Opinion-Policy Nexus

Trump remains a force to be reckoned with

Despite the close, three-way race for the Republican Iowa caucus on Monday, one is reminded that to a large extent, this is a game of expectations, and by that standard, third-place finisher Marco Rubio might have emerged as the real winner.

However, Donald Trump leading in polls in almost every other state is still a force to reckon with, and Ted Cruz actually finished first. A conclusion that can be drawn from this result is that the nomination contest won't be a cakewalk for anyone, and will continue on longer than some expected just a few days ago.

One less newspaper really does matter

"A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself." — playwright Arthur Miller, 1961

The Guelph Mercury, which died last week at age 149, was a good newspaper. Sister paper to the Waterloo Region Record, the Mercury may not have had the reach of the Globe and Mail or the Toronto Star, but in its best days the "Merc" was the information lifeblood of Guelph and environs.

Nations of Middle East must do more to help their region

As U.S. President Barack Obama enters the final year of his presidency his popular support level has slipped below the 50 per cent mark overall, but in the area of foreign policy it is significantly lower, and has regularly registered below 40 per cent in public approval for some months.

Much of the problem seems to stem from international events and the ubiquity of terrorism pursued by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), among others, that do not comport with the kind of world that the president aspires to.

Trudeau had it and Stanfield did not

Luck is a precious thing in politics.

To take a couple of examples among Canadian leaders, Justin Trudeau has had good luck, oodles of it, in his short career, while Robert Stanfield had none when he needed it most.

Let's start with Bob Stanfield, the man they called the "best prime minister Canada never had." Stanfield was the immensely popular Progressive Conservative premier of Nova Scotia. Folks in his province contended he could keep getting re-elected as long as he lived — and maybe for one election posthumously.

Don’t change how Canadians vote

There's an old saying in Canada that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

According to Prime Minister Trudeau and many others, however, our electoral system is broken.

The fact that a political party can win 100 per cent of the power with less than 50 per cent of the vote is a huge problem for those who worry about the tyranny of majority governments and wasted votes.

But does this mean our electoral system is broken and needs to be replaced?

The answer is no.

Trump has not gone unnoticed among Canada’s Conservatives

They say nature abhors a vacuum. So do political parties. We are seeing that this season in both the Republican party in the United States and the Conservative party in Canada.

Let’s start south of the border. Since losing their second consecutive presidential election in 2012, the Republicans have been reduced to a shell of their former selves. They have no leader, no direction and no policies other than to use their muscle in Congress to obstruct any initiatives advanced by Barack Obama and the Democrats.

It’s time to change how Canadians vote

It is a fair observation that the federal Liberals' discussion of a ranked preferential ballot to replace the current plurality electoral system, popularly known as first-past-the-post, is a proposal that likely favours their party. What should also be acknowledged is that the other parties are also pushing proposals that favour their interests, too.

Obama seems to accept he's lost gun-control battle


There was something profoundly sad, almost pathetic, about the performance of President Barack Obama in his nationally televised town hall meeting on gun control last week.

Electoral Reform? Don’t Hold Your Breath!

If you are looking to place a small wager on which election promises the new Liberal government in Ottawa will or will not be able to keep, consider this possibility. You might place a toonie on the proposition that Prime Minister Justin  Trudeau will NOT be able to keep his promise to make 2015 the last federal election to be fought using our traditional first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system.

Looking back on sound, albeit cynical, advice

As an old year flows into a new one, it can be fun – and maybe even instructive – to cast our minds back 12 months to recall where we were and what we were thinking the last time the calendar changed. For those of us who fancy ourselves political prognosticators, this flashback exercise can be a humbling one.

Opinion-Policy Nexus is a forum of opinion and commentary on topics related to public opinion and public policy. Views expressed in any blog entry are those of the author and do not reflect LISPOP's positions.

Questions? Email us at: blog@lispop.ca



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