Over the weekend, the federal NDP voted to oust leader Tom Mulcair. But this dramatic turn of events was nearly overshadowed by another event at the NDP convention: The delivery of one of the most powerful political speeches in recent Canadian memory by former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis. CBC's Neil MacDonald calls Lewis "probably Canada's greatest living orator."
"We’re now in the home stretch of Canada’s federal election campaign — at seventy-eight days, the longest in modern Canadian history and the most important since 1988, when free trade with the United States was the defining issue. For the first time in Canadian history, it is a close three-way race between the ruling Conservatives, the centrist Liberals, and the social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP)." [more inside]
"I think we might have made a little bit of history tonight." Alberta, Canada's most conservative province, the home of the oil/tar sands, and most of Canada's oil and gas industry, has elected a majority NDP government. And one run by a woman, at that. [more inside]
"In four short weeks, the sure-thing election about nothing has turned into an election about everything; a historic campaign that could spell the end of the 44-year Progressive Conservative political dynasty, or see them snatch another stunning victory from the jaws of defeat." Alberta goes to the polls May 5 in their 29th general election. It has turned out to be a far more interesting campaign than many thought at the outset. [more inside]
Between 9am and 9pm yesterday, the people of (the province of, not the city) Ontario took to the polls to elect a new government and (possibly) a new premier. Things did not turn out exactly as predicted. [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]
"The wide-ranging Forum Poll for the National Post sought the opinions of a sample of Canadians of voting age... The voting intentions, if actual ballots, would translate into a minority government for the NDP." The Canadian public is on a distinct tilt to the left, says a new national public opinion poll. Criticism of the Conservatives' spring budget, Bill C-38, continues: it is "anti-labour" (repeals The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act; reforms Employment Insurance) and "guts the Fisheries Act"; a website protest against the bill is planned for June 4. [more inside]
On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was asked in the House of Commons whether he intended to keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Harper tried to deflect criticism from New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair by saying that "Unlike the NDP, we are not going to ideologically have a position regardless of circumstances. The leader of the NDP, in 1939, did not even want to support war against Hitler." Members of the NDP were quick to reply that the NDP did not oppose Hitler in 1939 because the NDP was formed in 1961. [more inside]
"I'm going to fight this cancer now, so I can be back to fight for families when Parliament resumes"
CanadaFilter: Jack Layton, Leader of the Official Opposition following the New Democrats historic electoral victory this spring, announces he will step aside temporarily after second cancer diagnosis. Nycole Turmel recommended as interim leader. [more inside]
While outside Parliament it is 2:00 AM EST, Friday June 24, inside it will remain the "Thursday June 23 Chamberverse" until the Canadian House of Commons rises. Canada's new Official Opposition, the New Democratic party is currently filibustering the Conservative majority government over Bill C-6 - An act to provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services brought forward to force postal workers at Canada Post, an arms-length Crown Corporation back to work. [more inside]
The Biggest Losers. Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella explains the disastrous defeat of the party in Canada's recent general election.
A bridge builder, a student of how societies hold together; an advocate of dialogue. Standing against polarized and simplistic styles of thought. Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor is Canada's best known and most widely read contemporary thinker. In books like Sources of the Self and A Secular Age, he has attempted to define the unique character of the modern age. He maps the fault-lines in our modern identity, and points to both the pitfalls and the promise of our condition. Learn about his life, history, upbringing, and... ideas. Now available, CBC IDEAS in five one-hour parts: the malaise of modernity (this special program has the same title as the 1991 Massey Lecture of the same name, but is not the same [MP3's, get them now, they will go away, and then you can only stream them]). One, Two, Three, Four, Five. [more inside]
The Osama Bin Laden conspiracies (CBC The Current radio segment) Jonathan Kay has been giving a lot of thought to the conspiracy theories that have emerged since the attacks of September 11th. He's the Comments Page Editor at The National Post and the author of Among the Truthers: A Journey into the Growing Conspiracist Underground of 9/11 Truthers, Birthers, Armageddonites, Vaccine Hysterics, Hollywood Know-Nothings and Internet Addicts (released next week) [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.
Stephen Harper, Canada's Prime Minister, sings "With A Little Help From My Friends" at a gala last night in Ottawa with Yo Yo Ma and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Harper survived a confidence vote this week with a little help from his former sworn enemies.
Urban legend has it that the province of Saskatchewan, Canada appeared in red in some 1950's American social studies textbooks, along with other "communist" countries such as Russia, China and Cuba. It is true that Saskatchewan's "natural governing party", the socialistic New Democratic Party have held power in the province for 47 of the last 65 years. And it's true that the NDP's most famous leader (and Canada's Greatest Canadian), Tommy Douglas, brought universal healthcare to the province, an achievement which paved the way for it to come to the rest of Canada. But now, after suffering their worst defeat in 20 years, Saskatchewan's New Democratic Party is searching for a new leader... [more inside]
"'We've got a lot of Canadians wondering how it is that a Canadian citizen gets scooped up and sent off to jail in another country for a year and then arrives back and no one wants to investigate why,' said NDP Leader Jack Layton."