Why did the unicorn lose his job?

In Canada, prime ministers do not publicly fire ambassadors.

From time to time, they are removed from their posts for reasons of job performance or policy differences, but the axe is wielded by the foreign affairs minister or, more likely, by the deputy minister or a subordinate.

And the cause, if any is given, will be obscured in a fog of bureaucratic opaqueness.

Until John McCallum, that is.

Trying to find sanity in the wacky world of today’s politics

Do you get the sense that political world has gone off its rails?

In Washington, the president has shut down a good part of the federal government for a month because he is in a snit over the refusal of Congress to give him $5.7 billion for a 30-foot wall to protect the United States from its southern neighbour, friend, ally and trading partner, Mexico. It’s a wall that everyone, except Trump and his core supporters, agrees will do nothing to achieve its stated purpose of keeping illegal drugs out of the U.S.

It’s time to Make Ontario Great Again

Hon. Doug Ford,
Queen’s Park,
Toronto, Ontario

My dear Premier Ford:

It’s me again, Sir, your faithful fan out here in the foothills of Ford Nation.

I’ve already written to you a couple of times, first to commend your efforts to return Ontario to the glories of the 1950s, and subsequently to endorse your invocation of the notwithstanding clause to subdue that twit, John Tory, the mayor of Toronto.

The Ambiguous Definitions of Open Government

My colleague George Wootten and I have a new paper in the Canadian Journal of Political Science out in which we survey journalists, parliamentarians and bloggers in Canada in 2014 and asked them to rank different definitions of “open government”.

We hypothesized that people would choose different definitions of open government that fit their institutional position.

Why not ring in the New Year with a Senate seat?

A new year is the time for new beginnings, isn’t it? A time to accept new challenges and seize new opportunities.

So, if anyone is interested in a really new beginning in 2019, here is a suggestion.

Why don’t you apply for a seat in the Senate of Canada?

Yes, you can! It is no longer your grandfather’s Senate: a refuge for defeated candidates and clapped-out cabinet ministers and a reward for generous donors to the party in power. But it’s still a good gig, with an annual salary of $150,600 plus expenses and a pension on mandatory retirement at 75.

2018 was a miserable year. Will 2019 be any better?

The headline in Saturday’s Toronto Star made no bones about the newspaper’s verdict on the year that ends today:

“That’s enough, 2018. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

The Star was reflecting on the miseries experienced in 2018 in the Greater Toronto Area, but a similar verdict could be rendered just about anywhere. It was a year to be forgotten, a year when we were pounded day after day by bad, often alarming, news.

Chaos consumes Washington this Christmas

Christmas, as many of us were assured as children, is a special season, a time of kindness and generosity, of peace on earth and goodwill to all people everywhere.

That is one of the lessons we absorbed at our mother’s knee. Within a few years, we learned another lesson from teachers who taught us that the American system of government was a model democracy with its checks and balances among its executive, legislative and judicial branches. It is more perfect, we were instructed, than a monarchy or any other system of governance.

Here is why politicians are held in low esteem

“Please don’t tell my mother I’m in politics. She thinks I’m still playing piano in a bordello.” – late Nova Scotia Senator Finlay MacDonald

Politicians, as a whole, do not rank high in the public’s esteem. Most polls bury them toward the bottom, perhaps a rung or two above bill collectors and telemarketers.

The chief rap against politicians is that they say one thing and do another, that they make promises and do not keep them.

Conservatives’ “Odd Couple” hits the election road

They could be billed as the Odd Couple of Canadian politics: Andrew Scheer and Kevin O’Leary.

Yet there they were last week, the federal Conservative leader and the Canadian-born celebrity from U,S. television’s Shark Tank, on the hustings together as the Tories tested their training wheels for next October’s federal election.

What the U.S. midterm elections mean – or not – for Canada

Canadians, as a rule, do not play close attention to midterm elections in the United States.

We know incumbency fatigue will be a factor, meaning whichever party controls the White House will likely lose seats in Congress, where one-third of the 100 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for grabs on Tuesday.

The outcome may make a president’s job more complicated, but generally it will not provoke big changes in direction, policy or foreign relations.

That’s the conventional wisdom.

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.

Authors

  • Ailsa Henderson
  • Andre Perrella
  • Anna Esselment
  • Anthony Piscitelli
  • Barry Kay
  • Ben Margulies
  • Christopher Alcantara
  • Christopher Cochrane
  • Geoffrey Stevens
  • Jason Roy
  • Jorg Broschek
  • Loren King
  • Manuel Riemer
  • Nikolaos Liodakis
  • Robert Williams
  • Simon Kiss
  • Timothy Gravelle
  • Zachary Spicer

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