic not WE Charity or the RCMP.  There is also likely to be trouble when the provinces which handled the pandemic worst ask for federal funds and the other provinces point out that their taxpayers will be paying for someone else's screwups.  I think things are hot in Nova Scotia after the mass shooting and the mob burning of an indigenous fisher's buildings while police officers watched and did not intervene.

I think that the Greens and NDP are short of funds, the Conservatives and Greens recently changed leaders, and so they have been reluctant to risk forcing an election.  The Conservatives also have to deal with Trump BoJo and Ford making "Conservative" look bad (and even Jason Kenny in Alberta is in some trouble as COVID cases explode and MLAs take sunny vacations while telling constituents to stay home).


Edit: also, don't forget that Canada is being pushed to take sides in a great power game between China and the USA with the American tariffs and the house arrest of Huawei executive Meg Wanzhou.  And the new Trudeau government does not seem to have a clear, consistent vision of what to do with power, every few months they throw a new idea on the table but they don't always follow up and none of them has the drama of the program that he was made prime minister the first time to carry out.  So the federal government seems to be trying to avoid sudden movements which might overturn the canoe or send the log-driver headfirst into the river (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upsZZ2s3xv8).

Looking it up, I note from a short Wikipedia browse that the Canadian senate seems to have undergone a number of changes in recent years, with lots of appointments to nominal independents such that there are now two independent groups which comprise over half the seats or some such, with the Conservative and Progressive (post-Liberal) groups combined amounting to less than the bigger independent bloc. Do you have any thoughts on that?
The Senate of Canada is an odd institution with a 17th-century flavour.  Traditionally, it was a place to give sinecures for party loyalists, and had a large elderly contingent who just go through the motions and collect the benefits while their professional staffers do the work.  Liberals and central Canadians (ON/QC) have the most chances to hand out these sinecures, so Conservatives and western Canadians (BC/AB/SK/MB) tend to lead the calls to reform or abolish it.  Its not something I follow like electoral reform or how to turn the Prime Minister into less of an elected dictator.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on January 20, 2021, 07:08:19 PM
On 3 July, the maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI on the mainland and Newfoundland and Labrador which entered Confederation circa 1949 under Joey Smallwood) created an Atlantic Bubble where anyone from outside the participating provinces would have to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival.  Due to the arrival of COVID variants, the explosion of cases in Alberta, and the number of tourists visiting BC for winter sports, British Columbia has been debating closing its borders to other provinces in the same way.  There are questions whether this would survive a constituional challenge in court.

Alberta, with a similar population to BC, has 11,096 active cases as of 18 January whereas BC has 4,331 as of 20 January.

The Atlantic Bubble burst as one province after another dropped out.

I think that many outsiders don't understand BC's policies, which seem to be grounded in a philosophy of anti-authoritarianism.  Many people who get paid to share their opinions are authoritarians at heart who just want to be the ones giving advice in smoke-filled room or being humbly petitioned to grant access to their contacts.  Health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been clear about the philosophy underlining her recommendations.

The federal Conservatives are going to vote whether to expel MP Derek Sloan from the caucus for accepting a $131 donation from white nationalist (and CPC member) Frederick Paul Fromm (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Fromm_(White_Supremacist)). Edit: A majority voted to expel him under the Reform Act which some of the linked papers discussed in the Canadian Politics 2019 thread.  Earlier in this year Sloan was in the news for asking whether British-educated, Hong Kong born, Han-ancestry chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam "works for Canada or for China."  So the donation may be a pretext for MPs who have spent time in private with Sloan and have a good idea what he says when the microphones are turned off to get rid of him.

Edit: The premier of BC John Horgan announced (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-interprovincial-travel-no-ban-1.5883246) on 21 January that:
Quote
The review of our legal options made it clear we can't prevent people from travelling to British Columbia. We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians.  If we see transmission increase due to interprovincial travel, we will impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers."

Since the four maritime provinces already did this, Newfoundland passed a court challenge, section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (https://web.archive.org/web/20160110221331/http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const/page-15.html) has a "subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society" clause, and section 10 of the Emergency Program Act of British Columbia (https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/00_96111_01#section10) allows a minister during a state of emergency to "control or prohibit travel to or from any area of British Columbia;" that wording is confusing.  People arriving in BC from other countries have to quarantine for two weeks.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on January 23, 2021, 03:30:48 AM
This one might interest Exilian members: a long form podcast on Internet service in rural Canada, and how companies like xplornet have effective monopolies and collect government subsidies without providing service similar to in big cities https://www.canadaland.com/podcast/353-dinosaur-internet/  Even in big cities in Canada, usually there are only two or three telecom companies, and services like cell phones are more expensive than in most rich countries.

I am not sure how long the explosion of streaming video and high-bandwidth gaming will last given the need to drastically reduce energy and resource consumption to limit climate change, but if the powers that be want everything to be online, they have to provide everyone with sufficient Internet service.  (For example, the big five Canadian banks were very aggressive in pushing electronic bank statements in the 2010s, because printing them and mailing them costs a dollar or so per customer per month and sending them electronically costs a fraction of a cent).

The Prime Minister says that improving rural Internet services is a priority but he hasn't set any goals within the current election cycle, just "by 2030."  But at least this is an example of how rural people in Canada deal with corporations and different levels of government to cause policy changes.

The United Conservative Government of Alberta is boiling because they bought their Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico for several billion dollars and the new POTUS is fulfilling his promise to revoke its hastily-granted permits.  They need better-paying markets for their oil to pay their public service and help their friends get richer, the US produces all the fossil fuels it needs so cancelling one pipeline from a place with 0 electoral college votes is not a big deal.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on January 23, 2021, 12:44:15 PM
How much of a problem will cancelling Keystone be for the federal Canadian government? Is it the sort of thing where Trudeau will be blamed for not making the case effectively to Biden/where do the Canadian public outside Alberta stand on this sort of issue?
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on January 23, 2021, 05:16:17 PM
Edit: Former astronaut and governor General of Canada Julie Payette has resigned after a report concluded that she created a "toxic" work environment.  She was another of the women or racialized people who were proudly appointed or celebrated by the Trudeau government but ran into trouble (although this seems self-inflicted, whereas the Auditor General's resignation was Trudeau's fault).  The Prime Minister's Office does not seem to have asked two previous employers where she resigned after being accused of shouting at or threatening employees and went over an independent board established by the Harper government to choose candidates by explicit, publicly available criteria.  Her letter of resignation was perfect Trudeau-speak ("While no formal complaints or official grievances were made during my tenure ... I still take these allegations very seriously ... We all experience things differently")

The governor general represents the crown in federal ceremonial matters like the lieutenant governors do provincially.

How much of a problem will cancelling Keystone be for the federal Canadian government? Is it the sort of thing where Trudeau will be blamed for not making the case effectively to Biden/where do the Canadian public outside Alberta stand on this sort of issue?
Since the scraps of revenues after the international oil companies have feasted go to the provincial government, and since Alberta is a one-party state (federal Conservative MPs with the occasional NDP or Liberal, United Conservative Party MLAs with a NDP opposition) very little.  The Québecois are always careful not to let any one federal party feel entitled to their votes, like Norwegians always reminded the oil companies that the oil and gas is not going away and if they don't want to deal Norway will still be there when their other suppliers have dried up.  And Jason Kenny was already loudly positioning himself against the Liberal government (Albertans have grudges against the federal Liberals since Trudeau the Elder), so he does not have many favours to draw on (especially when he may need help paying for pandemic recovery).

The jurisdiction issue is why pipeline politics are so nasty in Canada.  Building the pipeline to Vancouver means First Nations protests in BC, and a risk of breakages in BC and its coastal waters, so Albertans can get richer.  And its easy for people in other parts of Canada to wag their fingers at Alberta and not talk about how Canada has one of the highest energy consumptions per capita in the world, was one of the places were petroleum culture and car culture was born, and has not been reducing its emissions for the past 30 years.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on January 28, 2021, 10:10:51 PM
Crikey, the CBC has rolled out "falsely claimed" to describe the premier of BC's explanation (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-john-horgan-weekly-covid-briefing-1.5890303) why he can't requite visitors to quarantine if six other provinces (the latest is Manitoba) already have.  I don't have a firm opinion on the wisdom of such a policy, but I'd like to hear a clear, direct statement of the government's thinking rather than evasions of responsibility to "legal advice" or "geography."

A committee recommended against introducing a Guaranteed Minimum Income in BC, while the city of Vancouver is calling for the federal government to decriminalize small-scale drug possession.  Overdoses killed more people than COVID in BC in 2020, in part because of disruptions in drug supply.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on February 05, 2021, 11:51:55 PM
BC has decided to continue (not change) its "work and public school goes on but no mixing households" pandemic restrictions indefinitely.  The trouble with that strategy is that numbers of cases are no longer dropping and the more infectious variants have appeared in western Canada.  Its asking the population to spend another six months in isolation until enough people are vaccinated.

The reservist who broke into the grounds of Rideau Hall with a M-14, two shotguns, and two handguns has pleaded guilty to several charges (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/corey-hurren-rideau-hall-plea-1.5902362).

One of the marginalized MPs who left the federal Liberal caucus before the last election has come out with a gossipy memoir (https://www.vice.com/en/article/dy8edm/celina-caeasar-chavannes-justin-trudeau-fake).  I have to say that I do not see or hear about intense anti-black racism in western Canada, the way First Nations and Métis friends tell me they get followed around stores by suspicious staff, but its possible that things are different in Ontario and she is certainly entitled to describe her experiences. 
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Pentagathus on February 08, 2021, 03:32:41 PM
“As a strong Black woman, I didn’t think you needed help.”  Hahaha that sounds like something I'd expect Steven Crowder or Milo Yanopolis to come out with.
As someone who knows almost nothing about Canada and has paid hardly any attention to Canadian politics I'm not particularly surprised by any of this (except perhaps the account of a woman telling her not to steal her wallet, although of course that might not have been meant in a racial context at all). Trudeau always gave me the impression of being a great PR man but probably not a great leader. I definitely got a style over substance vibe from him.
TBF I'm not sure why Trudeau should have been expected to support her in that first instance, telling some to "check their privilege and be quiet" really isn't an acceptable way to respond to criticism, particularly coming from someone who holds political office.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on February 11, 2021, 01:51:08 AM
“As a strong Black woman, I didn’t think you needed help.”  Hahaha that sounds like something I'd expect Steven Crowder or Milo Yanopolis to come out with.
I am glad I am picking some amusing things to link!  I try not to be serious all the time, because politics is pretty silly. 

One long-term issue for the Liberal party is that their current revival is centered around Justin Trudeau, and he will almost certainly step down as party leader sometime this decade.

Just to add to the excitement after the mass shooting in New Brunswick, the woman who was living with the shooter is one of three people being charged with providing him with ammunition after his ban on possessing a firearm.   :o  That could be a case of a spouse abuser sending abusees on errands, or even more complicated.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on March 03, 2021, 08:29:08 PM
The civilian Serious Incident Response Team of Nova Scotia decided that under the circumstances, the RCMP officers who fired five rounds at an occupied firehall with their carbines (Colt M4 clones I think) during the mass shooting at Portaupique did not commit a criminal offense (https://sirt.novascotia.ca/no-charges-discharge-firearms-rcmp-officers-onslow-fire-hall).  The local fire department is not happy (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/onslow-fire-hall-gunfire-sirt-report-1.5933594)

My province, in the fullness of its wisdom, intended to space the two doses of the vaccine four months instead of four weeks apart to get maximum use out of their limited supply.  Of course, we could eliminate the virus in about two months with a COVID-0 strategy, no vaccines required ...

Here is a very BC story, about a man associated with the Hells Angels biker gang (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/hells-angel-killing-spouses-estate-1.5934181) who died under suspicious circumstances and turned out to have lived a double life: he told two women he was away for business for half the week and alternated houses.  Both women want a share of his estate.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Pentagathus on March 16, 2021, 09:05:57 AM
Peak Chad behaviour.

Regarding Trudeau, has his public popularity actually received much of a backlash from some of his scandals, or is it more the case that people who were already opposed to him use it as an occasion to say "see, we were right" and people who were likely to support him are still going to support him because he's the leader of the liberals and they'd prefer a liberal leader who appears hypoctrical in power rather than a conservative of any kind?
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on March 16, 2021, 01:55:27 PM
So, his approval has fluctuated quite a bit, and can be found here - by and large he was popular in his first couple of years, quite unpopular in 2019, and has recovered to more or less neutral post-pandemic: https://angusreid.org/trudeau-tracker/

Voting intention kinda mirrors this: after a decent win in 2015, the Liberals didn't win the popular vote in 2019 but did win most seats, and more recent polling shows them four to six points up on the Conservatives. It seems that the map/vote distributions currently are good for the Liberals so they tend to win more seats per unit votes than the Conservatives do. That I guess strengthens the negative partisanship argument of "if you don't want a Conservative, stick with us".

One thing I'm not sure about is why the NDP didn't play much harder on electoral reform after 2019, at least as far as I can tell. The logical play would seem to me to have been to offer Trudeau pretty good coalition terms in exchange for him actually completing his abandoned 2015 pledge to reform the electoral system: any sort of PR could double their seat shares and would likely lock them into a usually-in-government status.



Another random thing that dubsartur may be able to speak on: why are the Canadian Conservatives better than e.g. their UK counterparts at winning in some cities? Especially e.g. Calgary and Edmonton where they're quite dominant by the looks of the 2019 results. I dunno, it just feels unusual to have a right-wing party dominate an urban political landscape in the modern Anglosphere.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on March 17, 2021, 01:21:50 AM
I also don't know why the NDP did not push harder on electoral reform after the 2019 election, other than that they were short on funds and scared of another election.



Edit: Keep in mind that the election was in on 21 October 2019.  So there were only four months before the pandemic hit, all of them in an Ontario winter when the party leaders were exhausted from campaigning.  And unless we were at those meetings, we just can't know what was said and offered.



I'm not qualified to speak about the voter base of the federal Conservatives, but I would point to two factors.  They are a very disciplined party which works hard to keep its wilder voices in private.  If the Liberals' doubletalk is promising voters social democratic policies but promising rich Canadians and multinationals that they won't lose anything, the Conservatives' is speaking to the mass of voters about keeping deficits low, house prices high, and naughty people in jail while convincing the religious radicals and the libertarians and the firearms fondlers that they will get some of what they want as long as they stay in the big tent. 

Second, the federal Conservatives are a merger of the old Ontario-based federal Conservatives and the Reform party which was a prairie based revolt party.  The merger created, for one brief and smelly moment, the Conservative-Reform Alliance Party.  So they have historical advantages in Alberta, and older Albertans have grudges against the federal Liberals in general and Pierre Trudeau in particular for threatening to redistribute their oil revenues.  When I was living in Alberta, in my riding the Conservative candidate got 60% of the vote without actually visiting the province during the election campaign.

Peak Chad behaviour.

Regarding Trudeau, has his public popularity actually received much of a backlash from some of his scandals, or is it more the case that people who were already opposed to him use it as an occasion to say "see, we were right" and people who were likely to support him are still going to support him because he's the leader of the liberals and they'd prefer a liberal leader who appears hypoctrical in power rather than a conservative of any kind?
Each time it has, so support was falling before the pandemic.  A lot of votes for the Liberals are instrumental, they and their spearbearers in the media tell stories about wasted votes.  Around 2013, it seemed like the NDP and Liberals might switch places, all it would need would be for the NDP to form government in Ottawa once.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on March 17, 2021, 02:23:47 AM
I mentioned that more people died last year in BC of drug overdoses or tainted drugs than COVID-19.  In local politics, we have a situation with camps of homeless people in parks near the city centre, rashes of assault, theft, and arson by against and between them (everything from gasoline thrown on tents to burned buildings), and a municipal government whose plans to set up supportive housing are going more slowly than planned.  Cynics would say that part of the situation is the municipal police looking for a lever to push back against the "defund the police" movement.  One would think that bicycle theft would be down because ferry traffic to Vancouver, where the chopped-up bikes and cars are shipped overseas, is down but there are many people desperate for a fix.

Meanwhile house prices on southern Vancouver Island have been booming  We are finally zoning for more multi-family dwellings on lots and legalizing rented secondary suites but the changes are slow and cautious.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on March 23, 2021, 08:46:47 PM
Here is an example of student politics in Canada.  All undergraduate students at most Canadian universities belong to a Student Society, which is most often a member of the left-wing advocacy group Canadian Federation of Students.  The society collects fees per member and redistributes some of them to various organizations (as well as usually providing a health and dental plan and gym membership, sometimes subsidized bus tickets, running a student union building with shops, office space, meeting spaces, the radio station, etc).  At the University of Victoria, one of those was the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group, and after an audit a few years ago discovered substantial accounting discrepancies at the VIPRG, they left the UVSS, lost most of their organizers, and refounded themselves under a new name.  The University of Victoria Students Society could not find a new research group to sponsor, so since then the UVSS has been trying to get quorum to pass a referendum to allow them to stop collecting money for VIPIRG and redistribute what they have collected since the VIPIRG left the UVSS.  Getting 15% of students to vote can be hard, especially in a pandemic when they can't put up posters offering "FREE BURGERS AND BEVERAGES" to anyone who attends the meeting, but its what the Societies Act requires.

The local student paper (https://www.martlet.ca/new-public-interest-research-group-conditionally-accepted-by-uvss/) and the UVSS (https://uvss.ca/referenda/) have takes on the story.

I like stories which show ways of being human around the world.  They are factual.  I do not understand how old media and corporate social media became dominated by stories which want you to get angry about a narrative out of American politics.  Grand narratives are always hard and journalists and random people on the Internet do not have the training and detachment to build them scientifically.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on April 01, 2021, 04:42:02 PM
In March, Lt.-Col. Eleanor Taylor, who commanded a rifle company in Kandahar in 2010 and served on the staff of Joint Task Force 2, Canada's most famous special operaions force, resigned her commission

Quote
I am sickened by ongoing investigations of sexual misconduct among our key leaders.

Unfortunately, I am not surprised. I am also certain that the scope of the problem has yet to be exposed. Throughout my career, I have observed insidious and inappropriate use of power for sexual exploitation.

Some senior leaders are unwilling or (perhaps unable) to recognize that their behaviour is harmful both to the victim and to the team.  Some recognize the harm but believe they can keep their behaviour secret. Perhaps worst of all are those in authority, who should know better, but lack the courage and tools to confront the systemic issue.

I have been both a victim of, and participant in, this damaging cycle of silence, and I am proud of neither.

I can't find a link to the full text, just endless articles summarizing it :(  Journalists own themselves so badly by not backing claims with sources as well as an oughties blogger.

The Canadian Forces became the Canadian Armed Forces under Harper.  In 2015 the CF launched Operation Honour, a crackdown on sexual misconduct within the force, under a general who is currently facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on April 07, 2021, 09:40:42 PM
Naheed Nenshi, the mayor of Calgary (about 1.3 million in the metropolitan area, not sure if its all 'Calgary' or if some of the municipalities are still formally independent) has decided not to run for re-election after 11 years.  After the late Rob Ford he is probably the most famous mayor in Anglo Canada.  He announced it on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t36clXBzu4) !?! and did not say anything about why he made this choice (apparently he said some polite nothings to an interviewer on 6 April).
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on April 08, 2021, 03:34:08 PM
11 years is a fairly long time in any major executive role in any case, I suppose.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on April 09, 2021, 06:22:04 AM
I don't know Alberta city politics, it does not feel like an unusually short or long period but he is not yet 50.

From Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Calgary_municipal_elections), it looks like of the last five mayors, four won three or four elections in a row and then stepped down rather than run again.  I wonder what he will do next.

Someone called Trevor Tombe at the University of Calgary believes that the COVID-19 infection rate in Canada will exceed the rate in the United States in mid April 2021.  Some provincial governments have handled things miserably, and Canada does not have as many doses of vaccine per million inhabitants as the UK does.  Also, in some provinces workers are not guaranteed paid sick leave.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on April 30, 2021, 03:00:55 AM
The Old Media are beating hard against the federal and most provincial governments for their mishandling of the pandemic. 

The Supreme Court of Canada just ruled that the Sinixit nation still exists on the south side of the Medicine Line, so still has rights north of it.  (There are a fair number of Sinixit on the north side, but not concentrated enough that the government has to admit they are still a nation). The Canadian-US border was literally drawn by picking a point on the Great Lakes and running it west to wherever it hits the Pacific (with a bit of fudging around the Salish Sea) and then each state set out to ethnically cleanse its side of the line.  It was a way to get no more British-US wars after 1815 and especially 1865 when the UK looked at the size of the Union Army and Navy and the cost of defending Canada and sent some telegrams.  So it does not correspond very well with indigenous human geography.

Oh, and the environmentalist press has noticed that the new BC government is projecting that GHG emissions will continue to increase until 2023 (they budget for revenue from the carbon tax, and have committed to carbon tax rates for the next few years, so from revenue you can deduce taxable emissions).  Since they have committed to a 20% cut below 2018 levels by 2025, one of the two targets will have to fail. https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/04/23/Piecemeal-Budget-BC-Headed-Towards-Climate-Failure/
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on May 01, 2021, 11:50:17 AM
We've been discussing Carbon Taxes a lot in Lib Dem policy circles recently. I keep having to point out that a key problem with them is that if they work they make less money, which makes them a really bad way to fund regular spending priorities. They'd be a good way of e.g. building sovereign wealth funds, but they're a poor choice to back day to day spending unless you actually don't think they're going to achieve their stated goal of reducing emissions (in which case we need to do it another way).
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on May 01, 2021, 08:36:20 PM
Also, many carbon taxes in Canada are at least partially paid back to low-income taxpayers.  And its easier to create them to get them to cover 90% of emissions at a price high enough that people stop emitting.

I have seen one poll that satisfaction with federal and most provincial governments' handling of the pandemic is falling since winter 2020/2021, but polls in Canada are not very reliable.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on May 06, 2021, 10:23:03 PM
Committees of doctors are starting to say "maybe we can't eliminate the virus in Canada any more but we should still try to drastically reduce numbers of cases" while others are wondering if immunization can eliminate the virus given that the more infectious variants would require 80-90% of the population to be immune to create herd immunity, while the 13% of the population under the age of 12 cannot presently be vaccinated at all.  So again, the provinces which tried to eliminate the virus had a much more successful strategy than the provinces which tried to manage it.

There is a three-way clash between logging companies  backed by the BC government, the local First Nations, and settler environmentalists about logging an untouched old-growth forest along Fairy Creek on southern Vancouver Island.  Some people think this is another case of someone pulling off the mask and deciding "get it in the last days that getting is good."
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on May 12, 2021, 04:58:35 PM
Have I talked about the dismantling of Laurentian University in Northern Ontario by its president (https://bookandsword.com/2021/04/13/fiscal-crisis-at-laurentian-university-ontario/) at all?

This also shows the history of higher education in eastern Canada, because Laurentian was federated with a group of small sectarian universities with mostly 19th century origins (https://higheredstrategy.com/federated-universities-a-kind-of-laurentian-story/). Federation was a way to evade restrictions on public funds for denomiational institutions, but it let several institutions with less than the usual tens of thousands of students for a Canadian university survive.  The president cut them loose and they will probably close or shrink.  Its not clear that Laurentian has the right to do this but education is a provincial responsibility and the province is run by a Ford.

By the time settlers got out west we were already losing our religion and especially institutions.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on May 27, 2021, 12:10:11 AM
The gang wars continue with relatives of victims in Vancouver being murdered in Alberta.  Many of these shootings are in public and broad daylight which is not customary (usually, someone with gang connections turns up dead in a rural area or a back alley).

The Ceeb has a pretty good long form piece on a cryptocurrency business owner who died mysteriously in India on his honeymoon and seemed to have been running a Ponzi scheme on CAD $250m of other people's savings.  They don't emphasize the bit that just before his death he had signed over his property to his wife, they are more interested in "was that really his body?"  https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/longform/bitcoin-gerald-cotten-quadriga-cx-death

I don't really hear about anything that any level of government is doing actively other than releasing press releases.  The federal government wants to launch another round of inquiries into sexual assault and misogyny in the military, and make the people who were abused as far back as the 1990s testify again, rather than implement the remaining recommendations of the past 25 years of inquiries.



While Canada was quicker to open up all jobs in the military to both sexes than many countries (a Captain Nichola Goddard was killed with the Patricias in 2006), I don't know if we have been successful as Colin Powel's US military in making those jobs welcoming to all Canadians regardless of race or sex.  War poet Suzanne Steele (https://thetyee.ca/Books/2008/10/24/WarPoet/) did not talk about the kinds of incidents which many women, South Asians, and First Nations in uniform or DND civil service have experienced.


Canadian police forces seem to have trouble prosecuting white collar crime and fraud: here is a different example from
Vancouver Island (https://www.capitaldaily.ca/news/the-man-who-stole-a-hotel).  Money laundering through casinos and property used to be a significant part of the BC economy like the marijuana trade.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on May 29, 2021, 08:37:08 PM
Green paper The Tyee has a pretty good piece on the giant log seen trucking down a Vancouver Island road from Fairy Creek (https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/05/28/Follow-That-Tree-Giant-Cedar/): the government's defense was that it was felled in 2020 before a new regulation against cutting "special (especially large) trees" (https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/229_2020#Schedule) came in to effect, but that regulation only covers trees so giant that they would not fit on a standard 2.6 metre wide logging truck.  This sitka spruce was 2.12 m wide at breast height, and Sitka spruce up to 2.83 m wide can be felled.

A number of BC news organizations have launched legal action against the government and RCMP for declaring a giant exclusion zone which prevents them from reporting on the attempts of the RCMP to clear land defenders out of Fairy Creek and make way for the loggers.  By police figures, more than 100 people have been arrested.

Rolling Stone has a piece from November 2020 on Canadian-American adventurer Jordan Goudreau's failed attempt to kidnap the president of Venuzuela in May 2020 (link (https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/venezuela-operation-gideon-coup-jordan-goudreau-1098590/))  There are hints that the Venuzuelans may have summarily executed some of the invaders, although Goudreau (who had to stay back in Florida) shrugs "c'est la guerre, our side did it in Iraq."
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on June 06, 2021, 11:31:06 PM
The discovery of one of the many unmarked cemeteries at Caanda's residential schools by ground-penetrating radar is really getting a lot of attention in Old Media and online.  You would have to be deliberately clueless to not know that these existed, but former Minister for Indian Affairs Jean Cretien is that clueless (he recently pronounced that the First Nations need to move off their reserves to cities, but the reason that reserves are remote is that they were placed wherever was not valuable to settlers and First Nations in cities face murder and other forms of discrimination- there is a long tradition of white settler violence against First Nations, Chinese, and Japanese workers and business owners who seemed 'too successful'- Hergé knew about moving First Nations at gunpoint if resources were found on their land in the 1930s).  And its better to have people move in the right direction for sentimental reasons (215 unmarked graves in one city is more concrete then tens of thousands all over the country) than in the wrong direction after a careful rational consideration!

The United States has quietly announced that Canada will be one of the countries receiving the first batch of unneeded doses of COVID-19 vaccine (https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/us-vaccine-sharing-covax-1.6051753).  There is high fiving in various Prime Minister's Offices and premier's offices, but I don't know if Canada will be getting as many as they had hoped for.

Canada recently appologized to the Italians and Italian-Canadians it interned durign WW II.  This is somewhat controversial because whereas Canada interned all Japanese and Japanese-Canadians on the west coast in a straightforward predatory action on behalf of neighbours who wanted their property and jobs, it only interned a few hundred Italians and Italian-Canadians who were believed to have strong individual connections to the Fascist party.

And oh wow: a journalist in Halifax published transcripts of three calls to 9-1-1 during the Portapique massacre (https://www.frankmagazine.ca/portapique911calls).  All three mentioned what seemed to be a police car eight hours before the RCMP claims to have learned that the murderer was driving as his common-law wife came out of hiding; different calls call the shooter "a denturist" and "my neighbour Gabe."  Two of the transcripts end as the person on the line is transferred to the RCMP.  If these transcripts are correct, the RCMP has  been lying about fundamental aspects of the case for fourteen months, and could have prevented some of the later killings (including the killing of RCMP officers!)  Apparently the paper is a shady tabloid but the author is an accomplished journalist.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on June 11, 2021, 05:30:05 PM
One of Canada's three Green MPs just crossed the aisle to the Liberals citing "distractions" and a lack of a "supportive and collaborative environment."  There is speculation that arguments about the party's policy towards the government of Israel had something to do that, but that could just be spin- people often engineer blowups in the federal NDP over how much to criticize the government of Israel whenever it seems like it might slip into first or second place.  So both the federal and BC provincial Greens have DRAMA during the pandemic.

The MP's response to the 2021 budget (https://jenicafredericton.ca/at-home-blog/response-to-budget-2021/) gives a pretty good idea why I am very wary of the federal Liberals.

Oh, and the premier of Alberta is accused of holding indoor social gatherings at a restaraunt and a private home in contradiction to the COVID restrictions.  He says he ate there twice in 2019 and not since, the restaraunt says he was never there.  Alberta and Ontario seem like the provinces whose mishandling of the pandemic might result in a change of government next election.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on June 12, 2021, 12:53:48 PM
I think it's at times underrated when watching politics how much difference a functional (or not) working environment can make. I've certainly seen working groups etc where the policy preferences of the group if polled probably weren't well reflected in the outcome, because people who were easier to work with and volunteered to do more stuff thereby ended up with their preferences on the outcome being better represented.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on June 12, 2021, 11:51:31 PM
I think it's at times underrated when watching politics how much difference a functional (or not) working environment can make. I've certainly seen working groups etc where the policy preferences of the group if polled probably weren't well reflected in the outcome, because people who were easier to work with and volunteered to do more stuff thereby ended up with their preferences on the outcome being better represented.
Another challenge is that drama tends to drive out people who just want to do things, and leave the people who enjoy being at the centre of personal controversies or just want a title and a generous salary.

One challenge to building a small party from a broad national base in Canada is that the first few MPs have disproportionate power and don't have much chance to build experience working as part of a caucus.  If 5-10% of the popular vote brought 5-10% of the House of Commons, the federal Greens would be better at handling personal conflicts.

I wish Ms. Atwin all the best but I have trouble being optimistic about the federal Liberals.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on June 17, 2021, 03:20:26 AM
Green Party of Canada leader Annamie Paul passed the vote challenging her leadership of the party.  Some sources within the party (https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/green-party-leader-annamie-paul-faces-leadership-challenge-with-possible-non-confidence-vote) say that there is a struggle between former leader and first MP Elizabeth May and her as elected leader, with some officials ignoring her and taking Elizabeth May's direction.

Atwin, like many Israelis, had said that the government of Israel practices apartheid.  I think current Green policy is not to be so frank.

The National Post (https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/defiant-green-leader-says-disgruntled-party-officials-behind-failed-attempted-ouster), Canada's big Tory paper, printed part of the letter of complaint against Paul.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on June 17, 2021, 11:32:18 AM
The Greens in the UK have a similar issue though I think they've managed to avoid the personal problems: their sole MP (for Brighton Pavilion) and former leader Caroline Lucas is often treated as de facto leader despite them having other people as their co-leaders, Jonathan Bartley (a councillor in London) and Sian Berry (a London assembly member). They don't seem to get on badly though (not that the party is lacking internal drama, but most of it is among figures too minor to be known by anyone outside the party itself and a few dedicated nerds elsewhere in the political world).
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on June 20, 2021, 06:03:47 PM
Some of you may remember the story of how Jason Kenney used ingenious and possibly criminal means to unite the upstart Wildrose and establishment Progressive Conservative parties in Alberta.  As it turns out that he can't make oil prices rise or other provinces and states approve oil pipelines, some of the remaining right-wing parties coalesced into the Wildrose Independence Party (https://wildrose.party/) with provisional leader Paul Hinman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Hinman).  He is the only candidate for first official leader.  One poll has them with the support of 17% of voters, although since they were founded in July 2020 its hard to know if that will stick.

If I had to guess I would say that Alberta politics will remain in its two-party system of United Conservative Party vs. NDP, but other systems are possible.  Its definitely more exciting than the old one-party system.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on July 09, 2021, 04:14:44 AM
The CBC has a pretty good human-interest story on one of the communities isolated by the restrictions on border crossing https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/point-roberts-border-pandemic-1.6093133  Granted that the US was in a situation until 7 January 2021, but there would probably have been a way to solve Point Roberts' problems in spring 2021 if governments had willed to do so.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on August 06, 2021, 12:00:25 AM
Physics professor and former BC Green leader Andrew J. Weaver has something to say about local municipal politics (4 municipalities with their own mayors, councils, and police forces in one continuous urban area you can drive across in 40 minutes, and 9 nearby municipalities) in the local city paper (https://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-don-t-use-climate-change-as-an-excuse-for-bad-ideas-1.24348740):

Quote
There is no doubt that over the years most of the Capital Regional District’s 13 municipal councils, including Victoria, have shown commendable leadership on the climate change file. But unlike most councils, Victoria council’s decision-making process is mired in never-ending controversy. It strikes me that ideology, rather than evidence-based decision-making, is what guides many in their council chambers.

And this brings me to the teachable moment.

When you justify a poor decision by evoking climate change, you end up polarizing the electorate into two camps: Cheerleaders who blindly, and unquestionably, follow along; and those who recognize the illogical string of arguments in the justification.

Many in the latter group will inevitably start to question other worthwhile climate change mitigation initiatives. The danger is that ideologues on the far right of the political spectrum will take advantage of the growing cynicism embodied in the second group to advance their own causes.


Many in the so-called “progressive” movement need to take a good hard look at themselves in the mirror. I suggest that their virtue signaling and intolerance of dissent or competing views is not too dissimilar from the actions of the alt-right who deny even the very existence of global warming.

One of the most important tasks for Canadians right now is stamping out infections of madness from the USA and UK whenever they drift over the border.  We can't help folks there in their current state of mind, but we can make sure that our societies keep running so when they can see the outside world again, it still exists.  And my experience in the 2010s taught me that imitating the kind of politics which does well on English-language corporate social media is as counterproductive as self-medicating against COVID with something a friend of a friend shared on Instagram.



Oh, and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh sent an open letter to the new Governor General asking her to refuse any request to dissolve parliament and trigger an early election in the near future.  The Governor General does many things which can be criticized (see proroguing, use of by Stephen Harper) and when the fixed-term election act was passed in 2007 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixed_election_dates_in_Canada#Federal) there was talk that the Governor General might enforce it (https://kamloopsndp.ca/globe-and-mail-jagmeet-singh-is-right-there-is-a-law-against-snap-elections/).  But for the Governor General to refuse such a request would be rather unusual. and get many professional sharers of opinions in Ontario excited.



Independent MP for Vancouver-Granville Jody Wilson-Raybould published the following letter on her script-heavy website:

Quote
I would like to share some news. I will not be running as a candidate in the next federal election to be the Member of Parliament for our riding of Vancouver Granville.

This was not an easy or quick decision to make. It came about through long reflection on and writing about my own experiences in Ottawa, insights others have shared with me, and a growing realization of the depth of the shifts needed in our political culture.

I have not made this decision in order to spend more time with my family or to focus on other challenges and pursuits.

From my seat over the last six years, I have noticed a change in Parliament, a regression. It has become more and more toxic and ineffective while simultaneously marginalizing individuals from certain backgrounds. Federal politics is, in my view, increasingly a disgraceful triumph of harmful partisanship over substantive action. In 2015, I ran to be the MP in our newly created riding of Vancouver Granville to drive change on the critical issues facing our community and all Canadians, including Indigenous reconciliation, climate change, social and racial justice, and building an enduring economy in a rapidly shifting world. Fighting for transformative change on these matters is what I was doing before becoming your MP, when I was the Regional Chief of British Columbia. And this is what I will continue to do in our community and across the country after my time as MP ends.

I am leaving to carry on this work in different venues.

The letter continues but I won't link because its one of those SquareSpace sites which are blank unless you enable scripts.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on August 09, 2021, 05:50:16 AM
Since I have criticized the federal government for its handling of communities in the US whose only land border is with Canada, I should say that Canada is doing something for them: residents of those communities can enter Canada without proof of vaccination as of Monday 9 August (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/border-reopens-point-roberts-confusion-1.6134438).  Right now, Canadians still can't enter any part of the USA, but that may change in the near future.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on August 16, 2021, 05:26:31 AM
Neither pandemic nor Elections Act nor the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban before friends could be evacuated has stopped Justin Trudeau from calling an early election in hopes of getting a majority government before the next budget.  The approximate date to dissolve parliament was decided months ago, probably based on polling and projections about the pandemic.  I think the best plausible outcome would be for him to end up with a weaker minority but we will see.

There are now Canadian special forces in Afghanistan (the previous military mission ended in ?2014?).  The post-Harper Liberals and Conservatives like special forces because the Prime Minister's Office can send them to fight in places like Syria and Iraq without the parliamentary or journalistic oversight over the main Canadian Forces and Reserves.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on August 18, 2021, 07:57:19 PM
Would anyone be interested in posts on this election?  I feel like there is not much to add since 2019 and I have no idea how many people are reading these any more.

Its not clear at all to me what Justin Trudeau could do with a majority that he can't do with a strong minority, other than shut down awkward questions from parliament about his various abuses of authority.  More voters have their wishes represented in a minority government than a majority government where 40% of the votes grant 99% of the power.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on August 19, 2021, 10:58:48 AM
I read these, and election stuff is probably easier for me to engage with than the scandals and policy shifts of local politics in Canada, I guess because it's a more familiar system.

I also agree regarding minority governments - majority governments in any sensible electoral system should be an extreme rarity really. Unless there are any specific liberal policies that both the NDP and Conservatives hate. This would be the case if e.g. there was a Lib Dem government in the UK, but the Canadian liberals seem a bit more typically centrist and the NDP less socially conservative than Labour such that it's probably easier for a Can-Liberal minority to get most things done by being able to reach either left or right?
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on August 20, 2021, 03:10:00 AM
I read these, and election stuff is probably easier for me to engage with than the scandals and policy shifts of local politics in Canada, I guess because it's a more familiar system.

I also agree regarding minority governments - majority governments in any sensible electoral system should be an extreme rarity really. Unless there are any specific liberal policies that both the NDP and Conservatives hate. This would be the case if e.g. there was a Lib Dem government in the UK, but the Canadian liberals seem a bit more typically centrist and the NDP less socially conservative than Labour such that it's probably easier for a Can-Liberal minority to get most things done by being able to reach either left or right?
I think that this government (and the previous Harper minority governments) gets legislation passed by making deals with whatever opposition party seems most supportive of a particular measure.  That might be the Bloc for an act with some money for Quebec or the NDP for healthcare spending. 

Its hard to talk about policy because this government does not have a set of big new agendas like the 2015 Liberal government.  Its hard to see why providing clean water to all First Nations is taking so long.  Health care is a provincial responsibility, so Ottawa has splashed around some money and handled US relations but nothing like the situation in the UK.  And I'm not really in a position to talk about the details of everyday policymaking and the management of the federal bureaucracy.

Edit: Harper had a clear goal in everyday policy: to degrade the capacity of the Canadian state to help Canadians and to make evidence-based decisions.  His concept of the role of the federal state was out of the early 19th century.  I have trouble saying anything about the day-to-day activity of the 2019 Trudeau government, other than things like the SNC Lavalin affair where he wrote legislation side by side with a specific company which wanted to apply it.  There are many things worse than 'vaguely competent, lefty in rhetoric but small-c conservative in practice' but its hard to talk about.

The election was probably called when it is because every adult in Canada who wants a vaccination will be vaccinated, but the winter wave of COVID will not be bad yet, and the next federal budget with accounting for pandemic spending and losses is not yet due.  So if your goal is to get a majority, its probably a good time, but if your goal is to enact specific policies I am not sure what the Liberals have in mind.

The Tories have apparently released their platform (https://cpcassets.conservative.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/16102359/f8279981721e07a.pdf) already but I have not browsed it.  In my riding the candidates are not yet announced (people can be nominated until 31 August, the vote is on 20 September).  My MP has a lot of lawn signs out already.  I will wait to see what the Liberals say they want to do with a majority.


MP Derek Sloan, who was ejected from the Conservative caucus in January, has decided to run again not in his Ontario riding but in a riding in Alberta (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/derek-sloan-calgary-conservative-doreen-barrie-duane-bratt-1.6146827) where the incumbent Conservative MP got 71% (!) of the vote in 2019. 
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on August 22, 2021, 11:10:46 AM
Out of interest, has that tended to include many Lib-Con deals on legislation, or are the vast majority of these deals with opposition parties actually done with the slightly smaller parties?
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on August 22, 2021, 05:26:30 PM
During a Canadian federal campaign the party leaders fly around and speak to audiences in the tens and low hundreds with the occasional larger rally or press conference.  The Conservatives seem to be trying to raise the profile of their leader Erin O'Toole and his more moderate flavour of conservatism, while the Liberals are trying to use "why don't you require all candidates to be vaccinated?" and abortion rights as wedge issues against them.

Edit: in my riding the major parties have all nominated candidates, but apparently Elections Canada does not record them until the end of the nomination period.  Meanwhile almost all the lawn signs I see are for my MP.

Out of interest, has that tended to include many Lib-Con deals on legislation, or are the vast majority of these deals with opposition parties actually done with the slightly smaller parties?
I would have to check bill by bill at https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/votes  I note that bill C-254 (https://www.parl.ca/LegisInfo/BillDetails.aspx?Language=E&billId=10969284), a private member's bill introduced by a Bloc MP, passed its second reading without much support from the Liberals.

The third reading of Bill C-30 (https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/votes/43/2/185), the implementation of some pandemic spending and tax credits, was basically a party-line vote with the Conservatives plus Derek Sloan and one other Independent against and everyone else for.

The Conservative platform does present them as victims of "the Liberals, NDP, and Greens."



Its also worth noting that in Alberta we now have the United Conservative Party (provincial), a Wildrose Independence Party (provincial), an Alberta Party, a Maverick Party (formerly Wexit Party), Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada, and Derek Sloan's campaign.  There is a lot of ferment among the hard right in the prairie provinces as people feel the old Tories and Progressive Conservatives are not meeting their needs (and hard right Anglo-Canadians heading to Alberta because they think it is the stronghold of hard right beliefs in Canada).  I can't think of anything similar on the left.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on August 29, 2021, 07:47:23 PM
Twice while campaigning in BC, Trudeau has had to hide from youthful and indigenous protestors complaining about police violence at the Fairy Creek old-growth forest and oil pipelines.  He has disappeared inside his van or an airport.  In Southern Ontario, his events are being disrupted by groups of protestors shouting slogans about lockdowns and using foul language and racist and misogynist slurs.  He and his campaign staff are happy to talk to reporters about that (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-protest-racist-death-threat-sexist-1.6157617).

Doug Ford, the Progressive Conservative premier of Ontario, is not only on vacation, he has allegedly ordered ministers not to campaign at federal Conservative events and if they do attend not to post any record of their presence on social media.



The Toronto Star has a piece on the back-room negotiations between the Ontario Progessive Conservatives and federal Liberals (https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal-election/2021/08/16/doug-ford-was-justin-trudeaus-punching-bag-in-2019-for-this-campaign-insiders-say-the-leaders-have-called-a-truce.html) which control what we see of those parties during the campaign.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on September 04, 2021, 06:58:43 AM
Possibly of interest: Alex Usher, a vaguely centre-right consultant and the only person commenting on higher education in Canada full time, is starting to analyze the parties' education platforms https://higheredstrategy.com/2021-pse-platforms-the-conservative-party/

and the CBC has a piece on one of the problems in Canadian politics, the housing crisis
https://www.cbc.ca/radio/checkup/how-affordable-is-your-housing-situation-right-now-1.6155647/measures-to-make-housing-more-affordable-wouldn-t-be-popular-with-voters-economist-1.6155683  It does not talk about all the money obtained in dubious ways overseas being flooded into Canadian real estate to get it into global capital markets.  That obviously drives up housing prices especially in British Columbia.

Canada faces real issues - a global pandemic, an authoritarian and unstable neighbour trying to get us into a fight with another authoritarian great power, tainted recreational drugs which are killing more people than the pandemic, climate change, people becoming homeless because of housing prices - and I wish our elections and political thinking were at all serious.



Due to infighting, the Greens have slipped to the same level in national polls as Maxime Bernier's hard-right People's Party of Canada (https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/elections/poll-tracker/canada/), about 4% support.  Polls are very unreliable in Canada and national-level or provincial-level polls are useless, but I suspect the party will lose its second seat leaving MP and former leader Elizabeth May.  That would be a very bad thing for the party because I am starting to think that both the new leader and her need to be showed the door and a larger pool of figures needs to start doing the work.


The Greens only have candidates in 75% of ridings, and Annamie Paul has only campaigned outside the Toronto riding she wants to win once (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/annamie-paul-green-party-federal-election-1.6162700) (and that was in another TO riding).  That makes sense for the internal power struggle within the Greens (a party leader with a seat would be hard to dislodge) but must contribute to the fall in national support.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on September 09, 2021, 07:26:42 AM
As further evidence that this is a boring and stupid election, the Liberals are trying to use firearms policy as a wedge issue between L/C swing voters and a vocal minority of the Tory base. As I have said before, Canada has firearms laws which should be effective at reducing homicides on paper, but we are not so good at things like tracking where the guns used in homicides come from (or investigating reports that people with friends in the RCMP are stockpiling weapons after being banned from possessing them).  Reducing violence between drug gangs or reducing the flow of handguns from the United States is HARD, but banning another scary-sounding weapon is easy and works on people who don't follow firearms policy.

It also entrenches firearms policy as a partisan issue, and gives hunters and collectors more bureaucratic hoops to jump, but this election is about people and power not policy positions.  When we wanted to, we got data and found that changes in firearms law had reduced suicides as intended, but right now the government does not want clear evidence on questions like "what percentage of the firearms used in crimes were legally imported into Canada for civilian use?"

Edit: for the Liberals to accuse the Tories of not being tough on legal gun owners is exactly as creative as parties in a British election to argue about who would do the most for the NHS or for parties in a US election to appeal to the Revolution and the Founding Fathers - they keep doing it because it works, but if you pay attention to federal politics you have heard it all before and its unlikely to result in substantive change
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on September 09, 2021, 09:37:39 PM
I've been seeing some discussion of the election in my circles and social media timelines, almost all focused on Trudeau - usually a "this announcement is good but also very minimal compared to what's really needed" on any given topic. Although there was some more approving sentiment around a clip of him delivering a sharply worded put-down to some Covid-denier media group.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on September 09, 2021, 11:09:11 PM
I've been seeing some discussion of the election in my circles and social media timelines, almost all focused on Trudeau - usually a "this announcement is good but also very minimal compared to what's really needed" on any given topic. Although there was some more approving sentiment around a clip of him delivering a sharply worded put-down to some Covid-denier media group.
I actually only know two people face-to-face who talk about Canadian politics.

On one hand the policy convergence between the three major parties is a good thing, because most of the differences are debates about "is that the best way to spend that money?" or "would that policy achieve its stated objective?" rather than "are $minorityGroup people?"  Whoever is Prime Minister at the end of September, not much will change.

But on the other hand, the only new things to talk about are "WFT is going on inside the Geen Party of Canada?" and maybe "is Erin O'Toole really the moderate conservative of his platform?"  I guess Justin Trudeau got caught offering that $900 million contract to a charity slash company which had paid Trudeau family members generous speaker fees, but "Justin Trudeau is not the innocent reformer he claimed to be in 2015" was a theme of the last election.  There are big domestic issues like RCMP reform and Canadian participation in the wars in Syria and Iraq but I don't see much interest in them by the campaigns.

I might have one more post about platforms (the Greens are not releasing a proper one, just a series of policy positions which have not been submitted to the Parliamentary Budget Office for cost estimates).


Canadian media are focused on the unexpected rise of Erin O'Toole's Conservatives, because the Tories getting the largest number of seats would be different and unexpected.  (Its not clear that they could form government if there was a plausible coalition including the Liberals but not them, but Harper managed it and the parties will have no cash at the end of the month so you can imagine scenarios where they form government without too much handwaving).



Edit 2021-09-10: Looking at the candidates in my riding, the top four all seem like thoughtful people with a broadly materialistic world-view about policy (Elizabeth May is enthusiastic about being some kind of Christian).  Here are interviews with the candidates in the local daily paper (https://www.timescolonist.com/elections/saanich-gulf-islands-riding-profile-and-candidates-1.24354545), a Q&A about old-growth logging (https://www.gulfislandsdriftwood.com/opinion/candidates-answer-old-growth-question/), and a short radio interview with the Green, NDP, and Conservative candidates (https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-48-on-the-island/clip/15865459-just-10-days-election-day-spoke-three).  As you can see, there is a lot of agreement about what issues locals are concerned about and in what direction things should change.  The problem is that the systems in parties and parliament and the old media get in the way of the thoughtful, well-meaning people who want to get things done.

Elizabeth May has a reputation for providing excellent services through her constituent office which is another of those issues that gets erased in the Ottawa and Toronto media
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on September 14, 2021, 03:46:41 AM
Today I voted in advance (walked over to a local high school with photo ID and a form which came in the mail and marked my ballot with a pencil stub).

More standard operating procedures: parties have volunteers dredge through candidates' social media histories and release the controversial bits when it is too late or forbidden for parties to nominate another candidate.  This time, targets included Conservative candidate Lisa Robinson in the Beaches-East York riding and the posts were on twitter.  She denies that the account was hers.

This is a big deal if you happen to be in one of the ridings where a candidate is targeted, but since the 2010s it hits about 1% of candidates in every election.  Before the web people dug up trash in other ways, they just had to go out and talk to people and sort through newspaper morgues.



So far, the increase in advanced voting and vote by mail due to the pandemic seems to have been less than expected (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mail-in-voting-deadline-1.6173854) (CBC). 



Oh, and a Liberal MP in Ontario has withdrawn his candidacy after being accused of sexual harassment by a staffer (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/raj-saini-severance-standing-down-1.6174178).  That suddenly puts that riding up in the air since the party which won last time now has no candidate and its too late to nominate a new one.  The candidate denies the allegations.  But after #meTo, "elected official accused of sexual misconduct" is a dog bites man story.  (In this post, bold marks the bits of a controversy which in a game about Canadian politics could be generated by a random-number generator, although to the people involved each is unique and important).
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on September 15, 2021, 05:52:19 PM
I suppose that the one new thing in the last weeks of this campaign is that Maxime Bernier's (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxime_Bernier) People's Party of Canada is now polling at 4-8% nationally after he started to make nice with the anti-vaccine protesters.  Éric Grenier has some half decent analysis (https://www.thewrit.ca/p/who-is-voting-for-the-ppc-and-will) on his Substack.

Under First Past the Post, some people tell pollsters they will vote for a small party then pick a big party on election day, so unless the PPC gets a seat, or keeps enough support to be elegible for the debates in the next election, this will likely have no effect on results.  Its just possible that the PPC drains off enough support for the Tories to put them second in some close ridings, but I think its more likely that most of their votes will be in Tory safe seats.

Gerald Butts, the former Prime Minister's Office staffer who caused the SNC-Lavalin scandal, has been getting some work as a commentator. Obviously such a skillful, truthful, and nonpartisan person is an excellent authority for journalists to rely upon :headdesk:
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on September 15, 2021, 06:34:36 PM
Hmm, I'd expect anti vaxx support to be quite evenly distributed rather than pooling in already conservative seats. It's something that spreads well via tech more than in person which tends to lead to more even distributions electorally.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on September 15, 2021, 06:47:12 PM
Hmm, I'd expect anti vaxx support to be quite evenly distributed rather than pooling in already conservative seats. It's something that spreads well via tech more than in person which tends to lead to more even distributions electorally.
I don't think that is the case in Canada.  While the Internet allows the idea to spread rapidly to new communities, to become popular  in one it needs existing fissures and distrust of authorities.  In BC there is a large unvaccinated population in the south-eastern valleys, which is why cases hvae been exploding there but not in Vancouver like they did during the first year of the pandemic.  I think in the USA some black populations are suspicious because of the history of doctors in the USA using blacks and prisoners and people in the US overseas territories as lab rats.  But as a comment to Grenier's post said, Bernier's "broad shallow" support is exactly the opposite of how successful new parties have been built in Canada since 1918.

(https://www.bookandsword.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Screenshot_2021-09-15-B-C-COVID-19-Dashboard.png)
Orange is the southeastern valleys ("BC interior"), purple is Greater Vancouver, red is the adjoining mountains, all dates in 2021



There is also a strong base for "restricting gatherings due to the pandemic is unacceptable" thinking in the prairie provinces. A lot of the aggressive protests against the prime minister seem to be in southern Ontario.



This random substack has an analysis of PPC voters which disagrees with some of the things I said above (although agrees that there is a remarkable consensus between the three major parties) https://theline.substack.com/p/matt-gurney-we-know-who-the-ppc-voters  Some other PPC policies like anti-immigration and explicit climate-change denialism (versus "make me carbon-neutral, oh lord, but not yet") are strongly Tory-coded.  Under First Past the Post, the rural areas with low vaccination rates tend to send NDPers or Conservatives to Ottawa.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on September 21, 2021, 10:16:06 AM
Well, I've occasionally had strong criticisms that Exilian has too many votes over not enough substance, but I guess at least I've never spent six hundred million dollars on getting basically the same result after a vote that we had beforehand. I guess it will be interesting to see what the vote breakdowns look like when I have energy to hunt for some, though a quick google wasn't finding me what I wanted there (e.g. a results readout with the ability to show vote share for parties, filter by seats changing hands, re-map to a population-adjusted map, etc).
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on September 21, 2021, 04:55:35 PM
Elections Canada has a good "results tracking" page https://enr.elections.ca/National.aspx?lang=e  Canadian bureaucrats are usually not good at timely sharing of data, but Elections Canada is.

The mail-in votes are counted separately so some seats may change hands over the next few weeks.  For example, Nanaimo-Ladysmith has a close three-way race and 8,000 ballots to count which is about 15% as many as the total the total of counted ballots for those three leading candidates.  Paul Manly the Green incumbent is currently in third but its possible that mail-in ballots will have different demographics than the votes cast in person.

The three mechanical challenges this election were that many mail-in ballots arrived at electors late or at the wrong address, and that since it was September many students had just moved and had trouble proving their new address. In Canada a lease or bank statement or car insurance will do fine as proof of address.  Elections Canada also chose not to hold polls on campuses, so suburban polls were clogged up with electors who had to try to prove their current address and make sure they were at the right poll for that address.

Probably the most significant result is that the People's Party of Canada did get 5% of the vote.  That brings them much closer to being a real party and not just Maxime Bernier's personal project https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/platform

Edit: here is an OK explainer of how voting by mail works in Canada https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/federal-election-2021/record-number-of-mail-in-ballots-means-final-election-results-could-take-a-while-1.5593216  Ballots can be sent in by mail or dropped off in a ballot box at one of the polls.

Edit: it may be significant that the Green Party got a seat in Southern Ontario (the arrowhead of aerable land between the Great Lakes).  Southern Ontario is Anglo Canada's London or New York + LA, its the tiny area in a large country which the deeply parochial chattering class sees as real, so representation there gets disproportionate attention in the national media.  OTOH, Annamie Paul only got 8.5% of the vote in her riding of Toronto Centre despite spending almost the entire campaign there, and that chattering class loved to gossip about infighting inside the Greens. 



Now here is a story: one of the candidates who is currently ahead in his riding was rejected by the Liberals two days before the vote over a 2019 charge of sexual assault https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/undecided-races-2021-federal-election-1.6185685
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on September 24, 2021, 05:57:38 PM
I am seeing some people in love with the sound of their own voices pronounce that Canadians must be satisfied with the current situation.  I think its more that the people who are not satisfied are not sure how to change that by voting under the current system and with such strong agreement between the three major party platforms.  If last election party A's candidate came first, party B's candidate came second, and party C's candidate came third, switching from A to C can result in B being elected.  Coalition negotiations under modern voting systems can be complicated, but voters can be sure that voting for party C will get C more seats in the legislature and won't cause their least-favourite party to get more seats.

I am also seeing speculation that former Green voters turned to the PPC because the Greens were the only party with a dramatic loss of votes.  I have not seen any surveys which back that, and its also possible that some traditional Green supporters stayed home (or split among the major parties) while new voters came out to vote PPC.  Since PPC supporters are not the kind of people who politely and honestly answer phone surveys or reporters' questions, it may be hard to get a sense of who actually voted for them.



Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/meng-wanzhou-us-court-1.6188093) has reached a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (the same legal mechanism which wrecked the 2015 Liberal government!) with the US government.  The two Canadian hostages in Chinese prisons will probably be deported to Canada by spring 2022.



And the two Michaels are back in Canada.  We now have a very tough task of figuring out a response to China without being dragged into some plain old great-power encirclement of a rising great power.  Canada was first fooled into this in the Boer War and it has rarely turned out well for anyone except the local worms.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on September 26, 2021, 05:44:30 PM
Yes, FPTP locks dissatisfied voters into their current party coalitions more heavily than PR systems tend to (or pushes them into the nonvoting bloc eventually if they only ever vote for losing candidates). One thing I've also realised in recent years is the extent to which many voters don't necessarily understand that their district representatives aren't necessarily in government even if they win, which is an interesting source of anti-incumbency sentiment sometimes (in the North of England there have been suggestionst hat this is a problem for Labour, as voters in Labour areas blame the party, because it controls their area at all levels of government, rather than the government which is actually doing the things people are objecting to).

I think a party on five percent under FPTP is only stable if that's geographically concentrated enough to turn into seat count. UKIP reached more than double that in the UK at one point and is now in tatters. So I'm not sure how happy the PPC really ought to be with that result.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on September 26, 2021, 06:15:28 PM
I have also seen an argument that there are feedback loops: as (for example) the NDP has trouble winning rural seats against the Conservatives, its MPs tend to be urban and less aware of rural issues, so rural voters start to tune them out.  This election the Conservatives lost about seven suburban ridings in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto which they previously held.

I also see people who don't understand how coalition negotiations work, such as an Italian friend.  It does not help that journalists in Canada often talk about which party or leader "won" when at everything short of a majority, the election is just the first step in forming the government.  But I still think that "if I vote for party A, party A will have more seats in parliament" is easier to understand than many-party first-past-the-post.

OTOH, I like this map of the election results where each riding gets the same area https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Canadian_Federal_Election_Cartogram_2021.svg  In national maps, thinly-populated rural areas tend to drown out the three urban areas where 1/3 of the population of Canada lives.  This is not the final results (it is missing the Green seat in Ontario) but still an alternative to maps of space.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on September 27, 2021, 11:42:22 AM
Oh, yes, that sort of cartogram/same area map is exactly what I'd been looking for earlier and not found, those are really helpful. Thanks!
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on September 28, 2021, 03:01:26 AM
One thing I've also realised in recent years is the extent to which many voters don't necessarily understand that their district representatives aren't necessarily in government even if they win, which is an interesting source of anti-incumbency sentiment sometimes (in the North of England there have been suggestionst hat this is a problem for Labour, as voters in Labour areas blame the party, because it controls their area at all levels of government, rather than the government which is actually doing the things people are objecting to).
That is actually one of the obstacles of electoral reform in Canada, there is a large constituency for the 19th century idea of having a single MP as patron to appeal to.  But not many Canadians have that kind of relationship in practice, and MPs in most parties are tied down by strong party discipline and staffers appointed by the party head, so its not easy for a MP to respond to constituents' concerns in parliament.  One of our biggest problems in federal politics is that nobody believes in the 19th century norms on which our parliamentary system was based, but there is no appetite for changing the system to reflect the values our parties and MPs actually have.

Canada is very well-represented in far-right circles (the cranks who call themselves sovereign citizens or freemen on the land (https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Freeman_on_the_land) have joined up with the anti-vaxers) but the People's Party of Canada have a lot of steps ahead of them before they can pass a bill or nominate a minister.  Like UKIP, they might pull Tory policy in a xenophobic direction, but if Maxime Bernier had become Tory leader he could have done that directly.



Annamie Paul has resigned as leader of the Green Party of Canada.  Journalists like speculating which parties will replace their leaders, I think its a neurotypical thing?
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on September 30, 2021, 10:57:05 PM
On the rise of the People's Party of Canada, its worth noting that in Alberta, the social-democratic, workers' New Democratic Party and the Liberals collectively gained almost 10% in vote share, while the PPC and the regional-nationalist Maverick Party gained about 6% between them.  The Conservatives went down from 69% of the vote to 55% in Alberta.  The Greens dropped from 2.8% of the vote to 0.9%.

A CBC reporter seems surprised by this (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/conservative-vote-alberta-election-1.6194190), but the NDP were the first party in Canada to break into national politics from a regional base, and that base was in the west.  Traditionally the NDP and Conservatives fight for rural seats west of Ontario because the Liberals are a bit too central-Canadian and urban.  So the big three parties are still perfectly capable of persuading each other's voters to switch sides, and only a minority of the people leaving the Conservatives are choosing radical new parties.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on October 09, 2021, 07:27:27 AM
The substantive policy issues (such as they are) in October are the form of the new government (will the Liberals make long-term agreements with one or more opposition parties or build a majority for each bill separately?), the composition of the new Liberal cabinet, and a group of bills regulating speech on the internet (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-liberals-parliamentary-agenda-lists-three-internet-regulation-bills-as/) which were abandoned in-progress when the election was called and will have to start again with the first reading.  Four women out of the 35 Liberal cabinet ministers lost their seats.  Journalists say that cabinet ministers in this government have mostly been figureheads with ill-defined, overlapping responsibilities and that staffers appointed by the Prime Minister's Office are the ones who actually decide and implement policy.  OTOH, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott were Liberal cabinet ministers under Trudeau.

Justin Trudeau celebrated his holding on to office with a small scandal.  Having created a National Day of Truth and Reconcilation because it was a Truth and Reconciliation Committee recommendation which didn't take anything away from people with power, he spent the first such day on vacation on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  Many people just took that day as a holiday, but it would have been wise for a PM to do something with indigenous people or residential-school survivors or just stay home.

Derek Sloan, the Ontario MP who was ejected from the Conservative caucus after repeatedly aligning himself with white supremacists, came fifth (less than 3% of the vote, behind the PPC) in his new riding in Alberta.

And after the recount, the two leading candidates in one riding were only 12 votes apart.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on October 16, 2021, 04:12:08 AM
We now have a date for the announcement of the new cabinet (26 October) and the first meeting of parliament (22 November).  The opposition leader are asking why we have a three-month break in parliament in the middle of a pandemic and a tainted drug crisis (the last government was dissolved in mid-August), and I rather agree.  But if your concept of government is sitting in a back room while deciding which of your employees to obey ... (shrugs in I just live here)
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on October 16, 2021, 10:10:53 AM
And after the recount, the two leading candidates in one riding were only 12 votes apart.
We had a seat in 2017 which the SNP took by a margin of two votes (North-East Fife).

I was discussing Canada recently when discussing UK boundary changes with friends and the differences of political culture: it's a serious issue here that Caithness, Sutherland, and Ross, the northernmost mainland constituency, is being expanded into a new Highland North due to its low population, which will be over-massive to the point where it'll be very hard for the MP to rotate around the towns and do advice surgeries and so on. However, most countries don't have quite this practice of direct access to MPs - and so e.g. Nunavut is a single-member constituency despite being many, many times the size of the UK.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on October 22, 2021, 03:34:44 AM
The size of rural ridings is already one of the barriers to proportional representation in Canada.  Its hard to persuade rural people to be even more physically and socially removed from their representative.  A likely solution is to switch the ten biggest metropolitan areas in Canada into groups of ridings and distribute those proportionally, while keeping FPtP for large rural ridings.  A third of the population of the country live in three metropolitan areas.


Two issues I have talked about before continue to grind forward: no less than ten servicemembers of the rank of general / admiral and up and one commander in charge of the Canadian Navy's training school in Halifax have been investigated, retired, or shifted into less visible positions due to accusations of sexual misconduct https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/sexual-misconduct-military-senior-leaders-dnd-caf-1.6218683

And after the incident in December 2019 when an indigenous grandfather and an indigenous child were handcuffed for trying to open bank accounts with their First Nations status cards, the Vancouver Police are changing their policy on handcuffing people taken into custody https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vpd-makes-policy-changes-following-bmo-handcuffing-incident-1.6218439
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: Jubal on October 22, 2021, 10:13:16 AM
Why not do the whole thing STV, mostly multi-member seats but with some single-member seats in the big rural areas (which become AV preference voting single-member seats, like Australia's)? That would seem the obvious solution to the issue to me.
Title: Re: Canadian Politics 2021
Post by: dubsartur on October 22, 2021, 04:49:47 PM
Why not do the whole thing STV, mostly multi-member seats but with some single-member seats in the big rural areas (which become AV preference voting single-member seats, like Australia's)? That would seem the obvious solution to the issue to me.
Its hard to remember the Before Times and separate the talking heads' pretexts from actual voters' concerns, but as best as I could recall the objections to STV were that its more complicated and that it could favour the Liberals.  But its hard to remember the Before Times and there was a lot of nonsense thrown up by people who like being able to get 95% of the power with 35-40% of the vote.  Elizabeth May believes that the parliamentary committee could have found a system they agreed on if Justin Trudeau had given them a bit more time.

How would multi-member seats under STV work?  Keep eliminating the candidate with the least votes until there are n candidates left not one candidate left?  Would not that create problems where there are say five members and one party has 40% support and should get two seats?