Tag: Democracy

2020, Books, Non-Fiction

10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little Less (2020) by Garrrett Jones

This is a frustrating book. I agree with some of what he says and he inspired me to come up with some additional ideas. But I find the presentation ill-thought out, and I find his perspective limited, and rather traditional.

2019, Movies

Citizen K (2019, Alex Gibney)

This is a mostly excellent documentary about Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch turned activist and his battle with Vladimir Putin. It’s particularly notable for two things: its attempts to portray Khodorkovsky as a flawed person, and its relative creativity at telling the story.

2019, Books, Non-Fiction

Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up (2019, Dave Meslin)

Full disclosure: I live in Toronto. I have met the author, Dave Meslin, at least once and possibly up to three times. Moreover, I used to volunteer for a group he founded (but no longer ran when I was a volunteer). So that both makes me likely biased in favour of his ideas and part …

2015

What Has Stephen Harper Done that Any Other PM of Canada Hasn’t Already Done?

Maybe this is a question you ask yourself because, oh, I don’t know, you’re excessively partisan, or you’re not paying attention. (Pardon my glibness, I’m just very…frustrated. Maybe I need to start again…)

2015, Politics, Society

It’s not just C-51 that’s the problem, it’s the System

I haven’t posted anything original in this space since February, in part because I am writing a new book, but in part because I have been a little depressed about the seeming inevitably of the government passing the worst piece of Federal legislation I have seen in my lifetime. (If you don’t know what C-51 …

Politics, Psychology, Society

Proposal for Improved Voter Turnout

The Proposal A number of years ago, a friend of mine proposed an interesting idea for promoting voter turnout in Canada during one of our writer’s group meetings: turn voting into a lottery. The idea is relatively simple: each ballot cast is also a ticket for Canada’s largest lottery. Every voter is only allowed one …

Politics, Science, Society

The Conservative Party of Canada is now officially the Party of Willful Ignorance.

Last week, the Government of Canada voted against “Science.” Quite literally, it turns out. Here is the text of the motion the Conservatives voted down: That, in the opinion of the House, a) public science, basic research, and the free and open exchange of scientific information are essential to evidence-based policy-making; b) federal government scientists must …

Journalism, Politics

Journalism and Democracy

We are at a time when journalism – or at least the potential to perform journalism – has become democratized in ways previously never thought possible. There are more “journalists” and outlets supposedly performing “journalism” than ever existed in history before. There are more people and outlets posing as journalistic. There is more coverage of …

2012, Politics, Society

The Slow Death of Precedence-Based Democratic Safeguards in Canada

A prorogue is a device: the suspension of parliament, traditionally at the end of that parliament’s “legislative business,” with a planned date of resumption. It was intended to allow parliaments to take breaks without calling an election. The first problematic prorogue occurred in 1873, when John A. McDonald prorogued parliament not because their legislative business …

2011, Politics, Society

The Bargain of a Lifetime

For only 39.6% of the popular vote, you get… Tax cuts and increased government spending on things you don’t need! Jet planes! Assault vehicles! Riot cops in the country’s most populous city! But wait! There’s more! For calling while the population believed that elections were expensive relative to the annual government budget and while politicians …

2010, Politics, Society

An Open Letter, I guess

Dear Mr. Crimmins I read your editorial in June 7th’s Hamilton Spectator with great interest. Your idea of dispensing with elections is compelling: it would save huge amounts of money, it would shorten campaigns and make them completely unpredictable (hopefully saving us from a situation like that of the US, where each campaign begins after …

2009, Politics, Society

The Hamilton City Councilors are at it again

I guess it’s because municipal politics attracts the dregs, the people who can’t make it at any other level of politics, that we regularly get the most insane and ignorant suggestions from Hamilton city councilors. The previous highlight was an idea to ban swearing in the downtown core. Councilors were apparently wholly unaware of the …