Tag Archives: Canada

Responsible Government

Upper Canada fought long and hard for responsible government, leading ourselves away from the Family Compact which was governing the people of Upper Canada with only an image of elected officials. However, our government is still not perfect, and can be improved to be more democratic and representative to the people? Here’s some ideas:

  • Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to donate to political parties.
  • Clear and concise guidelines for the reserve powers of the Crown and how it can be implemented by the Governor General.
  • Petitioning the Commonwealth to revise the Statute of Westminster to no longer show gender and religious precedence so that the Heads of State reflects the “Just Society” we have created.1
  • A democratic Senate responsible to the People, rather than the parties who appointed them, while still being distinct from the Commons. Whether the best bet is an independent Senate or term limits, I’m not sure, but a means to make the Senate responsible to the provinces they represent.
  • Decentralize the government from unelected partisan employees in the PMO and return powers to the elected government Ministers.
  • Clear laws on proroguing parliament, and thorough review of potentially undemocratic laws.
  • Clear and enforceable laws governing when the Prime Minister can drop the writ.
  • A better election system than First Past The Post, and a thorough investigation into the possible choices, along with clear and concise advertising to allow the general public knowledge on how the chosen system works.
  • After a choice for Governor General has been thoroughly vetted, a vote in the Commons before presenting the choice to the Queen.
  • Open and clear discourse with the Canadian People.

Any other ideas?

  1. If William’s first child is a girl, she should be able to take the throne, even if she chooses to be Catholic. []

Canada & Mr. Diefenbaker

[The Liberals]1 bit the dust because they treated Parliament with contempt.2

BT Richardson’s Canada & Mr. Diefenbaker is a book which isn’t so much about the then-Prime Minister, but is more about Canada in 1962. I thought it was really ambitious to write a biography of a sitting Prime Minister, but I was mistaken, Richardson wasn’t talking about Diefenbaker’s childhood and early years, he was talking about Canada. Even in the few chapters that did discuss Diefenbaker was more interested in painting the picture of a family living in rural Ontario3 and moving out to Saskatchewan to start a new life with free land and the great opportunities of this new western expansion. The specifics of Dief and his parents is barely touched upon, thus creating a classic Canadian story which could be related to by most 1960s Canadians. Instead of Diefenbaker as a person, Richardson discusses Canada’s place in North America, the Commonwealth, bank policies, the downside of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Lester B. Pearson4,

Richardson talks at length about James Coyne, who was at one time Governor of the Bank of Canada. His policies were at odds with the Tory government. Thusly, six months before his contract expired, Diefenbaker’s government passed a bill through the Lower House which would relieve Coyne of his job. It was vetoed by the Liberal-held Senate. His statements on the Senate seem to frame Canada in this frozen political landscape.

The Senate’s rarely used power of veto has never been accepted by the Canadian voters as a true curb on representative government. On the other hand, it has never been repudiated by the voters, either. The Coyne affair brought closer the day of Senate reform, which has never quite materialized.

The Canadian Senate has one hundred and two members5, when it has no vacancies, and its working force is only a fraction of that number.

And it doesn’t stop there. Richardson’s descriptive of his pre-centenial Canada’s issues seems to mirror many of the 21st-century Canada’s issues, but there are two distinct differences between between modern Canada and that of Diefenbaker’s Canada. We read about the Progressive Conservative party which Diefenbaker was the leader of, and we cannot help but see more similarities between that party and the Liberal Party than we can see between the PCs and the Harper led Conservative Party of Canada. Diefenbaker came out of rural Saskatchewan, and fought to make the PCs a viable party in a land dominated by the Social Credit party and Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (who would later become the NDP). Yes, western Canada was once dominated by the left-wing values of the NDP.

Finally, the other major difference is the Canada that Richardson knows is a Canada of pioneers who came from the United Kingdom and France. They colonized the lands we know now. The Canada I know is a land of immigrants. Canada has seen so many immigrants come into our nation that it is no longer English and French, it’s now every ethnicity known to man.

Another worry that Richardson was that Canada was slowly getting more and more confident and less and less of an inferiority complex, I’m not sure why he saw it leaving, but he predicuted that “the risk that Canadians now run is that they will present to the world the image of materialistic, loud mouthed people with pockets stuffed with money.” Something that only recently happened for the first time, and that was during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.6

I’m finally going to end with a quote of former foreign minister Sidney Smith’s which was quoted in the book. He was discussing Canadian and American cooperation, and these are words that I wish George W. Bush had taken to heart.

True Friendship cannot be wrecked by honest frankness.

  1. Specifically Louis St. Laurent. []
  2. The Liberals lost the 1957 election, but had been in power since Mackenzie King’s regained power in 1935. For those bad at math, that’s 22 years. []
  3. William Diefenbaker actually lived in Todmorden, which is a few metres from my Toronto house. []
  4. Something I hope he regretted when Pearson proved himself to be one of the greatest Canadian Prime Ministers. []
  5. One hundred and five today. []
  6. Can you blame us? We won the Olympics! []

Schomberg Fair

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Went to see the Schomberg Fair last night at The Garrison, here in Toronto. Fab show.

Back Home Weather’s Got You Down

Listening to Matt May’s “Back Home Weather” off of his first and self-titled record.

Back home weather’s got you down
Looking to move on and skip town
You’re looking to get lost to be found
‘Cause back home weather’s got you down
You say you got somewhere to go
Where the palms grow tall and the air lets you know
Roll the windows down as far as they’ll go
So you say you got somewhere to go

Take your time, enjoy the view
Don’t let ‘em get to you anymore
Let everything slide, go along for the ride
Make sure that you decide where you’re going

Foreign car with northern plates
Heading down through the southern states
Find a decent motel with decent rates
In a northern car with foreign plates
In a foreign car with northern plates

Take your time, enjoy the view
Don’t let ‘em get to you anymore
Let everything slide, go along for the ride
Make sure that you decide where you’re going
(repeat)
Where you’re going (repeat)

Jews too are angered.

Picture 1The Tories are blanketing Liberal-held Jewish ridings with material claiming the Martin Government and Dion’s opposition were Anti-Semitic.

I find this interview very interesting as the Conservative MP can’t even get his facts straight and is very obviously avoiding the actual topic. While the Grit MP is clearly on message and able to quickly dispute any “facts” presented by the Tory.

There’s at least one Yid I know who’s not too happy about such poor voter-manipulation.