By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 20, 2009 - 18 Comments
Janice MacKinnon, Rick Salutin, Jeffrey Simpson, Susan Delacourt and Ned Franks talk with Steve Paikin about the utility or futility of our current Parliament.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 10:59 AM - 20 Comments
Preston Manning appeals to a general need for renewal in Ottawa.
Whatever the content of a “fresh start plan,” its necessity will never be accepted by politicians until we accept the principle that there are limits to partisanship that should be recognized and respected by all.
Those limits derive from the fact that voters are never as partisan as the partisans. They will never love us and our party as much as we do, and they will never dislike our opponents and their party as much as we may. When we step outside those boundaries – deifying our own cause and demonizing that of our opponents – we will lose public support. When we stay within those boundaries – clearly distinguishing ourselves from our opponents but in believable terms – we stand a better chance of restoring public confidence in ourselves, in our parties, in Parliament, and in democracy itself.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 30, 2009 at 12:54 PM - 32 Comments
Ned Franks considers that minor democratic crisis of some months ago.
The Conservatives were governing with the support of less than 40 per cent of the electorate. Nevertheless, they mounted an astonishingly speedy and successful anti-coalition public-relations campaign. They had only seven days to do this, between the government’s disastrous fiscal update of Nov. 27 and Mr. Harper’s meeting with the Governor-General. While the anti-coalition campaign was filled with misrepresentations and half-truths, it worked brilliantly. Public opinion turned formidably.
(Excerpted from Parliamentary Democracy in Crisis, a copy of which I ordered on Friday.)
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, June 23, 2008 at 4:44 PM - 0 Comments
The best, worst and merely laughable of the recently completed Parliamentary session
The Scene. Late last week, at the press conference he’d called to formally reject the Liberal green plan he hadn’t bothered to read, Jason Kenney was asked to account for his government’s tone—the language with which it had chosen to engage the current debate.
“I don’t think that Canadians are so humourless and earnest,” he posited, “that they reject humour in political discourse.”
There are at least two problems with this assessment.
At the outset, it assumes that what Mr. Kenney’s had to say has been particularly funny. This is, by most objective standards, a stretch. His particular line on the Liberal carbon tax relies on the fact that the word “shift” sounds something like a swear. While perhaps uproarious when compared with other discussions around here—so many of them having to do with war and poverty and other sufferings—most of us ceased finding this pun particularly hilarious around the first time we kissed a girl (or boy, as it were).
But, in fairness to Mr. Kenney, let’s pretend his comedic stylings on this front have been the stuff of a night at the Apollo. Even if that were the case, so, er, what? Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 2:57 AM - 0 Comments
In the print edition this week there are two pages under this byline on the enigmatic Peter Van Loan, thus marking the 376th time I’ve referred to the government House leader in print in my short time with this magazine. This time though there’s further commentary from Ralph Goodale, Michael Ignatieff, historian Ned Franks (who confesses he can’t watch QP anymore) and Senator David Smith.
It is perhaps an under-reported fact that Mr. Van Loan and the Senator, the party stalwart presently charged with running the next Liberal campaign, go back a ways and remain good friends—Senator Smith is quite sure he was the only Liberal at the House leader’s wedding not so long ago.
That there isn’t yet a wild-eyed conspiracy theory about the close association between the Prime Minister’s right-hand man and one of Mr. Dion’s primary election advisors is, suffice it to say, somewhat disappointing. Surely some enterprising blogger should have connected the dots by now. For shame. Continue…