Doug Ford government evokes Tommy Douglas, but only the latter was fiscally responsible — Loonie Politics

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Doug Ford government evokes Tommy Douglas, but only the latter was fiscally responsible — Loonie Politics

by Devon Rowcliffe

The month of May ended with the most unexpected of twists: a maligned Ontario Progressive Conservative minister justifying her government’s austerity agenda by evoking a revered figure from Canada’s political left.

The Financial Post recently published an opinion article penned ostensibly by Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of children, community and social services. It asserted that the late Tommy Douglas, the most idolized left-wing politician in Canada’s history, had recognized the merit of running balanced budgets and avoiding debt as Saskatchewan’s premier.

[...]

But do the Ontario Progressive Conservatives genuinely want what Douglas purportedly sought a half-century ago: robust social programs provided without government debt? Taking a broad perspective, the answer would appear to be: no, they do not.

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To Become Canada’s Climate Champion, Singh Must Oppose Horgan — The Tyee

by Devon Rowcliffe

With climate change set to become a major issue of the 2019 federal election, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh declared a policy shift on Monday when the party presented its most aggressive plan yet to transition Canada away from fossil fuels.

The increase in urgency was inevitable. … A federal byelection earlier this month in Nanaimo-Ladysmith saw the NDP finish a disappointing third in what had been a fairly safe seat, while the Greens jumped from fourth to first, finally electing their second member of parliament.

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Proportional Representation: Coming to Vancouver Municipal Elections? — The Tyee

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Proportional Representation: Coming to Vancouver Municipal Elections? — The Tyee

by Devon Rowcliffe

Starting Oct. 22, British Columbians will receive referendum ballots in the mail asking if they wish to switch the province’s electoral system to a form of proportional representation. But two days earlier, when City of Vancouver residents head to the polls for their municipal election, they will also have the opportunity to select politicians who intend to reform our civic elections.

A record number of Vancouver election candidates have argued that the city’s plurality-at-large voting system is dysfunctional and should be replaced.

Their concerns are valid. U.S. courts have struck down election systems in numerous municipalities for not providing fair representation for minorities.

Here in Vancouver, it has been 46 years since a candidate of South Asian descent was last elected to city council. Even worse, Filipinos have never been elected to any municipal office in Vancouver. This despite these groups being the third- and fourth-largest ethnicities in the city.

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Ontario’s First Provincially Elected Green a Sign of Change — The Tyee

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Ontario’s First Provincially Elected Green a Sign of Change — The Tyee

by Devon Rowcliffe

While the main headline from Thursday’s Ontario provincial election was a majority government for the Progressive Conservatives and their populist leader Doug Ford, there was another intriguing development: the Green Party of Ontario winning its first seat. It was an emphatic victory, with party leader Mike Schreiner earning more than twice as many votes as the runner-up in Guelph, despite opinion polls predicting a tight local race.

The Greens’ initial seat in Ontario marks a Canadian first in two regards...

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Sorry, Vancouver, It Will Forever Be Your Grandfather’s NPA — The Tyee

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Sorry, Vancouver, It Will Forever Be Your Grandfather’s NPA — The Tyee

by Devon Rowcliffe

Bremner’s arrival in 2017 as an NPA by-election candidate offered a bold alternative: significantly increasing the city’s housing supply by loosening antiquated zoning restrictions. He and political strategist Mark Marissen read the Vancouver electorate’s sentiment perfectly, recognizing the bubbling discontent over high housing costs. Also partly thanks to an outdated voting system and a plethora of centre-left parties splitting the vote, Bremner coasted to an easy by-election victory for the NPA...

Bremner’s departure creates a dilemma for the NPA. He is arguably the Vancouver politician who has best understood the electorate’s sentiment and also managed to articulate the clearest vision for resolving housing unaffordability. Bremner had promised to deliver votes from young Vancouverites to the NPA, a population cohort the party struggles to attract. Millennials are now a larger voting bloc than baby boomers, meaning the NPA cannot afford to lose them.

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