Skip to content

Category Archives: politics

the hell just happened?

Jeffrey Simpson has a good essay in the Globe today, summarizing how we got to this past week of politics in Canada. I will say, this is pretty entertaining political theatre, though more the bloodthirsty backstabbing of Richard III than the noble self-sacrifice of Henry V, if I may get all English major for a sec.

I will also say, I have absolutely zero sympathy for any of the key players. To quote a discussion I had in a Thai restaurant, Harper is an asshole, Layton is an asshat, and Dion is just an utter ass. Michael Ignatieff, probably the only national figure I haven’t yet totally given up on, once again proved himself to be the smartest man in the room by half-heartedly joining the high-fives and then quietly backing away while the coalition started handing out fantasy cabinet posts to each other.

Still, can you imagine if this shit were happening during, say, a critical period of a massive global economic meltdown that was expected to cripple the country’s economy for years? Oh, man, that hypothetical situation would suck!

And on that happy note, if you haven’t already seen it, here’s Wednesday’s pre-recorded video address of the man we’re supposed to think should be leader of the country. I can’t help but wonder what the rejected takes look like for this to be the one they went with.

my blatantly ill-informed predictions

Coalition replaces the government. Harper stays on as leader of the opposition, survives a leadership review. Ignatieff becomes unelected PM. Economy worsens. Coalition falls apart. Grits take most of the blame, because nobody really expected anything better from the NDP or Bloc. Election late 2009/early 2010. Grits lose seats, Tories and Bloc gain. CPC is in power again in 2010.

I think I’ll revisit this post in a year and see how spectacularly right and/or wrong I am. Hopefully, I’m wrong. Feel free to leave your own predictions in the comments.

Oh, and also, the scenario I would *like* to see? No coalition. Ignatieff elected as Liberal leader. Grits defeat Tories in a proper election without the support of the NDP and Bloc.

offer or ‘offer’?

Jeffrey Simpson has a good article about the Harper climate change offer to Obama. My optimism about the offer is not because I think it is heartfelt, but that it seems an almost desperate attempt to control what I suspect will be a real problem for the Tories. I really think there’s a sense of inevitability now about a carbon-reduction plan that includes at least all the developed countries. The only issue is whether Canada joins the US plan, or we let Alberta delay it for a year or two or five, while the costs pile up and the rest of the world enters the future without us.

(Incidentally, I’ve been reading Simpson’s co-authored book on the politics of climate change in Canada. I’m finding it to be an excellent political primer, but a bit light on science.)

a (slightly) better world already?

This is pretty much exactly what I was hoping an Obama win would mean for Canada.

Canada hopes to achieve a North American climate-change deal with U.S. president-elect Barack Obama and will begin working on the file within weeks, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Wednesday. Meantime, officials told The Canadian Press the Harper government has been waiting for the departure of President George W. Bush to work with his successor on an integrated carbon market.

I don’t really buy that Harper’s hands were tied by the Bush administration, but I do think that announcing it literally within hours of Obama’s win is encouraging. And yes, I think so even though part of the reason is to try to negotiate favourable terms for Alberta’s oil sands — that’s politics. At least it’s clear that putting off this discussion is no longer an option.

Of course, the Obama plan falls well short of what Canada agreed to under Kyoto, but this one seems to stand a good chance of actually happening, particularly since the state of the US economy might make for a pretty good reason to invest renewable-energy infrastructure even sooner.


Dear America,

Please don’t fuck this up.

Love, Eric