Austeria

Austeria

  “Austeria”. An informal talk to OMSSA’s 2013 Learning Symposium, held in Ottawa, Ontario from June 16 to 19, 2013.

Edward Hicks' "Peaceable Kingdom", National Gallery or Art, Wikipedia Common

Why we have no time for politics

Samara recently published yet another study showing that Canadians, especially young Canadians, are profoundly disengaged from formal politics.  Not only are citizens voting less and participating less in political parties, they are not writing, reading or even talking with friends about party politics. While many are still donating money and time to causes, they don’t have much … Continue reading

Civilservants

Celebrating Public Service

Notes for talk at Public Policy Forum Dinner, April 11, 2013 I am delighted to be here with family, friends and colleagues this evening – an evening that can only be understood as a celebration of Canada’s public service. Such celebrations are pretty rare these days though the public service is an institution that deserves … Continue reading

Volunteers_of_America_Soup_Kitchen_WDC

The Trouble With Austerity: Economics as Ideology

A somewhat abridged version of this post first appeared in The Toronto Star here Governments here and elsewhere are increasingly preoccupied with cutting even as evidence piles up of its harmful consequences on people and the economy. Austerity is not even delivering the balanced budgets its advocates promise. Even the IMF is now preaching balance … Continue reading

image

The Age of Austerity

Notes: Keynote talk, CCPA Post-Austerity session, Toronto, January 9, 2013 We are living in the “Age of Austerity” or at least so says David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister. He made this announcement in 2009 at the Conservative convention just before becoming prime minister. This meant, he explained, that he would have to fix the … Continue reading

Chief Theresa Spence. (by Regina Southwind, Rabble, December 17)
Cicero and the fall of the Roman Republic (Cesare Maccari)

Bargain Basement Citizenship and the Decline of Democracy

We ought to be outraged. Just about every day our media provides a new account of the decline of our democracy:  the inadequacies of our electoral system and allegations of electoral fraud; the high-handed treatment of our Parliament through inappropriate prorogations and overuse of omnibus legislation; a government ever more authoritarian and opaque, resistant to evidence and reason, and … Continue reading

Abetxuko Bridge, Spain (Wikipedia Commons)

Taking Back Our Democracy: Bridging the Generational Divide

These are tough days for Canada’s parliamentary democracy.  Having endured years of steady erosion, it is now under frontal attack.  Journalists and public leaders, across the political spectrum, have begun to document the injuries. We are seeing stirrings of outrage. But this assault on our democracy could not be happening without some complicity or at … Continue reading

Pyne, William Henry; Combe, William (1904) [1808] "An Auction " in The Microcosm of London or London in Miniature (Volume I ed.) London: Methuen and Company

Going, Going, Gone: Dismantling the Progressive State

Now that some time has passed since the federal budget it might be useful to step back and assess what it says about where the government is taking us. Reaction has been pretty muted. The “centrist punditry” generally see this as an incremental budget, business as usual, “balanced” and “mature”. For our Globe editorialists, for … Continue reading

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