A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘federalism

[LINK] “Is this the worst time in Canadian history for Conservatives?”

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TVO’s Steve Paikin looks at the position of the Conservatives after last week’s federal election. They are weakened, badly, but they can still bounce back.

[O]f all the provincial and territorial legislatures in Canada, Conservatives are governing where approximately 1.7 million Canadians live — about five per cent of the population.

Federally, it was a clean sweep for the Liberals in Atlantic Canada — there are zero Conservative MPs left. In Quebec, just 12 of 78 seats are Conservative; in Ontario, just 33 out of 121; from Manitoba to British Columbia, it’s 54 Conservatives out of 104 seats, which sounds not bad, until you remember the Liberals are now the No. 1 party in B.C. and Manitoba, and have penetrated Fortress Calgary with two seats — the party’s first in the Alberta city since 1968.

So things seem hopeless, right?

Not so fast. Thirty years ago, there were no Liberal governments anywhere in Canada. None. The Liberals were out of power in Ottawa, and in every provincial legislature in the country. But in Ontario, the Liberals’ David Peterson became premier after the 1985 election and from there, the landscape changed. Eventually, what hurt Conservatives on Oct. 19 could be their salvation: that moment roughly once every decade where voters say “enough” to the party in power and give another party a new chance. And if the federal Conservatives choose wisely for their next leader, they could be back in the game sooner rather than later.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 30, 2015 at 8:53 pm

[LINK] “Catalonia, Scotland and the fluid concept of democracy”

Open Democracy’s Daniel Coyne makes the compelling argument that the ability of the United Kingdom, unlike Spain, to accept the possibility of separatism is a strength.

If we return our focus to Catalonia, where on Sunday the pro-independence parties won a majority of seats in parliament. The exact levels of support for Catalan independence vary according to who you ask, with both sides in the debate naturally exaggerating their own support base. It is beyond doubt, however, that at least a sizeable minority of Catalan voters want full independence from Spain.

The Spanish government has of course secured its own democratic mandate to govern, having been chosen for office by the entire Spanish electorate. It also has its own perfectly sensible reasons for wanting Catalonia to remain part of Spain. Aside from patriotic notions of Spanish unity, it benefits Spain economically to have the relatively wealthy and productive Catalonia as part of the family.

Yet the national government in Madrid isn’t the sole legislative power in Spain, a highly de-centralised country divided into 17 autonomous communities, each with its own legislature.

Catalan elections consistently garner a lot of support for the independence cause. In refusing to allow an independence referendum to be held, the Spanish government chooses to utilise its own mandate as a democratically-elected body to overrule a subordinate yet equally legitimate body. A body that is simply seeking to serve the interests of the people that voted for it.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 3, 2015 at 3:54 am

[LINK] “Washington state and Native tribe strike deal on marijuana sales”

Al Jazeera America notes the marijuana pact in Washington State with the Suquamish.

Washington state and a Native American tribe have reached an agreement on the growth and sale of marijuana, a deal that will pave the way for the tribe to run a legal cannabis store and is the first agreement of its kind in the United States, the tribe and state officials said.

Under the pact, a tribal tax equivalent to the state excise tax will be applied to pot sales to non-tribal customers on Suquamish tribal lands.

Washington voters legalized the possession of marijuana and its regulated sale when they approved Initiative 502 in 2013, and the state’s first stores opened early this year.

“This agreement is an excellent model for future compacts,” said Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board chairman Jane Rushford, according to the Seattle Times.

Board officials said in a news release that the 10-year agreement signed Monday will govern the production, processing and sale of marijuana on the tribe’s land located in Kitsap County, which is just a few miles west of Seattle.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 24, 2015 at 9:18 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO shares photos of Yonge and Bloor from the 1960s.
  • Crooked Timber’s Corey Robin looks at trigger warnings in education.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that Barnard’s Star cannot support a massive planet in its orbit.
  • The Dragon’s Tales has more on the Ukrainian war.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog examines racism.
  • Far Outliers notes how the Ryukyus fared under American occupation.
  • A Fistful of Euros looks at the divergences of Spain and the United Kingdom interest rate-wise.
  • Geocurrents notes another small Kurdish-speaking sect.</li
  • Joe. My. God. notes an attempt to appeal the Irish marriage referendum.
  • The Map Room’s Jonathan Crowe notes a 2016 conference on fictional maps in Poland.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a microhistory of a block in New York City.
  • The Power and the Money examines Ukraine’s debt negotiations and argues that Russia is not as big a player in global oil markets as it might like.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog and Window on Eurasia note how ethnic Russians in Ukraine are continuing to identify as ethnic Ukrainians.
  • Understanding Society considers realism in social sciences.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi talks about the Sad Puppies.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Tatarstan’s potential separatism and suggests some Russian Germans still want an autonomy.

[LINK] “Catalonia’s regional elections: scenarios for independence”

Open Democracy’s Fernando Betancor writes about different scenarios for Catalonian independence following upcoming regional elections. He makes a compelling case that things could get very bad indeed.

Nothing that has come before has mattered; it has been all talk. Up until and including the September 27, every action of every politician and of the Catalan government will be legal; no one is going to go off-script and give Madrid an excuse to intervene. But as the Romans used to say: “res, non verba” or “act, don’t talk”. Now everyone will have to declare themselves in positive action. As soon as the government is formed, it will execute what it perceives to be its electoral mandate: attain independence for Catalonia. It is likely to proceed in the following manner:

1. The Catalan government will formally request secession negotiations with the Spanish government and the Catalan representatives of this list in the national legislature will attempt to submit a bill to that affect;

2. Both efforts will be immediately and conclusively rebuffed;

3. The Catalan government will then draft (or has already drafted) a unilateral declaration of independence and will submit it to the regional legislature for a vote. If the Catalan Parlament can muster a quorum, they will undoubtedly hold an immediate vote on the measure, which will probably be passed by the same majority, or slightly greater, that the pro-independence parties enjoy in the chamber.

At this point, Mariano Rajoy will have the legal justification to intervene. The intervention include many actions, but at a minimum he will use his constitutional authority from Article 154 to declare a state of exception in Catalonia, suspend the civil institutions and attempt to reassert the national authority. And this is when the feces begin to strike the ventilation unit.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 1, 2015 at 1:33 am

[LINK] “Catalonia Attacks ‘Infinite Cynicism’ as Spain Curbs Powers”

Esteban Duarte of Bloomberg examines ongoing controversies in Spain over federalism. I can easily imagine ways this could spiral out of control.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has introduced rules that effectively revoke the powers of the Catalan government, the regional president’s right hand man said, before a vote that could fuel separatists’ bid to split from Spain.

Rajoy is forcing regional officials to get approval from the central government before paying commercial creditors, Francesc Homs, the head of the Catalan’s presidency department, said in an interview in Barcelona Wednesday. The national government in Madrid has also ruled that laws only come into force once they’ve been published in the Spanish Official Gazette, preventing regional leader Artur Mas from introducing legislation using the Catalan equivalent, Homs said.

Mas’s bid for independence has set him on a collision course with Rajoy who says that his plans are unconstitutional. Mas has framed the Sept. 27 regional election as a ballot on independence after Rajoy blocked his attempt to hold a referendum last November.

“When someone says we could get the region’s autonomy suspended, I tell them they’ve actually done it already,” Homs said. The central government is acting with “infinite cynicism,” he added.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 28, 2015 at 7:36 pm

[LINK] “Catalans Spur the Remaking of Spain With Battle for Independence”

Esteban Duarte’s Bloomberg report keeps me up to date about the events in Spain. This could be big, bigger than Scotland.

Catalonia’s bid for independence has opened the floodgates: Now all Spain’s major parties are looking to remake the way the state’s power is carved up.

Catalan President Artur Mas plans to use voting for the region’s parliament on Sept. 27 — weeks before national elections are due — as a de-facto referendum on leaving Spain. Just as the Scottish independence movement has prompted a rethink of how the U.K. is governed, Spain’s national parties are responding with plans to prevent the disintegration of a country whose mainland borders are unchanged since the 17th century.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party is seeking to give the regions much more say in the Senate in Madrid. The main opposition Socialists are proposing a looser federal state, while the insurgent Podemos and Ciudadanos parties are floating their own ideas.

“Mas has contributed to reopening the debate about how Spain should be governed and taxes should be distributed,” said Antonio Barroso, a London-based analyst at Teneo Intelligence. “With Mas or without him, that’s going to be an issue that Spaniards will face over the course of the next legislative term.”

Spain’s 1978 constitution set up regional administrations with varying degrees of autonomy. But over the past three years, Mas has moved from seeking more control over taxes to demanding the right for Catalans to break away completely.

He’s already campaigning for September’s regional election. If separatist groups win a majority in the legislature in Barcelona and the central government refuses to negotiate, he says he’ll make a unilateral declaration of independence.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 29, 2015 at 10:28 pm


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