A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘politics

[FORUM] Do you think women’s representation in politics should be legally mandated?

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The Guardian of Charlottetown carried the news that Kim Campbell, the last Progressive Conservative prime minister for five months in 1993, proposed at a women’s leadership conference on Prince Edward Island that Canadian ridings should have two representatives, one man and one woman.

Former prime minister Kim Campbell says Canada needs more women in Parliament, so she proposes federal ridings should be split to include one woman and one man elected in each riding.

Campbell is in Prince Edward Island this week for the women’s leadership conference, A Bold Vision.

In her keynote address Wednesday evening entitled Time to Colour Outside the Lines, Campbell said dual-member ridings would be the simplest way to shift the country’s electoral system to gain true gender parity in Ottawa.

“I think we need something that we can actually implement and I think the process would make a powerful statement that Canada really believes what it says when, in its Constitution, it is enshrined prohibition of discrimination based on sex,” Campbell said.

“I think it would be a beacon to other countries.”

She added her belief that such a move could also help to change the combative tone that often dominates debate among MPs on Parliament Hill.

Facebook’s Ryan, who linked to this news, compared to this to how, on Prince Edward Island until 1997, local electoral ridings had two representatives, one traditionally Protestant and one traditionally Catholic. Ensuring representation for the two major Christian factions on the Island, the only Canadian province equally split between the two, did ensure a significant measure of peace.

What say you?

Written by Randy McDonald

September 30, 2014 at 3:59 am

[NEWS] Some Monday links

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  • Al Jazeera notes anti-Muslim ads in the New York City subways, China’s likely counterproductive crackdown on Uighurs, Kosovo’s efforts to stem the flow of fighters to the Islamic State, and observes the spread of Buddhist anti-Muslim chauvinism from Burma to Sri Lanka.
  • Bloomberg notes Japan’s strengthening of sanctions against Russia, notes that super-yacht sellers in Monaco are disturbed by anti-Russian sanctions and looks at the freezing of an oligarch’s assets in Italy, observes that Italian economic reforms are proceeding slowly, notes the relative strength of the Mexican economy, observes the travails of the economies of NATO-looking Ukraine and credit-crunched Russia and Bulgaria.
  • Bloomberg View considers the right of migrants from countries drowned by climate change to go to polluters, looks at Japan’s debt trap, an examines Ukrainian options in the wake of Russian victory in the Donbas.
  • CBC reports on Iraqi claims of Islamic State plans to attack subways in the United States and Paris.
  • The Inter Press Service notes the rapid growth of the world’s urban population, the rapid growth of the population of the Sahel region, and the growth of intra-Caribbean migration.
  • MacLean’s fears that constitutional reform in the United Kingdom may complicate the Scottish question and shares Indian Mars probe MOM’s Twittered photos of Mars.
  • National Geographic notes the relationship between poverty and poor food, observes the role played by guano in securing American territorial claims, and looks at the eventually rapid divergence of birds from dinosaurs.
  • Open Democracy is skeptical about the prospects of Ukrainian accession to the European Union, considers Ukraine’s security options, looks at the Azerbaijani perspective on the Ukrainian crisis, and considers strategies for the Scottish left and South Tyrolian separatists.
  • Universe Today looks at Russian contributions to the International Space Station, dates ancient Earth water, and notes that the ESA’s Rosetta mission will see the Philae lander touch the surface of its target comet on the 12th of November.

[LINK] “Sun Media to apologize to Justin Trudeau for Ezra Levant rant”

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Canada.com’s Ishmael N. Daro reports that Sun Media will issue an apology for the disgusting tirade made by Ezra Levant on their television network against the parents of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. Daro’s article goes on to note that Levant has made other off-colour remarks, most recently condemning Romani as a people of thieves.

Quebecor, the parent company of Sun News Network and the Sun Media newspaper chain, will issue an apology Monday evening to federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau over an on-air tirade by columnist Ezra Levant broadcast earlier this month.

According to CTV News Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife, Quebecor chairperson Brian Mulroney reached out to Liberal Party brass over the weekend over the incident. The cable news channel will make the apology on Levant’s 8 p.m. ET Sun News Network show, saying his rant was in poor taste and should not have aired. It will apologize to Sun News Network viewers, Trudeau and his family.

Levant took to his Sun News program The Source Sept. 15 and railed against Trudeau for appearing in a wedding photo in which he kissed the bride on the cheek. The photo had been cleared with the family, including the groom, but Levant suggested Trudeau had forced his way into the scene and stolen the kiss for his own publicity.

“Justin Trudeau thinks he’s in the movie Wedding Crashers, that sex comedy where slutty men go to weddings uninvited to bed the maids of honour. But even they had enough class to give the bride herself a pass,” Levant said in the five-minute rant.

He also called Trudeau’s father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, a “slut” who “banged anyone” and mocked his mother Margaret in similar terms.

Trudeau responded to Levant’s comments by vowing to boycott all employees of Sun News and Sun Media, including the non-partisan reporting staff, although he had been avoiding questions from the news channel’s correspondents for some time already.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 29, 2014 at 11:31 pm

[LINK] “B.C. First Nations vow to ‘work together’ with resource industries despite historic land claim ruling”

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The Province carries Jeff Lee’s Postmedia News article reporting on the interest of First Nations groups in British Columbia–and likely elsewhere–in getting economic benefit from their new land claims.

The landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision involving the Tsilhqot’in First Nation fundamentally alters the relationship between native bands and all forms of government, municipal leaders were told Tuesday.

But rather than inject uncertainty into how governments deal with native governments, the ruling helps define for the first time how they can work together, Tsilhqot’in leaders told the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

“The Supreme Court of Canada decision only encourages strong relationships with our neighbours,” Chief Percy Guichon of Alexis Creek First Nation told a packed audience of nearly 1,000.

Referring to the many resource-based industries that want access to their lands, Guichon said his community wants to support economic development. “We need to find ways to work together, to work together on these difficult topics. We live side by side,” he said.

The June 26 court decision finding that the Tsihlqot’in Nation has rights and title to 1,740 square kilometres of land west of Williams Lake has opened questions about how this affects local governments.

“Don’t be fooled by the brevity of the decision. I think this is the most significant legal case ever decided in British Columbia,” lawyer Gregg Cockrill told the UBCM convention. “It has big implications for B.C., and big implications for the rest of Canada as well.”

Written by Randy McDonald

September 27, 2014 at 3:30 am

[URBAN NOTE] “Notes on the municipal election”

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Livejournaler jsburbidge notes things that Torontonians are talking about regarding the municipal election, and notes many more things that Torontonians aren’t talking about but should.

1) I have seen tweets this morning regarding waiting for space on trains downtown. (In particular: a complaint about Chester Station and one about Bloor/Yonge).

Chester is a good example of what a DRL would fix; the DRL as usually planned would cross the Bloor-Danforth Line at Pape, and would draw off at least a portion of the flow downtown (it would also allow a one-station jog against flow to Pape from Chester) relieving stations between Pape and Yonge.

Bloor/Yonge would also obviously benefit from a DRL; but I’m less sympathetic to complaints about waiting 20 minutes for a free train there. I’ve sometimes been in a potentially similar position, but if I’m starting from Bloor/Yonge, or even have reached it on a heavy morning, I just choose to walk: I know from experience that it’s about 25 minutes from there to Downtown (Downtown being defined as King/Bay).

Now there are lots of people for whom a walk from Bloor to King is unreasonable — the elderly, the very young, those with mobility problems — but I’m willing to bet that most rush-hour commuters would both be capable of and would benefit from a 25-minute walk downtown — at least on a day like this (clear, not cold, not too hot).

2) I hate to be cynical about this but I’m going to be cynical about this: the reason that John Tory continues to have a significantly higher level of support than Chow or Ford despite the manifest problems surrounding SmartTrack (there was an article in Torontoist this morning by Steve Munro taking it apart: torontoist.com/2014/09/john-torys-transit-vision-is-short-sighted/) is that nobody actually believes that Tory would have a snowball’s chance in hell of pushing it through in any case. The rail lines belong to Metrolinx, the financing would have to go through vetting by the city staff (which it wouldn’t get), real power resides here with the province (which is pushing ahead with RER in any case, which saves the scheme from being a complete fantasy the way the Ford subway scheme is), and Council will be all over the map.

Transit is by far the highest profile issue in this election (other than the Ford identity itself), but it poses a real challenge for the candidates: just about everything that can be done is either already being done or being studied. It’s been so over-analyzed that the chance of a genuinely new positive contribution is nil. The financial and management power lies, by and large, with the province and Metrolinx, except for smallish TTC improvements (smallish because large TTC-only improvements require money which is not currently there, and nobody to the right of Ari Goldkind — and that includes Olivia Chow — wants to talk about large general tax increases) which were pretty well all covered in the report passed by the TTC board in August. Even Chow’s deliberately small-scale bus-oriented plan is impractical as it currently stands, running up against limits in the TTC capacity.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 26, 2014 at 7:28 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO notes a projection suggesting there will be nearly seven million Torontonians by 2025.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining how
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper examining a very unusual planetary system around a subdwarf B star and fears the Russo-Ukrainian war will heat up again.
  • Language Hat examines the nearly extinct dialect of Missouri French.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders about the impact of big data on the criminal justice system and argues Neew Zealand might have the best-designed government in the world.
  • Torontoist shares the 125 years of history of the Gladstone Hotel.
  • Towleroad notes that gay asylum seekers in Australia might be resettled in anti-gay Papua New Guinea.
  • Transit Toronto notes the expansion of wireless Internet to College station.
  • Window on Eurasia predicts that the European Union and the United States will try to engage Belarus while accepting the dictatorship.

[URBAN NOTE] “Exile in Brooklyn, With an Eye on Georgia”

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Jason Horowitz‘s New York Times article describing the life that former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has made for himself in the Brooklyn hipster-heavy neighbourhood of Williamsburg is a minor classic. The former eastern European leader exiled in a hip New York City neighbourhood, hoping for a return to relevance at the same time that he enjoys his new life, is the stuff of drama. (Or, perhaps, comedy.)

“It’s the end of Putin,” Mr. Saakashvili, 46, said of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the topic of discussion on Thursday as its president, Petro O. Poroshenko, met in Washington with President Obama and congressional leaders. Mr. Saakashvili called Mr. Putin’s actions “very, very similar” to those in Georgia. “I think he walked into trap.”

But Mr. Saakashvili, considerably plumper than when he was in power, argues that the conflict should also mark a reappraisal of his own reputation as a reckless leader whose peaceful Rose Revolution and commitment to reform were eclipsed by years of riding roughshod over opponents, bending the rule of law and provoking Mr. Putin into a war that resulted in the death, displacement and impoverishment of thousands of Georgians. “It should be revisited,” he said.

Mr. Saakashvili said that while he had a “normal life” in Brooklyn, he considered himself a big deal in Eastern Europe, pointing out that on a recent trip to Albania “they shut down traffic for us and our 20-car escort.”

Mr. Saakashvili’s personal rehabilitation project is complicated by his eroded popularity back home and charges filed against him by Georgian prosecutors of human rights violations and embezzlement of government funds. He shrugs off the prosecutors as politically motivated puppets of his nemesis, the billionaire and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Some of Mr. Saakashvili’s critics agree that the charges say as much about the current Georgian government’s hunger for revenge as they do about him.

For now Mr. Saakashvili is writing a memoir, delivering “very well-paid” speeches, helping start up a Washington-based think tank and visiting old boosters like Senator John McCain and Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state. He said he was in the process of changing his tourist status here to a work visa and in the meantime is enjoying the bars and cafes of his adopted homeland. On his roof deck, with sweeping views of Manhattan, he has entertained David H. Petraeus, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and is expecting Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, at the end of the month. Usually, a cousin mans the grill, along with the chef from Fabbrica, the neighboring Italian restaurant opposite a CVS. Like those chain drugstores, glassy high-rises and Eurocentric nightclubs, Mr. Saakashvili is evidence of Williamsburg’s steady transition to a playground for moneyed out-of-towners.

“I used to look at this place from Manhattan, it was such a pity, it was mafia, a place where hit men dump bodies,” he said, recalling his time in the 1990s as a Columbia University Law School student. Now he sees “a jazzy atmosphere” rife with energy and new construction.

“Williamsburg is part of the democratic transformation,” he said.*

Written by Randy McDonald

September 26, 2014 at 3:56 am

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