When communities debate the opening of a new casino, the discussion typically begins with questions about the economic impact. Proponents of casinos argue that gambling revenue will aid municipal budgets, the casino will employ many people, and increases in tourism will develop the overall economy. Casino opponents typically counter by refuting claims of a tourism impact. They then highlight the potential for increases in problem-gambling rates, which will have a negative impact on young families and their children while placing strain on local social-support systems.
No one ever said running a government is easy. Far from it. These days, in Canada and many other countries, the task is made infinitely more difficult and perilous by the mess in Donald Trump’s Washington.
The U.S. capital has become a seething swamp ruled by conspiracy theorists, would-be power brokers and rank amateurs who haven’t the faintest idea of how to make a government work.
Watch British Columba.
The six-year-old provincial Liberal government of Premier Christy Clark meets the electorate on May 9, and the outcome is anyone’s guess.
B.C. elections are often isolated provincial phenomena with little impact beyond the mountains. This time, however, the outcome will resonate as far east as Ontario where another Liberal premier, Kathleen Wynne, is in even deeper trouble than Clark. A Clark victory would at least buoy depressed Liberal spirits in Ontario.
Today’s Conservative Party of Canada is not your grandmother’s Conservative Party. That much we know.
But what kind of party will it be going forward? The answer will be determined in large measure by the outcome of the current leadership race. Candidates have one month left to sell party memberships in this one-member, one-vote competition, followed by two more months of campaigning before the votes are counted on May 27.
Who among the mob of candidates (there are 14 of them at present) will emerge as leader in May?
“The press is the enemy” – Richard Nixon to Henry Kissinger, 1972
“[The media] is the enemy of the American people” – Donald Trump, on Twitter, Feb. 17, 2017
The highest purpose of a free press is to speak truth to power.
From time to time that purpose is challenged by demagogues and embattled political leaders, as it is now in Donald Trump’s America, and it was in the early 1970s.
There are probably a dozen places Justin Trudeau would rather be than in Washington today for his first meeting with President Donald Trump – mercurial, unpredictable, egotistical, short-tempered and at times downright nasty, even to his nation’s close friends.
No amount of official briefing or gratuitous advice from editorial boards and columnists can adequately prepare the prime minister for the encounter. Like anxious parents prepping their five-year-old for his first day at school, these savants have filled Trudeau’s head with lists of things to do and don’t do.
Since Justin Trudeau's formal confirmation that his pledge of a reformed electoral system will not occur, he has been on the receiving end of a great deal of criticism, most of it characterizing him as a liar and a cynic. This is all fair game in politics, but it should be noted that his opponents are just as guilty of promoting their self interest.
Election promises are fraught with danger for politicians.
Both Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau are learning about the perils of promises, although their enlightenment is coming from opposite directions. Trudeau is being savaged in Parliament, on the internet and in some quarters of the mainstream media for breaking a promise – to wit, that a Liberal government would replace Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system and to do it before the next election in 2019.
The House of Commons returns to work today after its refreshing, one trusts, 46-day Christmas recess.
MPs will be anxious to tear into the great issues of the day in the Ottawa bubble, starting with the Prime Minister’s vacation in the Bahamas and continuing, no doubt, to the irksome question of how much, or little, the government is actually prepared to do about cash-for-access political fundraising.
But these matters, which loomed so large a couple of weeks ago, now seem trivial. The big stuff, the serious stuff, is happening south of the border, in Washington.