A virtue of the Canadian system is its fixed electoral cycle.
When the wind of electoral change blows, the bill’s changes to the Elections Act and to what Elections Canada does will prove to be of little significance to the outcome.
To mollify both the critics and supporters of vouching there is a solution: maintain the practice but place the vouched ballots in a sealed envelope at each polling station.
Charisma only goes so far. Trudeau senior had it and triumphed very soon after becoming the Liberal leader in 1968. The Tories are unpopular and the Trudeau effect could wear off as it did for his father, whose popularity really only revived after his death. Meanwhile, Mulcair is biding his time.
The Supreme Court, like the Quebec Court of Appeal, will almost certainly tell the government that its Senate reform proposals do not pass constitutional muster and, since an accord with the provinces is a non-starter, the Senate status quo will prevail. Get used to it.
In Canada, MPs, and MLAs are compelled to be team players under their coach’s thumb.
Parliament’s new act opens a potential assortment of problems. A better tack might have been for the Prime Minister to tell the British that their BNA Act of 1867 offers a sufficient basis for Canada’s compliance with whatever new act the British adopt with respect to the office of the Queen.
Both John Diefenbaker and Stephen Harper were born in Ontario. Both moved to the Prairies and became prime ministers.
The danger to the Liberals is that if they fail to break through in the next election and at least form the official opposition, the consequences may be fatal. It could be game over.
Ontario will gain 15 seats in the next federal election; together, Alberta and British Columbia will gain 12. The key to 24 Sussex Drive in 2011 was in Ontario. It will continue to be so for a while.
The new practice of political prorogation, therefore, may lead to increased receptivity to coalition governments. Much of the democratic world has them, but Canada has been a laggard on this score. Catch-up may be coming.
What has happened to our promised free votes in Parliament, the loosening of party discipline, the plans for citizen-initiated referenda, and the ability to recall MPs?
The greatest danger to the PM is therefore from within, not without. Paradoxically, it is from those MPs who have the least enviable jobs in Parliament: muzzled government backbenchers, those who must shut up and cannot publicly rail or criticize as opposition MPs are free to do.
The federal government’s Senate reform bill will likely be buried because the Conservatives are behaving like their Liberal predecessors—touting reform but doing very little.
The two solitudes have grown further apart as more French Canadians outside of Quebec have intermarried, assimilated, and lost their facility in French.
As the welfare state has embedded itself ever more firmly in Atlantic Canadians’ lives, the NDP has implanted itself in Atlantic Canada’s traditional conservative political culture. The NDP can no longer be easily dismissed as outsiders ‘from away’ who preach alien doctrines and pursue utopian sorties.
Few politicians call themselves leftist or rightist, although NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has come close by denying he is a centrist: ‘We want to move the centre to us, not move to centre.’