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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Thoughts about the coalition and minority government

By Harold Jansen on Feb 11, 2009

Helen Forsey, the daughter of the late eminent constitutional scholar, Eugene Forsey, weighs in on what her father would have had to say about the constitutional "crisis" in December. It's a worthwhile refresher course on the principles of parliamentary government, especially in a minority government situation. You can read it here.

Crunching the fourth quarter party finance numbers from Elections Canada

By Harold Jansen on Feb 3, 2009

Yesterday, Elections Canada issued the fourth quarter financial returns for political parties in 2008. In November, party finance became headline news when the Conservatives tried to remove the annual subsidy for political parties in the economic update. Party finance  is usually not a sexy topic and has since faded from the headlines. But the release of the new numbers is exciting for those of us who study and are obsessed by the finances of Canada's political parties (I think there are three of us).

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What's conservative about the Conservative budget?

By Harold Jansen on Jan 28, 2009

Although the budget may not look very conservative, its long run impact is very consistent with the goal of a smaller, leaner federal government.  In that way, the budget is very consistent with Harper's incremental conservatism.

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Ignatieff's balancing act: support the budget, but not too much

By Harold Jansen on Jan 27, 2009

And it all comes down to this: budget day! Things in Canadian politics have been pretty slow over the last month or so. But today we see the budget that will determine not only the way the government responds to the recession we're experiencing, but also the future of the Liberal-NDP coalition. The NDP and the BQ have pretty much indicated that they oppose the budget and want the coalition to proceed. Since Michael Ignatieff has become the leader, he's been decidedly cooler about the coalition idea than his predecessor, Stephane Dion. It seems clear to me that the Liberals are going to support the budget. There's enough there that they can take credt for and support and not enough to justify bringing down the government.

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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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Leadership Politics: Bernard Lord

By Royce Koop on Dec 13, 2008

Andrew Steele has written a strange article describing potential successors for Stephen Harper as Conservative leader should the government be defeated in January. I doubt that Harper is in any real danger even if he does lose a confidence vote - there are no formal mechanisms to remove him as leader in the short term and no other candidate has anything resembling Harper's rock-solid base of support within the party. 

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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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The Liberals Land on Their Feet

By Harold Jansen on Dec 11, 2008

I haven't had a lot of time to blog lately. It's grading time at university which leaves little time for other things. However, I'm procrastinating right now, so it's time to write something.

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With Michael Ignatieff as Leader of the Liberal Party, is the Coalition Dead?

By Greg Farries on Dec 9, 2008

CTVNews is reporting that Bob Rae has told his supporters in a conference call Tuesday that he will end his bid for the Liberal leadership. Considering Rae's departure means Michael Ignatieff is the sole remaining candidate for the leadership position and almost certainly the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, is Ignatieff going to continue with the coalition with the New Democratic Party?

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Is the Problem Coalitions in General or THIS Coalition?

By Harold Jansen on Dec 5, 2008

Although the question of whether a coalition can take over is primarily a constitutional and parliamentary question, there's no doubt that public opinion is a factor, lurking in the background of all of these discussions. And the polls are coming in. They suggest that Canadians prefer Stephen Harper and the Conservatives to govern.

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(What's so Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding? Reconciliation and Prorogation

By Harold Jansen on Dec 4, 2008

The more I think about the prorogation decision, the less comfortable I am with it. Essentially, it can gut the central principle of Canada's system of responsible government: that the government must have the support of a majority of the members of the House of Commons. The Conservatives are pointing out that they passed the last confidence vote, which was on the Throne Speech as justification for this, but that's pretty flimsy. They lost the confidence of the House and they know it. Only messing around with the scheduling in Parliament saved them.

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