Slogans No Substitute For Discussion and Debate

Recent events have prompted some discussion of wedge politics and the lack of meaningful political discourse in this country.  A related issue that deserves some attention is the increasing reliance on simplifying slogans as a substitute for debate.  While not new, in the age of social media, the slogan rules. For  example, every time a … Continue reading

In Defence of Democracy

An extraordinary Canadian consensus, for example, here and here and here and here and here.  But it is too early to declare victory for democracy.  The parties have two weeks – and they have every reason to find an accommodation.  The costs of failure are too high.

Wedge Politics Works – At What Cost?

I watched Evan Soloman and his pundits panel discussing Frank Graves’ comment that Liberals should wage a culture war, pitching urban against rural, cosmopolitan against parochial.  The panel discussed the whole idea of wedge politics and negative politics and whether these work.  The broad conclusion – yes indeed they work and every party does it.  … Continue reading

Guergis, Irony and Tragedy

Frank Graves does his usual excellent job of analyzing shifting Canadian attitudes on “The Guergis-Jaffer Affair”. Not surprisingly the Conservatives took an initial hit in the polls but according to Ekos data (Frank’s firm), their slide has halted and the Liberals have now taken a bit of a hit.  Frank says, among other things, that … Continue reading

The Cult of Accountability

Accountability is a big word with many meanings but for simplicity sake I will define it as:  1) the obligation to render accounts of how well one is doing in delivering on promises and meeting agreed expectations; 2) the responsibility to take the necessary measures to improve performance and to correct error and to report … Continue reading

So, there’s no such thing as a good tax?

Let’s just watch the Colorado Springs anti-tax experiment. Important lessons here. Monica Potts adds that many of the private sector jobs in Colorado Springs are for a company subsidized by the Defence Department and that means by federal taxes.  Interesting that these taxes are not under assault.

Healthcare (3) User fees again

I have been asked why I describe user fees as a “dangerous distraction” so here goes.  There are many reasons but let me focus on the 2 big ones. First, they would have a negative impact on the quality of care and therefore the quality of Canadians’ health.  While it is probably true that smallish … Continue reading


Day after day, we are fed more House of Commons questions and more media headlines and more speculation  about Helena Guergis and Rahim Jaffer.  Maybe it’s good politics to keep this issue hot and in the public eye.  Ekos polling seems to show that it is, to some extent.  But Guergis is out of Cabinet … Continue reading


The debate on user fees heats up here and here.  What seems increasingly evident is that the iconic place of Canada’s healthcare system makes policy discourse awfully hard.  Those who see it as a matter of identity, at the heart of the Canadian self-definition not only protect it from attack but sometimes quite possibly from … Continue reading