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Time to cooperate: A modest proposal for a progressive alliance on electoral reform

The two contests for the federal leadership, the NDP -- already started -- and the Liberal -- on hold -- give an opportunity to think political realignment in Canada.

These leadership races could be an opportunity for serious debate about proportional representation, to give every person an equal vote, and climate change, the most urgent issue humankind faces, and one where the majority in Parliament is at odds with the majority of Canadians.


The Liberal platform: NDP ideas and lots of smiling

Launching the Liberal Party platform, April 3, 2011. Photo: Michael Ignatieff/Flickr
Ignatieff: A platform full of left-of-centre policies, reflecting the values of fairness and equality and stealing Liberally.

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A response to Michael Ignatieff on his statement about Israeli Apartheid Week

Dear Mr. Ignatieff,

Your statement of March 7, 2011 re: Israeli Apartheid Week is deeply unethical. I say this not simply because of your unethical support for Israel, but because the statements you make in condemnation of Israeli Apartheid Week betray a deep lack of intellectual integrity.



Bring on the Liberal Green Democrats

Canada's 40th Parliament ends its current session this week. It will resume sitting in February, and after a few weeks, a budget debate is expected to trigger an election show down. Shuffling of voting intentions between Liberal and Conservative has drawn most media interest; especially with the Conservatives back on top. However, going back to the 2008 election, what characterizes Canadian public opinion is how little things have changed. The Liberals and Conservatives share between them something over 65 per cent of voting intentions, while the three other parties share something short of 35 per cent.

Ignatieff and the death of Liberal class

On Oct. 27, the House of Commons narrowly defeated a private members bill, C-300, aimed at ensuring mining companies are accountable and responsible for human rights and environmental standards abroad.

Despite being a Liberal lead private member's bill by MP John McKay, Ignatieff's Whip, Marcel Proulx in caucus during the week of the vote, was quietly encouraging Liberal MPs to stay away from the third reading vote on Wednesday evening to ensure its defeat.

In apparent contradiction, a backgrounder was sent from Ignatieff's office to the caucus members just before the vote that appeared to support the bill.

This is how it read:



A coalition: Still the only way out

When will the Liberals and the NDP get it? Without some kind of accord between these two parties, the country is locked into a kind of political version of the movie Groundhog Day -- doomed to repeat the same depressing, cynical and destructive politics day-in, day-out until our democracy is so damaged that no one will bother voting.


The Liberals' Employment Insurance shame

Ten years after the death of Pierre Trudeau, no issue demonstrates more clearly the moral bankruptcy of the Michael Ignatieff-led Liberal Party of Canada than the treatment it just handed out to the Canadian unemployed.

Last week on the eve of a routine House of Commons vote on third reading, Ignatieff announced improvements to Employment Insurance legislation were no longer necessary. As Erin Weir points out, a year ago the Liberal leader was ready to provoke an election over poor E.I. benefits. Now that the unemployment rate has gone from 8.4 per cent down to 8.1 percent he has decided it is wrong to improve the program.

American war resisters struggle on

A march against the deportation of U.S. war resisters in 2008. Photo: designwallah/Flickr

Canadian war resisters lost a pivotal battle in parliament on September 29 when Bill C-440 was defeated on its second reading by a vote of 143 to 136.

This vote will impact the roughly 200 war resisters living here; where they are like any other Canadians, drinking Tim Horton's coffee, raising children, paying taxes and actively participating in their community. I have met and worked with many resisters and I am the one enriched by the exchange. They are good people and this is a tough blow to take.



The twisted politics of the gun registry

The gun registry was created out of the worst instincts of Canadian Liberalism: set up a huge, suffocating, expensive bureaucracy that misfires, ends up dividing the country, and provokes a permanent political insurgency against it.

Now, 15 years later, we have the move to kill it according to the worst instincts of what passes for Conservatism these days: right-wing yahooing, "cold dead hands" rhetoric, and with U.S. gun radicals applauding and maybe even financing the effort.

In itself, the gun issue and Wednesday's vote on the registry, with its razor-thin margin to keep it, is not all that important.

The issue is almost all symbolism, emotion, ideology and twisted politics, with hardly a real fact in sight.

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