It’s a fantasy to imagine that today’s governments would confront the wealthy in this way, but it’s nonetheless of some value to think about some of the barriers to major global redistribution and potential means through which they might be surmounted. As with other major global challenges like nuclear proliferation there is a coordination problem […]


A tweet of mine, written in a moment of irritability aggravated by the sound of jets roaring overhead, has gotten some attention by virtue of being incorporated into some news articles about social media commentary on the Toronto Air Show. In addition to my standard gripes about the wastefulness of jet engine use, the undesirability […]


The question of control is a touchy one. No segment of the population feels powerlessness more acutely than Downtown Eastside drug addicts. Even the average citizen finds it difficult to question medical authority, for a host of cultural and psychological reasons. As an authority figure, the doctor triggers deeply ingrained feelings of childhood powerlessness in […]


Yesterday I photographed two rallies outside Toronto-area offices of Members of Parliament and Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs Bill Morneau and Chrystia Freeland. With Freeland we asked if Canada was now going to withdraw our signature from the Paris Agreement. The sentiment was crafted to be possible to express in one photograph, but the […]


An episode involving missile defence* from the West Wing holds up very well today. The craggy old American chief of staff is in favour, out of fear of what rogue regimes might do to America. The British ambassador is opposed because it’s impractical, violates international law, and risks worsening the global nuclear weapons situation. I […]


Supposedly, Canada is in the midst of a national effort at moving toward reconciliation after centuries of exploiting and oppressing its Indigenous populations. Signs include efforts to protect and investigate crimes against Indigenous women and girls; the renaming of buildings and monuments to people who played a role in Canada’s troubling past; and supposedly efforts […]


When it comes to stopping unsustainable fossil fuel development, anything that creates investor uncertainty can be useful. By that metric, the British Columbia government’s announcement of a diluted bitumen shipment expansion moratorium while it studies how a diluted bitumen spill would unfold is a small contribution to shifting Canada to an acceptable development pathway. Still, […]


The National Post is reporting on controversial Canadian monuments to Ukrainians who volunteered to fight with the Waffen-SS starting in 1943. A large number of those who fought in the division immigrated to Canada after the war, aided in part by intervention from the Roman Catholic Church. While the immediate context of the controversy is […]


Plea bargains


in Law, Politics

In several important ways, the plea bargain system in American courts perverts justice: encouraging prosecutors to pile on charges in hopes of frightening defendants into bargaining, and forcing those being charged to consider falsely pleading guilty because the punishment that would arise from going to trial and losing would be massive. Nonetheless, The Economist reports […]


One of the most important economic and political points arising from climate change is uncertainty about how seriously future governments will respond to the problem. If some kind of political change makes governments serious about hitting the 1.5 – 2.0 ˚C temperature targets from the Paris Agreement, it will mean doing everything possible to rapidly […]