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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘federalism

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • io9 argues that it’s time to survey Uranus, notwithstanding its name.
  • blogTO describes the attractive-sounding art-friendly Harbord Laundry.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes archeological evidence suggesting that Vanuatu was settled three thousand years ago.
  • Joe. My. God. has comments about the Burger King-Tim Horton’s merger that really bring American outrage over the shift of the resulting company to Canada for tax purposes home.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the creepy locker-room homophobias of ESPN.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that China is now officially building much more housing than it actually needs.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers various designs for probes to Jupiter’s moon of Europa.
  • Torontoist and blogTO note that Yorkville institution the Coffee Mill is closing down.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reacts critically to a survey claiming three-quarters of whites have no non-white friends.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russian concern that support for federalism in Ukraine might spread to Russia, observes the prominent role of Tatars in fighting for Russia in the First World War, and refers to the explicit concerns of Nazarbayev that Kazakhization not be carried too quickly lest the country risk Ukraine’s fate.

[BRIEF NOTE] On Paul Wells on Chantal Hébert on the 1995 Québec referendum

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Paul Wells’ review in MacLean’s of Chantal Hébert‘s new book on the 1995 Québec referendum, The Morning After: The 1995 Quebec Referendum and the Day that Almost Was astonishes me. It seems, after Hébert’s retelling, that hardly anyone involved in the question of national unity had any idea what they were doing, that every possibility was open. The idea of some sort of blundering towards catastrophe now does not seem implausible.

A team of Saskatchewan officials worked quietly to develop contingency plans in the event of a Yes vote in the 1995 Quebec referendum — options that included Saskatchewan following Quebec out of Canada, a new book reveals.

Roy Romanow, the premier of Saskatchewan at the time, never told his full cabinet about the secret committee’s work, Romanow told Chantal Hébert, author of The Morning After: The Quebec Referendum and the Day that Almost Was, to be published by Knopf Canada on Sept. 2. Maclean’s has obtained a copy of the book.

“Filed under the boring title of Constitutional Contingencies — a choice intended to discourage curiosity — [the Saskatchewan committee's] work was funded off the books, outside the provincial Treasury Board process, the better to ensure its secrecy,” Hébert writes.

The committee considered a lot of possibilities for the chaotic period Romanow anticipated after a Yes vote — including Saskatchewan seceding from Canada; a Western union of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia; abandoning the Canadian dollar to use the U.S. greenback; and even annexation of Saskatchewan, and perhaps other provinces, to the United States. “In the eventuality of a Yes vote, clearly you need to examine all your options,” Romanow says in the book.

The revelation that Romanow had set a contingency committee to work is one of several surprises in the book by Hébert, a columnist for the Toronto Star and Le Devoir L’actualité [you'd think I'd get that right on the first try - pw] and one of the country’s most prominent political commentators. She wrote The Morning After with assistance from Jean Lapierre, a former Liberal and Bloc Québécois MP and a leading Quebec pundit. The premise of the book is simple: they interviewed nearly 20 key or peripheral players in the 1995 referendum, from Jacques Parizeau to Jean Chrétien to Preston Manning and Frank McKenna, and asked them what they would have done if the Yes side had been declared the winner of the referendum. The resulting slim volume is the most complete account yet of the secret strategizing on both sides of that historic battle.

What the authors found was chaos. Neither the separatist Yes camp nor the federalist No coalition had any coherent plan for how to deal with a Yes, and at the highest echelons on both sides, leaders were working at cross purposes. Disarray in both the Yes and No camps would only have gotten worse after a numerical Yes victory.

I must read this book.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 23, 2014 at 1:59 am

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO lists five classic Toronto signs at risk of disappearing.
  • Centauri Dreams discusses plans for really, really big telescope arrays.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that young star HD 169142 appears to be forming both a brown dwarf and its own planetary system.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the use of a laser by the US Navy to accelerate a projectile to speeds of one thousand kilometres a second.
  • Far Outliers’ Joel reports on the last major uprising of the Ainu against the Japanese, in 1789.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a report from some American homophobes claiming that lesbians, owing to their left-wing ideological commitments, are a big threat than gay men.
  • Language Log examines a sign blending Mandarin and Cantonese.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a news report suggesting readers absorb less from online reading than they do from paper.
  • Peter Rukavina maps his travels over the summer.
  • Spacing Toronto notes concerns over the cost of the high-speed rail connection to Pearson airport.
  • Torontoist notes Rob Ford’s newest conflict of interest allegations.
  • Towleroad talks about Luxembourg’s openly gay prime minister, set to marry his partner.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes problems regarding the protection of eagles and religious freedom issues regarding holding eagle feathers for religious reasons.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on claims by activists that Russia must federalize or disintegrate.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO shares vintage postcard images of Toronto in the 1970s.
  • Centauri Dreams notes a proposed method for detecting exomoons, by detecting the disruptions that they cause in their parent worlds’ magnetic fields on the pattern of Io’s disruption of Jupiter’s magnetic fields.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes a new paper suggesting that Enceladus’ geysers are caused by its tides with Saturn.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at what sociology has to say about sibling relationships.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that some American conservstives think gays should oppose immigration because immigrants bring tuberculosis which kills HIV-positive people.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig demonstrates that there is no evidence at all that Yiddish descends from the Turkic Khazarian language, noting instead arguments for a Germanic origin.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog maps population change in Estonia over 1989-2011, noting that there has been population growth only in the metropolitan areas of three Estonian cities with Russian-majority Narva not seeing growth.
  • At Savage Minds, Uzma Z. Rizvi thinks about racism in the United States over time.
  • The Search interviews online anthropologist Robert Kozinets.
  • Spacing Toronto notes that Toronto saw the invention of the first arcade game.
  • Strange Maps shares an interactive infographic tracing the cross-border electricity trade in the European Union.
  • Towleroad notes a fatal gay-bashing in San Francisco and the near-murder of an Azerbaijani teen by parents who wanted to burn him alive.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes an American court ruling refusing to enforce a Moroccan court judgement on the grounds of the Moroccan legal system’s corruption.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that support for federalism is spreading in Russia, notes one analyst’s argument that Russia can become a beacon of reactionary conservative ideology, and suggests that Russia is trying to nudge outside powers out of the Armenia-Azerbaijan dispute.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Andart’s Anders Sandberg links to a paper of his examining the ethics of brain emulations. How ethical is it do make very life-like simulations of minds?
  • blogTO notes a public art movement tracing the former path of the Don River.
  • The Burgh Diaspora’s Jim Russell notes that population change in the US is a consequence of migration and natural change.
  • Centauri Dreams considers intergalactic travel. Given the huge travel times involved, travelling on a hypervelocity star ejected from a solar system may be more secure.
  • The Cranky Sociologists’ SocProf notes that not caring about a particular social issue until it affects you actually isn’t good for society as a whole.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper suggesting between 5.3 and 10% of Sun-like star ssupport Earth-sized planets in their circumstellar habitable zones, and another identifying HIP 114328 as a solar twin.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the latest developments in marriage equality in Finland.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen notes that Scottish devolution hasn’t changed much policy, perhaps passing over the possibility that perhaps devolution has prevented change.
  • Patrick Cain maps the 2014 Ontario election.
  • Torontoist notes that the Toronto Star has given the Toronto Public Library more than a million of its vintage photographs.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that, according to a recent court ruling, smartphones in the US are safe from arbitrary search.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine is steadily losing its position there.

[BRIEF NOTE] “PBO says Ottawa is shortchanging Ontario”

I noted back in 2008 that Ontario, its economy beset by slow growth and deindustrialization, was set to become a have-not province, a net receiver of funds from the federal government to . (This happened in 2009.) MacLean’s now shares news that apparently Ontario might be short-changed.

This will not serve the Conservatives well come election time, I think.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer says changes to federal equalization payments makes Ontario the big loser among provinces, while Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick gain double-digit increases.

The report finds total equalization payments transfers from Ottawa to the provinces and territories rose about 3.5 per cent this fiscal year.

But the distribution is wildly different from province to province, with Ontario seeing a 37.3 per cent decline, or about $1.2 billion.

Meanwhile, Quebec will see transfers under the program increase 17.5 per cent, Nova Scotia, 11.5 per cent, and New Brunswick by 10.2 per cent.

The report notes that the federal government this year chose to stop a program ensuring no province receives less in a given fiscal year in combined transfers than it received in previous years.

The PBO says Ontario would have been the only province to qualify in 2014-15, hence has missed out on $640 million in revenues.

The Ontario Liberal government has been vocal in complaining that Ottawa is shortchanging the province, but the federal government has said it has been fair in calculating transfers.

During the election campaign that delivered Premier Kathleen Wynne a majority government last week, the provincial Liberals accused Ottawa of slashing Ontario’s latest share of equalization payments by $641 million.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 24, 2014 at 7:34 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • James Bow mourns the loss of the Northlander train route connecting northern Ontario with the south.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes a Saudi Arabian announcement that it will be boosting military spending by 20%.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World blog notes growing Brazilian confidence in the outcome of the World Cup.
  • At A Fistful of Euros, Alex Harrowell notes the complexities of governance and procedure in the European Parliament.
  • Language Hat notes the long and changing history of ethnic identity in the Crimean peninsula.
  • Language Log’s Victor Mair notes from first-hand experience the complex language and script situation in Macau and Hong Kong.
  • The New APPS Blog features suggestions for institutional reform in the European Union.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that, to ingratiate itself with the European Union, Albania won’t accept transit fees for the impending Trans-Adriatic pipeline.
  • Spacing Toronto remembers the time when Toronto’s subway network was the best in North America.
  • Strange Maps’ Frank Jacobs notes how a steamship disaster helped erase the Manhattan neighbourhood of Little Germany from the map of New York City.
  • Torontoist fact-checks an Olivia Chow speech, finding it boringly accurate and unambitious.
  • Towleroad notes how a Dutch town proposed setting up a gay ghetto to call out local homophobia.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Ukrainian Orthodox Christian leaders are rejecting the Russian church’s authority, and observes that the Ukrainian government is now demanding that ethnic Ukrainians in Russia receive good treatment as an ethnic minority.
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