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Canadian Election roundup for 19 september September 19, 2008

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It’s been difficult to keep abreast of the Canadian federal election this week because so much of the news has focused on American economic troubles. Here’s a quick roundup of the editorials that have been written.

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Friday Polling Numbers for the Canadian election September 12, 2008

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Two sets of numbers from NoDice.ca plus two sets from the Globe and Mail.

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Election Roundup for 12 september 2008 September 12, 2008

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Let’s take a look at recent developments in the Canadian federal election and how the New York Times characterizes the major parties’ leaders! Plus, a link to a seat predictor program.

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Election Opinion Roundup for 10 september 2008 September 10, 2008

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Stephen Harper in a sweatervest! Four guys in suits! Stephane Dion doing his best to enfranchise one of the siphons of his power! All this and more… after the jump.

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Harper's Bizarre Election September 5, 2008

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There’s a reason I don’t do politiblogging anymore. When I kept a LiveJournal and used it mainly for polemics and political analysis, even my friends and classmates didn’t pay much attention. The problem, I guess, was that I was really bad. Really, really bad. If I were a political candidate, and I needed a strategist to work free, I wouldn’t hire myself. I predicted Thomas, then Luttig, to fill the Chief Justice slot after Rehnquist died, Edith Brown rather than Samuel Alito to fill Sandra Day O’Connor’s slot after Hurricane Katrina, and Bill Richardson for Barack Obama’s Vice President, after Obama defied my expectations to win the primaries. I’m batting a thousand.

With that in mind, let’s leave the analysis of the upcoming Canadian federal election to the experts. I’ll take a look at the news and editorials behind the cut. (more…)

Question periods in Canada and the United States August 25, 2008

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“I will ask Congress to grant me the privilege of coming before both houses to take questions, and address criticism, much the same as the prime minister of Great Britain appears regularly before the House of Commons.” – John McCain, suggesting a Question Period should be part of the President’s duties

In Friday’s Globe and Mail Opinion section, Preston Manning uses the metaphor of a circus to criticize certain aspects of the Canadian political system. Hardly anything unusual, but Mr. Manning is quite incisive with his specific metaphor – that of Cirque du Soleil wriggling into a monopoly held by the now-merged frontrunners of the old system (Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey).

This comes a scant three weeks after the Congressional Research Service issued a report in which they vetted a parliamentary-style question period as it would apply in the United States. (The version here is cited from the Federation of American Scientists.) John McCain is of the opinion that a question period would be a good thing, while, in Manning’s view, the Canadian electorate would apparently be better served without it.

Discussion behind the cut. (more…)

Secession again? Really? August 21, 2008

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William Johnson this morning in the online Globe and Mail:

Ten years ago today, the court delivered its response to the reference on whether Quebec had the right to secede unilaterally. The court’s advisory opinion was complex but clear. Why, then, has it been constantly misrepresented across Canada and ignored in Quebec?

Johnson’s article makes the case that politicians have “misrepresented” the court’s opinion, [1998] 2 S.C.R. 217,  which lays out four criteria on which a secession must be judged: democracy (do citizens of Quebec want to secede?), rule of law (do they have the power to do so?), federalism (would secession be to the detriment of the other provinces?), and the protection of minorities (would secession harm language and ethnic minorities?). Johnson’s argument is that politicians and media ignore the last three criteria and treat the democratic criterion as the only valid one. (more…)

Canada as a post-Monroe kingmaker August 4, 2008

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This editorial by Carlo Dade in Monday morning’s Globe and Mail is an interesting survey of the development of the Monroe Doctrine with respect to the United States’ self-declared role as the West’s big brother. The Doctrine developed out of the US’s feeling that Latin America was its sandbox, with the US declaring itself the brute squad of the western hemisphere and no one having the military power or the inkling to argue. As Mr. Dade writes, “While no one in the hemisphere endorsed the Monroe Doctrine, it was begrudgingly accepted as an unavoidable reality.”

Mr. Dade, however, notes that the US is currently occupied (ha!) militarily in the Middle East, and points to Brazil’s rise to leadership in the United Nations’ mission to keep stability in Haiti as evidence that Latin America and Brazil are developing politically into able world powers. Canada has a unique role to play in the post-Monroe era. (more…)

Who's more lovable, a dancing dinosaur or a self-absorbed salmon? August 3, 2008

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I’m an aficionado of good children’s television. I’m especially fond of shows which purport to be about mysteries but are actually about teaching pre-scientific method thinking. My current favorite in that category is, of course, Busytown Mysteries, starring Huckle Cat. Huckle lopes through Busytown watching everything go pear-shaped, and when he finally puts together the obvious solution to the problem that afflicted someone in the first minute of the show, everyone congratulates him and sings a song.

The show is part of the Kids’ CBC block, which features one of the most flagrant examples of a language minority getting the shaft that I’ve ever seen. The interstitial scenes feature hosts Sid and Patty, along with a bunch of token characters representing the regions of Canada:

  • Captain Claw, a crab pirate who represents the maritime provinces and sings to his larva, Liza.
  • Drumheller Dinosaur, a singing and dancing dinosaur skeleton representing Alberta.
  • Mamma Yamma, a maternal yam who cooks for the hosts and sings to them when she feeds them, and who represents Kensington Market in Toronto.
  • Saumon de Champlain, an egotistical salmon who switches languages without regard for his audience, forcing Sid and Patty to have to translate for him. He’s convinced he’s beautiful. He once asked Patty to tuck him in and ashamedly asked her to bring him his teddy bear.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Sesame Street had a stereotypical cocky, macho Spanish cockroach muppet in the regular rotation….