Jared Wesley's blog

Senate Reform in Manitoba -- The Case for a "Weighted Districts" Model

By Jared Wesley on Mar 1, 2009

In response to a series of reforms proposed by Prime Minister Harper, the Government of Manitoba is investigating new ways of selecting provincial representatives in the Senate of Canada. As part of this process, the Manitoba Government just completed a series of public consultations, during which I recommended the province adopt a "Weighted-District-Election" model for selecting Senators-in-waiting... 

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The 2009 Budget - What (Not) To Look For

By Jared Wesley on Jan 26, 2009

The federal government is going to unprecedented lengths to offer Canadians a preview of Tuesday' budget.  Proponents claim the move will allow Canadians to digest all of the specific measures in manageable bites, while opponents say the government is trying to get all of the "bad news" out of the way early.   Either way, a series of weekend press conferences and television appearances have let several cats out of the bag, and we expect even more announcements today.  Here's a running list of what (not) to look for in the upcoming Throne Speech and Budget:

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The Recession & Balanced Budgets: BBLs under the microscope

By Jared Wesley on Jan 16, 2009

The current economic downturn offers a unique environment in which to test the strengths and weaknesses of Canada's various "Balanced Budget Legislation" (BBL) regimes.

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Tactical Lessons, Part II: The Coalition

By Jared Wesley on Dec 11, 2008

What about the coalition?  What can we learn, tactically, from their performance?

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Tactical Lessons, Part I: The Conservatives

By Jared Wesley on Dec 11, 2008

Hindsight is 20/20, and a backseat driver is always the best judge of the road.  For what it's worth, here's my view of the past few weeks, as seen out the rear windshield.  Part I:  What lessons can we learn from the Conservatives?

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The Year of the Political Apology - I'm Sorry for the F.U.

By Jared Wesley on Dec 11, 2008

I guess partisanship means never having to say "I'm sorry"?

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Lessons Lost?: Mantioba's Coalitions

By Jared Wesley on Dec 4, 2008

We've heard a lot about Canada's limited experience with coalition governments in the past week.  Engaged citizens today are as familiar as ever with the 1917 Union Government, the 1925-26 King-Byng Affair, and the Ontario episode in 1985.  One prominent example of Canadian coalition government has been lost in all of the talk, however.  And there are important lessons to be learned from it.

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A Plea for Good Rallies

By Jared Wesley on Dec 3, 2008

I was heartened to hear that both sides in the current constitutional debate will be staging public events to drum up support for their causes.  Beyond a suggestion to dress warmly, I want to offer a quick blessing, and caution, to both sides as they plan to attend a series of rallies later this week.  If John McCain's recent presidential campaign offers any lessons, be wary:  keep the most ignorant among you from upstaging the event.  Cameras from the media and the opposing side will be on the lookout for acts of anger and zealotry, like burning effigies or inflammatory statements.  That's what will air on the evening news and Youtube. 

 

This said, best of luck to all.  Keep the messages positive, and be sure to dress in layers!

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Opinions on Both Sides -- a review

By Jared Wesley on Dec 3, 2008

I spent 12 hours Christmas shopping and listening to talk radio shows yesterday, as I made my monthly drive from Winnipeg to Calgary.  If the media buzz is any indication, it seems almost everyone in Western Canada has an opinion on the quagmire on Parliament Hill.  From Canadian Tire to Suzy Shier, Tim Horton's to Starbucks, pundits to academics, leaders to followers - everyone appears to have chosen sides between the government and the coalition.  With each side talking past each other, viewing moment-by-moment events through their own unique set of partisan lenses, it's not difficult to see how we've come to this point.  For Canadians just tuning into the saga, finding "facts" and "truths" amid the rhetoric can be challenging and frustrating.

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Why Strategic Voting is Wrong: Oh, the Irony

By Jared Wesley on Oct 11, 2008

Strategic voting is wrong.  Not because it perverts some high-minded view of democracy, where every citizen sticks to her principles when casting a ballot.  (Quite frankly, that view of democracy is visible only through high-prescription, rose-coloured glasses.)  Rather, strategic voting is wrong because it is self-defeating.  What these people need is electoral reform, and that's the last thing they'll get by casting their ballots for either of the two most-successful parties.

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Advance Poll Turnout: A Closer Look

By Jared Wesley on Oct 10, 2008
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Elections Canada has released its preliminary advance poll figures.  The bottom line:  Turnout in these early polls is down 6.5% relative to the last election (see table above).  Between the lines, there are a lot of interesting stories.

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Dion gets the last gaffe... but shame on all of us.

By Jared Wesley on Oct 9, 2008

In a campaign that was among the nastiest in recent memory, history will record: Stephane Dion had the last gaffe.  Dion's belly flop in Atlantic Canada came on the last full day of the campaign, as Canadians prepare for the extended Thanksgiving long weekend.  Words don't do it justice -- watch for yourself.

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Endorsements: Harper Wins Again

By Jared Wesley on Oct 9, 2008

Just as in 2006, the Conservatives have earned endorsements from both of Canada's major daily newspapers (The Globe and Mail & The National Post).  We wait with baited breath to see what the Toronto Star will do.  (Rumours have it they could endorse the NDP for the first time.  Odds have it, they'll back Dion.)

Fear Begets Panic: Lessons in Credit-Crunch Campaigning

By Jared Wesley on Oct 9, 2008

The Economist weighed in on the Canadian election today, with two separate articles offering a lukewarm endorsement of the Conservatives.  Specifically, the authors suggest "another minority Conservative government would not be a bad result for Canada: neither of the main party leaders has done enough to persuade Canadians that they deserve untrammelled power." 

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Harper's Balancing Act: Confidence & Uncertainty

By Jared Wesley on Oct 8, 2008

A lot has been made of Stephen Harper's inability to empathize with "the average Canadian" during the present economic downturn.  To be certain, Mr. Harper has done little to help his cause.  Last night on The National, he made an off-hand comment about how the stock market decline has opened "opportunities" for Canadians to invest at bargain prices.  Earlier in the day, instead of releasing his platform in a more 'grassroots' setting, he opted for a business audience at the Canadian Club.  (No sweater vests allowed.)  In Harper's defence, however, he faces a unique set of challenges -- distinct from those facing opposition party leaders and the two presidential candidates in the United States.

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