Stephen Harper’s Conservatives won their first minority in Canada’s 39th general election in 2006, defeating the Liberals under Paul Martin with 124 seats to 103. In 2008, the Conservatives did better against the Liberals under Stéphane Dion, ending up with 143 and 77 seats respectively. In 2011, the Conservatives won a majority government with 166 […]



September 2, 2015

in Canada, Economics, Law, Politics, Travel

As a long-time student of politics, I often find myself wondering if Sweden simply has public policy basically figured out and everyone else is just screwing it up or governed by self-interested elites. Would nearly all countries be better off imprisoning their politicians and high-level civil servants, bringing in some Swedish politicians and bureaucrats, and […]

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This little song, written by Environment Canada scientist Tony Turner, has received a lot of media attention: CBC: Harperman case: Can public servants be political activists? The Guardian: Canada government suspends scientist for folk song about prime minister Both the song and the public responses point to one of the big unsettled questions about the […]


Chris Hedges’ worthwhile new book Wages of Rebellion includes some interesting discussion about the role of nonviolence in activist movements, and the justifications and criticisms deployed about it. He quotes Lisa Fithian’s “Open Letter to the Occupy Movement” to explain why non-violence is a more inclusive approach: Lack of agreements [to be non-violent] privileges the […]


CBC’s The Current has been doing exceptionally excellent journalism lately. This recent podcast is quite interesting, featuring the impressive David Nutt: Scientists push to renew psychedelic drug research for psychiatry.

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Canada was founded upon a grave injustice: the appalling mistreatment of North American indigenous populations by European settlers, including countless acts of physical and cultural violence. Days ago, the The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released their final report. One part, on page 20 of the summary, seems especially important: Together, Canadians must do […]


Friday’s presentations to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuel went very well. A version of the text with citations is online.


As promised, got the electronic version of our final fossil fuel divestment brief to the committee members a week before our presentation: The Fossil Fuel Industry and the Case for Divestment: Update. My friend Anne designed a great cover, using a photo from our November 2014 divestment march. I also have a version of […]


First Nations, with our constitutionally protected aboriginal and treaty rights, are Canadians’ last best hope to protect the lands, waters, plants, and animals from complete destruction – which doesn’t just benefit our children, but the children of all Canadians. Palmater, Pamela. “Why are we Idle No More?” in The Kino-nda-niimi Collective. The Winter We Danced: […]


The creation of Canada was only possible through the negotiation of treaties between the Crown and indigenous nations. While the wording of the treaties varies from the peace and friendship treaties in the east to the numbered treaties in the west, most are based on the core treaty promise that we would all live together […]