On January 17, the Conservative Party of Canada held its only French-language debate of the leadership race. For anyone who believes that the French language should be an intrinsic part of the political life of Canada, it was an exercise in frustration. Of the 13 candidates who had the guts to participate in this sorry show, less than half were able to show the basic ability to debate in Canada's other official language.
I ask a simple question: should a party with less than 40 per cent of the popular vote control 100 per cent of the power in our democracy? There is an overwhelming consensus that the answer is "no." Democracy's legitimacy lies in its authority from the people.
Chris Wattie / Reuters
The prime minister made the comments during a CHOM 97.7 interview.
Zerbor via Getty Images
In a recent opinion editorial, Conservative Party Interim Leader Rona Ambrose said that we cannot have electoral reform without a referendum. The bigger picture is about implementing a substantive framework of public engagement, with multiple, ongoing points of entry into political decision-making structures.
Paul Vasarhelyi via Getty Images
Justin Trudeau said he was favourable to changing the electoral system and that he would prefer alternative voting to our actual majoritarian system. What would be the alternative? And what considerations should we have in mind when discussing whether to implement it by referendum or not?
Twenty years ago some 150,000 people from across Canada assembled in downtown Montreal to make an appeal for the unity of the country. The "Unity Rally," as it became known, was held three days prior to the 1995 Quebec referendum on sovereignty.
CGinspiration via Getty Images
The latest depressing revelations about the Senate make it clear that the institution cannot continue in its present form. The vast majority of Canadians now agree that reform or abolition of the Canadian Senate is overdue. It is time to bring the people of Canada into the centre of the process and directly consult Canadians on any proposal for constitutional reform through a consultative referendum.
This isn't good for our personal or our collective health, Québec, and it needs to stop. Sometimes, we need to have these hard conversations. Sometimes, we need to be ready to put our minds together to envision how we want our communities to evolve. Sometimes, we need to conquer bad memories and try talking once more.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
I watched the Quebec provincial election very closely even though I was in Europe during a major part of the course of the campaign. The race evolved into an incredible thriller, with the voters of Qu...
VIKTOR DRACHEV via Getty Images
Crimea is a pity, and likely victimized by Moscow pressure, but the reality is that Ukraine is a failed state without a government, a constitution that can be enforced, an army that can be called upon to defend its people or an economy. If I lived in Crimea I'd vote for the devil I know (Moscow) rather than the devils to come (Kiev).
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Despite the very tangible political or economic benefits it could bring, Russia never considered peacefully ceding any of its remaining territorial holdings to its neighbours. During the 1998 financial crisis for example, President Boris Yeltsin never thought of selling the sparsely populated, almost vestigial property of Sakhalin Island in the north Pacific to a cash-rich, land-poor Japan, even as Russia desperately needed hard currency to prop up a crashing ruble. If and when Crimea votes to leave Ukraine for Russia, Western economic sanctions will surely follow if Russia happily embraces the peninsula.
Russia is home to the biggest Ukrainian diaspora in the world, an estimated 20 million or so persons of Ukrainian descent live there. The Russian minority in Ukraine is estimated to be as high as 40 per cent of its 45 million population. Frankly, if a division along EU versus Russia lines exist the country as now constituted is untenable.
TransLink -- everyone's favourite whipping boy in the Lower Mainland -- is about to be put to the electoral test and it promises not to be pretty. The fate of TransLink's future funding will be decided in the midst of the introduction of the Compass card, and Lower Mainland residents know full well how that initiative has been going as of late. It doesn't bode well for the vote.
Constitutional reform is entirely legitimate in the life of a vibrant democracy. The Canadian Senate either needs serious reform or it should be abolished, and this requires changes to our Constitution. In refusing to engage the people in constitutional reform, our leaders forget that the Constitution belongs to the people of Canada, not to the federal and provincial governments.
We've written a law, called the Sensible Policing Act, which has already been approved by Elections BC. This law will make a first step towards legalization, by stopping arrests for marijuana possession, and focusing police resources on fighting real crime. This campaign does not rely on the whims of politicians. We can do this ourselves, with people power. But it isn't easy to get on the ballot so that we can have a marijuana referendum. We will need to collect over half a million signatures, from registered voters all across B.C., just like they did to stop the HST.
Although we can all agree that marijuana prohibition has failed, there is not full agreement on how exactly to legalize and regulate it. We still have to answer some important questions. Should people be allowed to grow their own marijuana? If so, how much? Should marijuana be sold in stores? What kinds of taxes should there be? Should there be taxes on medical marijuana products? What about extracts and foods? What is the best age limit? Before we can put a legalized system in place, we need to have the answers to these kinds of questions.
My own opinion is that Hadi's role will be a lot longer than a two year term, and that is exactly what Saudi Arabia, and possibly the United States, wants to see happen, because the conservative devil you know is better than the progressive devil you don't know.
QUEBEC - Future referendums on Quebec independence could be triggered by popular demand under a series of democratic reform proposals put forward by the Parti Quebecois.The provincial opposition party...
QUEBEC - The reeling Parti Quebecois suffered its fifth caucus defection in two weeks on Tuesday when backbencher Benoit Charette resigned over concerns a PQ government would hold a sovereignty refere...
Quebec's political parties have banded together to challenge NDP leader Jack Layton for his comments on how many votes it would take for Quebec to separate from Canada. All three parties at Quebec's n...