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Lerer: Canada’s Single Member Problem

March 25, 2012

Canadian democracy is in shambles. Concerns about an unelected Senate, centralization of power in the hands of the Prime Minister (and away from parliament), Canada’s outdated first-past-the-post electoral system, and the post-charter judicialization of politics have all undermined contemporary notions of representative democracy. Unfortunately, many problems are too difficult to change: shifts in Prime Ministerial Power would require constitutional amendment – initiated by the PM himself; even when this problem is addressed, as Paul Martin did in his declaration of Canada’s ‘democratic deficit’ in 2002, it resists change. Read more…

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Fowler: The Degradation of Mitt Romney

March 21, 2012

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It should have been a walk in the park. Nine months ago I wrote on TheOpposition that, in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, “Romney has clung to a narrow but consistent lead for the past two years in public opinion polls. If nothing of note happens in the Republican primary, he should be able to piece victory together.” This has remained the underlying factor in the race for the past year, as various conservative challengers have risen to counter Romney, usually surpassing his steady 25% support, before flaming out and making way for the next. GOP challengers either refused the race or made such immediate clowns of themselves (Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, and…I can’t remember the third one) that they essentially left the nomination with Romney’s name on it. However, it would be insane to say that “nothing of note” has happened in the race so far, since fears amongst the GOP establishment that the nomination fight will go all the way to the convention floor in Tampa have been growing despite Romney’s consistent lead in the delegate race. There are very few observers left who doubt that the general election will be between President Obama and Governor Romney, but this foregone conclusion comes with a caveat that was not apparent nine months ago. 

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Zimmerman: The NDP Leadership Race: What’s Left?

March 13, 2012

By the end of March 24th we’ll find out who is going to lead the New Democratic Party of Canada into the post-Layton age.  New Democrats, having built themselves up from third (or fourth) party to the official opposition under Jack Layton’s leadership, are situated at a crucial point in not only their party’s history, but arguably in Canadian history as well.  The Liberal Party of Canada, traditionally the party of power and occasional opposition status, has been beaten into a form of submission, now occupying the NDP’s more familiar place of third party status.

The NDP may for the first time take power in the coming election.  With the Harper Conservatives busy battling the unfolding Robocall scandal and losing the confidence of Canadian voters with each new piece of evidence brought forward, many see this as the NDP’s golden opportunity to finally govern.  With Bob Rae’s generally strong leadership of the Liberals following the lackluster performances of Dion and Ignatieff nothing is quite so certain and many would argue that the result of March 24’s party vote will determine whether the NDP gets a leader who can defeat both Harper and Rae. Read more…

Mackay: From Indifference to Activism

March 7, 2012

Joseph Kony, Ugandan guerrilla leader and founder of the Lord's Resistance Army, is subject of a growing movement known as KONY 2012.

By now, almost everyone reading this post will be at least somewhat familiar with Joseph Kony and the KONY 2012 video that sprang up on the internet less than 48 hours ago. It must be awfully hard to remain in the dark about it; the video, and countless events relating to it, flooded Facebook and Twitter feeds in a matter of hours, drowning out everything else all the while being shared, reposted, and ‘liked’ at an alarming rate the likes of which social media has never seen before.

For those few who have yet to see the video, the premise behind it is that the world must take action, immediately, to end the reign of Joseph Kony, a Ugandan guerrilla leader, whose organization, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA for short), seeks to kill, maim, rape, torture, and enslave Africans (specifically Ugandans in the video) in the name of God. As a video it is dangerously effective, and has gotten the attention that the organization behind the video, Invisible Children, clearly sought. Looking at this in a purely marketing sense, this video can be considered nothing short of a huge success, one that has led social media observers to point out that this may reshape social activism and finally galvanize the millions of internet users into action.

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Paikin: On Iran, Canadian Leadership Needed

February 8, 2012

Laudably, the Government of Canada has unambiguously identified Iran as being a primary threat to international peace and security. Accordingly, Canada has adopted a series of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, including the invocation of the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA).

Despite these important moves, Canada’s stance on the Iranian file under the Harper government remains incomplete. Canada’s stance vis-à-vis Tehran focuses almost exclusively on the threat posed by the latter’s nuclear weapons program.

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Tailor: Regressive Ideas and the ‘Canadian Federation of Students’ That Holds Them

February 1, 2012

You have likely seen all the posters gracing the hallways of your university, if your student union is affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), for the past few months. The “National Day of Action” is today, and it will be a great, feel good moment fighting the good fight at Queen’s Park, forwarding the tuition revolution, and establishing solidarity with our fellow students from across the GTA. It’s an undertaking taken once a year; a ritualistic tradition with investments into it unmeasured, and a return on it nearly non-existent, for demands mediocre through all the wrong avenues towards change.

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Uranowski: The Tea Party/Occupy Wall Street: The Musical

January 25, 2012

I come from a very musical family (buy my sister’s band’s EP: The Prime Minister of Cool Chicks) and musical theatre has always been a big part of my life. One of my earliest memories is seeing a production of Brigadoon at the high school my father taught music at. In high school I performed in Jesus Christ Superstar, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and Les Miserables, and at U of T I helped produce (and appeared in) my favourite musical of all time, Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

With my other obsession being politics I have been wanting to write about how two specific musicals, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson & Urinetown, should be watched by anyone trying to understand the Tea Party and Occupy movements in the United States. This evening I read an article on Fox News online that compared Newt Gingrich to President Andrew Jackson in a non-ironic, complimentary manner (whitewashing the fact that Newt Gingrich has never fought for his country and Andrew Jackson’s legacy of supporting slavery and wholesale slaughter of Native Americans.)

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