By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, April 14, 2013 - 0 Comments
Within the Palais des congres de Montreal, a complex series of boxes, decorated with brightly coloured glass and perched above the freeway, where Stephane Dion once became Liberal leader and where, if memory serves, Michael Ignatieff blew kisses from an escalator to supporters below, the president of the NDP called the meeting to order. And with that there was a complaint. It was in the opinion of a man referred to as Barry, apparently a fellow from the socialist caucus, that the 30 minutes set aside on Saturday afternoon to hear from an organizer of the Obama campaign be allotted, instead, for policy discussion. Barry seemed rather unimpressed with policies of President Obama’s administration.
“We don’t need Jeremy Bird to lecture NDPers on the virtues of the American bipartisan political system,” he ventured. “Labour and the NDP aren’t here to take instruction from political operatives of the White House. But we do have some good advice for our American sisters and brothers, for our fellow workers in the United States. Follow the example of the NDP, form an independent political party based on your unions, break with the Democratic party.”
Joe Cressy, a Toronto organizer who has worked for Olivia Chow and Paul Dewar, stepped forward to speak against Barry’s proposed amendment. “Friends, we have had a great start to this convention already and let’s keep this positive energy going,” he said. “We must build on our momentum by maintaining a packed agenda that has everything from learning how to organize and fundraise better to hearing from our leader, Tom Mulcair, to, yes, learning from the Obama team on how to mobilize those who…”
His final words were drowned out in applause. Continue…
By Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press - Monday, February 4, 2013 at 4:31 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The federal government says there is “no issue of public importance” involved…
OTTAWA – The federal government says there is “no issue of public importance” involved in a seven-year battle to lift the shroud of secrecy over the intelligence dossier compiled on socialist trailblazer Tommy Douglas.
Hence, the government says there’s no need for the Supreme Court of Canada to settle the matter.
Jim Bronskill, a reporter with The Canadian Press, is seeking leave to appeal the case to the country’s highest court.
He has been fighting since 2005 for access to the decades-old, 1,149-page intelligence file compiled on Douglas by the now-defunct RCMP Security Service.
Bronskill’s lawyer, Paul Champ, has asked the top court to determine the appropriate balance between protecting national security and the public’s right to see historical documents.
However, in its counter-submission to the top court, the federal government maintains the application for leave to appeal is “not about history;” it’s strictly a technical matter over how the Access to Information Act should be applied.
“No issue of public importance arises from the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in this matter. The application for leave to appeal should be dismissed,” say Elizabeth Richards and Helene Robertson, counsel for the minister of Canadian Heritage.
Library and Archives Canada, which is now in possession of the file, initially released only 400 heavily censored pages from the file on Douglas, a former Saskatchewan premier, father of medicare and first federal NDP leader. Bronskill went to court to gain greater disclosure.
An additional 300 pages were released in 2011, just before the case was heard by the Federal Court. Even more were disclosed after the court ordered that more should be made public but large portions of the file remain secret.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which replaced the Mounties’ security service and advised Library and Archives on release of the Douglas file, has argued vehemently against full disclosure.
Although some information in the file dates back almost 80 years, CSIS maintains uncensored release would reveal secrets of the spy trade, jeopardizing the lives of confidential informants and compromising the agency’s ability to conduct secret surveillance.
Federal Court Justice Simon Noel ruled that Library and Archives, in deciding which pages of the file to release, failed to take into account its mandate to make historically significant documents accessible to Canadians. He painstakingly reviewed all the pages in the file and attached an annex to his ruling listing the pages which contained information he believed should be further disclosed.
However, Noel’s ruling was curtailed last October by the Federal Court of Appeal, which also struck down his annex.
In its submission to the Supreme Court, the government argues that the only legal issues at stake involve the scope of Bronskill’s initial access request and how much evidence a department head must show to justify withholding or censoring information.
“The Court of Appeal did not err and no issue of public importance is raised.”
However, in a response filed with the top court, Champ maintains the government “mischaracterizes or recasts” Bronskill’s proposed appeal and “never addresses the applicant’s argument that withholding these important historical documents from Canadians in perpetuity is an issue of national importance.”
“Despite the respondent’s protestations, this case was and remains about Canadians’ right of access to important historical records held by our national archives,” Champ argues.
The uncensored material released so far shows the Mounties shadowed Douglas from the late 1930s to shortly before his death in 1986. They attended his speeches, analysed his writings and eavesdropped on private conversations.
They were particularly interested in Douglas’s links to the peace movement and the Communist party.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 9:03 AM - 0 Comments
Pat Martin thought he heard echoes of Tommy Douglas in Justin Trudeau’s speech last night.
The first line of the speech was “Make no small dreams, they have not the power to move the soul.” (I transcribed it differently last night, but, if I recall correctly, that was based on how the CBC’s translator interpreted it.) It might be reminiscent of Mr. Douglas’ “dream no little dreams,” but it’s actually a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who predates Tommy Douglas by about a century.
“Courage, friends” was the last line of the speech and was apparently ad-libbed. Like Mr. Martin, I thought of Mr. Douglas’ line, “Courage my friends, tis not too late to build a better world.” Jack Layton often cited that quote. I’m told though that the line had nothing to do with Mr. Douglas and was simply an attempt to sum up the challenge ahead.
(Although I’d like to imagine that somehow it’s a Chronicles of Narnia reference.)
‘New Democrats will continue to work to ensure that one day it becomes part of a Constitution that includes us all’
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 3:53 PM - 0 Comments
A statement from NDP leader Thomas Mulcair on the anniversary of the Charter.
It has been three decades since Canada chose to codify and protect our fundamental rights as citizens in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Today the Charter stands as an example the world over. It reminds us that respect for basic human rights is a vital part of every modern society, and that any threat to these rights constitutes a threat to society as a whole.
New Democrats are proud of the role we played in shaping the Charter of Rights and Freedoms—including Tommy Douglas’ passage of Canada’s first Bill of Rights in Saskatchewan and the role Ed Broadbent played in ensuring that women’s rights were enshrined in the Charter itself.
At the same time, the anniversary of the Charter also serves to remind us that, 30 years after the repatriation of the Constitution, Quebec is still not a signatory to the most fundamental compact of our democracy.
As such, New Democrats will continue on the path laid out by Jack Layton, working to create the conditions that will one day allow Quebec to embrace the Canadian constitutional framework. We will work tirelessly to give real meaning to the unanimous recognition that the Québécois form a nation within Canada.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a document that reflects our most fundamental common values. New Democrats will continue to work to ensure that one day it becomes part of a Constitution that includes us all.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 12:01 PM - 2 Comments
On the occasion of his winning the prize for parliamentarian of the year, I sat down last Thursday with Bob Rae in his corner office on the fifth floor of Centre Block. Here’s a transcript of our conversation (only slightly abridged).
How do you now look back on the parliamentarian you were at that point when you first showed up?
I had a kind of a very lucky start because I was elected in a by-election and it was sort of the last six months of the Trudeau government and the NDP caucus was very small, it was like 15 or 16 people, and there were lots of opportunities for me to speak, to kind of get in and do stuff. I got to ask a question my first day and I did a late night debate.
The House was a much more congenial place. There were a number of Conservatives who were there who were very friendly—Ray Hnatyshyn, Lincoln Alexander and Steve Paproski. They all stayed for my maiden speech and they all heckled during the speech. You could tell it was a kind of very modest kind of hazing process—Well, we’ll see how this kid does.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 7, 2011 at 12:03 PM - 2 Comments
The Literary Review of Canada excerpts Jack Layton’s foreword to a new book about Charles Taylor, George Grant and CB Macpherson.
Tommy Douglas understood that our human journey had to be a collective project, something we would, could and should do together for and with each other, as a community of free individuals. Freedom, in this view—an idealist view—has enormous positive potential, not just for individuals but for all people as part of a fabric of diverse communities. Obvious questions flow. How can the pursuit of what would be right and good for the whole community be sought, at the same time, by each free and independent individual? How can a group effort not limit liberty but rather enhance it?
The idealist current holds that human society has the potential to achieve liberty when people work together to form a society in which equality means more than negative liberty, the absolute and protected right to run races against each other to determine winners. Idealists imagine a positive liberty that enables us to build together toward common objectives that fulfill and even surpass our individual goals.
By From the editors - Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 11:15 AM - 0 Comments
Jack Layton’s state funeral was a ceremony of love, respect and civility
Followers of Jack Layton could be forgiven for being angry. As a country we usually wait to lionize federal New Democratic leaders until after they have left active politics. Layton, alone among their number, was able to command public esteem and large numbers of votes at the same time. The Liberals challenged him to an election fight, confident that he would falter like his predecessors; they were sure that the hype would deflate and that the people’s attention would wander, as it always had before. Like some 19th-century schoolmaster, Layton took up his cane and taught them a lesson.
The national political stage was left with two opposing figures—one not quite as easy to like as the other—in an otherwise bare landscape. And then, just like that, Jack was gone.
The timing could not have been more cruel; the frank cosmic injustice with which the rivals of the Prime Minister have been swept away, as if Providence had a soft spot for him, strains the limits of belief. In his last years, Layton came to personify the spirit of downtown Toronto—those arpents of elite-trodden pavement which, for better or worse, are a beacon of “progressive” instinct and multicultural practice for the whole Dominion. Inner Toronto has had to watch much of its political pre-eminence recede in recent years, and it now faces the greatest morale catastrophe of all. There will be disillusionment, and there will be rage.
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 9:14 AM - 2 Comments
How tough is Justin Trudeau?
When Montreal Liberal MP Justin Trudeau… was in Toronto
How tough is Justin Trudeau?
When Montreal Liberal MP Justin Trudeau was in Toronto recently he attended a Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival event, which was held at CTV’s downtown studio parking lot. He was introduced by CTV anchor Andria Case, who noted that the MP’s late father, Pierre Trudeau, had been instrumental in opening the doors to immigrants from the Caribbean. Justin Trudeau also lent his support the same day to Rugby Canada, which was holding a fundraiser and awareness campaign for Prostate Cancer Canada. In the middle of Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square under a scorching sun, organizers had set up a ScrumMaster machine with several cushioned pads so people could simulate a scrum and measure the force they delivered when they ran into it. When Trudeau took a stab at it (in bare feet, after removing his sandals), organizers moved two of the cushions closer together. “Sure, emphasize my small frame,” joked the MP, who ultimately scored 1,095. Even one of the beefy rugby players only got a score of 1,105. Steve Jones, president and CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada, was on hand. He noted that Jack Layton was the person who really helped propel the issue of prostate cancer into the political spotlight. Prostate Cancer had MPs wear striped blue ties and scarves after Layton first announced he had the disease. (Layton recently took a leave of absence as leader of the NDP to battle a new cancer.) “Jack’s situation made it a real issue,” says Jones. Since then, Jones says, his organization has been able to take the blue tie and scarf awareness campaign across the country; several provincial legislatures have adopted it for a day. Layton also appeared in a print awareness campaign dubbed “It’s our time,” which encouraged people to get tested.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 27, 2011 at 3:53 PM - 8 Comments
Vermont’s governor signs into law a single payer health care system. Tommy Douglas references ensue.
Vermont has become an incubator for innovative public policy. Canada’s single payer healthcare system started as an experiment in one province, Saskatchewan. It was pushed through in the early 1960s by Saskatchewan’s premier, Tommy Douglas, considered by many to be the greatest Canadian. It was so successful, it was rapidly adopted by all of Canada. (Douglas is the grandfather of actor Kiefer Sutherland.) Perhaps Vermont’s healthcare law will start a similar, national transformation.
A Washington congressman similarly invoked the father of Canadian health care earlier this month.
By Erica Alini - Monday, May 16, 2011 at 2:55 PM - 28 Comments
Arash Azizi makes the case for Her Majesty’s youthful opposition.
Far from being “one of us,” Members of Parliament often are lawyers, businesspeople, journalists or experts of one kind or other. Even when they are not, they often adopt lifestyles so widely different from the rest of us that too often they lose their common touch. In short, perhaps to the dismay of Adams, legislatures in Canada, as in other liberal democracies, are in no way an “exact portrait . . . of the people at large.”
That the New Democratic Party has fought to challenge this status quo should come as no surprise. After all, when Tommy Douglas founded its predecessor, the CCF, the political fable of “Mouseland” was his guiding principle. He thought mice should stop electing “a government made up of big, fat cats” and fight for a government of themselves, by themselves, for themselves. His was to be the party of “mice,” the party of the common folk. The battle Douglas began has just reached a whole new stage. For the first time, the party of common folk has emerged as the official opposition. Why then should it come as a surprise that a large part of its new caucus is comprised not of political players but of youth, students, waitresses and single parents?
By Kate Lunau - Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 10:25 AM - 0 Comments
How Tommy Douglas honed his political skills behind the pulpit of a small-town church
Even before his political career began, Tommy Douglas—who immigrated to Canada from Scotland as a child, and came from hardscrabble roots—understood that, “at the end of the day, politics needed to be about practical things,” says Vincent Lam, an emergency room doctor and Giller Prize-winning author, whose latest book, part of Penguin’s Extraordinary Canadians series, profiles the father of universal health care in Canada (in stores March 8).
During the Depression, Douglas—then a small-town preacher in Weyburn, Sask.—was deeply affected by the poverty and inequality that surrounded him, Lam writes, and worked tirelessly to address the problems. “For him, being a preacher was completely practical,” Lam says, “because it meant you would deal with people.” This was Douglas’s guiding philosophy in those years, as well as through to his stint as Saskatchewan premier, and, finally, as the first leader of the federal New Democratic Party. Douglas “wasn’t someone who came to socialism from a rarefied academic perspective,” Lam says. “His thinking came from the ground up.”
As premier, Douglas presided over North America’s first socialist government, from 1944 to 1961. Yet he proved to be a unifying figure, admired by those on both sides of the political spectrum. “Some of the most creative thinking in policy and government doesn’t bow to those easy ideas of left and right,” Lam says. The health care system, he adds, “is part of the idea that societies should be constructed primarily to take care of people, and for people to help each other.”
While those investors who had become rich in the soaring equity markets of the 1920s lost their shirts in the Depression, many workers and farmers lost their pants, socks, and underwear. As Tommy and Irma, a young couple who looked more like teenagers than a pastor and his wife, settled in Weyburn, Sask., the price of grain collapsed, local businesses were shuttered, loans were called in, and family farms were foreclosed. Children did not attend school in the winter for lack of shoes to wear. The streets of Weyburn were lined with young men who had nothing to do. Saskatchewan was economically devastated.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 9:57 AM - 1 Comment
The fatheads who resent the war on fat, plus Quebec announces a new anti-corruption unit
Fatheads resent war on fat
The latest conservative smear campaign against the White House circles around Michelle Obama’s waistline. According to radio host Rush Limbaugh, the first lady could stand to lose a few, particularly since being seen munching on braised short ribs while on vacation in Colorado. Limbaugh, who is no Adonis, suggested Mrs. O is a hypocrite for not following her own dieting advice. “Our first lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue,” he said. Sarah Palin has ridiculed Obama’s anti-obesity efforts, too, arguing she has no business in America’s kitchens. Meanwhile, Andrew Breitbart’s website ran a cartoon depicting a double-chinned first lady hoarding hamburgers while mouthing pro-health slogans.
The simple life of an Amish schemer
Unlike fraudster Bernie Madoff, Monroe L. Beachy lived a simple life among his fellow Amish in the quaint village of Sugarcreek, Ohio. But the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges Monroe, 77, ran a Ponzi-style scheme for 24 years, costing his largely Amish clients millions. It began to unravel after Beachy declared bankruptcy last June. (A horse, buggy and harness are among his personal assets, the Washington Post reports.) By then, less than US$18 million of the original $33 million invested remained. Ironically, some of the loss resulted from the dot-com bust, a shock to his investors, who shun modern technology. Investors don’t want to pursue the claims in court, saying it’s a matter for the church. “Members of the Plain Community love and trust one another in all their relationships,” an Amish creditors group said.
Where have we heard that before
Maclean’s took a thrashing last fall for calling Quebec “the most corrupt province” in Canada. While we don’t wish to reignite that debate, it’s refreshing to see the announcement last week of a permanent anti-corruption unit in the province. It will have a $30-million budget and 189 investigators and support staff, said Quebec Public Security Minister Robert Dutil. He called it a better anti-corruption strategy than the public inquiry demanded by the opposition. “We want to have these criminals in jail, not on television,” he said. Stéphane Bergeron, public security critic for the Parti Québécois, conceded the unit “wouldn’t hurt” the corruption fight. It’s “also an admission that the problem is bigger than [the government] has been willing to admit,” he told reporters.
What would Jack Bauer say?
Kiefer Sutherland is considering a return to TV after his break from eight seasons playing CTU agent Jack Bauer on the hit series 24. The Hollywood Reporter says he’s in talks for the lead role in Touch, by Heroes creator Tim Kring. He’d play the dad of a mute, autistic son who predicts the future. Meantime, the past of his real-life grandfather Tommy Douglas resurfaced in declassified documents, the Canadian Press reports. In one curious item, the former RCMP security service claimed Douglas, then NDP leader, met with actress Jane Fonda in 1970 about efforts to stop the Vietnam War and to bring Vietnamese to Canada for a public inquiry.
And baby makes four
Little Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen has an impressive parentage. “Katherine” honours her father Rufus Wainright’s late mother, singer Kate McGarrigle, and “Wainright” his father, Loudon Wainwright III. The other “proud parents” are “Deputy Dad” Jorn Weisbrodt (Rufus’s romantic partner), and Lorca Cohen, daughter of Leonard Cohen. No pressure to deliver on a dazzling musical career, kid.
Party for one!
Kim Jong Il usually uses his birthday celebration to instill confidence in the North Korean people by giving them at least a day’s worth of rice and corn. This year, though, the Supreme Leader failed to carry out the ritual, since food shortages are crippling the country, with the UN predicting shortfalls of more than 500,000 tonnes of grain. Even senior officials felt the pinch, reportedly receiving knock-off celebratory Rolex watches and Gucci bags in lieu of real ones. But the day wasn’t all for naught: Jong Il went home with presents including a fleet of Mercedes Benz automobiles and a US$16-million yacht. And heir apparent Kim Jong Un was named vice-chairman of the defence commission on the eve of his proud papa’s birthday.
Tears of a clown
Coming from a world of squirting flowers and joy buzzers, Brazilian clown and newly elected congressman Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva would surely be adept at pushing buttons. But last week Silva, a.k.a. Tiririca, generated more groans than laughs when he blew his first congressional vote. He’d pledged to back the government’s austerity measure for a new minimum wage. But he pressed the wrong button on the computerized system and backed an opposition motion for a much higher wage. Tiririca had outpolled all candidates by admitting he knew nothing about politics. But his slogan, “It can’t get any worse,” apparently underestimated his abilities.
High art with a very low brow
Fallen women tend to figure in opera—think of Violetta in La Traviata. But most divas haven’t fallen this far. The Royal Opera House in London dressed itself in sequins and hot pink this week for the premiere of Anna Nicole, an opera about Anna Nicole Smith. Richard Thomas’s libretto—called “caustically witty”—follows the life of the late Playboy model who married an 89-year-old billionaire, then died of a drug overdose. Composer Mark-Anthony Turnage said people will be “surprised how seriously we’ve taken the subject,” and soprano Eva-Marie Westbroek was hailed as sensational. Not all critics were moved: the Financial Times said the opera “belongs in the same genre as Jerry Springer, strung along a clothesline of lewd ditties and frothy choruses.” But the masses gobbled it up: all six performances sold out.
Ye can’t fight city hall, matey
Rodney McGrath calls his backyard—with its homemade two-storey pirate ship and “Mohawk Mountain,” a sculpture of tires and concrete—an “enchanted kingdom.” But what city inspectors and many of his neighbours on Midwood Avenue see is an unsightly safety hazard. Last week, after a two-year fight, councillors issued a demolition order for both ship and mountain. City engineers say the structures are unstable and aren’t built to code. Pirates, of course, aren’t big on rules and codes. “It’s beautiful,” McGrath says of his land-locked ship. “When the sun comes up in the morning it… reflects on the whole structure,” he told the CBC. “It comes alive.”
The new Wonder Woman
It wasn’t enough to possess superpowers, fight crime and look impossibly good in satin granny underpants; in a TV remake starring Adrianne Palicki of Friday Night Lights, she also has a power career and work-life balance issues. The new show departs from the old, but apparently Lynda Carter approves.
Home, sweet KABOOM!
Steve Jobs ended a decades-long battle to tear down his own house. In 1984, the Apple CEO purchased a Spanish-style mansion in Woodside, near San Francisco, in the hopes of demolishing it and building a new residence. But Jackling House was the 1920s dream abode of copper industrialist Cowan Jackling, and Jobs faced legal challenges and cries for preservation of the manse. When he finally obtained a demolition permit this week, Jobs’s demo team destroyed the house in a single day, prompting Wired magazine to note the move was consistent with Jobs’ career: “He doesn’t have any doubts about deleting the past to create the future.”
Unlikely queen of queens
At age 15, Phiona Mutesi may be Uganda’s best female chess player. She’s certainly the unlikeliest, living in a Kampala slum, and just learning to read. She was attracted to the game at age nine, after her brother learned it from Robert Katende of the U.S. charity Sports Outreach Institute. Soon she was beating Katende. By 2009 she’d won regional tournaments. Last fall she travelled to Siberia for the Chess Olympiad, where she was beaten by Dina Kagramanov, the Canadian champ, who gave her advice and books on advanced chess. Mutesi continues to improve. “In chess, it doesn’t matter where you come from,” she said, “only where you put the pieces.”
Another day for the Jackal
The French aren’t finished with Carlos the Jackal, one of the world’s most hunted terrorists pre-Osama Bin Laden. The 61-year-old Venezuelan—real name is Ilitch Ramirez Sanchez—goes on trial in Paris in November for a series of bomb attacks that killed 11 people in France from 1982 to 1983. He’s already serving a life sentence for a run of deadly crimes, including an attack and hostage taking at the Vienna headquarters of OPEC in 1975.
It’s all in the mail
A forensic scientist and a student from Simon Fraser University may offer the best hope of solving one of aviation’s great mysteries. Amelia Earhart vanished in 1937 while circumnavigating the world. Donya Yang hopes to collect DNA from the envelope glue of four letters written by Earhart to see if it matches a bone found on the South Pacific island of Nikumaroro. The letters came from a collection held by student Justin Long’s grandfather, Elgen Long, an Earhart scholar. The letters are personal: “One was written by Amelia on airline letterhead while waiting for a flight—so we can be fairly certain that she is the one who sealed the envelopes,” says Long.
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 7 Comments
Canada’s Access to Information program is in shambles. Here’s why.
On Feb. 10, Vic Toews, Canada’s minister of public safety, convened a working dinner at a Milestones restaurant in Ottawa. One government employee and three other people were in attendance. The total bill was $85.04, including tip. We’re not sure exactly who was at the table, what was discussed, or even whether the minister’s tastes run toward classic fare like Prime Rib Beef Dip, or the menu’s internationalist offerings à la Spicy Thai Chicken Drummettes. But thanks to a policy enacted by the previous Liberal government mandating the “proactive disclosure” of hospitality expenses for ministers and senior staffers—the amount, the number of people, sometimes the venue, but nothing else—Toews’s fondness for chain eateries is now on the record. Interesting, but a minimal contribution to the public interest.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 1:23 PM - 96 Comments
The Mark convenes a number of political actors and observers to discuss the best leaders of Canadian history and, amid the expected salutes to Macdonald, Pearson, Douglas and the like, pollster Frank Graves speculates on what will define the next great prime minister.
Gen X and Gen Y see little of relevance to them in the federal government. They are less interested in ethics, crime, security, and health care, and more interested in climate change and a post-carbon economy, knowledge and skills, human rights and internationalism. In order to build a federal state that is focused on both the future and the present (and less the past), our next leader should be drawn from the half of Canadians under the median age of 41…
It might also be appropriate to find someone who reflects the growing diversity of Canada, and perhaps it isn’t too much to expect that as over half of Canadians are women we might eventually get around to electing a woman PM.
Ladies and gentlemen, Canada’s next great prime minister.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 12:24 PM - 25 Comments
Also from Dominic LeBlanc’s scrum yesterday. This is what it sounds like when coalitions die.
Question: What do you think of the Liberal, the NDP supporting the, propping up the government?
Dominic LeBlanc: I think the NDP showed today that they’re for sale and not for a very high price. I think if Tommy Douglas were alive today, he’d be very, very ashamed of the NDP leadership of Jack Layton.
This is also perhaps as close as Parliament may ever get to a “Yo Momma” joke.”
By Paul Wells - Friday, August 7, 2009 at 8:00 AM - 95 Comments
He’s the fourth Liberal leader since Chrétien. This in a party that once took 81 years to burn through that many leaders.
We are pleased with reports that the New Democratic Party is thinking of dropping “New” from its name. This is welcome news. No “New” is good news, you might say. Yes, you’re right, you probably wouldn’t say it, but you might. I am younger than the New Democratic Party and absolutely nobody thinks of me as New Paul Wells. Well-Preserved Paul Wells, maybe. Rumpled and Lovable Paul Wells, if you insist. No, really, go ahead, I’m powerless to stop you. But not New.
The downside with the whole N-less DP thing is that dropping the New would leave “Democratic Party,” leaving the party of Tommy Douglas and Alexa McDonough semantically indistinguishable from a party which (a) supports parallel public and private health care systems—“two-tier medicine,” as it’s sometimes called; (b) overwhelmingly supported the Iraq invasion in 2003; (c) is American. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, July 31, 2009 at 2:28 PM - 4 Comments
Jack Layton talks health care at Huffington Post.
No care for life-threatening conditions, no choice, exorbitant costs, bureaucrat control, poor outcomes — these are the bogeymen of the right-wing smear campaign. And like all bogeymen, once you look under the bed they don’t exist.
Our system does have flaws. We need better prescription drug coverage, better remote access to care and better practices in hospitals and clinics. No honest advocate for our health care system would dismiss these things. But Canadian health care works — and works well.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 11:54 PM - 15 Comments
An hour before Barack Obama’s primetime press conference, Jack Layton addresses the nation.
The nation, if this “Ed” fellow is any indication, has no time for Mr. Layton’s Tommy Douglas stories. The nation just wants answers.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 3:34 PM - 2 Comments
Rob Silver wonders if Ujjal Dosanjh, Jack Layton and a Conservative to be named later might be better put to use debating the state of health care on our own airwaves.
We should take some pride that the Canadian health-care model is playing an important, if cartoon-like role in the U.S. debate over the future of their health system.
There’s only one small problem, actually maybe two: 1. The status-quo of the Canadian health-care system is completely unsustainable; and 2. Rather than having a debate in Canada about how to fix our health-care system (since the “generational fix” of five-years ago didn’t quite get us there), we are off bragging about the unsustainable status-quo to other countries, convincing them we have the magic answer to health care.
Granted, this wouldn’t be as much fun without Rick Sanchez.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 9, 2009 at 1:22 AM - 14 Comments
Michael Adams discusses his most recent polling on who Canadians admire most. Pierre Trudeau comes first, by a fairly wide margin, with 121 mentions.
Adams doesn’t include a complete list of the other 442 people named, but the standings for those he does cite are as follows. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 22, 2008 at 12:23 PM - 0 Comments
Another town hall, this one in a rather cavernous movie studio in east Toronto, Jack Layton’s riding and, once, the riding of Reid Scott, an NDP MP from 1962 to 1968.
Mr. Scott’s appearance this morning had been quietly mentioned the night before. So that he took the stage and offered an endorsement of Mr. Dion and the Green Shift was of no surprise. But that this endorsement took a full 32 minutes was quite unexpected and altogether inconvenient in light of the fact the entire event was scheduled for about an hour. Continue…