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Including our popular Dealing with Government series.
Bill C-60 ‘May constrain CBC independence’
June 20, 2013 | Patrick Brown
TThis spring’s federal budget implementation bill conflicts with the Broadcasting Act, which gives the CBC exclusive powers to set its own salaries, and mandates an arms-length relationship with the government.
Canadian democracy—pulse found!
May 9, 2013 | Elizabeth May, MP
Two encouraging signs of Canadian democracy have been observed, says Elizabeth May. In the Parliamentary Budget Officer case, the court ruled that MPs have a right to information about government budget cuts. On April 23, Speaker Scheer supported the right of any MP to a 60-second statement, without prior approval of the MP’s party. The details are revealing.
Nanaimo Port Authority plans to privatize government dock
March 14, 2013 | Patrick Brown
Without talking to the locals, the federal port authority has signed an MOU with an American-based company for a 30-year lease of the 70-year old public facility on the downtown waterfront, in exchange for a $9-million upgrade. Will there be a place for everyone,—fishers, small ferries, commuters—and what will they have to pay?
Undermining the Charter
March 14, 2013 | Patrick Brown
In recent years the federal Department of Justice has been looking a legislation to see if it can be spun not to conflict with the Charter of Rights, rather than its traditional duty to see if legislation supports the Charters aims.
Western judges ‘all change’
March 14, 2013 | Patrick Brown
The curious change of the elevation of judges, leaving seminal cases under new management.
Tightening the grip: muzzling of scientists ramps up
February 28, 2013 | Elizabeth May
Federal scientists must not only get government approval in speaking to the press, they must have approval for publishing peer review papers and for applying for research grants.
Is the US finally going to move on the climate crisis?
February 14, 2013 | Elizabeth May
The climate for climate change appears to be changing in the United States. Elizabeth May tracks recent developments and talks about the clean-tech opportunity that Canada mustn’t miss.
Dependency and the housing crisis
January 31, 2013 | Sylvia Olsen
First Nations housing adviser, Sylvia Olsen, talks about the difficulties with conventional financing for First Nations home-buyers. She refutes the myth of dependency and shows how the current situation developed.
Idle No More and The Honour of the Crown
January 17, 2013 | Patrick Brown
Spurred by Chief Teresa Spence’s hunger strike, First Nations are waking up to a lack of consultation on measures which affect them in two 2012 omnibus bills. Does this duty to consult also include the Canada-China FIPA? (International treaties are named in modern Canada–First Nations Agreements.) Will the challenge to wholesale changes in legislation spread throughout Canada’s population?
What to make of the federal by-elections?
December 13, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
MP Elizabeth May sums up Canada’s recent by-elections and what we can learn from them.
Chance to get life-saving drugs to Africa-but will it pass?
November 29, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
MP Elizabeth May, recently voted Parliamentarian of the Year, reports on collaborative efforts to pass a bill that would facilitate access to life-savings drugs in Africa.
Spared the axe: the arguments that helped save the Plant Health Centre
November 15, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
In an engaging story, MP May tells what she knows of the decision to reverse the Harper government’s ‘cost-cutting’ closure of the Saanichton Plant Health Centre. Her discovery of the original reason for the centre’s location shows how one MP can make a difference!
Tangle of treaties: FIPA implications
November 15, 2012 | Patrick Brown
Patrick Brown asks if NAFTA and the proposed Canada-China FIPA will interact in ways disadvantageous to Canada, another aspect of this undebated treaty. Is it time for Parliament to take a closer look?
Budget bill treacherous to navigation
November 1, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
The next omnibus federal budget bill sinks Canada’s oldest law to protect our navigable waters.
Canada’s sovereignty threatened: what we are giving to China
October 18, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
MP Elizabeth May is ringing alarm bells! The Canada-China Investment Agreement, about to pass in the House without debate, exposes Canada to potential lawsuits if we limit Chinese-owned companies’ activities on our territory. Could this include the Northern Gateway pipeline?
Major trade agreements in the works
October 18, 2012 | Patrick Brown
Prime Minister Harper pushes ahead with new trade agreements involving European and Pacific countries. Patrick Brown provides details on the new deals and what they mean for Canadians.
The Nexen-CNOOC Deal & The Unasked Question
October 4, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
Why ring alarm bells over the proposal to allow the sale of Canadian energy giant Nexen to a Chinese government-controlled company?
First national political convention on Vancouver Island
September 6, 2012 | Nathan Grills
The ins-and-outs of the Green Party of Canada’s convention in Sidney, BC. In a hardworking and upbeat weekend, keynote speakers were former Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, Independent MP Bruce Hyer and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.
Stéphane Dion’s proportional vote proposal
September 6, 2012 | Patrick Brown
Speaking at the Green Party Convention, Dion outlined a proposal for a new federal voting system: the Proportional-Preferential-Personalized (P3) vote. It would allow fairer representation of all citizens from Canada’s regions without causing a proliferation of political parties that could splinter the country. A commitment to form a Royal Commission should become part of all political parties’ platforms before the next election, he urged.
Arctic promises—and protection—melting away
September 6, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
Elizabeth May explores the situation in the Canadian Arctic: broken promises, shut-down science, exploitive development, and no plan to responsibly manage this rapidly changing ecosystem and its inhabitants.
The Shell Game
August 23, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
Keeping up with Prime Minister Harper’s moves on the Enbridge debate is like trying to win a shell game, but MP May bets the latest con is a scheme to get the BC Liberals re-elected, continuing support for the Gateway Project.
British Columbia ‘firewall’, anyone?
August 9, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
Eleven years ago, Stephen Harper promoted provincial independence, calling for ‘firewalls’ to protect Alberta from a ‘hostile federal government’. Will he now do an about-face and over-ride provincial powers to fulfill his conviction that the Gateway pipeline project is in Canada’s ‘national interest’?
The Search For Heroes
July 26, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
Celebrating the few MPs who dared to challenge Harper’s oppressive regime, and finding a way to help more Conservatives become heroes.
Electoral boundary shuffle allows new Island seat
July 26, 2012 | Patrick Brown
Federal electoral area boundaries are being redrawn, resulting in a new House of Commons seat on Vancouver Island. August 30 is the registration deadline to present at a public hearing.
Values that rub off
July 12, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
The Canadian Government purports to address human rights abuses abroad through stronger trading relationships with dictatorships. The strategy is hypocritical, ineffective, and a national disgrace, says Elizabeth May.
As Parliament rises for the summer…
June 28, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
Elizabeth May reflects on Prime Minister Harper’s ‘pyrrhic victory’ over the budget implementation bill, C-38, and introduces her Genuine Progress Indicators Measurement Act.
Bill C-38 a ‘masquerade’, says May
June 14, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
Saanich Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May has tabled a Point of Order in the House of Commons which says that the omnibus budget bill, C-38, is imperfect and requires re-working. She calls upon the Speaker to rule that the bill should be withdrawn; if it is not, she has readied some 200 amendments, each to be voted on at Third Reading.
Our revolution of love, hope & community
June 14, 2012 | Ethan Cox
Ethan Cox describes the feeling of being involved in the current protest movement in Quebec. Neighbours and friends gather in the street every evening to participate in a ‘casserole’. More than just banging pots, it is an opportunity to connect with each other and build community.
Wave farewell to science…
May 31, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
Elizabeth May details budget cuts to scientific programs, which she describes as a ‘devasting decision to stop studying the natural world.’
The ongoing attack on charities
May 17, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
A succinct but shocking tour of the elaboration of the March 29 budget speech into Bill C-38. Once again, the Conservatives have bundled the unraveling of fundamental Canadian laws into scarcely related legislation—‘over 400 pages repealing, amending or otherwise revising 70 different pieces of legislation’.
The ongoing attack on charities
May 3, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
The federal budget has created a ‘chill’ in the activities of NGOs across Canada. Elizabeth May explains how.
May 3, 2012 | Patrick Brown
Patrick Brown explains that environmental review processes are being ‘streamlined’ under the federal budget. Is this a first step in cabinet usurping the power to make decisions?
Federal Budget 2012: a deceptive document
April 19, 2012 | Patrick Brown
Patrick Brown gives an overview of budget figures and where the money comes from and goes to.
F-35 jets: Auditor General found no-one acting responsibly
April 19, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
Reading the Auditor General’s report, Elizabeth May points out repeated violations in the fundamentals of normal procurement processes.
How did embracing voter suppression techniques become respectable?
March 22, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
Robocalls raise questions of other voter suppresion techniques—not all are illegal. Elizabeth May highlights widely used ways of keeping voters from the polls.
Robocalls scandal shocks Canada
March 8, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
MP Elizabeth May writes an in-depth on deceptive phone calls on the eve of the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. Was Saanich-Gulf Islands the prototype?
The assault on civil liberties and the rule of law
February 23, 2012 | Elizabeth May, MP
Ottawa Conservatives' twists and turns in omnibus, fast-tracked bills have them condoning torture, vigilante justice, internet spying, and instant jail-time for refugees. When will this end? Not just yet, thinks MP Elizabeth May.
Speech From The Throne… In Davos
February 23, 2012 | Patrick Brown
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prime Minister Harper talked of the burden of social programs in Western countries with aging populations. A veiled reference to Canada's Pension Plan and OAS made Canadians sit up. Is the unpredictable prime minister planning on raising Canada's retirement age?
Town Hall Meetings
February 9, 2012
Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May reports on the January town hall meetings and constituent survey results.
Making sense of climate agreements: a Kyoto Protocol primer
January 26, 2012
This 20-year backgrounder to climate treaties helps when thinking about Canada’s recent decision to start withdrawing from Kyoto—and why it’s important we reverse that decision.
Undebated crime billl to change Canadian justice system
December 15, 2011
Bill C-10 is omnibus legislation with considerable implications for Canada’s provinces. The Canadian Bar Association says the Bill’s increased emphasis on punishment and the removal of judges’ discretion in sentencing will do little to make communities safer. However, the federal Conservatives ignored requests for increased debate about the Bill’s details, further cementing their reputation as parliamentary 'bullies'. Before it passes through Senate, learn how C-10 could affect Canadian society.
Harper quashes climate change action, leaving Opposition MPs to clean up the mess
December 15, 2011 | Elizabeth May, MP
Prime Minister Harper excluded Opposition MPs from attending the climate change negotiations, so MP Elizabeth May went to Durban with the Papua New Guinea delegation. In an exclusive article for Island Tides, May illustrates the negotiation process and her efforts to counteract the world’s disappointment with Canada’s (non)participation in the 17th Conference of the Parties.
Pipelines and Tankers
December 1, 2011 | Elizabeth May, MP
The delayed Keystone XL pipeline promoted by Canadian company TransCanada Corporation would take bitumen crude from the Alberta tar sands to Texas refineries. Massive public outcry over plans to put the pipeline near a major aquifer in Nebraska deferred US project approval until after November 2012. Despite its promotion as a jobs creator, Canadian workers say the project would actually export jobs to the US.
Meanwhile, another major pipeline proposal, Enbridge’s Gateway project, is lining up to move Alberta bitumen to Kitimat, BC, and then to Asia by tanker. Its Environmental Assessment is beginning, with the Joint Review Process underway. Thousands have signed up to participate, and First Nations have already stated their opposition.
Canada could reduce its dependence on oil imports, create jobs, and protect the environment through investments in conservation and renewable energy sources—but it doesn't even have a national energy strategy.
Silencing debate: a government in a hurry
November 17, 2011 | Elizabeth May, MP
Elizabeth May gives a blow-by-blow on how debate is silenced. 'Why exactly?' she asks, with a majority government and a mandate till 2015.
Transparency with Public Funds: What are an MP's Obligations?
November 3, 2011 | Elizabeth May, MP
Ever wonder what your MP earns and spends? Elizabeth May is asking MPs from other parties to join her in publishing expenses, as she did in response to a CBC challenge. She explains the travel allowance budgets too.
Mystery of the Muzzled Scientists
October 20, 2011 | Elizabeth May, MP
Elizabeth May looks at the problem of experts unable to speak to the public, including DFO scientist Kristi Miller, expert on westcoast salmon.
Remembering Fraser Smith
October 6, 2011 | Elizabeth May, MP
A staunch Conservative who disagreed with his party's tough-on-crime agenda, Fraser Smith was an inspiring political leader. Elizabeth May remembers the man who turned in his membership cards to join the Green Party of Canada.
Will government create further hardship for families, immigrants and refugees?
September 22, 2011 | Elizabeth May, MP
May gives bizarre case-by-case examples of immigrant hardships in reuniting their families. She discusses backlogs, the mandate of skills at the expense of humanity, and focus on stopping 'human smuggling' rather than helping refugees.
The state funeral, the loss of Jack Layton, and what it means for Canadian politics
September 8, 2011 | Elizabeth May, MP
Can this devastating blow open a window of opportunity for inspiring political leadership?
A new look at jails
September 8, 2011 | Barry Mathias
Proposing that only violent people go to jail, and that we find a way for other criminals to work off their sentences.
Who owns what in Canada's press--an opportunity missed
August 25, 2011 | MP Elizabeth May
Calling for a policy debate to break up excessive media concentration.
Corporate control and freedom of the press
August 11, 2011 | MP Elizabeth May
What do the UK phone-hacking scandal, Kai Nagata's sensational resignation from CTV, and the concentration of ownership of Canadian media have in common? Freedom of the press is in a fragile state - Elizabeth May cautions against the vertical integration of corporate media.
Contempt and the Afghan Detainees
July 28, 2011 | MP Elizabeth May
Connecting the dots between the Harper government's refusal to release documentation of the treatment of Afghan prisoners, the Panel of Arbiters' work on the matter, and the remaining unreviewed government documents; Saanich-Gulf Islands MP May keeps this unresolved issue current.
Asbestos: Harper government earns world’s ire
July 14, 2011 | MP Elizabeth May
Canada's tactics at the Rotterdam Convention, the Green Party's 'I'm sorry' campaign in response, and how waning support for warning-less asbestos exports might empower Conservative MPs to take a stand.
Conservatives’ new labour law
July 14, 2011 | Patrick Brown
The majority Conservative government, by legislating the Canadian Union of Postal Workers back to work, set a dangerous precedent - wage settlements by legislation and the legislated use of Final Offer Selection.
Reacting to internet spying bill
July 14, 2011 | Sara Miles
Will Canadian internet crime policies be decided in an omnibus bill?
June 30, 2011
MP May's first month in Parliament is at times 'bizarre', 'shocking', and a marathon, as she spends 58 hours locked in the Canada Post debate without any other party members to spell her off.
If I were PM...
June 16, 2011
In her first report from Ottawa, find out what Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May would do with a term in the PM's seat.
The greening of Parliament: talking to Elizabeth May, MP
June 2, 2011
Island Tides' exclusive interview reveals MP May's plans for the next four years in Ottawa.
Not Just Another MP
May 19, 2011
Newly-elected Member of Parliament Elizabeth May represents a new political centre that has the power to unite Canadians.
Federal election results for BC's southern coast
May 19, 2011
Polling results for Vancouver Island North, Nanaimo-Alberni, Nanaimo–Cowichan, and Saanich-Gulf Islands ridings.
18 Greens polled third
May 19, 2011
Elizabeth May’s election victory in Saanich-Gulf Islands led a number of strong Green Party showings in electoral districts elsewhere in Canada.
No more lighthouses will be destaffed
April 7, 2011
An interview with Jim Abram gives a sea-level view of staffed lightstations.
The opportunity to elect a government
Aprill 7, 2011
Patrick Brown gives a reality check about Parliament and government. Notions of Canadian government have been skewed by the over-emphasis on party politics.
10 Questions for Candidates
April 7, 2011
What are the key questions to ask candidates to ensure they have a firm understanding of Canada's future?
Taking the Long View
April 7, 2011
Heather Martin suggests by looking back, we can have a better future for Canadian voting and government.
Let's put an end to political bullying
March 24, 2011
Heather Martin looks back on her personal connection to Michael Ignatieff and the current issue of mud-slinging in Ottawa.
Harper announces new helicopter base, again
March 10, 2011
A helicopter base for Saanich–Gulf Islands riding was announced in 2009 and was re-announced in February. Prime Minister Harper and his cabinet spent a week fanned out across the country re-announcing government allocations for photo opportunities.
Busy gulf island day for Green Party leader
March 10, 2011
A Galiano resident tells about a busy Island Sunday: May gave a guest sermon at St Margaret of Scotland Church, held a session with green party members and met and spoke with more than 100 Islanders.
Why corporate taxes cuts don't guarantee jobs
February 10, 2011
Elizabeth May does the math, shows why Canada's social system benefits employers and tells us why corporate tax cuts are not connected to more jobs.
Undebated trade agreement could turn Canada into a petrostate
January 27, 2011
This month's under the radar trade negotiations with the European Union could revert Canada to a quasi-third world 'hewer of wood and drawer of water'. Reprint combines commentary and backgrounder.
Halt destaffing of lighthouses, says Senate committee
January 13, 2011
Following a tour of lighthouses, a Senate Committee criticizes Coast Guard's cyclical reviews aimed at systematically destaffing lighthouses, saying that destaffing should only be considered on a lighthouses-by-lighthouse basis, with guidelines and consultation.
Senate kills climate bill
November 25, 2010
Despite being passed by The House of Commons, the Conservative-dominated Senate defeated the Bill C-311 without debate and without referring it to committee.
Senate committee probes lighthouses
November 25, 2010
BC's remaining 27 manned lightstations are slated for destaffing. Senators visit the coast to take a look.
The Harper hit list: keeping track of the heads that have rolled
September 30, 2010
The interplay of bureaucracy and politics has become dangerously unbalanced in Ottawa; competent, conscientious civil servants and agencies are becoming lost to democracy.
Greens strongly endorse leader Elizabeth May and talk policy
September 2, 2010
The Green Party Convention gave leader Elizabeth May 85% support and showcased topics such as the treatment of seniors; strengthening legislation concerning pensions and long term disability benefits; Senate reform; rebalancing relations between the federal and provincial governments; new carbon emissions targets, laws, and taxes; implementation of the precautionary principle; and high speed rail.
Editorial: Firing & Foot Shooting
September 2, 2010
Firing those who do not agree with him may backfire on the prime minister.
Why is Canada spending $16 billion on fighter jets?
August 5, 2010
Elizabeth May examines the unsuitability of these fighters for the Canadian armed forces, their process of acquisition, and how the money could otherwise have been spent.
Editorial: The PM - wrong, and no guts
August 5, 2010
The decision to cancel Stats Can's census long form succinctly demonstrates everything that is dangerously wrong with Stephen Harper's government.
Federal government cripples Environmental Assessment Act
April 29, 2010
Buried in the Budget Bill, Harper government's crippling amendments to the Environmental Assessment Act are assured of passage.
Dealing with government XXX: presenting the budget
March 18, 2010
Patrick Brown's tongue-in-cheek series looks at presenting the budget.
Shenanigans on the hill: the ins-and-outs of prorogations, confidence votes, elections and senate appointments
February 4, 2010
There's more to shutting down Parliament than meets the eye. Patrick Brown explains the twists and turns.
Talking About Ottawa: Fiscal Responsibility
February 4, 2010
Elizabeth May says that misuse of taxpayers money is continuing under the Conservative government.
Not such a free vote
December 3, 2009
Parliament's Second Reading of the bill to abolish the long gun registry was a finagle from top to bottom.
May joins international figures in climate change debate
October 22, 2009
'Climate change is mankind's defining crisis, and demands a commensurate response.' On the eve of the Copenhagen Climate Summit, December 1, the prestigious Munk Debate features four internationally known figures: Elizabeth May, George Monbiot, Lord Nigel Lawson, and Bjorn Lomborg. The debate will be broadcast live by streaming video at wwwmunkdebate.com, and on CPAC cable-TV channel. The debate will be rebroadcast on CBC Radio's 'Ideas' program.
GDP: Economics as if Nothing Mattered
October 22, 2009
GDP as a measure of society's well being is outdated; it simply measures the amount of money that changes hands. New indicators are ready to be used.
Internet and cellphone surveillance would be increased by proposed legislation
October 8, 2009
Proposed federal legislation would force internet providers to gather client information without the necessity for warrants, even though law enforcement and CSIS officers can only view it with a warrant.
Editorial: Parliamentary Farce
October 8, 2009
As shown by last week's confidence vote, the current shenanigans in Parliament are not effective minority government; just farcical party politics.
New attempts to destaff lightstations
September 24, 2009
Once again there is coastal opposition to the destaffing of four lightstations; does the move spell the end of staffing for 23 more lights on the BC coast?
May announces nomination in Saanich-Gulf Islands
September 10, 2009
Elizabeth May and Stuart Hertzog speak about their nominations to stand as Green Party candidates. Candidate selection is on September 19.
September 10, 2009
Two pieces of legislation: one North American, one British Columbian have quietly passed away. Both the Security and Prosperity Partnership and the Recognition and Reconciliation Act will be reincarnated.
Political scene heats up; Liberals and Greens will both have candidacy races in Saanich-Gulf Islands
August 27, 2009
First comes the federal Liberal Party candidate election on September 12th between Renée Hetherington and Kit Spence. Nominations opened for the Green Party candidacy on August 25. Both Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Stuart Herzog are expected to nominate; candidate election is on September 19.
Elizabeth May: Green Party candidate for Saanich-Gulf Islands?
July 2, 2009
Editor Christa Grace-Warrick interviews the Leader of the Green Party of Canada about her plans for the next federal election.
June 4, 2009
Patrick Brown reviews federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May's latest book, finding it an extraordinarily good read.
Pension funds need reform
April 23, 2009
If the Canada Pension Plan Fund, begun in 1966, had continued its initial policy of investing contributions only in government securities, its value at the end of the last fiscal year, March 31, 2009, might be some 21% higher than what can be expected with its current diversified investment strategy.
Secret agreement would extend TILMA-like penalties to all provinces
April 23, 2009
On December 5, 2008, federal, provincial, and territorial trade ministers signed two agreements extending the terms of the 1995 Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). The first agreement was made public only after it was signed. The second agreement, in which penalties are patterned on those included in the Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) has not yet been made public.
2007 federal election mysteries resurface
April 9, 2009
In the Saanich-Gulf Islands federal riding, questions about a last-minute telephone campaign for a candidate who had withdrawn, and the origin of four organizations who advertised for winning Conservative candidate Gary Lunn, still remain unanswered.
Water right of way threatened
March 12, 2009
The ancient common law right of citizens to travel Canada’s waterways may have been permanently damaged, particularly if they travel in small craft. Changes to the federal Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) will give the Minister of Transport the power to exempt waterways and specific projects from the Act, and consequently from environmental review.
Is Canada still pushing mortgage deregulation?
October 16, 2008 | Ellen Gould
At home and abroad, Canada's record on bank deregulation is nothing to crow about.
Effects of deep Integration and the SPP.
September 18, 2008 | Murray Dobbin
What will it take to persuade Canadians that, if they do not act soon to reverse the direction of their nation, there will be nothing left to save.
Strategic voting necessary till we have proportional representation
September 18, 2008
The steady decline of voter turn-out means that Canada is now governed by a political party chosen by less than one in four eligible voters.
Changing the climate in Ottawa
September 4, 2008
The Green Party of Canada has its first MP. In a surprise move, MP for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country Blair Wilson, joined the Green Party at the very end of August. He announced in Ottawa that he will sit as Canada’s first ever Green MP.
TILMA Violates Constitution, says lawyer
May 29, 2008
Both the TILMA trade agreement and it enabling legislation violates the Canadian constitution by usurping the role of judges and endowing cabinet with too much power.
War Is Peace—Orwell wrote the Harper doctrine
April 17, 2008 | Commentary by Murray Dobbin
Stephen Harper returned from last week’s NATO meeting with the commitments he says he needed to justify keeping Canadian forces in Kandahar. So Canadians will face having our troops act as combatants in the Afghanistan war for at least three more years in a mission that started in 2001. At 10 years it will be, by far, Canada’s longest war.
No Guts, No Glory
April 3, 2008
In recent weeks, the government has given the appearance of having settled the issue of how long Canadian troops will remain in Afghanistan.
NAFTA’s legacy: the worst agreement we ever signed
March 20, 2008 | Commentary by Murray Dobbin
In the aftermath of Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s threats to ‘renegotiate’ NAFTA—or pull out—the usual suspects have been activated to tell the world how wonderful the deal has been for Canada and the United States.
Taxes are the price of a civilized society: why tax cuts make us weak
November 15, 2007 | Commentary by Murray Dobbin
So here we go again, another round of huge tax cuts as the country continues down the road to a neo-con dystopia. Over the next five years the revenue that pays for the things Canadians say they want will drop by $60 billion.
Editorial: Bully Tactics
November 15, 2007
We’ve now had a couple of weeks of a dysfunctional House of Commons. Starting with the motion to adopt the Throne Speech, the minority Conservative government has made every issue a vote of confidence, and dared the combined opposition to defeat it. Mr Harper is a bully, leading a party of bullies.
SPP-style, precautionary principle out the window
November 1, 2007 | Patrick Brown
It has been said that the Security and Prosperity Partnership is dead, because it is stalled. It may be that after George Bush has gone, the lavishly guarded ‘summit’ meetings will be discontinued in the face of US protectionism and paranoia.
The fact of the Matter...
June 14, 2007 | Patrick Brown
The scene is Question Period in any legislative body. Or a media interview. Or a public meeting. The question is thoughtful and carefully framed. There is a short pause as it hangs in the air, tangible and curious.
Opportunity for Minister Lunn, says Briony Penn
May 17, 2007
Federal Liberal candidate Briony Penn is urging Saanich-Gulf Islands’ MP, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn to fully reinstate Canada’s EnerGuide Program. Her call to action follows the release of the UN Climate Change report that confirms the importance of reducing heat loss from buildings.
Oh! Oh! Hansard!
May 17, 2007 | Patrick Brown
Hansard is the name given to the verbatim transcript of proceedings of Parliament and the Legislatures in the UK, Canada, and most countries that follow the British parliamentary tradition.
Penn applauds Green/Liberal agreement
April 19, 2007
Briony Penn, federal Liberal candidate in Saanich-Gulf Islands, has commended the agreement reached between Stéphane Dion and Elizabeth May. With this agreement, neither party will run a candidate in the other leader’s riding in the upcoming federal election.
For the People
April 4, 2007 | Editorial
We may appear to complain much about government. It is time that we remind ourselves what government is for.
Penn seeks federal nomination
March 22, 2007
Well known Salt Spring environmentalist Dr Briony Penn will seek the Liberal nomination in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding in the next federal election, expected soon. The nomination meeting is on March 31.
The Eighth Day of the Week
March 22, 2007 | Muriel Wiens
Time’s up. As I watched on CPAC the woeful dragging of feet on the part of the Conservatives and the representatives of the energy industry in the parliamentary committee which is supposedly rewriting the hot air bill, it reminded me of the totally different response of our government in 1939 to Hitler’s threat to take over the planet.
Elephant Hunt—SPP and TILMA Trade Agreements
March 8, 2007
On CBC radio the other day, Tom D’Aquino, of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, defended the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP).
Kwan calls for public hearings on TILMA
February 22, 2007
NDP MLA Jenny Kwan says that there has been no public forum in which to debate TILMA, the contentious BC/Alberta trade agreement. ‘British Columbians have questions and concerns about the impact TILMA will have on our province’, says Kwan MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant.
Forty Questions about Canada’s environmental record by David Boyd
January 25, 2007
Canada’s new Environment Minister John Baird has his work cut out for him, and not just in terms of repairing the Clean Air Act and grappling with Canada’s legal obligations under Kyoto. Baird claims that he will clean up Canada’s environment this year, a feat that would require divine intervention. More modestly, Baird could start by answering the following vexing questions about Canada’s ongoing failures in the realm of environmental protection.
Breakthrough Green vote in London North Centre; Dion’s green Liberal breakthrough
December 14, 2006 | Patrick Brown
Green Party leader Elizabeth May finished a strong second in the November 27 London North Centre federal by-election, capturing 25.8% of the vote and trailing Liberal Glen Pearson by only 9.1%. The Ontario by-election demonstrated that the Green Party platform and May’s style of leadership appeal to a substantial number of London voters.
Canada’s Afghanistan Responsibility
November 30, 2006 | Editorial
The US mid-term election has come and gone. The results confirm that a substantial majority of Americans did not agree with the direction that their all-Republican government (president, senate, and house of representatives) was taking. This is a ‘victory for democracy’ far greater than anything the Americans have achieved in many overseas adventures.
Race is on to elect first Green MP
November 16, 2006
Elizabeth May, new leader of the Green Party of Canada is a candidate in the London Centre North (Ontario) federal byelection on November 27. May has been making a showing in the mainstream media since her election to leadership in August. May founded the Sierra Club of Canada and worked as its executive director for 17 years.
Government by Minority
November 16, 2006 | Editorial
Canadians need to get used to minority government. With four viable federal political parties, and a fifth (the Green Party) in the wings, there seems to be a fair chance that the next election...will not result in a majority.
Deep Integration-Beyond the Economy?
November 2, 2006 | Patrick Brown
The North American Free Trade Agreement was legislated into effect ten years ago by Parliament, the US Congress, and the Mexican legislature, most of whose members had never read the treaty. It was too long and complicated for easy understanding, yet it covered just a small part of the relations between the three countries.
Editorial: Harmonizing Below Radar
November 2, 2006
We’d like to call your attention once again to a current trend in political power—the circumvention of representative government.
Alberta BC investment deal threatens local governments
November 2, 2006 | Murray Dobbin
Last April the provincial government signed the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement, or TILMA, with the province of Alberta. It may well be one of the most radical investment deals ever signed...
October 5, 2006 | Patrick Brown
... Mr Harper’s group has decided to call themselves ‘Canada’s New Government’ (‘Le Nouveau Gouvernement du Canada’). This is a ‘brand new’ piece of promotional branding.
Choosing a Side in a Proxy War
August 10, 2006 | Patrick Brown
My Prime Minister doesn't speak for me when he expresses his unwavering support for Israel in the current conflict...
June 1, 2006 | Patrick Brown
There is, amazingly, a reasonably polite word for what the Prime Minister did to Parliament on May 18, 2006. The word is gazumph, a fine old English term, probably of Yiddish origin, generally meaning to swindle; to ‘put one over’ on you so fast you were powerless to resist; to co-opt; to spring a trap; to force an uninformed decision.
We Are Wrong in Afghanistan
May 18, 2006 | David Orchard
In international law, labelling a country a haven for terrorists is not sufficient grounds to justify an invasion of, or an attack on, that country.
Bias and Officials in a Decision-Making Process
April 6, 2006 | Harry Lipetz
Canadian courts have had to consider many instances where allegations of bias were advanced to disqualify an elected official from participating in a decision-making process.
Still Square Dancing
January 19, 2006 | Patrick Brown
This election campaign is so long I get a second kick at the cat. Or whatever animal it is—something from the Burgess Shales, that fossilized treasure trove of improbable creatures that all look as though they were designed by a committee, and a dysfunctional one at that.
Editorial: A Strategic Choice for the Islands
January 19, 2006
At this point in the never-ending countdown to Canada’s latest federal election, the odds are in favour of a minority government. Just whether it would be a Liberal or a Conservative minority is uncertain.There seems to be little real difference between their platforms.
Passing the Buck
September 22, 2005 | Patrick Brown
Well, if you don’t like the way things are going, you can always write to the prime minister. As readers will know, I felt quite strongly about the lockout at the CBC, so I did just that—thought I’d give it a try.
Public Knowledge vs. Private Secrecy
March 24, 2005 | Patrick Brown
Advocates of privatization are fond of repeating the mantra that government should not be carrying out any function that can be done by the private sector.
Representative Government and the Islands Trust
October 7, 2004 | Patrick Brown
The principle of Representative Government is that we nominate and elect representatives to represent us...
The Mission Statement
August 12, 2004 | Patrick Brown
One of the chief tools of management nowadays, in both the public and private sectors, is something called the ‘Mission Statement.’
The Five Ages
April 22, 2004 | Patrick Brown
Democratically elected governments, no matter what their majority, must govern for all the people, not just those who voted for the ruling party...
The Incentive Plan
March 25, 2004 | Patrick Brown
The gleeful celebrations by BC’s provincial Liberal government over the doubtful achievement of a ‘balanced budget’ quickly fade...
Fatal Management Incompetence
August 29, 2002 | Patrick Brown
Three government departments have similar operations with similar objectives, in the same geographical area...
Confidential Policy Memo
April 25, 2002 | Patrick Brown
Our public cabinet meetings have been very successful in enabling the government to communicate its agenda to the public...
Running it Like a Business
October 25, 2001 | Patrick Brown
For many years, political parties supported by business have advocated running government like a business.
April 6, 2000 | Patrick Brown
It’s some combination of competitive politics and budget restraints that has led to the continuing popularity of decisions designed to kill two (or more) birds with one stone.
February 24, 2000 | Patrick Brown
Recently, we’ve seen a number of examples of what is known in government as ‘damage control’.
The Precautionary Principle and Sovereignty
January 27, 2000 | Patrick Brown
You may recall some earlier musings on the ‘precautionary principle’: the principle being that if you aren’t sure what the results of an action might be, don’t do it.
The Cynics' Revenge
October 21, 1999 | Patrick Brown
If you’ve read any previous pieces under this heading, you may be forgiven for reaching the conclusion that this writer was a little cynical...
Who's on First?
September 23, 1999 | Patrick Brown
The Ottawa-based Alliance for Public Accountability recommends strongly...
June 17, 1999 | Patrick Brown
One of the difficulties in dealing with government is that its pronouncements often emerge in a lingo...
May 6, 1999
Divining the Purpose ~ Patrick Brown
It’s sometimes all too easy to get the impression that the process of government...is random...
March 25, 1999 | Patrick Brown
‘Let’s put it behind us, and move on.’ How often have we heard this?
Febrary 25, 1999 | Patrick Brown
Among the tactics used by government, institutions and corporations...
Transparency and Democracy
January 28, 1999 | Patrick Brown
If you have the feeling that you understand less and less about what your governments are doing, you are not alone.