On April 7th, Quebeckers will head to the polls because of a snap election called by the PQ minority government. Of course, as in this part of Canada, election time is never without controversy. Between Liberal leader Phillippe Couillard touting the benefits of bilingualism and CAQ leader Francois LeGault presenting his budget if his party is elected, it all pales to this past weekend's announcement that Quebec media oligarch Pierre Karl Peladeau is running in a riding for the Parti Quebecois. [more inside]
Years of labour peace between the government of Ontario and teachers came to an end this year. Like their colleagues in British Columbia, Ontario teachers and support staff are complaining of unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional legislation -- the Putting Students First Act, 2012 -- that gives the Education Minister, Laura Broten, unchallenged power to ban strikes, job actions, set compensation and benefits, and to take over local school boards who are non-compliant. Ontario school boards are unanimously opposed to the Act, which reduces their power, and so are teachers and support staff, who feel the government is manufacturing a crisis. Most see this as a cynical ploy to capture public support for two by-elections this week that could nudge the Liberal government into majority status. ETFO and OSSTF, two of the teacher unions involved, have repeatedly pointed out that "the school year is not in jeopardy", that they had already accepted a wage freeze, and that local bargaining is proceeding well. As legislation looms aheads, teachers, support staff, and labour activists are wondering: is this the end of collective bargaining for the public sector? [more inside]
With the Ontario provincial election campaign still extremely close (warning: PDF link) in its last days, the Conservative party sends out a gay-baiting and trans-baiting direct-mail ad. [more inside]
The Government of Canada has fallen after a 156-145 contempt motion passed in Parliament. The contempt motion came after a Parliamentary committee found (PDF link) that the government failed to provide adequate information on the costs of crime legislation. Stephen Harper will go to the Governor-General on Saturday to request an election.
Is Canada ready for a gay prime minister? How about a hockey player? Or a former Harvard professor? After Paul Martin flamed out and took the Liberal Party with him, the Liberals have to choose a new party leader in December from a rather eccentric list of candidates. Place your bets, eh?
$1,000 CDN ($880.80 US) reward for exposing anonymous blogger: A Prince Edward Island business owner wants to punish a person by breaking their anonymity. According to the CBC, the targets are PEI Liberal Party (peiliberal.blogspot.com) and The Guardian (theguardianpeca.blogspot.com). More info: Don't Sue
Ignatieff for Canada. The Liberals just lost a non-confidence vote and elections are set for January. In Etobicoke, Ontario, Michael Ignatieff, Harvard Professor of Human Rights and Author is set to run. Will this be the opening moves of a new intellectual Prime Minister? How will his views on humanitarian intervention and the idea of a lesser evil play out?
Horse trading North of the border. With the vote of non-confidence looming today, Canada may find itself facing another election this summer. Today's vote is result of the Liberal's weak position and the still continuing Gomery commission - charged with investigating the Liberal Party's sponsorship scandal. This last month, every action coming out of the PMO has been seen as being inherently realpolitik. With each side being close to holding the crucial 150 odd votes needed, this week's defection of Belinda Stronach has also caused broken hearts, harsh criticisms and created a hero. Canadian politics hasn't been this exciting since it saw the fall of one of Canada's youngest pm. What will happen this afternoon is anyone's guess.
Looks like a minority liberal government for Canada. The entire process will have been completed in a single day. The voters used pencils to mark X's on paper ballots, which were stuffed into ballot boxes then counted by hand. Despite the differences in population, is there a lesson here for our southern neighbours?