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

Posted by tomflesher in Canada.
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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…)


Canada as a post-Monroe kingmaker August 4, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Canada.
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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…)